Life, Once Again! - Chapter 644
“Aren’t you being a little too much?” asked Taemin, who had been keeping his calm while Jiyeop’s ears turned beet red.
“I’ll apologize if my words were a little rude. I can apologize, but I hope you can leave now. You know well that both you and I are busy people.”
“In any audition, they decide after looking at the acting. I think that’s common sense.”
“Common sense is good, but I said before, didn’t I? Mr. Jiyeop, Mr. Taemin. No matter how good you two’s acting skills are, it’s no use if you can’t get along with me. Of course, if your acting skills are on the level of Park Taeho, Choi Changhyun, or Yoon Donggil, I’d welcome you with open arms. But it isn’t, is it? Whether it’s the two of you, or me, we’re all little ducklings who haven’t made ourselves known in the industry. And for us little ducklings to survive, we need to have our own philosophies for survival. The two of you regrettably don’t fit my life philosophy nor work philosophy.”
“I think you may change your mind once you see our acting.”
“No. Good acting to a certain level isn’t good enough. I am prepared to suck up to the people who are way beyond my level, but unless it’s like that, I’m planning to match everything to myself. The only reason I didn’t use a casting director nor my connections to various managers that belong to many agencies, is just that. I will see for myself and choose those who can work together with me.”
“I think that’s not being professional.”
“Pros have their pro ways. If you’ve accepted it now, then please leave, I must continue.”
“I didn’t accept anything!”
Maru frowned as he looked at Jiyeop. His ears had turned bright red and he ended up expressing his anger in the form of words. To put it in a good way, he did what he wanted, but normally, he would be called a rampant pony who can’t look at anything around him.
“Excuse me, producer Yoo Jayeon, but you won’t be able to continue saying that to me if you know whose introduction I came here on.”
“I should’ve told you before we started, didn’t I? I hate it when people ask me to take care of them because they’re close to someone.”
“I’m not telling you to take care of me. I’m just telling you to look at me. Just how are you entitled to pick people without even looking at them?”
“So you have the confidence that I will definitely choose you if I see your acting, Mr. Jiyeop?”
“Of course I do. My acting will definitely satisfy a producer doing her first piece.”
“But I don’t want to see. You’re giving me even more of a reason not to work with you, aren’t you? I’m picking people who\\\’re going to ‘work’ with me. That means that you have to follow my words to a certain extent. Whether you like it or not, I’m the director. Also, if you’re so confident in your skills, don’t come here and go to a large-scale project done by major companies. You must be a good actor, so I’m sure you have several scenarios you can choose from. Or, you can use that connection of yours that you told me about to go to another drama. Don’t dirty your career with a newbie producer’s work.”
“You keep getting on my nerves. Even though you’re a woman.”
He was like a train with broken brakes. Maru picked up the chair slightly and moved sideways. He didn’t want to get caught up in an explosion by being next to this guy. He also signalled Kang Manjin with his eyes. Kang Manjin also moved sideways while pulling his school uniform tight. Minjoo, who was sitting in the center, stood up and walked to the back.
In a makeshift square ring, Haejung was blinking her eyes and standing in a daze among the three people who had readied themselves for a fight. Maru signalled and gestured to Haejung to step back. Haejung came to herself and finally stepped down from the ring.
“Even though you’re a woman. I’ve become immune to those words since I heard them a lot, but I didn’t know I’d hear those words here. You think a female producer is easy to deal with, don’t you? Producers belonging to the drama department quit quite easily after all. Isn’t that right?”
Jayeon stood in front of Jiyeop. Maru thought this when she sat down on the table, she was quite tall. Jiyeop’s head was level with her eyes. Jiyeop seemed to have noticed that he had committed a mistake, but didn’t seem to have any intentions of taking his words back. After all, an apology was much harder than math formulas to a man who was filled with arrogance.
“So you have a complex with regards to being a female producer, eh? You seem triggered.”
It seemed that peace was out of reach now. Maru decided to step even further back because he didn’t want to get caught up.
“A complex, huh. Yes, that’s right. I do have a complex because I’m a woman who’s a producer. It feels refreshing to say things without thinking, doesn’t it? Now then, can you leave now?”
“You’re being wishy-washy to the end, huh. Excuse me, producer, what do you think will happen to you if rumor gets around that you’re doing your auditions like this? I think people will swear at you.”
“It’s me who gets insulted, not you, so get going. If you keep wasting my time like this, I’m not holding back.”
“What are you going to do if you aren’t going to hold back? This is why there aren’t any famous women amongst film or drama directors. They get mad at the slightest things and start grumbling. They have no patience or leeway. But that doesn’t mean they have any skill either. After all, they decide to hold such shitty auditions like this one and decide who fits them and who doesn’t.”
Jiyeop, who thought things were going well for him, didn’t even hold back now. Whenever his words hit Jayeon, her eyes twitched. Her fingers were scratching her sleeves, and her heels were tapping on the ground. Maru felt like he was looking at a ticking time bomb.
“You’re done, now, right?”
“Why do you ask? Do you finally want to have a look at my acting now?”
“Yes, I must have made a little mistake. Before that, who introduced you to this audition?”
“Why do you ask that?”
“Because I think I should give that person a greeting. That I should take things easy,” Jayeon said as she took out her phone.
Jiyeop made the arrogant smile of a victor as he spoke.
“I wonder if you know producer Lee Kangho or not. He’s in the drama department of YBS.”
“Ah, so you came here on senior Lee’s introduction.”
“You should know him because you belong to the same department, right? We would’ve never gone through this in the first place if you had some leeway, right? You don’t want your relationship with your seniors to turn bad, right, producer Yoo? I didn’t want to say this much, but producer Lee Kangho kinda dotes on me.”
