Life, Once Again! - Chapter 960
The lights turned off. A problem seemed to have occurred in the generator van parked in the middle of the mountain. The lighting team and the generator engineer quickly left.
“I can see it now. Our film is going to hit ten million in sales. Films that start off with problems always end up doing well,” jested head manager Moon.
He had arrived in order to ‘cheer everyone up’, but he had been here for more than five hours already. Head manager Moon looked after the staff members in charge of various chores, and worked more busily than anyone else. People in charge of production showed up on set to inspect, but it was very rare to see them take care of menial chores.
“How is it, Mr. Maru? Doable?” Head manager Moon asked as he sat next to him.
The dog shed was quite damp, so it would ruin his suit, yet he did not seem to mind. When Maru tried to give him a portable chair, he waved his hand in the air saying that he didn’t need it.
“Still doable for now. Though, I can see signs that things will get dragged out.”
“Working on something with that fellow, director Park, isn’t actually a joyful thing. It may depend on the person, but there were some people who got fed up with working with him and canceled the contract.”
“Looks like I’ll have to do well so that it doesn’t go that way.”
“I’ll be thankful if you do. It’s been a long time since I saw him so excited. He doesn’t even smile when he shoots movies, but today, I saw a smile on his face more often than not. It seems like he finds this fun.”
“I’m glad to hear that the director is enjoying himself.”
Maru then looked into head manager Moon’s eyes and asked,
“Head manager Moon.”
“How did you honestly feel when you heard that I was playing the main character?”
Head manager Moon’s eyes quickly looked left and right. Maru could tell that he was organizing his words. He looked above his head. Nothing appeared. The speech bubble he was supposed to see had disappeared. Although he did not use it that many times since it might negatively influence his reincarnation as well as the people around him, he did use it whenever necessary. After all, it was easy to come up with countermeasures if he knew what the other party was thinking about him.
“I sometimes get that I’m unpleasantly honest, so are you okay with that?”
“That’s precisely what I want.”
“If I had the right of casting, I would’ve picked someone else other than you. If I had the power to remove someone, I would have removed you. That’s because I don’t know you that well. To an actor, fame is inseparable.”
“Looks like I would’ve been in big trouble if director Park wasn’t using his own money to create the film.”
“Don’t misunderstand me though. It’s not that I hate you. I just felt that there are a lot of better replacements. Of course, I do have faith. I have faith that you’ll prove to me that I was terribly wrong in my judgment.”
“I’ll try my best.”
“You can’t try your best, you have to be the best. This piece, I think, will be similar to ‘Spring Calendar.’ Director Park has a pattern. Even when he works on his own thing, he would sometimes create really strange pieces when he worked on them hastily. They are the pieces that not only the public, but even the critics fail to understand. Meanwhile, he was very easygoing when he shot ‘Spring Calendar.’ Of course, he was quite strict just like before at the beginning of the shoot, but one of the actors started giving opinions and the shooting speed slowed down considerably.”
“That actress must be senior Ahn Joohyun, right?”
“You know her?”
“I asked her for advice when I first participated in director Park’s works. She told me about it back then.”
Head manager Moon stroked down his neck. He inexplicably seemed impressed. Maru looked into his eyes again. There was no speech bubble this time either. Perhaps it had completely disappeared. The masked man seemed to have predicted this situation. He did not answer when Maru asked what this signified, but there was something that Maru was sure of. ‘Something’ was about to happen. The masked man gave him a hint without buying the ire of the gods.
“May I ask you something personal?”
“I know it is wrong for me to ask you this, but I couldn’t help but be curious. The president Lee Junmin I know of isn’t someone who would take just anyone under his wing. Just look at all the people in JA. The S-tier actor of the film industry, Hong Guensoo, superstar Yang Ganghwan in the theater and musical fields, top-tier actress in the TV commercials field Kim Suyeon, and finally Yoo Sooil who many people say will be the next Hong Geunsoo. Mrs. Yang Miso is also a star not as an actress herself, but as someone who instructs them. These people put their names on JA’s website as their official artists. I have heard that there are five or six more actors being raised, but it must mean that they aren’t yet sufficient to go on the main page.”
“It is a little strange for me to be among them, huh?”
“To be blunt, it is quite peculiar. You might feel offended when you hear this. I also know that it isn’t right for me to say it. However, I want to check the details as the chief producer of this film. I want to know how you managed to join the Lee Junmin army, and what is so special about you.”
