by BRK

 When an actor complains that a certain A-list movie star is all wrong for a role, producer Jack has the perfect solution. Instead of finding someone else for the role, he’ll just make sure the actor fits the part.

Added: Aug 2022 1,710 words 2,138 views 4.8 stars (5 votes) This story was commissioned via Patreon Vignette Party.




Round patio bistro tables with friendly green umbrellas dot the expansive brick-covered seating area. Fancy shrubs wall in the courtyard. Many of the tables are occupied by expensively-dressed, well-tanned Hollywood types talking excitedly with each other or on their phones (or both).

ANGLE ON a corner table with three occupants: JACK, the deadpan, balding, seen-it-all producer; ENRIQUE, the thirtyish, good-looking, crusading Off-Broadway star recently transitioned into medium-budget action movies; and BRECK, the brash, blond, classically handsome A-list movie star. The two younger men are wearing expensive-looking white tee shirts and black jeans; Jack is wearing a light suit jacket over a black tee. All three outfits are meant to show that they are very fit, Jack included.

A pretty WAITRESS is at the table taking orders. Breck is smiling politely at her; Jack is noodling on his tablet; Enrique is impatiently ignoring her.

WAITRESS (to Enrique)
And for you, sir?

ENRIQUE (smiling briefly but winningly)
Nothing, thanks.

Waitress exits. Enrique’s smile snaps off.

JACK (blandly, not looking up)
You should order a drink. They have a great iced sarsaparilla here. Everyone’s getting it lately. It’s the thing.

I’m too pissed to drink that piss. What I want to know, Jack, is: are you actually, literally serious?

JACK (still not looking up) (Note, global for scene: he does not look up)
Actually, literally serious about what?

You’re producing a huge big-budget tentpole all-action sci-fi Oscar-bait biopic centered on Zap, the biggest, baddest Hispanic ever to come out of the G. I. Joe franchise. And you’re having him played by this loaf of white bread?

CLOSE UP on Breck. He looks very, very Caucasian, in a Nordic sort of way. He appears unfazed by Enrique’s rant and is smiling inanely, happy to let the others to decide his fate.

TWO SHOT on Jack and Enrique. Jack’s gaze flicks up at Breck for a beat, as if registering Enrique’s point, then returns to his tablet.

The screen tests of him carrying a bazooka charted very well.

Of course they did—I’ll bet he wasn’t wearing a shirt.

ANGLE ON Breck, who happily starts popping his pecs.

TWO SHOT. Enrique watches this for a moment, briefly distracted.

I don’t see the problem. Who knows? Maybe it’s racist to say white people shouldn’t play other kinds of people. Johnny Depp played Tonto and got away with it, didn’t he?

No! He didn’t! Everyone hated it and the whole movie was a dumpster fire!

$260 million worldwide. Plus? Far and away the highest-grossing Lone Ranger film ever. Sounds like he got away with it to me.

There were only two! And the first one starred—look, I’m not talking about that shit, I’m talking about this shit. Are you saying that there isn’t a single Hispanic actor on planet Earth who could open a major release?

JACK (considers)
Ricardo Montalbán, maybe.

He’s too old. And dead!

JACK (shrugs)
There you go.

This is so stupid.


So, you’re definitely going with him.

Research says that a wry smile, one dimple, and “Lundgren-tier” muscles, no shirt, no chest hair, are the factors that drive the success of 90% of tertiary toy-based comic book action heroes. My hands are pretty much tied.

ANGLE ON Breck, who smiles wryly, revealing one dimple.

TWO SHOT. Enrique takes this in longingly for a beat, then reluctantly looks away. He refocuses on Jack.

Fine. What if I tell you that unless you hire a Latino—an actual, genuine Latino, not some guy whose grandfather fucked a girl in Belize once—I will absolutely refuse to come back for The Left Hand of Darkness 2?

JACK (finally looking up)
You’re contractually obligated. There’s a half-mil penalty clause.

ENRIQUE (smiling grimly)
Consider it eaten. I’ve got a mil-and-a-half sign-on bonus coming from the Johnny Mnemonic remake anyway.

Jack considers him for a moment, then begins doing something dynamic on his tablet.

Very well. Let it never be said that I do not cater to the whims of necessity.

ENRIQUE (frowning)
What are you doing?

Just what you asked. Look!

THREE SHOT. Enrique looks over and is startled to see that Breck is a no longer pale, blond, peach-complexioned Nordic type. Instead, he’s now clearly of full-blooded Latino heritage, with dark hair and eyes, smooth dusky-bronze skin, and the faintest hint of stubble lining his sharp jaw and full lips. Other features, including his “Lundgren-tier” build, are unchanged.

