Made for Television

Sam flinched when he first laid eyes on the actor with the physique of Apollo for the lead role of Jesus. Nature built Mario for middle linebacker parts, he would be perfect for any football movie. He cast a vast shadow like a skycraper—at least six foot four, three fifty—and those weren’t his only issues as Jesus.

Sam turned helplessly to his producer, “Come on Morty, you cannot be serious.”

“What wrong with him? Mario’s experienced, and he’d make a great lead for the film. The camera loves him and the ladies will love him, too, know what I mean?”

“What’s wrong with him? Look at him! He’s got a blonde buzz-cut and he’s whiter than sour cream, some kind of Nordic ideal. The Nazis would quickly breed as many Aryan babies as they could get out of him, and name them all ‘Fritz’.”


“We want an actor that’s Levantine, Lebanese, Turkish, Jewish, Palestinian, Syrian, maybe Jordanian. You could even make a case for an Egyptian or East African. Has Mario ever stepped into the sunlight without an umbrella at all?”

“Look, Sam, he’s a fine actor, and we can get him for scale because the public hasn’t discovered him yet. This’ll be a career-maker for him, right Mario?”

Mario wisely kept his trap shut.

“It’s not about the money,” Sam pointed out. “There’s just got to be a better option.”

Morty shook his head. “Trust me on this one. We can darken him up in makeup, you know that.”

The life of a director is an endless series of compromises. Art demands attention to detail, but sometimes the Money disagrees.

Against his better judgement, Sam thumbed through Mario’s resume and face shots. Some good work here. No big awards, but a Mario had generous handful of supporting role credits in solid movies. He’d miraculously avoided typecasting in the empty-headed hunk parts. Just maybe this wouldn’t be such an awful choice after all. The beefcake angle could even bring in some box office.

Sam sighed and crossed his fingers. “All right Mario, we’ll give this a shot. But you owe me, Morty. Who’s up next?”

“Casting for Mary Magdalene,” Morty responded. “You’re gonna love this one. Fresh face out of UCLA film school, she has terrific range and some good chops. Tits and ass aren’t bad, either, you’ll see.”

Sam glanced up at the pink Mohawk, the low-cut top straining to contain 44D’s, and the copious body jewelry and ink. He made a strangled noise and pounded the desk with his face.

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425 words, for this week’s Finish That Thought (#2-50).