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'Pirates 4' and the search for natural breasts: Standard practice for period projects

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Forget health care or the NCAA basketball tournament: the Internet was all a tizzy Monday after the New York Post reported that Disney Studios was banning fake breasts from the set of its upcoming fourth installment of Pirates of the Caribbean. While the report seemed completely ridiculous – especially the “Hollywood-style jiggle-your-jugs test and jog for judges” that the actresses/models would reportedly have to endure – it turns out it’s basically true. And, it’s not that uncommon. In this case, the casting call was for extras for Rob Marshall’s latest iteration of the billion-dollar franchise. Sources tell EW.com that it’s actually standard practice, especially given how plastic surgery has become increasingly common. One source says it was this way for the first three Pirates movie, as well.

Disney declined comment. But after speaking to a few casting agents, we confirmed that in the name of authenticity, casting directors often specify whether they will accept auditions from those with silicon floating throughout their bodies. One casting agent who does a lot of period work said in addition to nixing anyone with surgical enhancements, tattoos and hair highlights can also be a no-no, along with anything else inconsistent with the era of the story. A guy’s ripped abs and bulging biceps might even be deal breakers, we’re told, because people just didn’t have that body type back then.

So while the casting sheet for Pirates 4 was written rather tastelessly, its sentiment was business as usual for the industry. (Additional reporting by Adam Markovitz.)