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Typecast

“Have you ever had a passion for something, Denzil? A passion to do Hamlet, or play a grizzled detective in a TV drama, or a great warrior in a sweeping multi-part series. You know, something I can really get my teeth into.”
Steve Dean's Story Typecast

The idea of this story came from a television commercial. I’m not really sure what genre this belongs in, probably fantasy of some kind. Please let me know what you think.

For those of you out there who are writers and are wondering what to write next, I believe people emerging from lockdown will look for an antidote to the months spent indoors. I think people will want firstly to laugh, and secondly to get out there, travel the world and have adventures. This will be reflected in the entertainment people will seek out. Whether that’s films, television, games or books, I think there is a surge in demand for comedies and stories about wild journeys. Time will tell if I’m right, but remember you read it here first!

*          *          *

A red car pulled up outside the palatial lake-front house. The driver exited the car, grabbing a small briefcase off the passenger seat. He approached the front door and rang the bell, a deep and ominous-sounding peal that echoed through the house. A few moments later a young man opened the door and smiled.

“Hello, my name is Denzil Sanderson, I have an appointment with Mr Clydesdale.”

“Yes, he’s expecting you. Please come in and I’ll show you to his study.”

The visitor was led through the large house and to a huge room that overlooked the lake and the surrounding forest. It was sparsely furnished but the walls were almost totally hidden behind framed photographs of Mr Clydesdale with various celebrities.

Mr Clydesdale was looking through an enormous brass telescope, which was pointed down towards the lake. He turned around and looked at his visitor. “Mr Sanderson, nice to meet you, please come in, take a seat. Can I get you anything, tea, coffee, something stronger?”

“Tea please, plenty of milk, no sugar.”

The person who’d shown him to the study nodded from the doorway and disappeared.

“Well,” Mr Clydesdale said, “shall we get straight down to business Mr Sanderson?”

“Please, call me Denzil. Yes, of course.”

“Excellent, there’s so much politics in the film industry, it’s nice to cut through all that and get to the point, saves a lot of time.”

“Indeed, Mr Clydesdale, I’m with you there. So,” Mr Sanders pulled a red folder from his briefcase, “your previous agent told me you were looking to expand your range, possibly do some theatre, some TV work?”

“Yes, that’s correct. I feel I’m getting a little typecast and I want to nip that in the bud, so to speak.”

“Looking through your file here, I see the last role you played was a giant gorilla.”

“Yes, great film, did very well at the box office.”

“It certainly did, very impressive opening weekend. And before that, I see you played a giant gorilla in the remake of an original film.”

“Which was also very well-received. And we had a great time on set. I could tell you some stories about some of the A-listers I co-starred with.” Mr Clydesdale laughed.

“I’ll bet you could. Hmm, going further back, I see you’ve played several animal characters, including your very first film role.”

“Yes, and that’s where the problem lies. I’m looking to play something else, you know, something that challenges me, pushes me to grow as an actor. Casting agencies are already looking at me and seeing nothing but a giant gorilla. Last week, I was contacted by an agency looking to cast me in an advert for glue. Do you see the problem here?”

“Yes, I certainly do. It’s a big problem. And, you know, nothing wrong with doing a few adverts, even A-listers do them.”

“Of course, and it’s not the adverts I object to, we all have bills to pay. But why not offer me adverts for say, telescopes? I’m something of an expert on them, I could be very persuasive in an advert for advanced optical equipment.”

“Yes, no doubt at all. Very persuasive.” Mr Sanderson looked down at his notes and took a moment to compose himself. “Now, I’m sure we can find you something, but I have to say…”

“Have you ever had a passion for something, Denzil? A real burning passion? That’s what I have inside me. A passion to do Hamlet, or play a grizzled detective in a TV drama, or a great warrior in a sweeping multi-part series. A character I can make my own, a real person, someone people will respect. You know, something I can really get my teeth into.”

“Yes, I understand your passion, Mr Clydesdale. Unfortunately, that’s not how the world works. Making entertainment is an expensive business, especially these days, and with all the internet piracy and sharing platforms, studios need to guarantee they can make their money back. They’re very risk-averse at the moment.”

“I understand that. But you come highly recommended, Denzil, one of the best I was told. If anyone can get me a decent part, it’s you.”

“That’s very kind of you, Mr Clydesdale. Even if that was true, there are other considerations.”

“Really? Discrimination is an ugly thing, Denzil. Maybe I should call my lawyers.”

“Mr Clydesdale, please, there’s no need for lawyers.” Denzil took a deep breath to settle himself. “Mr Clydesdale, I’m sorry you feel typecast and I’ll do everything in my power to secure you a role that will stretch you as an actor. But I feel I must point out the reason you’re only getting offered certain roles and why you haven’t, as yet been able to break into theatre.”

Mr Clydesdale leaned forward to look more closely at the agent, a frown wrinkling his forehead.

Mr Sanderson gulped, then took another breath. “The reason, Mr Clydesdale, that you seem to be typecast as a sixty-foot gorilla and can’t get any theatre work is because you are a sixty-foot gorilla.”

Mr Clydesdale looked furious. He leaned forward and Mr Sanderson feared for his life. “Actually, Mr Sanderson, I’m 59 feet tall!”

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1 thought on “Typecast”

  1. Victoria DeFries

    I think That this book is one that I will try and get my hands on . It sounds like it will be very much a fun book. Just the little I have read here makes me look forward to getting a copy.

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