Life, Once Again! - Chapter 986
Chapter 986. Crank Up 9
There was a fellow who always took one step further when viewing the scenery on top of the mountain. After an arduous hike, that man did not stop even at the summit and continued to take steps towards the peak of the summit. If there was a rock, then to the top of that rock, if there was a slight difference in elevation, then to that higher ground. Gyungjin once followed that friend to the end while hitting on his shaking legs and barely holding back from gasping. The two of them were merely 10 meters away from the rest of the group. From there, Gyungjin looked down at the scenery. The reward for enduring the extreme fatigue was nothing much. Whether it was ten meters away, or where he was, the scenery below the mountain was just the same. So, he asked why that person took things to the limit even though there was not that much difference. His friend replied: it’s impossible to see right below the cliff from the back and it would be a pity to miss it after climbing all the way where they were.
Maru, who was reading the script while sitting on the ground, was like that fellow. There were no actors who looked down on details, but conversely, there weren’t many actors who staked their lives on it. Details ultimately came down to the satisfaction of the actor, so it was pushed to the side after reaching a certain level. Some people said that focusing on the details may make them lose sight of the important things. However, Maru always strived to take another step forward from what already looked like a complete act. It might be considered inconveniencing others. He might be missing the bigger picture because of his focus on the details. If he did not improve with the repeated takes, Gyungjin would have stopped him, but for the past week, Maru proved time and time again that his requests weren’t simply out of his foolishness.
At this point, even Gyungjin felt greedy. From some time onwards, the standard of ‘this is okay’ had gone up by a lot. What he would have considered good before, he would look back at it again with confusion after working with Maru for a while. Could he really be satisfied with just this? When he asked himself that question, the answer was always ‘do it again.’ It wasn’t just him. Yoojung was probably thinking the same. After all, it was she who requested a retake more than anyone else today.
“Uhm, about this part. How about I exaggerate my actions a little and fall down?”
It was the scene where he came across Maru in the dog shed where the lights were out. The script said ‘faltering backwards in surprise.’
“Should we try? I think I’ll have to see it to be sure.”
Maru stood in the middle of the dog shed, saying that he would play along. Gyungjin stimulated ‘Cheonho’s emotions’ from within him. This was the scene where he saw ‘Gukji’ again after confirming that Gukji was a murderer. While Cheonho always lived by the fist, he never stabbed anyone. He was a character who was extremely cautious when doing anything that might be self-destructive. Among the characters appearing in the film, Cheonho was ironically the closest to a ‘law-abiding citizen.’ While he was in a gang, he had more faith in the boundaries of the law than anyone else. As such, ‘Gukji’ was like a wild animal to him. He would look down on Gukji, disdain him, and hold him in contempt, but what would he have done if the two came across each other in a space where the law could not protect him? Gyungjin believed that he wouldn’t just take a step or two backward; he would run away with gnashed teeth.
It was only a practice, but Maru didn’t take it lightly. Gyungjin would’ve felt thankful even if Maru just stood there without doing anything, but Maru acted as though the film was rolling. The drooping shoulders and focusless eyes were the symbols of Gukji. Gyungjin looked at the wild animal that might threaten his life and was startled out of his wits. He faltered backwards before misstepping and falling over shoulder first. A pretty big noise hit his ears, followed by a cold pain from his shoulders. He floundered his legs in the air for a little bit before standing up quickly and leaving the dog shed.
“That’s the gist of it,” he said as he dusted the dry grass on his clothes.
“I can definitely feel Cheonho’s fears. I like this one better. Let’s show it to the director and see what he has to say.”
“Help me out later. Doing it by myself is no good after all.”
The shoot was so fulfilling that it was a pity that time was passing by so quickly. This place was fundamentally different from the shoots of other films where more than half the time would be wasted while waiting. Everyone participating in the project was passionate and active. Even without being told to do anything, they were striving their best to create the best picture from their respective positions.
“If you think you’re ready, let’s continue with the shoot. We should go back to the hotel before 3 at least, don’t you think?” said director Park.
Those words probably meant ‘I’ll hold you here until 2:59.’ Although the continuous late-night shoots were exhausting his body, his mind was becoming sharper and sharper. The quality of his acting was also improving day after day. He could feel it himself, so the improvement must be pretty impressive.
“Now’s the scene where Giwoo appears, right?” he asked Maru, who was doing some light stretches after closing the script.
“Probably. Hiker 1 is Giwoo.”
