Show Business: Casting for the Cross

A great movie company once decided to film the life of Christ and cast the day's best-loved lover in the leading part. When the movie moguls gathered in the projection room to view the rushes of the Crucifixion scene (as Ben Hecht tells it in his short story The Missing Idol), they realized that something extraordinary had happened. The actor was not to be seen on the Cross. By God's direct intervention, the space between the two thieves had remained a complete blank.

Over the years, actors have charily avoided filling that blank. Instead,...

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