Chapter 259

“Those with cameras, please come this way.”

Two people with cameras on tripods entered. The cameramen walked around the place to find a good angle. Like that, two cameras were set up. Following that, the journalists that were waiting outside entered. They took their seats without a fuss as though they had been instructed beforehand. Following that, people holding scripts in their hands entered. They seemed to be the producers of this movie.

People started filling the empty seats one by one and eventually, all the seats except for a few chairs reserved for actors were filled

“Why is Jiseok not coming?” Yoojin asked. Maru also looked around the conference room. Jiseok and his casual smile couldn’t be seen anywhere.

“Maybe he has a prior engagement.”

“Are you not even worried?”

“We’re not close enough for me to be worried.”

“You’re so heartless.”

“If you’re so worried, give him a call.”

“I can’t be bothered, so no.”

Who was heartless now? Maru stretched his arms out to shake off his nervousness.

“It’s Suyeon-unni.”

Suyeon entered the room and greeted the actors that had arrived before her. The senior actors welcomed her. Suyeon sat opposite of Joohyun.

“Unni, please take care of me this time as well.”

“Okay. This is our second time since we did a drama together last time, huh? Please take care of me as well.”

Suyeon and Joohyun warmly greeted each other, but Maru could see sparks between the two.

“Oh, Yoojin. Why are you over there? Your seat is over here,” Suyeon called out to Yoojin.

Yoojin tilted her head and stood up to have a look at the name plates on the table. Maru had a look as well and indeed, there was a nameplate with the name ‘Second daughter/Lee Yoojin’ on it. Yoojin walked towards her reserved seat and sat down. The seat emptied by Yoojin was filled with someone else right after. Maru saw that Yoojin was looking at him apologetically. Maru just shrugged once though, since it was natural for Yoojin, who had many appearing scenes, to sit at the main table. After all, there were different levels of extras as well.

“Oh, you’re all here.”

Following that, Park Taeho entered. As he was someone who had received the best actor award in the Daejong Awards, Maru saw that a lot of journalists were competing to take photos of him. The actors all slightly stood up to greet him as well.

“Don’t stand. You should do that when sir Yoon comes here.”

Taeho laughed heartily before taking his seat. His lively personality hadn’t changed since the audition. Maru’s eyes met with Taeho’s for a brief moment, and Taeho winked at him. Maru also smiled back and took a light bow.

Not long later, Jung Yoonhae, who was Taeho’s wife in the movie, entered. She had casual clothes on, but had thick makeup on. Maru saw that Yoonhae was looking at Joohyun with animosity. It seemed that the two weren’t on good terms.

“Joohyun, your hair is still purple. It will be quite the scene to look at if you keep that hair during shooting, right?”

“Should I? I should ask the director if I can.”

“Pfft, you’re taking a joke so seriously.”

“I was joking too. Did you take that seriously?”

Joohyun and Yoonhae then started laughing and looked at each other warmly. Maru sighed. There was a sharp knife behind those warm smiles. The conversation between women was really scary.

‘They’re openly hostile towards each other. Is the relationship between the two that bad?’

It seemed that the two were on really bad terms with each other considering that they were causing this scene in front of the journalists. Thinking back, Joohyun seemed to have a lot of enemies. After all, she didn’t seem to be on close terms with Suyeon either. To a woman like Suyeon who had a lot of secrets, a woman like Joohyun, who openly revealed all of her thoughts might be an uncomfortable existence.

“Looks like the relationship between our actresses is quite good,” Taeho spoke as he picked up his script. Thanks to his words, the volatile atmosphere calmed down in an instant. Yoonhae chuckled and told Taeho that he got fat. The flow of the conversation shifted towards Taeho and Yoonhae, and Joohyun started reading her script as though nothing had happened.

“Phew.”

Maru saw that the man sitting next to him was sighing. From how he was looking at Joohyun nervously, it seemed that this man was her manager. Maru found him quite pitiful seeing that he was worrying about the actress he was in charge of making mistakes.

“Joohyun-noona, please have some restraint.”

