Suyeon’s mouth was hurting from having to smile so much. She took a sip of water as she stretched her jaw a little bit. After her first miniseries with the K broadcasting company ended, she immediately received another job offer. The K broadcasting company was recently losing views to the S broadcasting company, which was why they were in a rush to start a new miniseries.
Suyeon looked to her right. That was the main character’s seat in the announcement table, a spot she couldn’t even dream of sitting at. She thought she was getting some attention initially, but in the end, all of the attention shifted over to the main character. As a ‘rising star’, she couldn’t hold a candle to the real thing.
“Mr. Kang, you’re asking such an embarrassing question.”
The man talking right now was a male actor, the one actor who managed to grab the attention of all the women in the country. The romance drama he starred in held incredibly high ratings and the thriller movie he starred in later in the year gathered up to six million viewers. The man, who had just reached his thirties, was pretty much the ticket to success for just about any drama or movies right now. The K broadcasting company had somehow managed to cast the man in spite of his popularity. Also, there was one more person.
“It feels odd coming here now, I can’t get used to it. Honestly, I need a shot of soju in me before I can really get going.”
The actress who clearly didn’t have a filter on her mouth. She managed to become a star a few years ago by demonstrating her massive talent as a side character in a movie. Her fame didn’t last, though. She immediately turned her attention to shooting commercials, people insulted her for her greed back then. Not anymore. After she earned her money through commercials, she turned her attention to independent films.
By that point, she didn’t give a damn about money and acted exclusively in the films that caught her attention. Just a while ago, she starred in a film about a gay character. The film got blasted by Christian media, but all of Korea back then got into a heated debate about whether or not gay love was right. The woman acted in a ton of films afterwards, but she didn’t appear on TV shows or dramas. Suyeon still remembered reading her saying ‘to the guys that tried to tempt me with money… fuck you,’ on a magazine interview.
The woman was finally going to appear on television once again. Suyeon didn’t have a problem with it. As long as the woman didn’t harm her in any way, she didn’t care. But, as soon as Suyeon heard that she was going to be in this drama, she did everything she could to get a role here. Joohyun was a woman who always brought controversies. That meant that there was a higher chance that Suyeon’s name would appear on mainstream media alongside her. Not only that, the main character was the most popular male actor of the year. This drama was too tempting to be ignored.
“Hahaha, you’re very liberal about your views as I expected, Ms. Joohyun.”
“Liberal? No way, I’m just rude. I still remember what your company wrote about me. Ahn Joohyun, dragged down into becoming a CF queen. Her acting? A tragedy of an actress who chases money. That was the title, wasn’t it?”
The reporter who had initially asked a question froze up. Not even the people in the VIP seats had a very bright expression on them. Right now, only the general audience was laughing at what Joohyun said.
“You should’ve at least expected this much if you were from that news company.”
“Write whatever you want. You’re going to write about how I’m a barbarian with no manners this time, aren’t you, Mr. Reporter?”
The reporter started looking around himself nervously. Given his reaction, he was probably fresh in the business. That could only mean one thing. The senior reporters of the company all knew how Joohyun would act towards them, so they sent a newbie as a sacrificial lamb.
“Hahaha, please don’t get so surprised, Mr. Reporter.”
A comedian host tried to intervene right then. The other actors tried to make the situation a little better by smiling, but the reporter in question couldn’t even lift his head.
“How is it? It’s very easy to make a person look like an idiot, isn’t it? I’m confident in my work. How about you, though? Do you take pride in insulting people like that?”
Joohyun froze up the hall yet again. Suyeon was astounded. It was essential for actors to be able to deflect a situation that could go awry. After all, actors should never get on the bad side of reporters, but Joohyun didn’t care. The woman said whatever she wanted, there was probably no one else in the entire country who was like her.
That alone indicated success in the business. At least, as an entertainer.
“Ms. Joohyun, please don’t get so aggressive, you’re scaring me.”
Only when the male actor said something did Joohyun sigh and stop. The woman would’ve probably kept going until she chased that reporter out the hall if someone didn’t stop her. Suyeon noticed the reporters typing away busily in the background. No matter what Joohyun said, these people would continue making a living out of insulting actors. They would probably write something with a title along the lines of ‘there’s an actress who bullies newbie reporters?’
Suyeon did her best to put on a calm smile. There was a high chance the reporters would stop asking questions to the main characters after getting bit like this by Joohyun. That meant she had a chance to get the attention to herself again. If she did well here, she could get herself on the title as well. Something like, ‘an arrogant actress and a humble one’, maybe?
* * *
“She’s a tyrant, that one.”
“Right you are.”
