By Breia Brissey
July 20, 2010 at 04:59 PM EDT

The economy isn’t what it used to be, and even Hollywood has to make cuts. That includes saving money on film extras. The solution? Use blow-up dolls instead of real people. (Peter Savodnik of The New Yorker writes of the trend in this fascinating article here.) Just when I think I’ve heard it all, Hollywood trots out blow-up dolls. Really?!

Apparently they’ve been using this “technology” since 2003’s Seabiscuit. These realistic inflatables, with airbrushed faces, stand in when real people don’t make the cut. (Is anyone else interested in a work/school version? I definitely could have used one of those in college.) And you might be able to spot the blow-up dolls this summer — Angelina Jolie’s Salt makes use of the fake extras. Something tells me I will now spend the entire movie trying to point out one of the dolls to my fellow moviegoers rather than, you know, actually paying attention to the plot.

But this could be good news for James Franco: Maybe next summer they’ll cast his body pillow!

What do you think, PopWatchers? Is this the most ridiculous thing you’ve heard all day? And do you think you have the skills to spot one of these fake extras?