Life, Once Again! - Chapter 787
“Does the term ‘accidental murder’ even make sense?”
Those were Daemyung’s words from four months ago. He, who was in deep thought in the café, started jotting things down in his notebook that he always carried with him, and the next time they met, he said that he had the outline down.
“The plot is simple. A man who accidentally commits murder puts the body in a bag and climbs a mountain. The one inside the bag is his long-time friend, but he ended up killing him due to an emotional spike. The protagonist goes up the mountain and digs the ground to bury him. At that moment, the friend inside the bag suddenly spoke: Help me. When the main character looks inside the bag, he finds out that the friend he thought was dead is still breathing. He thinks that bringing him to the hospital will save him. As the main character apologizes and is about to take his friend out, it suddenly dawns on him: ah, my life is over if I take him to the hospital like this because I’d get arrested for attempted murder.”
Then, Daemyung finished his script last week.
“Like what you said, Maru-seonbae, this spot looks good. Nice job finding it.”
Sora put her hands on her waist and looked around. Maru put down the script and pointed out the spots he had thought of beforehand.
“Do you think this place is okay?”
“I like how gloomy it looks. There’s sunlight, but it’s still somewhat dark.”
“Then let’s start off things here.”
“Yeah, we should. Sooil-oppa, let’s get makeup done on you!”
While Jiyoon put makeup on Sooil, Maru looked around the clearing with Ando. As this clearing was quite far off from the main hiking route, there were lots of dried leaves. When he cleared some out with his hand, he saw tree roots tangled around above the ground.
“I’m supposed to be looking for a place to bury someone, so this place is no good, eh?”
“I don’t think it matters since you’re supposed to be on your way up. If I zoom in on the fallen leaves here, I think it’ll give a gloomy feeling overall which will fit the atmosphere. Let’s try shooting it.”
Maru walked over to the tree that Ando pointed at. Sunlight seeped through the trees and fell on his head.
“Isn’t it too bright here?”
“We shouldn’t be concerned about this much natural lighting. Try sitting down on the protruded root over there.”
Maru got down on one knee where Ando pointed at. He also put the sleeping bag next to him.
“How is it?”
“I think shooting upwards from below should be better than looking down from above. Wait a sec.”
Ando changed positions. After staring into that camera on the tripod for a long time, he detached the camera from the tripod and lowered himself with the camera in his hands. After moving left and right for a little, he spoke,
“Maru, stay still. Director Kang, come over here for a sec.”
Sora, who was with Sooil, ran over.
“What is it?”
“I want you to have a look at the angle and see if it fits the storyboard you are thinking of.”
“Let me have a look.”
Ando moved his arm to the side so that she could see the display of the camera.
“If you do that, I won’t be able to see properly. Stay still, I just need to get closer to you.”
Hearing the word ‘closer’, Ando flinched. When Sora moved right one step, Ando would move exactly in the same direction by one step. Maru dusted off the leaves that got on his knees and spoke,
“Stop your public display of affection and tell me how it is. Maybe it’s because I’m old, but I can feel the chills in my knees if I kneel in a cold place like this for a long time.”
“How could your knees start hurting so early?”
“Why don’t you try reaching my age first? You’re bound to feel the chills. Rather than that, how does it look? Do you think it’ll be good to shoot from there?”
“Wait a sec. Maru-seonbae, can you get into the mood with the tree as the background? You remember the scene where you hear a sound while trying to dig the ground, right?”
Maru nodded and grabbed the sleeping bag. After zipping it up, he kneeled in front of the tree that Sora pointed at.
“Jeongsoo, you alive? You’re still alive?”
He hurriedly unzipped the sleeping bag and looked inside. As this was not a shoot and just a camera test, he didn’t bring out the fullest extent of his emotions.
“Seonbae, that’s enough. We’ll do scene 3-2 right here. Maru-seonbae, you should try coming up with a movement line.”
Aram, who was right next to Sora, busily jotted things down. Maru looked at the clipboard that Aram was holding. She was noting down the surrounding scenery as well as Sora’s words in detail.
