Maru closed his script and stretched out his neck. He hadn’t been sitting for a long period of time, yet he felt stiff. He put his script on his thighs and locked his fingers. He put his hands behind his head and pushed it forward to stretch his neck. Just then, he saw a shadow drape over his script.
“You were scary back there. Who were you trying to beat?”
He raised his head to look. He saw Suyeon with a smile.
“Someone that’s not good, I guess.”
“Are you serious?”
Maru was aware that there was no good in conversing with this woman. He immediately stood up and left the conference room.
“When did you practice so much?” Suyeon followed him and asked.
Maru stared back at her.
“You have something to say to me?”
“No, I don’t have anything like that.”
“Then why are you following me?”
“You’re a funny one. I just happen to be going the same way as you. Looks like you’re full of yourself.”
Maru nodded and immediately headed towards the men’s bathroom. Suyeon, who was following him, stopped in front of the bathroom with a dumbfounded expression.
“It looks like this isn’t where you were going, huh?”
Maru shrugged as he said those words. Inside the bathroom, he saw Gwak Joon washing his hands. The already gloomy-looking guy had dark circles under his eyes. Gwak Joon sighed and discovered Maru reflected on the mirror.
“You look tired.”
“I didn’t get any sleep because of my new work. I’ll fall asleep the moment I lie down.”
“Sleep is the best medicine.”
Gwak Joon laughed back at him as he wiped his hands off with some paper towel.
“You were good back there.”
“Thank you. I was inwardly worried, but I’m relieved to hear that from you. Oh, are extras usually not called to the read-through?”
“I don’t know. But it’s somewhat funny to ask them to come to say a couple lines and have them stay for a few hours. So maybe not calling them is the right thing to do.”
Hearing those words, Maru nodded his head. He only had two lines. Since that was done, all he had to do now was to flip over the script as the other actors do their bit.
“By the way, I saw that you changed the line.”
Maru scratched his eyes when he heard those rather scolding words. It was definitely wrong of him to change the lines without the original author’s approval. He was scolded before for this as well - that the script is an agreement between the actors and is the essence of the writer’s intentions. He had changed such a thing without permission, so he had nothing to say back to him.
If Gwak Joon simply said that to scold him, Maru would have apologized, but it seemed that he wanted an answer. Maru organized his thoughts before speaking.
“I tried saying it out loud a few times, and I didn’t like it that much.”
“The latter part?”
“Yes. Actually, I didn’t find anything wrong when I read the first part. It was natural and it contained the essence of that situation. I’ve never found it disconcerting even after I practiced hundreds of times. But… when I looked at the elder reading his script, those lines started getting on my tongue. I inwardly started repeating those lines again and again in the conference room, and even uttered to myself in a small voice, and it did not sound as good as it did before.”
“It didn’t sound as good as before?”
Maru nodded his head. This happened while he watched Moonjoong’s act. Is this line fine as it is? The moment that question came to his head, he started doubting the original script. Once he felt disappointed about what seemed like a flawless script, he could no longer exert his emotions into it anymore. However, that didn’t mean that he felt that the line was entirely wrong. He felt that he just needed to change the words just a little to make it right.
“The original line was ‘What kind of shit have you been doing all this time for you to end up there?’, right?”
Maru saw that Gwak Joon turned around to face him completely.
“And the line I changed it to is ‘What kind of shit have you been doing all those years for you to become like that?’. It’s just a difference in words, and not a difference in meaning. However, I wanted something more generalized and negative. ‘After all those years’ is a common expression, but it should sound incredibly offensive to the pitiful old man.”
“Then what about ‘end up there’ and ‘become like that’?”
Gwak Joon lifted his glasses with his index finger as he asked.
“‘End up there’ is referring to the old man’s current situation. He’s lying on a bench. Meanwhile, I thought that ‘become like that’ is more generally referring to the state of his life and the expression of disdain for it.”
“And so, it’s a more generalized line?”
“I’m just saying my thoughts about it.”
After listening to his words, Gwak Joon said ‘hm’, before leaving the bathroom. Maru felt that he had to follow.
“What are the two of you….”
Suyeon, who was waiting outside, talked to the two as soon as they got out, but Maru did not answer and Gwak Joon did not seem to care at all. Maru silently greeted her with his eyes before following Gwak Joon down the corridor. Gwak Joon spoke after stopping in front of a window.
“First, I take it positively that you didn’t just parrot the script and that you have your own opinion. I’m the type of person that does not like people blindly following my words to the tee and like people that actually think about the meaning behind my words. However, you took a step too far.”
Gwak Joon took out the script he had rolled up and put inside his pocket.
“What you said definitely makes sense. A more generalized description of the situation. It’s not a bad choice. After all, it’s true that a difference in words can make a difference in context. However, your opinion is wrong. Not different but wrong. Do you understand why?”
Maru didn’t have to think about it and replied that he didn’t. That line was the answer he came across after a deep contemplation. He never realized that there was an error in his words, at least not until now.
“Your line is a good line in the perspective of the writer. If the writer writes it like that, then he or she is giving the readers something to contemplate about, and it changes the flavor of the sentence. However, what if you think about it in the perspective of a 17 year-old delinquent who has to say that line? Your line seems like it requires a lot of thinking on the delinquent’s part after looking at the old man. What do you think?”
Maru realized what Gwak Joon meant the moment he said those words.
