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THE APE

    Once an ape answered the casting call for a Hollywood blockbuster.
    The part it was auditioning for, the ape was told, required great versatility. It would have to portray a wide range of characteristics, from stupidity to sly treachery. Between those two there’d be a need to show all manner of mental unbalance, sexual threat, and moral turpitude. In that sense the part could be seen as a very rich one, perhaps Academy Award caliber, and might lead to a string of similar roles in the future.
    “But what’s my motivation?” the ape asked the casting director. “I need to know why I’d behave like that.” 
    “Because our human hero needs a convincing foe, that’s why. It’s sort of a timeless struggle kind of flick for PG-13 audiences, know what I mean?”
    “That’s my motivation, to be a fall guy for humans in a PG-13 world?”
    “Well, if that’s how you want to put it, yes. But there’s plenty of time before the final showdown for plot complications and for the outcome to be in doubt. Plenty of dramatic tension when it looks like you’re in control of human destiny.”
    “In control of human destiny? I still don’t see what my motivation would be for that.”
    “Listen, just think of yourself as the opposite of the hero you’re up against and everything’ll go just fine. Or if that doesn’t work for you, then think of yourself as enough like him that you could be related almost, but instead you’re some kind of genetic throwback who’s leading the forces of cataclysmic ruin.”
    “Why would I want to lead the forces of cataclysmic ruin, whatever those might be?”
    “How can I put this any clearer for you? Because it’s in the script, that’s why. Besides, nobody can fight box-office trends, and the trend right now is a return to core beliefs and good old-fashioned storytelling. That’s what this whole man-v-beast revival is about, in case you hadn’t noticed. Same thing’s true for saving the world from the threat of aliens or robots or zombies or suicidal terrorists, et cetera et cetera et cetera. Special effects alone won’t cut it anymore if you don’t have a meaningful storyline. And you’re the meaningful storyline here, the great threat to civilization in our day and age, see? Now do you want the part or don’t you?”
    “I was hoping for something a bit more challenging.”
    “Like what? Hamlet? Get real, will you. Next!”