Life, Once Again! - Chapter 985
Chapter 985. Crank Up 9
“People who will go, will go. Don’t you think you have to pay the price if you dipped your hands in something risky? It’s not like Ms. Lee Miyoon truly didn’t know that this was not going to happen. As for me, we said hello to each other at best, so I don’t feel anything. Yes, please take care of yourself.”
Calls came from various places in the morning. More than one or two people now had a hot potato in their hands. While those in high power were tranquil, people who got involved in prostitution through Lee Miyoon should be spending their time restless with their eyes glued to the news. Park Joongjin deleted the number of the construction company CEO whom he just received a call from. It was natural for him to erase the number since he would no longer need it.
“I’ve had enough talk, so let’s start the shoot. Whether Ms. Lee Miyoon gets cuffed or gets released without a charge has nothing to do with this place. You might be displeased if you are acquainted with her, but I can’t help it. To me, a single cut is more important than someone who might be a criminal.”
The staff and the actors who were on their phones calmed their expressions and returned to their positions. Joongjin smiled in satisfaction as he looked at the people moving around the scene without a word. The worth of elite members shone through in trivial situations like these.
“You look great.”
Joongjin approached Maru, who was waiting with his outfit changed. He looked tired due to the several nights of shooting, but this morning, he looked rather good.
“Something good happened.”
“Did you win the lottery?”
“Unfortunately, no, but I feel good to the point that it doesn’t matter.”
“I don’t know what it is, but I hope your energy lasts until late into the night.”
“Sounds like I won’t be going home early today either.”
“Isn’t the night air good in Ulsan?”
During the past week of filming, Joongjin reaffirmed several times that his decision was not wrong. Han Maru was the most optimal character. If he was aiming for the ‘best actor,’ there would’ve been many better options, but the only one that fits in the film like the final piece of a 100-piece puzzle was Han Maru. The sense of gloominess that could be expressed by his impression alone was something that Joongjin wanted.
“When does Giwoo appear?”
“Today. It’s a role that doesn’t really do anything, so there’s no need to use an actor like Mr. Giwoo, but there’s no reason for me to refuse when he’s voluntarily joining us. It’s just one scene, but it will be with you, so I’ll be looking forward to it. Two of the best actors of their age are in one scene.”
Maru smiled, saying that he was worried that the spotlight might get stolen. Joongjin told the others that they would be starting soon before approaching the other actors. He approached the background actors he picked locally and gave them detailed instructions. He could allow actors he acknowledged to ‘act,’ but he could not accept other people moving on their own. He instructed people on where they should be looking, the hand gestures they should be making, and even which direction their bodies should be facing, effectively normalizing their input in the shoot. What he wanted from them was to execute the instructions at the right time like a machine.
After a light rehearsal, he excluded two background actors who couldn’t understand his explanation. He also excluded an extra actor, whose dream was to become an actor. That man unnecessarily tried to add more things. Only those who were only in this for the money and had smart minds to remember what they were told remained on set.
“Once the shoot starts, you can do exactly as I told you. I don’t want anything from you, nor do I want anything more from you. Any questions?”
No one spoke. Joongjin instructed a staff member to get these people’s contact info. It would be quite efficient if he could bring them back for the crowd scene at the end.
“I’m planning to structure the scene like this. What do you think?”
“If you set it up, director Park, then I don’t need to say anything. One glance is enough for me to tell that it’s good.”
“We’ll change the rail positions a little and reshoot later.”ƒ𝓇𝑒𝙚𝔀𝐞𝚋𝑛𝐨𝘷el.𝒄𝗼𝓂
After conversing with the camera director, he put on his headphones. The newest member of the production team left the camera angle after setting up the props. Although Joongjin didn’t order him to do it, the assistant director had the actors on standby. Joongjin smiled at the harmony of the orchestra that was the people he chose. This was the best environment. He selected the best of the best actors as well. If he shot something terrible with these members, it would be his fault.
* * *
“I told you! There’s something up with that prick.”
Gyungjin kicked his way out of the door. Maru, who was in the corridor, calmly looked at his huffing face. He, who looked like he was about to burst out in a fit of rage, instead put some distance while rolling his eyes up and down.
“Did I do something wrong?” Maru asked.
At that moment, a look of conviction appeared in Gyungjin’s eyes. He closed the distance and put his elbow on Maru’s neck, pressing him against the wall. Maru felt his Adam’s apple being pressed and started gasping for breath. Maru struggled to get free, but it was to no avail.
“Tell me properly. You have killed a person before, haven’t you?”
Maru stayed quiet. He did remember something when he was asked that question, but he also remembered that it would be dangerous for him if it was ever known. However, he neither admitted nor denied it strongly. Honestly speaking, he didn’t care what happened. It would only change the place he was staying. Still, he did want to get free from the pain. Strangulation was pretty agonizing.
