“Actor Yoon, please do your best.”
“The sole reason I decided to invest in the movie is because I saw the name Yoon Moonjoong in the cast. I’ve always dreamed of success while watching your acts in the tent theater.”
“Yes. Back then, it was like that.”
The immensely drunk individual investors shook hands with Moonjoong’s hand before leaving. The director, investment manager Junmin, and Joonggeun uttered a short breath.
“Sorry that you had to go through all that.”
Moonjoong smiled faintly hearing Junmin’s words.
“What’s there to be sorry about? They’re all thankful people. They invested hundreds of millions of won just because of me. So an occasion like this is definitely necessary.”
“Senior Yoon’s popularity hasn’t cooled down yet. Did you see that the woman sitting opposite to you was looking at you affectionately?”
Joonggeun’s eyes twitched as he said those words.
“Joonggeun, you haven’t changed even after all the years you’ve been working. You’ll suffer a lot because of your indecent mouth.”
“Senior. I don’t throw words like that anywhere. It’s been more than five years already. I know my way round.”
“Sure you do. Rather than that, you should lose some weight. Hoyoung, who hangs out with you is getting fitter and fitter so why are you becoming rounder and rounder?”
“Senior. They say belly fat is a sign of magnanimity from the old times. These days, I’ve been learning the ways of propriety and wisdom so my belly became like this. Only when I am an evil man would I become a person again and lose weight, but I’m pure and kind.”
“Junmin, I think this guy is becoming less and less mature as he gets older.”
“It’s not once or twice that this fella is acting like this. But he has become a lot better recently. Ever since his kids became aware of their surroundings, he seemed to want to maintain his face as a dad. So he doesn’t act like that on formal occasions. Sir, do you still remember what this fella said in front of sir Kim Taewoo? You know what happened then.”
“Ah, that I do. This guy had just entered the industry and all he was doing was hitting the slate, yet he went up to the main actor and straight up asking what horrible acting he was doing.”
“That was a legend, wasn’t it? Now that I think back, I’m surprised that this fella is still working in this industry.”
“It’s because it was senior Kim. If it was someone else, they would have said that they would quit if this guy wasn’t axed.”
Moonjoong thought back to the old times as he spoke. Although he could mention those events with a smile right now, the atmosphere at that time was quite tense.
“Why are you mentioning my youth? Oh, it’s the anniversary of Big Sir’s death. Is everyone going? I’m planning for a quick visit tomorrow.”
“Is it that time of the year already?”
“Let’s go together. I’ll drive. How about it?”
Moonjoong slowly nodded his head.
“Senior Kim liked Andong-soju a lot. I should visit and let him have a drink after all this time.”
Junmin also said that he would be going.
“Rather than that, senior Kim sure died early.”
“He was sixty-two, I believe.”
“Hah, sheesh. To think there would come a day I would become older than senior Kim. If I think of it like that, it makes me feel like my death is near too,” Moonjoong spoke as he looked at the ceiling. He was seventy years old this year. He wasn’t young anymore. Although people said that living until the age of 80 was not difficult these days, he couldn’t deny the fact that he was reaching his destination. He even had the thought that this film may be his last ever one.
“Senior. Why are you making that face again? Here, here. Have some fruit. Say Ah-.”
Joonggeun forked a piece of sliced watermelon and offered it to him. Moonjoong was about to decline, but Joonggeun approached him and said ‘ah’ once again.
“Why are you still like that when you’re all grown up?”
“Senior. This junior wants to give you a piece of delicious fruit. Aren’t you going too far by declining my good will? Is it because I’m a guy? Should I remove my dick?”
“Forget it. This guy is really becoming creepier.”
“Aren’t I cute? I can live this young despite being in my fifties.”
Moonjoong ended up eating the watermelon. It was one tenacious relationship, both Junmin and Joongeun were. These two were thankful juniors, no, little brothers who visited him every year.
“Sir. I don’t think I can go that far, so don’t badmouth me for not serving you,” Junmin said with a smile. After talking with others for a while, Junmin picked up his phone. After a short call, he spoke again.
“Sir. I’d like to schedule an occasion with the actors. Are you alright with that?”
“Yes of course. I’m of course fine with it. That’s the reason I’m here, so I would very much like to see them. Rather than that, there must be a lot of youngsters, so I’m worried that people may be uncomfortable with me.”