“I should be, if I don’t want to get an earful from the picky junior. Rather than that, it’s been ages since I last watched you act from up close. How should I put this… you’re pretty different from when you are on stage.”
“Don’t put me on a pedestal when I didn’t even do anything. But aren’t you busy with running the dojo on weekends? I’m grateful that you’re here, but I’m worried that I might have brought someone busy.”
“I asked another teacher to take care of the transport, so it doesn’t matter. These days, dojos are more for looking after children rather than actually training them, so it’s busier on weekdays.”
“That’s good then. Sora should be grateful too.”
“I think she thinks that using me is something natural, you know?”
Sora, who had climbed down quite a bit, shouted at them to come. Maru went down with Aram and stood next to Sora.
“Seonbae, can you try going up this path while dragging the sleeping bag? Ando-oppa, try shooting Maru-seonbae’s back figure from up there and then come down.”
He did as she said and climbed the hill. As this place was quite far off from the main hiking path, it wasn’t easy to climb the mountain while stepping backwards. When he climbed about five to six steps while avoiding the protruding rocks and roots, Maru ended up stumbling over. He slipped on a wet leaf.
“Seonbae, you okay?”
“My butt hurts a little, but otherwise, I’m okay. But I don’t think I can do this with an empty sleeping bag. I’m no expert in doing mimes, so it will definitely look awkward if I pretend that something light is heavy. The center of gravity is off too.”
“I also thought that while I watched you climbing up backwards. You are supposed to be dragging up a corpse, but your center of gravity was too forward, so it made the sleeping bag look light. And like you said, putting in plastic wouldn’t bring out the feel either.”
“Then someone just has to go inside. It’s simple, isn’t it?” Aram said while scripting.
Maru scratched his eyebrow and laughed. That was something that even Sora, who rarely held back her words, refrained from mentioning. Sora must have thought of the same thing as well but didn’t mention it because she was concerned about the safety of the person who would be going inside.
“Aram-unni, you see the terrain here, right? There are rocks, mud and roots. Even if you’re inside a sleeping bag, you might get seriously hurt if you’re dragged here. Also, you saw how Maru-seonbae almost fell over right? It’s quite steep here, so if he ends up letting go of the sleeping bag or something, it’ll probably roll down all the way here.”
“So that’s why you need someone who can flexibly protect their own body in a situation where movement is restricted. I can do it myself, but I think he’ll do better than me.”
Sora followed Aram’s finger. Maru did the same. They saw Bangjoo, who was guarding the lighting and portable generator that they rented.
“So Bangjoo-oppa was here. I thought of him as just a porter for the day, so I almost forgot. Bangjoo-oppa! Come here for a sec!”
Bangjoo pointed at his own face with his finger. When Sora gestured to him to come, he said ‘wait a sec’ in a deep voice and came over.
“Bangjoo-oppa, do you learn about rolling on the ground when you do stunts? I mean like rolling on the ground without getting hurt.”
“Safety precautions are lessons that they always teach you from the beginning. Why do you ask?”
Sora smiled and pointed at the sleeping bag. Bangjoo looked alternately between the sleeping bag and Sora before looking at Maru.
“Seonbae-nim, can you explain this to me?”
“To put it simply, you’re supposed to be going inside the bag. The one who came up with the idea is Aram, who’s right there.”
After listening to the explanation, Bangjoo ran over to the cabin after telling them to wait. It was quite slippery due to the wet leaves on the ground, but he stably climbed down the mountain without issue. When he returned, Bangjoo was holding various joint protection equipment as well as a set of spare clothes.
“I brought these just in case, and I guess it turned out to be a good thing. Let’s try this.”
Bangjoo put on the protective gear and snuggled inside the sleeping bag in no time. Maru crouched down in front of Bangjoo, who just had his head poking out.
“I’m not saying that you will roll down; I’m just telling you that you should be prepared for the worst case scenario. But are you really okay with this? It looks like it’ll hurt quite a bit if I drag you. I removed the rocks, but the ground here isn’t exactly flat.”
