Chapter 230

* * * *

“Scene 44. Outside. Street. Dawn. The sound of drunkards could be intermittently heard from the back alley. Doksoo is lying down on a bench. A delinquent approaches Doksoo, who’s curled up, groaning,” Taeho read the stage directions out loud. Doksoo was the main character of the movie ‘Twilight Years’.

“Well then, since we don’t know the precise location, we’ll go with a stereotypical setting. Imagine. You’re in a street with a lot of bars. The time is early dawn. Since it’s not the weekend, there aren’t many people who are drinking this late. You can intermittently hear sounds of drunk people. Now then, what is the reason for you two, two high schoolers, to be in such a place?”

“We must have had fun with friends,” this was Jiseok’s answer.

“We must be looking around for bars that we can slip through with our faces,[1]” Maru replied while stroking his chin.

“Good. You might be having fun with friends, or maybe trying to slip through to a bar. Anyway, you guys are delinquents so you must be quite pissed all the time, right?”

Taeho then looked at Jiseok,

“Try saying the next line.”

Jiseok had a look at the script before saying his lines with a chuckle,

“Gramps. Oi, gramps. You’ll croak if you sleep ‘ere you know?”

“Good. That was very delinquent-like. Next, you.”

Maru had a look at the script. Before the line was a bit of stage directions that said ‘while grinning towards friends’. He could vaguely picture the scene. The delinquents had come across a drunk old man and was probing his state. He then thought that it would be better to say the lines worriedly. After all, it was important to see if he was awake or not. Maru first lowered his voice and spoke as though he was waking up a sleeping man.

“Grandpa. Hello? Grandpa? You’ll die if you keep sleeping here, you know?”

“Oh? Yours is different. Why did you do it like that?”

“I think this is much more realistic than approaching with a wide grin.”

“Okay, I get it.”

It was at that moment. Taeho slapped the table hard with the script. Maru narrowed his eyes and looked at Taeho.

“I get that you’re smart. I’m not saying that it’s bad to deduce things like that. But I’m angry. Do you know why?”

“Is it because I didn’t follow the script?”

“Correct. You know that this movie is based on a novel, right?”

“Yes.”

“That novel. It was written over a span of a year and a half. After that, it took another half a year to produce this script after discussing non-stop with a script writer. They went through several iterations before they produced this.”

Taeho raised the script up high.

“Every comma and every period contains the intentions of the writer. They don’t just randomly write (with a grin) on the script without thinking. Of course, you might be right and your method might be a better method. But like that, there will be no end. Someone has got to set the standards, and this script is that very standard. This is an agreement. It is something that people involved in this movie must abide to, especially the actors. Don’t ever try to change it by yourself. Understood?”

After saying that, Taeho returned to his usual smile. His expression just before was quite frightening. It wasn’t just a condescending senior jealous of a boastful junior, but a rebuke from an experienced person to a newbie. Maru accepted it immediately. Taeho’s words were very easy for him to understand.

“I’m sorry.”

“Once is a mistake, but twice is intentional. You must first digest the things that you’re given. Give your opinion after you digested the whole thing. That is the proper order of things. Though, I doubt that the director will listen to your opinions. Anyway, next.”

The script contained the intent of the writer. It wasn’t just any intent either, but a deep meaning they spent several months to even several years working on. It was definitely arrogance on Maru’s part when he decided to change it after reading it just once. Maru thought that he should go back to the basics. The priority was to understand the script itself.

“Well, then. Let’s have a look. There aren’t any lines, but you get the picture, don’t you? Doksoo, lying down on the bench, is thinking that the world still has hope - that there are still youngsters looking after the elderly; that people still have affection for each other. However, reality is that these youths are thieves aiming for his money. This is the scene where he loses what little affection he has of this world. Senior Moonjoong must be having a hard time because of this scene as well. There’s not a single line here. And it’s not like we can add narrations like a documentary. The joy of looking at people approaching him, a slight bit of happiness, the following despair from the violence, as well as the frustration. He has to show the audience all of those emotions with his eyes, expression and actions only.”

Taeho put his hands against his chin and leaned forward.

“You two are saying your lines and acting in such a situation. The camera angle should be an over-the-shoulder shot. After capturing your faces for a brief moment, the following scenes will capture the senior’s face from behind you, over your shoulders. Imagine. In front of you is the god of acting. The pressure is no joke. In front of you will be an elder who thanks the world for human kindness then vents his anger against the world. It will freak you out. After all, he’ll then glare at you as though he’s about to kill. You two are going to have to act in tandem with the senior under such circumstances. You know what that means? It means that you’ll be wasting several rolls of film with the slightest of mistakes. You do know the saying that you need two hands to clap, right? No matter how good the senior is at acting, the end result will be nothing if you guys slip up.”

“So we just need to do well!” Jiseok replied to that as though there were no problems at all. His face was filled with a smile.

“Yes. You need to do well. I’m not saying this to frighten you. I just want you to know. You guys might be side characters without many lines, but the weight of your roles are definitely not light. Of course, I get that you two aren’t total beginners. I did feel that you guys are different to those people who boast their career.”

Taeho leaned back on the chair and looked at the script.