“No way, senior. If anyone is uncomfortable with you. I’ll threaten them to smile. So don’t worry about it.”
“That’s what I’m worried about the most.”
Moonjoong clicked his tongue seeing Joonggeun laugh heartily. This was a piece that he started after he had formally retired. As he had retired once already, he had almost no interaction with the younger generation that were leading the industry. He waited half worriedly and half with expectation. Soon the door opened and people started entering. People of both gender and of various age groups started filling the seats. Watching them made Moonjoong laugh for some reason. He was a figure that was forgotten along with the times, and they were popular actors on TV right now.
‘Who am I to make them wait all this time?’
Boasting and showing off his authority were things he liked the least, and now that he looked at himself, he seemed to be in the condescending position.
“Did they wait for long?” He asked Junmin. Noticing something, Junmin shook his head.
“Everyone had fun in other places before gathering here, sir. I don’t have that much power to keep them waiting here for so long.”
Junmin was so quick witted so Moonjoong couldn’t trust him. He then asked someone at the very end.
“Is it true?”
“Ah, yes. There are a lot of fun things here. We’ve been singing until just a moment ago.”
The youngster replied with a smile. Moonjoong nodded slightly. It didn’t look like he was lying.
“Sorry for this, everyone. I had this fellow call everyone here since we’d be making a film together and I thought that we’d be a little awkward to see each other for the first time during the read-through.”
Everyone quietened down and looked his way. Moonjoong wanted a relaxed atmosphere, but it didn’t happen so easily. Even he just stayed quiet and listened to his seniors when he was younger. He didn’t like the fact that a militaristic senior-junior relationship existed here, but that unfairness wasn’t something that could be changed by just one person. If the people above created a relaxed atmosphere, the juniors would have followed suit, but that did not happen. In this era where the juniors would have to lower their heads to the angry shouts of their seniors regardless of whether they were right or wrong, even saying “you can be at ease” might be a form of violence to them.
As such, Moonjoong only spoke for a short time. This occasion was for him to greet everyone. It wasn’t for empty formalities.
“I’m thankful for your visit even though all of you must be busy. The reason I decided to see you is, just as I said before, to get acquainted with each other since we’re doing the same piece together. I hope everyone can take care of me in the coming two to three months.”
“That’s for us to say. Please take care of us.”
“Please take care of us.”
Moonjoong had a look at the man in his 40s sitting on the left.
“What is your name?”
“My name is Park Taeho, sir. I’m your first son.”
“Is that so? Please take care of me.”
Park Taeho nodded his head. He then went to the next person. This person was an actress in her forties as well.
“I’m Jung Yoonhae. I’m your first daughter-in-law. Please treat me like family in the future.”
The actress greeted with a smile. Moonjoong got to know everyone like that. After listening to the name of the young actor at the very right, Moonjoong spoke in a quiet voice.
“Let’s enjoyably and passionately make the movie so that we do not embarrass ourselves. I’m glad I was able to meet you today.”
Moonjoong stood up and bowed to everyone. The other actors also stood up and bowed towards him.
“It’ll be rude of me to keep you here for any longer. Let’s talk about the rest during the filming, and please enjoy yourselves. You should enjoy yourselves without restraint when the organizers have planned this event. They’re doing this so that they can extort you later.”
It would be uncomfortable for everyone if someone like him stayed here for any longer. Even in company dinners, the best superiors were those that left their credit card behind and left the venue so that everyone could enjoy themselves without consideration for money. He was planning to talk with Joonggeun and Junmin who he was familiar with before going home. Getting to know the youngsters could be left for when they actually started filming.
The actors stood up and left the room. Junmin and Joonggeun also left their positions for a brief time. Moonjoong, left in his wide room all by himself, drank a bit of soju in front of him. As he had to take care of his body before the filming began, he decided that this would be his last for a while. Although he liked alcoholic drinks, this movie contained quite a lot of dynamic action scenes, so he had to take care of his body to keep up at those times. With his seventy years old body, it might collapse on him the moment he became careless. It wasn’t that he wasn’t confident about health, it was just that nothing bad would come out of being cautious.
At that moment, he heard a knock on the door.
‘Who is it?’ He wondered.
The door creaked open and someone peeked inside. When he had a closer look, he realized it was the actor that introduced himself as Taeho. Junmin mentioned before he left that he was a talented actor who received the grand prize for the male character actor in the Daejong Awards this time.
“What is it?”