Gyungjin nodded and rotated his wrists. Once the dog burying scene was done, he would be the one rolling in the dirt. He had to loosen up properly so that he wouldn’t get hurt while rolling on the ground.
* * *
Time passed by extremely slowly. He even wondered if it had come to a complete stop. He thought about it from early morning to now, when it was past lunchtime, but he did not come up with any good ideas. Was there really no method to cleanly get rid of Han Maru? If a friend of his introduced him to someone, or if president Hong played his hand, this would’ve been an easy matter. He clutched his aching head and his grandfather’s voice became vivid again. If he went against the orders to stay still, the only thing waiting for him would be a punishment. He felt stifled like he was sick, as well as chilly. It was bad to the point where it was excruciating having to smile back at the staff members coming to talk to him. He felt like there was a lump of lead inside his head. He could feel his body swaying.
“Are you unwell?”
Hearing the assistant director’s words, Giwoo said that he was okay. Leaving aside the matters related to Han Maru, he did not want to show his pathetic side when he was an actor to anyone. As this matter concerned his pride, he clenched his teeth and smiled back.
He got his outfit and talked to the background actors who would be working with him. The role he was playing was a hiker. The character would discover Gukji burying a dog and begin quarreling with him. It was such a simple role that he didn’t even have to look at the script properly. He did not come here to play something so trivial.
He thought back to Gaeul’s face which he saw early in the morning. He was supposed to feel outraged, but only pity welled inside him. If he calmed down back then, would his relationship with her have improved? He was so angry because of Han Maru that he ended up exposing what he was truly thinking.
“Come down here and….”
Director Park showed how he should act himself. He let the main actors take care of themselves, yet was giving him, Giwoo, a lesson. Maru, who was standing next to a pit that was dug out, entered his eyes.
Giwoo stepped heavily on the branch on the ground as he looked at the camera. Right now, he had to show his skills as a pro. He had to show Han Maru that he was inferior to him in every way and only managed to get a hold of Han Gaeul through sheer luck.
* * *
“Hey, what are you doing!”
Giwoo came over, throwing his backpack down. Maru quietly glanced at him while holding the shaft of his shovel. For a brief moment, the ‘Kang Giwoo’ smiling at Gaeul softly overlapped with him, but soon, it was replaced by an ordinary hiker. Maybe nothing bad would happen if he buried that guy here with the dog. Gukji’s feelings coincided with Maru’s, though it was a tad too extreme.
Maru slowly lowered his head and started shoveling again. He dug the dirt about twice.
“Oppa, isn’t that a dog?”
“Let’s just go. He looks like a strange guy.”
This time, director Park did not cut it off there. It seemed that the background actors this time passed director Park’s standards. Giwoo stomped his way over. Maru could feel Giwoo’s genuine feelings from the way he approached with the intent to fight. It was a perfectly legal opportunity to beat Maru up, so he did understand where he was coming from.
“It’s illegal to bury something like this, you know? Also, looking at the wounds on this dog, it doesn’t look like it was raised as a pet.”
“I just bury these things.”
“Are you fucking kidding me?”
Giwoo pushed his shoulders. Maru let go of his shovel and stepped back. According to the rehearsal, Giwoo would have to push him one more time before saying his line. Maru leaned his torso forwards right as Giwoo stepped closer to him. The background actors couldn’t be seen as they were behind Giwoo, and the camera was shooting Maru’s back. The only one seeing his face right now was Giwoo.
Maru gifted him with the most innocent smile he could make. If he played such a prank on an actor he got along with, there would be a burst of laughter, leading to a pause in the shoot and then a break, but Giwoo would bring out a completely different response. Maru was well aware of what was going on inside him better than anyone. His smile would be analyzed from multiple angles by Giwoo, and it was obvious what Giwoo would do. He was not so composed right now that he was able to receive mockery with just a laugh.
Any hint of ‘acting’ disappeared from Giwoo’s face. The hands that he pushed out contained his emotions. Maru left his body to follow the flow. For a brief moment, there was true violence. That meant one thing.
“Okay, good. I didn’t expect much, but that felt really good just now.”
Director Park clapped twice and shouted cut. It meant that he truly liked it. Maru dusted the dirt off his palms and spoke to Giwoo,
“Thanks to you, we got a good shot.”
Giwoo smiled and reached his hand out. Only Maru must have seen his firmly sealed lips trembling as he was the closest. Maru looked at Giwoo, who was being applauded by actors and staff alike. It was time for the well-used chess piece to leave. Maru raised his thumb towards Giwoo who was giving him glances.