While Jiyeop was talking, Jayeon was moving her fingers. She put her phone against her ear and waited for a while before speaking in a cheerful voice.
“Yes, senior. It’s me, Jayeon. Yes. Oh, seonbae, there’s something I have to say.”
Jayeon took a deep breath before speaking in a loud voice.
“Senior Lee, do you want to be at odds with me? Are you picking a fight with me? Do you want me to act nasty again? Calm down? CALM DOWN? Fuck it, do you want me to beat you up? Where are you right now? I’ll be there immediately, so let’s take off our rank stickers and fight. I said let’s fight!”
It didn’t even take 10 seconds for Jiyeop’s expression to stiffen. Jayeon hopped around everywhere like a horse stung by a wasp as she did her call. Maru had to flee to a corner. He felt like he would get a loud slap the moment his shoulder brushed with hers or something.
“Shut up before I kick you in the balls.”
The arrogant Jiyeop quietened down. Jayeon’s phone call continued for around one more minute. Jayeon’s rampaging movements then calmed down, and her hair also stopped fluttering like a lion’s mane. She raised her voice to the point that even a marketplace salesman would concede defeat, and now she returned to her calm and polite voice. When Maru saw that, he was sweating. Perhaps he should quit the audition here?
“Yes, yes, senior. Of course. You know I like you, right? Buy me a drink later. I’m a great drinking friend, aren’t I? Also, you know that I was shouting at you because I love you, right? It’s definitely not because I was angry. It’s just me acting cute.”
Jayeon looked at Jiyeop before looking away.
“But this Jiyeop kid, you didn’t send him to me to annoy me, did you? I know that there’s no way you would do that, but I’m asking just in case. You know my nickname, the nasty bitch, so there’s no way you’d try to annoy someone like me. Yes, yes. Then why don’t you give him a call? I’ll help you out a lot as a B-team later.”
Snapping her phone shut, Jayeon looked at Jiyeop. A moment later, Jiyeop’s phone rang. To Maru’s ears, it sounded more gloomy than a requiem.
Jiyeop’s face turned visibly darker by the second after picking up the call. His upright waist turned curved like a shrimp and he bowed before leaving the audition room just like that. Jayeon’s head turned around to Taemin this time. Taemin did not say anything and just left after picking his stuff up.
“Finally, we got rid of the trash. There’s something I forgot to say when I was introducing myself. I have quite a potty mouth. When I was a newbie, I was called a ‘bitch with a rag in her mouth’, and these days, I’m just called a nasty bitch. I must have spent a splendid company life, right?”
Jayeon stretched her arms out.
“If there’s any of you who’s not willing to work together, then the door is open, so you can take your leave. Doing work with the people you want. It’s a very important thing, you know?”
Jayeon looked around as though she was seeking affirmation. Maru neither expressed his agreement nor disagreement. If it wasn’t for Ganghwan’s introduction; if he didn’t say that she was a capable producer, he would’ve stood up and left. While he understood her work ethics and her methods, working with an oddball meant that he would very likely end up physically and mentally tired. He wasn’t in a position where he could choose who he could work with, but he wasn’t desperate enough to jump into a sea of thorns either. A person who introduced herself as a ‘bitch with a rag in her mouth’ or a ‘nasty bitch’ wouldn’t have just any ordinary thorns, she would have poisonous ones.
“No one’s leaving, right?”
No one stood up when she asked. Maru also maintained his seat. A skilled producer. If that was true, then it was worth rolling around in thorns. So what if he bled a little? He could become famous.
“Good. Then for now, I’ll tell you the reason I picked you. I want to know those who know what’s going on around them. At the same time, they must also have a concentration that would not budge even if a fire started next to them.”
So she wants a superhuman, huh. Maru imagined Jayeon shouting her lungs out at the shooting set. The fact that it suited her scared him a little. Don’t exaggerate just because of a 3rd degree burn. Die after you do the last scene – Jayeon looked like she would say such things without holding back.
“Since the two wussies – oh, let me use a more polite word – idiots took up some time, we’ll start the audition immediately. Everyone here has had lunch, right?”
“Good. From now on, you have to show me your eating act. Think about what you ate for lunch, copy that and recreate it here.”
Minjoo raised her hand and asked for confirmation. She looked like she must have heard wrong or something. Jayeon said ‘yes’ with a refreshing smile to turn her suspicion into confidence.
“I don’t know what to show you by eating.”
“Don’t think too hard about it. For now, think about what happened during lunch and recreate that scene right here. How was the atmosphere of the restaurant? What other customers were there? What caught your eyes? How was the food? It’s only been 30 minutes so don’t tell me that you forgot. I despise disappointing answers like that.”
“Is that all we have to show you?”
“Yes. I may ask you to do some other things midway, but for now, that’s all you have to do.”
“If it’s not too rude, can I ask why it has to be eating?”
“Oh, I guess I didn’t explain that. Sorry about that. The two idiots made me forget about the most important thing.”
Jayeon sat on the table again before speaking.
“The set we’re going to do the one-act play on is a pojang-macha.”
“A space decorated in orange, and the place where you can experience the most of your life’s joys and sorrows. Why do you think I allocated the time so that you could eat? It’s to see your eating acts. Well, then, if you got it, let’s begin.”
Actually, wait a sec – Jayeon left after adding those words before bringing back a blue plastic table. It was a square one with bits and pieces burnt in black from cigarette ash. It was like the definition of a pojang-macha table.
“Let’s have a look then, shall we? At how tasty you can make the food out to be.”