When he struggled more intensely, Yoojung popped out from inside the room. She grabbed Gyungjin’s arm and pulled him off. Maru fell to the ground, grasping his neck.
“Cut. We’ll keep this one and do that again,” the director’s voice could be heard.
Maru braced himself on the floor with both hands and coughed dryly a few times.
“I knew it. I’m putting in too much strength, aren’t I? I think I can loosen up a little.”
Gyungjin floundered in the air in nervousness.
“You might be, but I’m not. I’m worried that you might get hurt at this rate. Raise your head a little.”
Maru showed his neck to Gyungjin. From the way his eyes widened, it seemed that the mark was pretty serious.
“It’s not red, it’s blue. Are you sure this isn’t a bruise?”
“I won’t get bruised with just that. It’s just pressed a little hard.”
Maru massaged his neck, where he was strangled. When they first shot this scene, Gyungjin only pretended to press his neck. Maru would pretend that he was being strangled when Gyungjin pushed him against the wall. It didn’t look bad, and director Park said that it was not bad. Maru said that they should try one more. ‘Not bad’ was not a passing score.
“The first one was good in my eyes though,” Yoojung said after leaving the room.
She seemed pretty worried because of the series of intense fights and asked if this wasn’t enough.
“Can we try just one more time? Your acting is really good, but mine is not.”
“If you say so, then I can’t really refute you, but I’m of the same opinion as Yoojung. We kept three cuts until now. We can use any of those three.”
“But the director didn’t use the word good.”
Maru looked at director Park, who was talking to the assistant director in front of the monitor. That man gave him an assignment on the first day. He wanted ‘Han Maru’s Gukji’ instead of the ‘perfect Gukji.’ The reason Maru started the action scene without prior rehearsal, and the reason he was getting hit for real without pretending to be hit were to make him express more varied emotions. As he had changed his acting methodology, his acting was awkward as though he was wearing clothes that didn’t fit him. It was a minute difference that other people didn’t notice, but as the person in question, Maru felt that it was as different as black is from white. Also, director Park had probably noticed as well. Maru could tell from how he hadn’t used the word ‘good’ yet.
“Hyung, I want you to put more strength. You found out that Gukji might actually be a murderer when you already didn’t have a good impression of him, so you should corner him with the intent to break a bone or something.”
“If I put any more strength than this, I won’t even think that it’s acting anymore. You struggled just now because you actually couldn’t breathe, didn’t you? If an actor does for real what he has to do through acting, how is that even an actor?”
“You’re entirely right, but please, I ask of you just this once. I need a physical shock if I want to change the way I’ve been doing things. A part of me subconsciously tries to take a step back to take an observer stance. That’s not the method director Park wants. I want the pain and emotions I’m feeling to be revealed as is through Gukji.”
“You put people in a difficult spot. You know how fragile the neck is, right? If you get injured there or something, then the shoot will be on hiatus indefinitely. Are you okay with that?”
“I’m not sure about other things, but I have a sturdy body.”
“Even the sturdiest bodies have a fragile part.”
Gyungjin smiled bitterly and stood up.
“Just this once. I’m going to use all my strength, but I’ll be the first one to release you if I feel something’s wrong. If the main actor is injured, how would I have the audacity to keep coming?”
“Don’t worry. I won’t get injured. Also, I might reflexively try to kick you or punch you.”
“I know. I should be prepared for that much. I got hit on the face before too.”
Gyungjin got a slap on the face during the third take. Maru retaliated instinctively because he was strangled to the point he couldn’t breathe. Maru massaged his neck one last time before returning to his position. Director Park gave a nod before giving them the cue sign. While it was the director who oversaw the whole shoot, it was the actors who decided when a cut started and ended. While it was a strange system, everyone got used to it after doing it for over a week.
Maru looked Gyungjin in the eyes before pulling his chin inward. Gyungjin, who flinched while grabbing the door handle, rushed to him immediately. Gyungjin was a man who listened to other people’s requests. Maru’s neck was pressed to the point that he was intuitively going to cough. Maru focused so as to not miss the emotions that started from the tip of his feet and pierced right through his head. He put aside the calculations for a moment and ignored all the formulae he had created for acting and acted based on the emotions he was feeling. When he started running out of breath as his neck was strangled, one emotion suppressed everything else and rose to the top of his head. His conscious whispered to him to ignore those emotions like usual and focus on acting, but Maru left his body in the hands of those emotions. He struggled like a man who sank deep into the sea before only the head was allowed to poke out. Tears, snot, and saliva leaked down his face. His rationale, which whispered that this wasn’t something that Gukji would show as he couldn’t care less about life, had become quiet. The only thing left was a man desperately trying to escape death.
Gyungjin loosened his strength. Maru collapsed to the side. While he felt chaotic inside his head, he was sure of one thing. This wasn’t just good, it was very good.
“Okay. Good,” director Park said as he took his headphones off.