Maru inwardly cheered for the manager. He was aware of the manager’s predicaments. After all, road managers were the ones who got all the insults regardless of what they did. He would have to run errands during the middle of the night at random, and call various places if he somehow drove the actress late to a schedule.

“Looks like everyone’s here. Nice to meet you all, haha.”

Choi Joonggeun entered. He was the director of this movie. Following that, Gwak Joon entered as well, wearing black glasses. He was the author of the original work and had participated in making the script as well, so he was qualified to be here as well.

Maru slightly nodded towards Gwak Joon to greet him. Gwak Joon lifted his hand towards him to greet back.

A little more passed until the majority of actors including Geunsoo sat down at the table.

“So we’re only missing sir Yoon, now?”

Director Choi Joonggeun sat down and spoke. Gwak Joon sat next to him. There were still five minutes until the read-through time. Junmin entered at that time. A few people were following him, who seemed to be the people from the production company.

Everyone started conversing under the lead of the director. He seemed to know everyone here as he was comfortable when talking with everyone. He made sure that everyone got their turns to speak. He was the prime example of a director that didn’t just shout ‘cut’ and was someone that actually cared about the piece.

Just as everyone was talking and laughing over recent matters, the door opened once again. This time, everyone looked at the door in silence. Maru was the same. He closed his script and watched as Moonjoong entered the conference room. He was holding a black plastic bag in one hand. He was wearing a beige coat and a pair of brown shoes with their noses worn out. He seemed like just an ordinary old man one would find in a neighborhood as he entered the room with a kind smile.

“Sorry for that. I was a little late because I had to visit some place.”

“Not at all, sir. You’re just in time. No, you’re a minute early.”

Joonggeun jabbed at him lightly and led Moonjoong to the seat of honor.

“Wait.”

Before he took his seat, Moonjoong took out something from the plastic bag he was holding. They were tangerines.

Tangerines? Just as Maru was wondering what was going on, Moonjoong gave the actors around the table a tangerine each. The ones that remained were given to the people at the perimeter.

“Please take care of me,” Moonjoong took his seat as he said those words with a warm smile.

“Shouldn’t we all treat these tangerines as a family treasure?”

“No, they must be treated as good luck charms.”

“It’s such a pity to eat them.”

The actors all said something to praise Moonjoong. Meanwhile, Maru just peeled the tangerine and started eating it. The manager sitting next to him looked at him with surprise before eating his own.

“Well then, if you’re done eating, let’s start reading,” Joonggeun spoke as he pushed away the tangerine peels to one side.

The actors all lifted their scripts as well. There didn’t seem to be a heavy atmosphere. It seemed as though this was their everyday life.

Maru thought about the read-throughs that he did before. He did one with Miso, Ganghwan, and Suyeon. He held one under different instructors, but all of them were strict during read-throughs. During those times, he was always told that he had to practice like it was the real deal, yet this place seemed to be more lax than ever, which made him feel awkward instead.

As expected of pros, huh?

Joonggeun stood up. He briefly started the meeting by saying that he hopes that the movie does well. Gwak Joon, the original author, stood up next.

“Please be understanding even if I act a little arrogantly.”

Gwak Joon showed that he was not joking with his expression. The actors all groaned to themselves. Following that, everyone did their greetings starting from Moonjoong to the extras.

Yoojin, who took one of the main seats, did her greeting smoothly as though she was ready for it.

“Looks like that’s the end of our greetings. Let’s start now. I’ll do the lines for the extras. Let’s do a full read-through without rest. Let’s do this joyfully everyone.”

Maru raised his head after hearing Joonggeun’s words. He was doing the lines for the extras? Although he was slightly confused, he wasn’t in a position where he could ask, so he just waited.

A page flipping noise could be heard from the table. Maru was a little shocked when he heard the page flipping noise that occurred all at once in sync. This signalled the start of the read-through. The people sitting at the perimeter also flipped their scripts as well.

#Scene 1. Junk dealer’s. Noon

The movie started with a monologue from Moonjoong.

“Like I said, pay me 10 more won.”