“Don’t you worry, seonbae-nim. I was completely fine when I got hit by lumber in the last film because it was cut up the wrong way. If I was going to get hurt because of a few rocks, I would have been hospitalized a long time ago. I was fine in the military when someone murder-tackled me, so don’t worry.”
Bangjoo got ready, telling him to try dragging him.
“I’ll try dragging slowly, so tell me as soon as you feel something is wrong.”
Maru grabbed the sleeping bag and dragged it backwards with all his might. When he was dragging an empty sleeping bag, he kept misstepping because his center of gravity wasn’t right, but now that he was dragging a heavy one, his posture didn’t break. His thigh muscles became taut, and he started sweating. Now that he actually felt the weight that he used to replace with a mime, through his hands, it became much easier to focus on his act instead. Since he was at it, he decided to get into the mood.
There was no better method than breathing that allowed him to express the sense of guilt of having committed murder as well as the anxiety that he might get found out. He intentionally took a deep breath. The breath that piled up in his body and a new breath crossed each other and created a stifling breathing sound. He watched out for his backward step and decided to fall down butt first if he felt like he was going to fall down. If he landed on his butt while holding the sleeping bag, Bangjoo who was inside the bag would be a lot safer, and it could also show the anxiety that the main character was feeling. After dragging the sleeping bag to where Ando was, he let go. The whole thing didn’t even take a minute, but the back of his neck was drenched with sweat.
“You okay in there?”
“It doesn’t hurt at all. But are you okay, seonbae-nim? I’m quite heavy.”
“My words exactly. You need to lose some weight.”
Maru wiped his sweat with the towel that Jiyoon handed him. Sora, who climbed up from below, had a look at the video that Ando shot and smiled. It seemed that she took a liking to the footage.
“Don’t you think I should be the one to go inside the bag?” Sooil said from the side.
Having finished makeup, his face had turned pale.
“Who’s going to take responsibility if you get hurt?”
“I won’t get that hurt.”
“The one inside the sleeping bag is someone who has learned to do that specifically, while you aren’t.”
“I just feel sorry.”
“If you do, then try getting him in something later. He’s someone who’s into action acting.”
“His acting skills shouldn’t be bad either. He has one of the greatest teachers by his side.”
“One of the greatest teachers?”
“Oh, I guess you didn’t hear what Sora said while Bangjoo introduced himself. He’s Joohyun-noonim’s little brother.”
“Ahn Bangjoo, Ahn Joohyun? You mean senior Joohyun?”
“I remember. I heard about him from her a while ago. She said she has a brother who’s getting into acting. So that’s him.”
“He’s an earnest guy. Though, he’s quite frustrating since he never uses his sister’s name and wants his skills to do the talking even though using her name could easily land him in a minor role or something.”
“You say that he’s frustrating, but most of the time, people would say that he’s upright. I should go talk to him.”
Sooil approached Bangjoo. Maru grabbed the script he placed on top of his bag and sat on a root. The people here were all either working or were in college. They didn’t even have time to rehearse, and they had to do everything in just one day, so he was quite worried, but now that he actually was here, he felt like he was worried for nothing. While clumsy, everyone was doing well in their respective roles. What he had to do as an actor was to wrap things up cleanly so that they didn’t have to prolong their efforts in vain.
He had never committed murder, so he couldn’t perectly understand what a murderer would feel, but he knew very well the meaning of life as well as the complex emotions of vanity that comes from the losing of it. Although he couldn’t figure out the psychology of a murderer, he should be able to represent the feelings of the main character, who would get socially murdered upon being found out, if he calculated backwards from the moment of death.
As the important part of this act was the dramatic expression of the moment accidental murder becomes intentional murder, he had to analyze the psychology of the main character and dissolve himself into him. After accepting the air of the scene with a deep breath, he started reading down the script in a calm manner.
“Maru-seonbae! Let’s get your clothes and makeup done. We should start.”
He put down the script and tensed his stomach before loosening it again. It was time to change from Han Maru into a character who felt chaotic about everything.