Life, Once Again! - Chapter 844
Beads of sweat formed on his forehead. It had been two hours since he started acting out the free topic of ‘anger.’ Maru picked up his phone which he placed in front of the TV and checked the video he had just taken. A man, who was ripping his neck out while crying without a sound, got on the ground and started shivering. He had expressed exhaustion after pouring all of his rage out, but he didn’t like the expression. Just like how there would always be moisture after pouring out all the water from a bowl, even if he was exhausted of his anger after all those actions, there would definitely be residue left behind. The act itself was pretty decent, but he wasn’t able to give that lingering sensation of rage right at the last bit. It would have been better if he showed that there were kindlings of rage within that ash and that it could come back at any moment.
Even as he washed his face, he was moving his facial muscles minutely. The more skilled an actor was, the better they used their minute muscles like how they would move their big muscles. Even if there was rage kindling within the ashes, it was no good if he couldn’t express it. The viewers read the muscular changes that are visible on the surface; they could not see through the emotions underneath it. Although many said that emotions could be conveyed through the eyes, that also was a combined impression of the facial muscles, the lips, as well as the general outline of the face itself. If people were just given a pair of eyes and were asked what their emotions were, not many people would be able to correctly guess what they would be.
He placed his phone in front of the TV again and stretched himself from his toes to his eyebrows. He ordered every single muscle that he could use to move to its maximum right under their limits. Just as he was about to start free-acting again after getting his emotions ready, his phone, which he had slanted against the TV, started vibrating and fell over.
The caller was Yoo Jayeon.
-Are you busy?
-Are you at home?
-Then can you come out for a bit?
-In Seoul. There’s someone who wants to meet you.
Nothing flashed in his mind after hearing her follow with the name ‘Lee Eunbin’ but he was sure that he had heard that name somewhere. Jayeon added that she was the writer of ‘Doctors.’ Only then did he remember the name that was embedded on the first page of his script.
“What would the writer want with me?”
-It’s for nothing special. She just wants to know what kind of person you are. If you aren’t too busy, I hope you can come over.
“Both the producer and the writer want me to come, so I don’t really have a choice, do I? I’ll get washed and go right away. Please message me the address.”
-Bring your script when you come.
He got an address through text. It wasn’t too far. He took a shower, put on his clothes, and left his house. He wondered what Jayeon meant by asking him to bring his script. While he was thinking about it, his car arrived at the destination. It was a newly built apartment complex.
“It’s Han Maru.”
The moment he pressed the bell and said his name, the door opened. Jayeon told him to come in while holding a black cat.
“Is this your house, director?”
“No, it’s the writer’s.”
He saw a woman waving her hand at the island dining table. She was writer Lee Eunbin, who showed up during the public rehearsal for Doctors. Maru knew her face through the internet.
He said his greetings first while predicting the intentions these two had when calling him here. Eunbin motioned for him to sit down. She looked pretty different from how she looked on the internet. It was probably because of those dark spots beneath the eyes. It seemed that she was really tired.
“Sorry for calling you all of a sudden. I had her call you because I wanted to see you at least once.”
“It’s okay. I’m semi-unemployed anyway. If you had notified me beforehand, I would have brought some presents. I’m sorry that I’m empty-handed.”
“It doesn’t matter.”
Maru placed the script he brought on the table and sat down on a chair. The two women sat opposite him and were staring at him. He felt like he was at an interview.
“If I may ask, why was I called here?”
“It’s quite rude to probe you out when we called you while you were resting, so let me get straight to the point. I want to try giving a change to the character.”
“Yes. Your character, Mr. Han Maru,” Eunbin said as she pointed at the script.
“Oh, is it okay if I drop the honorifics? This would be fine if it was just the two of us, but Jayeon is here, so I think we need to sort things.”
“It’s okay to talk to me with ease, writer.”
“Writer sounds too distant. Just call me noona. Though, if you don’t like that, you can call me writer. Anyway, I’ll talk to you comfortably from now on. Is that okay?”
Maru quickly changed his way of address. Someone who he would benefit from getting close to reached out to him first. There was no need to hold back here. Eunbin seemed to have taken a liking to the address of ‘noonim’ as she clapped with a bright smile.
“You’re a really refreshing guy alright. I need to meet a refreshing guy like this too.”
“Talk about guys later, and get to the point.”
Jayeon apologized in her stead, saying that that was just her personality. Maru responded, saying that it was okay.
“The reason I called you here today is to make a decision. That is, whether to create a story for the character Bigfoot or not.”
“Uhm, wasn’t next week supposed to be my last shoot?”
He was notified by the director that he would stop appearing around episode seven. Side characters disappearing during the progress of the plot was something that always happened.
“I originally planned to take you out, but I heard from Jayeon that you and Heewon’s chemistry is so good. I felt it while I watched the reruns, and indeed, the two of you seemed to have no distance between each other. But you didn’t give off much of an impression since it was so short.”
“When you say you’re creating a story, does that mean that you’re bringing the character back?”
“I haven’t decided on it yet; that’s why I called you here. These days, dramas are all about following the trend and feedback. It would be for the best if I can keep writing without feedback and still gain popularity but that has the disadvantage that things would be ruined for good once it falls, right? The trend these days is to maintain my pride as a writer but also pick and choose from other people’s best stories and use them in the plot. But it’s a different story when it comes to characters. A plot can be created just through text, but for a character, the role of the actor is very important. In my personal opinion, if you need one hundred parts to create a character, the writer can only supply about thirty: the character’s personality, history, and his actions. Those are important, but the one who expresses that is the actor after all. I feel somewhat sorry for saying this as someone who works in the industry, but there are actors who shine even in shitty dramas, right? That means that the actor can make up for the character that the writer has horribly created.”