“I also sometimes wonder why such a gamble took place.”
Head manager Moon stared at him before nodding with a smile.
“Looks like I was a fool for asking you to show me what you can’t show me right now. I just asked because I found it peculiar. I also want to know more about you too.”
“If it’s like that, then ask away. There’s nothing to hide, nor is there a reason to. I also wish to become close to you, head manager Moon. I heard that many places look out for you. You supposedly have a hand in the creation of every blockbuster in Korea.”
“I guess I do like to stick my face into things.”
Head manager Moon locked his fingers and placed his hands above his thighs.
“Then let me shamelessly ask one more question. I found out that you signed the contract when you were in high school. It was during your first year too.”
“You know well.”
“Did you go take an audition?”
“No, I met the president directly and talked to him. Back then, Miso-noonim happened to be our acting teacher at the acting club of our school.”
“So Mrs. Yang Miso acted as a bridge. But it’s surprising to hear that president Lee Junmin was actually willing to meet you in person. There are dozens of rich people wanting to have a meal with him every single day, but you managed to meet him during high school and signed a contract.”
“I was lucky.”
“What kind of acting did you show the president? Did you prepare something special?”
“There was nothing like that. Actually, the first time we met, I was rather dismissive towards staking my life in acting, so I stood up without even talking to him properly. After that, I changed my mind and asked him to meet me again.”
“Did he meet you? He’s not that generous.”
“I’m sure he saw something in me. Or perhaps he just came over to watch how arrogant a high schooler can get. There, I asked him for some money in exchange for him holding my life hostage. Back then, I was more desperate for money than anything else.”
“When you were in your first year of high school?”
Head manager Moon’s lips twitched. Maru wondered if he was going to mock him for it, but he looked around a little before straightening his lips.
“I thought I was supposed to be laughing, but from your eyes, it seems like you’re serious. You must’ve been really desperate.”
“To the adults, it might be the recklessness of a clueless brat, but I’m not someone who acts arrogant or hypocritical in front of money. The president must’ve realized that as well, so we proceeded.”
“Since we’re here, I want to ask about the contract deposit. Can you tell me about it? I won’t tell anyone else.”
Maru raised two fingers. Director Moon whistled.
“Twenty million won when you didn’t show him anything at that age, huh? You’re quite shameless, Mr. Maru.”
“It’s two billion.”
Head manager Moon, whose face would look like a smile even if he was expressionless, turned into that of indifference for the first time. His scanning eyes became even quicker. He seemed to think that he must have heard wrong.
“You asked for two billion from president Lee Junmin when you were in your first year of high school?”
“Yes, two billion.”
“Didn’t the president just stand up and leave? Or perhaps throw what he was drinking at you?”
“He didn’t do that. We just talked about whether two billion was justifiable or not and negotiated.”
“Three hundred million. Though right now, we’ve signed an official contract so I have an additional source of income.”
Head manager Moon thought about that number in a daze before eventually slapping down on his knees while bursting out into laughter. The dark dog shed was filled with his laughter. Just then, the generator problem seemed to have been fixed as the lights started coming back on one by one.
“Mr. Maru. I’m not on your side unconditionally. Even if director Park wants to fire you, I will not stop him. Geez, I didn’t see I’d see something like you in my life. I’m sorry for calling you ‘something’, but I mean it in a good way so forgive me.”
“Thank you for thinking that I’m something.”
“If it’s okay with you, I’d like to be brothers with you. Though, I’ll be fifty in a few years so I’m more like your uncle.”
“Well, I’ll just call you big hyung-nim. Please, speak at ease with me.”
Head manager Moon reached his hand out. Maru grabbed his hand. Unlike his chubby figure, his hand was rather thin and rough. Maru could instantly tell that the life this man must have lived was not smooth. Maru liked such hands.
“Alright, let’s get along in the future. Tell me right away if you find anything uncomfortable.”
Head manager Moon stood up with a smile and walked out of the dog shed before turning around. He raised three fingers before seemingly mouthing ‘three hundred million’ without speaking. Maru smiled and nodded. Head manager Moon clapped three times and raised his thumb.
“Director Park, please look after our lead actor. He’s my little brother now.”
Director Park, who was standing at the entrance, just shrugged.