Maru had the opportunity to have a look at the script several times. He was aware of everything that was going on: the order of events, the changes in the emotions of various characters, and the circumstances leading to the ending. He had an objective, omniscient view about all the characters. He found a flaw in the ‘delinquent’ since he had a perfect understanding of the world around that character. Moreover, he had witnessed Moonjoong’s overwhelming skills. It was no wonder he was dissatisfied with the delinquent’s line.
That was the reason he decided to change the line - he did so in order to add more character.
However, the delinquent was not an omniscient god. He was just an ordinary high school student within that world. Would a mere student, who had been drinking alcohol throughout the night with his friends, think about the circumstances behind an old man lying down on a bench, and speak such profound words?
No. In fact, he would utter even more low-quality words. Perhaps, he might have just kicked the old man’s body without saying anything. However, violence wasn’t enough to awaken the elder’s wrath. There needed to be a line that could provoke the elder’s emotions, but at the same time, show the surface emotions of the high school delinquent.
“There are different stages to characters. The looks, the surface traits and the source traits. Like what you said, if you dig deep enough into the delinquent, he would have his own philosophy, and might say something like that to the elder. However, that does not fit in this movie. The camera must focus on the elder, not the delinquent. I’ve learned a lot while I learned film production. A book does not have a runtime. It has an ending, but the reader gets to choose whether to flip the page over or not. Meanwhile, a movie has to tell the message to the audience as efficiently as possible because it’s like a ship sailing on the ocean of time. With a book, you can just flip the other way if you don’t understand something, but that’s not true for a movie. Well, strictly speaking, you can technically pause and rewind, but that’s not possible in a cinema,” after saying those lines, Gwak Joon made a ‘brrr’ sound to exercise his lips. He said that his lips were hurting after speaking for so long.
“But I like the ‘after all those years’ part. I think I’ll use it.”
“Do I get a copyright fee for that?”
“Just make do with some coffee.”
Gwak Joon bought a cup of coffee from the vending machine. Maru accepted the cup with a smile. Actually, it was him that was supposed to buy this coffee. After all, it was natural to pay tuition for something he had learned.
Just when he was drinking coffee, two people appeared from the other end of the corridor. They were Moonjooong, who was holding a cigarette in his mouth, as well as Joonggeun.
“Huh? You two know each other?”
Joonggeun pointed at Maru and Gwak Joon as he spoke. Gwak Joon said ‘yes’.
“What the heck is this? Sir Yoon knows you, and the author knows you. What the hell are you?” Joonggeun asked with a joking tone.
“I’m an aspiring actor.”
“Do you think I didn’t know that?”
“I’m a high school student.”
“Look at this kid. You’re talking back at every junction… You caught my fancy! Hey, what’s your name?”
“My name is Han Maru.”
“Han Maru? Han Maru, Han Maru… Ah! The boy from back then! I have a dumpster of a memory, but I remember you because of your peculiar name. That’s right, Han Maru. Yes, you’re good at acting.”
Joonggeun bought a cup of coffee from the vending machine and gave it to Moonjoong, while Gwak Joon lighted the cigarette up for Moonjoong.
“Sir, you smoke?”
They had met several times before, but this was the first time Gwak Joon saw him smoke.
“It’s a bad habit of mine. It’s somewhat like a jinx as well.”
Moonjoong sucked on the cigarette. The tip of the cigarette turned red. After spitting out some smoke in a slow breath, he rubbed off the cigarette on the ashtray on the trash can.
“I saw that you practiced a lot.”
Moonjoong looked at Maru with a benevolent expression.
“I don’t plan on being luggage after all. Please teach me a lot in the future as well.”
“I have nothing to teach you. You’re doing fine right now. You’ll become a good actor with a bit of experience.”
“Wow, I think this is the first time I saw you praising someone for their acting skills. Moreover, he’s young as well.”
Joonggeun looked at Maru with interest. Maru smiled back awkwardly as he drank his coffee.
“Of course, just that won’t be enough for this movie. I’m going to be very greedy with this piece.”
Joonggeun turned around after saying ‘work hard’. He seemed like a good man because of his chubby impression, but Maru knew from the rumors that he was a scary man during filming. No, the word evil fit him better than the word scary. He would utter ‘again’ at the slightest opportunity, while swear words were the norm. He had heard this from Junmin. He had passion regarding his work and hated to work with actors that were lacking in skill and those that didn’t work properly, so he would be a film director to avoid in the perspective of the production company who wanted a smooth sail for the movie.
Despite that, he was a super popular film director and was hard to scout because his movies always had great results, nearly 7 million to 8 million views for every single one of them. Junmin said that it would have been extremely difficult to scout him if not for his personal connections and the participation of Moonjoong.
“Now that puts pressure on me.”
“You’ll have to be on the edge at all times. Once that guy picks up the megaphone, he’ll swear at just about anything. Had I remained in the industry for just a little longer, he would have sworn at me as well.”
Moonjoong turned around and left.
Break was almost over. The remaining part was a series of violent emotions. The relaxed atmosphere that they started off with would no longer be there.
‘Let’s go then.’
He finished his lines, but he still had things to learn. He had to gain experience by listening to the lines of his experienced seniors.Previous Chapter Next Chapter
One of the type of scenes I like in this novel, on top of the fluff, is Suyeon getting roasted by Maru. I love it!
Also, I did my best to convey the context change of the line change...