Of course, if the plot goes crazy, the character would too – Eunbin added as she redid her hairband. Maru wholly agreed to the fact that an actor could make up for the deficiency of a character. From how there were actors who were given good opinions even as the whole piece fell apart, that definitely seemed true. If the writer’s fingertips decided the success and failure of the drama entirely, then directions and ranking actors would be completely unnecessary. However, the market definitely differentiated superstar producers and actors from the rest.
“Can I have a look at your script?” Eunbin asked while placing her hand on the script that Maru brought.
Maru nodded. Eunbin rested her chin on her hands and flipped the first page.
“You take quite a lot of notes, even though the character barely has any lines.”
“It’s a force of habit. I’m only at ease if the page is filled.”
“I understand you there. There’s nothing scarier than an empty background. This is the script for episode 7, so the one for the first episode must be even more pitch-black than this, huh.”
“I wrote stuff like crazy.”
“In your opinion, what kind of character is this Bigfoot?”
“It’s somewhat embarrassing to say this in front of the creator herself, but to me, I saw him as someone who enjoys everything he puts effort into. To put it in a bad way, he’s the kind of guy who would be willing to work for free.”
“Really? Why did you think that?”
“There’s a part where he’s portrayed as being really frugal, right? I didn’t have much else to work with, so I tried fleshing out that personality of his. He was raised in a good way despite being in a not-so-well-off household, and he thanks his family for having supported him with the expensive tuition of medical school. It might be a cliché character, but I thought there was nothing better than that for a sidekick. He became frugal because he’s always chased by money, but his innate nature is the type to laugh at the worst conditions given to him. That was my idea of the character. He wouldn’t be able to open his own clinic, so he would either have to become a professor or a paid doctor. To do that, he must have a lot of connections. Since he’s being shown as someone trying to get close to all sorts of doctors, I thought it was in line with his character.”
“Now that makes me feel sorry. Bigfoot was created in order to smooth out the conversation between interns, so I didn’t give him such details. Just like you said, he’s a shameless, frugal guy, but I didn’t think about the specifics at all.”
“That’s natural since it’s inefficient to get hung up over a character that doesn’t influence the overall plot that much.”
Eunbin went through the script once again.
“It makes me rather proud if I see actors who get attached to the characters. It’s especially the case if they have caught the things that I haven’t thought about. I was wondering what kind of person you are, and I really do think that it’s a good thing that I met you. Even though I’m a writer and work away from the set, it’ll definitely put me at ease to know that someone I can work well with is working with me.”
Eunbin smiled and returned the script.
“If it’s about acting skills, I’m sure you must have been checked multiple times on set, and above all, Jayeon can guarantee for you, so I guess I don’t need to worry. Do you have any plans on appearing more after episode seven?”
“I don’t think there’s an actor who can refuse that offer.”
Eunbin looked at Jayeon. She hinted that she had come to a resolution of sorts. Jayeon spoke as she placed her arms on the table,
“I don’t think there’s a need to worry about your pay since you get paid by the episode. I’ll have to see the script for myself, but you’re going to have to match your schedule with ours if you get a scene. Are you okay with time?”
“I’ll be okay until November at least. Even if it goes past that, I only have one thing, so there shouldn’t be a big problem.”
Director Park Joongjin didn’t give him a specific date, but he did say that the production would start by the end of November, so the shoot would probably come quite a bit after that. Though, nothing was set in stone since he hadn’t signed the contract yet. From the looks of it though, he seemed to have been cast.
“We can just reschedule at that time, so it doesn’t really matter. Even if the shoot becomes longer, it won’t take two days.”
“You’re putting me on TV, so I’ll have to make time to come even if I don’t.”
“You can work so well, so why did you go to the military and upset many people back then?”
“Back then, I thought that going to the military early was the best choice. Isn’t it quite an advantage, though? I don’t think there are many actors who finished their military service.”
“Like hell it’s an advantage. Unni, this is just how this guy is.”
Eunbin, who was watching, suddenly told them to wait before sitting in front of her laptop. She typed away for about ten minutes. Maru and Jayeon looked at her quietly. They even held back their breaths as much as possible in fear of disrupting her focus.
“I think we can go with this.”
Eunbin returned to the dining table while muttering to herself. This woman didn’t look ordinary either. She probably wasn’t like many others from how Jayeon was close to her.
“Now that I think about it, you’re the first man who came to my house. We can’t stay still like this!”
Eunbin suddenly went into a fuss and opened the refrigerator. Maru could get a glimpse of the soju bottles filling up the door.
“Do you drink?” Eunbin asked while holding a bottle by the neck.
“You could call it fate that you came here, so let’s have a drink. Jayeon, you too. Don’t you tell me that you need to go back home. You’ll be a really bad woman if you leave behind a lonely old woman by herself. You know that, right?”
Eunbin put down soju glasses while smiling. She looked like she wouldn’t send anyone home unless they needed to attend a funeral or something. It was 2 p.m. Drinking during the day, huh.
“Then allow me to receive a glass.”
Naturally, he had no plans to refuse.