Modern beauty, historical accuracy clash in Hollywood

Tattoos, piercings, teeth whitening and even modern exercise routines can take away from the realism of period films like "Lincoln."

Attitudes about tattoos and piercings are changing, except, perhaps, among filmmakers trying to capture historically accurate period pieces.

With body modification gaining broader acceptance in society, more actors and actresses are sporting piercings and ink. The FDA said 21 percent of American adults have tattoos. That poses a pickle for films like "Lincoln," for which Daniel Day-Lewis had to hide the tattoos on his hands and forearms to step into the role of the former president.

But makeup couldn't hide Day-Lewis' ear piercings.

The Chicago Tribune reported that Day-Lewis removed the gold hoops normally hanging from his ears, but the empty piercings are still visible in a few shots in the movie.

And "Lincoln" isn't alone in the struggle between modern fashion and period sensibilities. The Tribune said even the unnatural whiteness of Emma Stone's teeth in "Gangster Squad" deviates from period-correct imagery.

Even modern workout routines can dispel the illusion in a period movie, with actors sometimes having to change their weight — even dramatically — to better fit a role.

MTV reported Christian Bale dropped 120 pounds for "The Machinist" and Benicio del Toro gained 40 for "Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas."

But tattoos, piercings and other body modifications are a different matter.

Working World said even non-actors can suffer fewer job prospects if they have tattoos or piercings. Companies are well within their rights to not hire someone because of their body modifications, or to have a dress code that forbids piercings and tattoos.

So what's Hollywood to do? Makeup can help, but even in these more tolerant times, casting directors may go the easier route and opt out of hiring actors with too many modifications.


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