“If it’s not too rude of me, may I pour you a drink?”
“Yes. Uhm, may I enter?”
Taeho entered the room. He had a smile on his face. Perhaps something good had happened to him.
“I’m not bothering you, am I?”
“No, not at all.”
“That’s fortunate. Actually, I really liked you when I was young. You won’t know how many times I’ve played back ‘Unending Night’ that you played the main character in during my high school days.”
Unending Night. It was a title he hadn’t heard for a long time. The genre was film noir. The movie was filmed along with an actress known to be in the top 2 for beauty at that time.
“The movie should have been too lascivious for a high school student.”
“That’s why I watched it in secret. Anyway, I nicked my father’s Burberry coat after that and got beaten up for it.”
After that, Taeho spoke about movies that Moonjoong starred in in a great amount of detail and fun. Even Moonjoong was surprised as he listened. This person remembered details that even he, as the main actor in those movies, did not remember.
“Did I speak too much?”
“No, not at all. I’m having fun listening to you. It was a little surprising that there’s someone that knows my movies more than I do. And I’m also thankful as well. Thank you for remembering and liking all my pieces.”
“...Sir. I’m shaking like mad because I feel so excited today. I’m so glad that you’re back. Do you know what my dream was? It was to film a movie with you, sir.”
“I’m no one significant enough to be someone’s dream…”
These kinds of scenes were commonplace before he had retired. It was an honor; I admire you deeply - he had heard a lot of such words. However, ever since he had left the industry, all of his honor and glory disappeared. Only the thickest of relationships remained, and the ones with sweet words all left him. This was why he didn’t like people who flattered him so much. However, he didn’t feel like that at all when listening to Taeho. Perhaps it was because he heard some truthful words.
After speaking with Taeho for a few minutes, Taeho stood up. He left after saying that he would definitely visit his house in the future. After he left, Junmin came back. He looked a little tired. It seemed that the investors had given him a hard time.
“I think I just saw Taeho leave this room.”
“We talked for a little.”
“Didn’t he bother you? That guy was really stubborn in wanting to meet you. Actually, he’s the first one that rushed to me as soon as the rumor that you’d be participating in this movie spread around. I was worried about the guarantee, but he begged me to let him participate even if it meant not getting any.”
“What a peculiar fellow.”
“It just shows how much admiration and respect he has for you.”
Moonjoong made an honest smile.
“I’ve seen people that said they were a fan of mine, but it’s been a long time since I’ve actually seen anyone who knows any of my pieces so well. I feel both thankful and sorry. And here I thought I forgot about all those feelings.”
“You’ll have to get used to it since that’s how you’ll feel after this movie is released. I’m going to advertise big time that the actor Yoon Moonjoong has returned to the scene.”
“Whoa there. Please don’t go so far. I’d be embarrassed to look straight in public.”
“I’m an investor too, so I want some fun as well.”
“What a frightening thing time is. It turned a full-fledged man into a money grubber.”
“You’ll have to resolve yourself, sir. I’ll schedule everything tightly, even the press release.”
“Looks like I’ll get busy in my old years.”
Although Junmin said all those words, Moonjoong knew well that he wasn’t the type to be swayed by money. If profit was all he wanted, there was no way he would have brought back a retired old man like him back to the scene. It would be much more stable for him to pick youngsters with a concrete fanbase and those who appeared on TV frequently. When he thought about it like that, he did become a little greedy. He had the desire to tell everyone that ‘old soldiers never die, they just fade away’. It would be interesting too if that forgotten old soldier broke all the records.
A smile escaped his mouth. It had begun. He would be returning to that place again. The place he left because of his frustration towards all those meaningless commercial movies.
“I said this last time, but you might not even be able to break even. I’m going to spend the budget as I see fit. I will extract every little bit out of the film director to get the picture I want.”
“Please don’t worry. I have a lot of money,” Junmin spoke with a smile.
“Oh, and I called Maru here.”
“Is that child here as well?”
“I guess we haven’t seen each other since our time at the villa.”
“He passed the audition.”
“Oh, really? That’s good news.”
At that moment, two knocks could be heard on the door again before it slowly opened. Maru, who became a little more manly, stood outside.
“It’s been a while.”
“You’re a bad boy who never called me even once.”
“...I’m looking for an excuse, but I don’t find anything suitable.”
Moonjoong laughed pleasantly and gestured for him to come in.Previous Chapter Next Chapter