“Then let’s do the important line then. What was your name again?”

“Yoo Jiseok, sir.”

“Yes, let’s start with you Jiseok. Doksoo struggles not to get his money stolen. However, he is eventually robbed of all his money by the delinquents. Doksoo rolls off the bench. He glares at the delinquents as they walk away. Well then, cue!”

“Man, your sorry ass has achieved nothing even after all these years. What kind of shit life have you been living, gramps?”

“Good. I like how you’re absolutely shameless. I want to slap you right now. Hey, are you like this at school too?”

“Me? I’m more on the side of the bullied.”

“I doubt that.”

“Hahaha.”

Taeho turned around to look at Maru.

“Should I give you a cue sign?”

“No, I’m okay.”

Maru followed the script to the tee this time. He had done plenty of research on delinquents so he didn’t find anything difficult. They say poison becomes medicine if used correctly, the now-expelled Changhoo’s nasty speech came out of his mouth naturally.

“Man, your sorry ass has achieved nothing even after all these years. What kind of shit life have you been living, gramps?”

“What was your name again?”

“I’m Han Maru.”

“I think you must have made quite a few kids cry as well. Are you two both actually delinquents?”

“I’m quite the trash, yes.”

“Oh?”

Taeho stood up from the seat and started walking around within the glass room. He seemed to be in deep thought.

“Both of you are okay, but that makes it harder for me to decide,” Taeho talked to himself as he looked outside the glass wall. After a while, he made a ‘tsk’ noise before sitting back down.

“From your looks, Maru looks more nasty, but Jiseok is also okay with his immature face too. The film director also said that both of your faces are okay, so it’s up to me to decide, huh,” Taeho kept mumbling to himself as he spun around on his office chair. This man was quite frivolous unlike his serious-looking face. He was like a gentleman when he shaved and tidied up his hair. Maru thought that actors were really eccentric.

“What role do you want?”

“Delinquent 2,” Jiseok replied without hesitation.

“What about you, Maru?”

“I’m the same.”

“Greedy brats. Any thoughts on yielding?”

To that question,

“No.”

“Not at all.”

They replied at the same time. Maru glanced at Jiseok. He was smiling brightly yet his eyes were saying that he would not yield at all. He liked helping others out, but it seemed that he had no intentions on giving up on his desires. Maru liked him that way. He didn’t like people who sacrificed themselves for others.

“Ah, fine. An actor must have some greed. Good, then write what this line feels like on a piece of paper. Write what you think, not what’s written on the script. Show me how you would express the lines if you were that character.”

Taeho gave the two of them a pen and a piece of A4 paper each. Maru stared at the paper for a bit before writing his feelings with the pen.

“I’m really bad with things like this.”

“Just write what you think. Are you giving up?”

“Of course not!”

Jiseok groaned but started writing. Maru put down his pen and pushed the paper towards Taeho. He had done plenty of character analysis while reading the novel. The only role he could possibly fit in the novel was the delinquent - was his mindset as he read it. Although it was a side character with only two lines, that character would have a life of his own once he dug deep. It was just not captured on camera. This meant that he would have to dissolve the character’s entire life into those two lines, life being equivalent to philosophy.

A delinquent’s philosophy.

There was no background information given. After all, it was just a delinquent passing by even in the novel. In the end, it was all up to imagination. There was only one assumption - what if it was me. The life of the character that he had been thinking of many times these past months.

“I’m done.”

Jiseok pushed the paper towards Taeho as well.

“Let’s have a look then.”

Taeho picked up the papers. Thanks to the two papers, Taeho’s face was hidden. After reading the short texts with an expressionless face, Taeho smiled.

“I think I’ll have to give the character to the crueler one. The protagonist, Doksoo, will only be emphasized more the more pathetic he becomes. The more drastic the contrast, the better the scene will look through a camera.”

Maru did not avoid Taeho’s gaze as he looked towards him.

“Han Maru. You’re delinquent 2. You’re going to have to act like a real trash. Alright?”

“...Yes, sir.”

Just like that? Maru felt rather unreal, but he smiled when he understood the situation. He got what he wanted, there was no way he didn’t feel happy.

“Ah, I guess I didn’t get it.”

Jiseok said with pity. However, he smiled and acted as though nothing happened to him.

“Maru, since you won, you should buy us some congratulatory drinks. I want cappuccino. Senior, you should have him treat you too.”

“You’re buying? I’m not the shameless guy who rips off of his juniors, but I’m also a big hearted man who does not deny people’s goodwill. I want americano, then.”

The two of them looked towards Maru with a satisfied grin. They really got along well. Some might mistake them for brothers who are far apart in age.

Though, he was completely fine with treating them on an occasion like this.

“Senior. I’ll be going downstairs for a bit then.”

“Sure. I want iced!” Taeho said with a hearty laughter.


[1] Korean bars do an ID check when entering, but sometimes, if the guard deems that the entrant looks old enough(?), he or she is let through without an ID check. It’s the same when trying to buy a pack of cigarettes.

Previous Chapter Next Chapter

KTLChamber's Thoughts

Change of plans. c227 won't be changed. Author changes the script later.