What—? How—?!

He’s digital anyway. Easy enough to change the parameters. Much more convenient than regular actors to deal with, trust me.

Breck smiles, and Enrique is shocked to see that he’s actually more handsome now.

But… how will you explain—?

Oh, it’s retroactive. As far as anyone beyond this table is concerned, he’s always been—uh, Dominican, I think? Or Colombian. (checking something on the tablet) Not sure what the defaults are… nope, definitely Colombian.

Retroactive? You mean, he’s always been Colombian?

But with the same career. Momentum of the timeline and all that.

So… wait, this Breck played FDR in The Wheeled Executive? Really?

JACK (proudly)
Very edgy. Won a special Golden Globe for Most Creative Historical Revisionism.

ENRIQUE (eyes narrowed)
Why are you reading me in on this? Seems like something you’d want kept secret.

JACK (slyly)
I just need you on board with the Zap movie—since you’re so concerned. Do you think he’s beefy enough? We can upgrade to, say, the “Pain and Gain tier.”

Jack swipes a few things around on the tablet, and suddenly Breck is forty pounds heavier with thick, sculpted, extremely photogenic muscle. His shirt and jeans have also gone up a couple sizes to match, still showing off his curves and bulges to maximum effect. Breck shifts in his chair, readjusting his weight like this is no big deal. Enrique realizes his mouth is hanging open and quickly shuts it.

ENRIQUE (after a beat of staring)
Uh… wh-what about the abs?

What about them?

Breck lifts his eyebrows, then pulls up his white tee shirt. They all examine his tight, chiseled six-pack with interest.

Well… c-canonically, you see, he has… more, you know.

More? Ah, you mean…

Breck’s sweet six-pack instantly becomes a long, tight ten-pack. Enrique sucks in a breath. Trying to be subtle, he slips one hand under the table.

…Like so?

ENRIQUE (swallows)
That’s… close. Very close.

Jack hides a smile and adjusts something on his screen. Breck’s ten-pack expands to a twelve-pack, then begins alternating between twelve and fourteen.

What do you think? Twelve, or fourteen?

ENRIQUE (trying to seem normal, even though he’s quivering slightly)
T-twelve’s good.

Jack leaves it at fourteen anyway. Breck’s torso is now somewhat longer and lankier-looking despite his heavier “Pain and Gain-tier” muscles, making him seem a size larger than the other men. Breck drops the shirt and beams at them. Even down, the shirt leaves two rows of steel-hard abs exposed.

JACK (casually)
What about cock?

ENRIQUE (whips his head around to look at him)

Isn’t the character extremely hung? “Canonically,” I mean.

ENRIQUE (faintly)
Um, sure. Absolutely.

JACK (doing something on the tablet)
So, let’s just make him… well, fourteen is our lucky number today, so…

Breck shifts his weight again, this time widening his legs a tad. Enrique stares at the table in front of Breck as though hoping he might be able to see through it.

You know, Breck—remember that one scene in the script, the bit where it’s implied that your character can handle more than one “assailant” at once?

Breck shrugs his massive shoulders.

BRECK (mildly)
I’m game if you are. What do you think, En?

Enrique looks up from where he’s been trying to stare through the table and gapes at Breck.

That’s… um… a lot of… artillery.

Maybe we should do a test run. That would be in character, right?

BRECK (giving Jack the wry, one-dimple smile)
A little recon.


Jack moves his finger around on the tablet, and Breck squirms, adjusting his legs even further apart.


Sorry, had to do the balls too.

No worries. (standing, revealing that his legs are now longer, too) So, En, you ready for the equipment test? My car’s around back.

ENRIQUE (stands automatically as he scopes Breck head to toe)
Well, I guess we need to check what’s… um, feasible. For the character…

BRECK (to Jack)
What about the other—


Jack pushes a few more things around on his screen, and ENRIQUE 2 and ENRIQUE 3 appear next to Enrique. The three hunky Enriques look equally shocked, though only the original speaks.

What the fuck? (to Jack) Are these—am I—?

JACK (smiles reassuringly)
Just think of them as… extras. (He grins at his bad pun, but Enrique is too dazed to call him out on it.)

Breck grins his movie-star grin and gestures toward the exit. They start to walk off with the two extra Enriques trailing after them, the group drawing the eyes of everyone in the courtyard like magnets. Enrique abruptly stops and turns back to face Jack at the table.

You know this was cheating, right? I’m still mad at you.

Such is the lot of a producer.

Enrique hmphs. He and Breck exit together, hand in hand, the extra Enriques close behind.

Well, that was fun. Waitress! Another iced sarsaparilla, please.


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