The voice filled the wide conference room. Although the voice wasn’t loud, it was clear as though it was spoken from right next to Maru. Moonjoong spoke his line as he looked at the script. His back was hunched. The voice from his comfortable position was a lot more compressed than Maru when he straightened his back and tensed his stomach.

“I said I can’t, don’t keep asking.”

The director’s follow-up sounded very low-quality. His effort of not trying to make it sound bad could be felt, but it was such a drastic contrast to Moonjoong’s voice, so the listeners felt rather embarrassed as well. Joonggeun knew that he was just filling in for the extras, but felt very weird when the atmosphere became so drastically different in an instant. It was as though the scene suddenly shifted from the junk dealer’s to the conference room known as reality.

Despite that gap, when Moonjoong spoke again, the scenery changed back. The pitiful old man who begged the junk dealer to receive 10 more won appeared once again.

It was quite a peculiar experience.

Maru was flabbergasted by the weight of each word uttered by an actor that had formed an entire world. Maru was very dissatisfied with the fact that he could only look at Moonjoong’s back. Had he taken a seat a little left of his current seat, he would have been able to see Moonjoong’s expression acting as well.

The acting of the man once known as the best screen actor in South Korea was very different. The emotions in those words were not violent at all. It was just a conversation that could be heard in everyday life. Moonjoong was invoking deep sympathy within the readers with his ordinary speech alone.

Maru was reminded of the fact that masters were fundamentally different from novices.

‘Pathetic.’

Even Geunseok, who was evaluated for having the most stable act in the club, seemed trivial in front of this man.

The story progressed and more actors started joining the scene.

Maru followed the script with his eyes as he listened and tried saying the lines in his heart as well. He smiled bitterly when he found out that he was lacking compared to them.

The actors here seemed to be at ease. An actor that was smiling until moments ago became angry as soon as the scene switched, and one started laughing like a madman despite the fact that he was crying until moments ago.

The emotions switched in an instant. They didn’t seem to need any preparation. What was surprising was that they even chatted with other actors when they weren’t required in the scene.

Although the atmosphere was lax enough to the point that they could forgive any mistakes from junior actors, Maru had to consciously control his breathing since the lines said by the actors were so elaborate. He consumed too much stamina just trying to imitate those lines in his heart.

“Can you please remove ‘Rather than that’?”

“That’s too long to take out. Should I replace it with something else?”

“Then please go with ‘Or rather’.”

“Okay, let’s try that out then.”

Gwak Joon interrupted from time to time to fix some of the lines. He was probably fixing the discrepancies that came from words written as text becoming alive through the actor’s mouths.

“Dad, that doesn’t…. Dad, that… I’m very sorry.”

Yoojin spoke for the first time amongst the bigshot actors. Although she always acted boldly, she looked stiff right now. She seemed pressured by the atmosphere of the actors sitting next to her.

“I might swear at you if you end up doing that during filming,” Joonggeun said with a smile.

Although the other actors just laughed it over, as the person in question, Yoojin froze up and only said ‘yes’ repeatedly. Maru pitied her to the point that he had the urge to pat her back.

“Hm, shall we have a break?”

Hearing the director’s words, everyone put down their scripts. When Yoojin panicked and looked around, Suyeon patted her shoulders as though to tell her that it was okay.

“Don’t be nervous. You can just do it like usual.”

“Yes. It’s not like someone will eat you.”

The senior actors all encouraged her. Yoojin barely managed to smile back and nodded her head. While they had a break, the cameramen started moving around and took photos of the actors’ scripts. They didn’t do any interviews though, since it might disturb the read-through.

“Well then. Let’s get back to it, shall we?”

Joonggeun spoke as he opened his script.

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KTLChamber's Thoughts

Yoojin's in trouble!

Hm, Jiseok isn't here after all huh.

But then, some extras seem to be missing, including the junk dealer man, and that idol dude.

Ah! I doubt any of you remember, but one character's name has been changed.

Jung Yoonhye -> Jung Yoonhae

(She appears in c236, and tells Yoon Moonjoong "I'm ur 1st daughter in law. treat me like family")