Moonjoong and Chulmin were a little surprised at how bold Joohyun was. Personally, Moonjoong was a fan. As he grew up in his early years, he was stuck under the assumption that women had to be lady-like. That is, quiet, obedient, and unseen. But the more he acted, the more he thought about the nature of humans and the more he realized that that assumption itself was inhumane.
“It’s odd. You need money if you want to even begin to speak like that,” Chulmin noted bitterly.
“You know, that sounds really unrealistic coming from someone as rich as you.”
“Damn it, can’t you agree with me for once?”
Moonjoong scanned the actors for a second after teasing his friend. On the table were eight actors that were getting fairly popular recently. Usually, the producers would only bring the main characters to a place like this, but the side characters were here as well. They probably wanted to show that even their side characters were famous people.
“You see that kid at the edge of the table over there?”
“That’s the kid that Junmin said was particularly smart. Suyeon, I believe.” “Smart.”
Moonjoong thought of the word as he looked at the girl. The girl had a nice first impression, but when Junmin said someone was smart, that didn’t mean a good thing at all. Whenever Junmin introduces a friend, he refers to them as a ‘good person’.
“She’s someone who can take advantage of scandals very well.”
“Ah, smart in that sense?”
“I heard there are quite a few people who fell for that smile of hers. She’s a vixen, that one.”
“She must have quite the dream.”
“Indeed. Personally, I’m afraid of young ones like her.”
“Haha, don’t worry. She’s probably not even interested.”
“You fool, I might look like this, but I’m a president.”
“Oh dear, so you qualify to play with the younger girls, is that it?”
“No, I mean… You know what I mean.”
Moonjoong knew well that Chulmin loved his wife more than anyone else. A long time ago, an actress approached him with vicious intent and the man had promptly cut ties with her right then and there. Chulmin was like a stone, unchanging and unrelenting.
“Ah, I forgot to say. Joohyun and Suyeon over there are both going to appear in that movie you’re going to be in.”
“You’re already casting? What if I say no?”
“That’s a problem for my future self.”
“I see that side of you never changed.”
“Anyway, let’s go to the civic hall next after this event ends. We can take a look at the young kids acting while we wait for our next meeting. The director in question is coming from Seoul right now, so everything should fit quite nicely.”
Moonjoong nodded. It looked like this event would be over soon anyhow, the actors were already starting to take group pictures.
“Please pay a lot of attention to our drama!”
When the comedian MC announced the end of the event, the general audience started flocking to the exit. Moonjoong and Chulmin tried to blend into the crowd and exit quietly. But unfortunately, someone recognized them.
A man ran over to say hello to Chulmin. Chulmin smiled and extend his hand, making the man grab it and bow again.
“This is the program director for our drama.”
The program director looked up to take a look at Moonjoong this time. Moonjoong responded with a smile and the man’s jaw dropped like a rock.
“Would you happen to be Mr. Yoon Moonjoong?”
“Oh, you recognize an old man like me? What an honor.”
“Sir! I know this isn’t really the place to say this, but I was a massive fan. You’re the one who made me want to get into this business to begin with.”
The man shook Moonjoong’s hand firmly. Moonjoong smiled slightly, so there was someone who still remembered him after all. He thought he was past all the attention-seeking habits back in the old days, but he clearly didn’t shake off all of it.
“If you told me, I would’ve put you in one of the VIP seats.”
“No, no. We were just dropping by since we had the time. Don’t worry.”
“At least a meal, then...”
“We have somewhere to be, actually.”
“May I ask where…?”
“The building right next door. Just to say hi and to cheer on the young folk a bit.”
“Ah! Is it the high school competition?”
“As expected of you, Teacher. You care quite a bit about raising the next generation.”
The production director looked touched, Moonjoong couldn’t help but smile inside. They were only going there to kill time, but somehow a greater meaning was attached to it. It didn’t look like Chulmin was going to correct the man, either.
“Would it be alright if I could join you?”
Right then, the actors started walking towards them. Why wouldn’t they? Their director was talking so intently with someone at the entrance.
“These are our actors, sir.”
By the looks of it, most of the actors with the exception of the younger ones all recognized Chulmin. They all bowed in greeting.
“Dear, dear. I caused too much commotion when I was just dropping by, didn’t I? We’ll take our leave now, so take care.”
Chulmin clearly didn’t want to cause a commotion. Moonjoong was of the same opinion, so they tried to leave as quickly as possible.
“Can I follow you, Teacher?”
“Eh? There’s no need, though.”
“It’s a great chance to meet talented younglings. Plus, I don’t want to send the two of you off just like this. Please, sirs..”
The man told the actors that he would be leaving before walking out the door. The actors said their farewells to the three men with a confused expression before taking their leave. All except two of them.
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