How Jessica Biel’s Ass Stole Christmas (a true story)
Ah, Christmas…what wonders it brings to mind. Happy children, Santa Claus, trees strung with lights, and Jessica Biel’s ass. The latter might be unique to me. Yet I shall forever associate the Yuletide season with the rump of a very young Ms. Biel.
The year was 1998, and my girlfriend Sarah May – oh, Sarah, so young, so talented – had just scored a major co-starring role in what was going to be Disney’s major non-animated Christmas release, “I’ll Be Home for Christmas.” The film was planned as the movie that would make Home Improvement midget Jonathan Taylor Thomas a major big-budget sex symbol. And we all know how well that went. The film was helmed by veteran director Arlene Sanford, to be shot in Canada, which is probably why Sarah, as a dual-citizen, got the role (cast in L.A. to shoot up in Canuckville).
A very young Jessica Biel was cast to play Taylor Thomas’ girlfriend, and my beloved Sarah was cast as Biel’s best friend. The script, as it was written and rehearsed, called for Sarah to be in every scene with Biel. Sarah was cast because of her height, 5’9”, as the director wanted a running gag of Sarah towering over Taylor Thomas, intimidating him. In theory, it could have been funny, had the film not been a horrifically-written piece of crap intended only as a vehicle for a diminutive sitcom star.
But for me, the film represented something else. Sarah was living with me, and we both looked forward to the career boost the film would likely give her. As I said, her role was huge – as much screen time as Biel. As Sarah was up in BC shooting, I’d go to bed nightly with dreams of what a great Christmas this would be, with the film opening wide, all across North America, Sarah’s face splashed all over the place, her talent finally recognized, us attending red carpet premieres, me sitting proudly on the sidelines while she does TV interviews, and tons of acting jobs to come that would finally let her bring a little money into the household.
Okay, that last part was actually the most important. I’d been with her struggling actress-self for a year. A little added income would have been nice. We were going to build a gazebo in the backyard and rebuild the old fence surrounding my property.
Yes, that Christmas, I just knew everything would change.
But then came the phone call. Through the uncontrollable crying on the other end, I tried to make out what Sarah was saying. “I’m cut!”
“You’re cut? Did you get hurt?” I knew that when Sarah was back in Vancouver, where she grew up, she’d buy her pot from the Asian gangs up there. “Who hurt you, Sarah? Tell me. I’ll fly up there tomorrow!”
“No, not cut like that. Cut from the film! Biel’s agent got me cut!”
“What? What do you mean?”
“It’s her ass. They say I’m too skinny, and when she stands next to me it makes her ass look big!”
“But that’s why they cast you; your body-type. They knew all about it.”
“Yeah, and when we filmed our first scene the other day, that’s when it really hit them…they cut everything except my first scene, because I’m only on screen with Jonathan. NOW I’VE ONLY GOT ONE LINE IN THE ENTIRE DAMN FILM!!!”
And so it was. Sarah’s agent got some consolation money from the producers, and Sarah came back home, defeated, dejected. The producers had indeed confirmed to Sarah’s agent the reason that all her scenes were cut. Biel was being groomed for stardom, and her agents didn’t think she played well, body-type wise, next to Sarah.
Sarah never acted again, save for one soap opera bit part and some USC kid’s student film. She became seriously depressed, and then heavily medicated. She went back home to Canada in autumn of that year, leaving me to face Christmas alone. The film indeed opened wide, and promptly bombed. Taylor Thomas never did become a superstar, eventually leaving the profession to tour with Ringling Brothers as “Minisculio, The World’s Smallest Man.”
And I didn’t learn my lesson about dating actresses. Not nearly.
I don’t blame Jessica Biel’s ass for what happened; it was only acting out of self-preservation. And, eventually, Ms. Biel’s ass would find its self-esteem and no longer feel threatened by the asses of others. Much time has passed, and I look at the incident fondly these days. And that’s why, every year at this time, I gather ’round the Christmas Tree with anyone who’ll listen, usually transients and Mexican laborers who thought they were coming to my house to install drywall, and I tell the story of the year that Jessica Biel’s ass stole Christmas.
Have a Merry Christmas, a Happy Hanukah, and a Mediocre Kwanza (as if there’s any other kind). Happy Holidays, one and all!
(Pictured below: Top frame, Sarah and Taylor Thomas. Bottom frame, the ass)