“I never thought I’d see you here, senior.”
Moonjoong curled up his body as he sighed. When his sigh dissipated, he put down his script on the table before heaving out another beath. That signalled the end of the read-through.
Clap clap clap. The actors and the staff all started applauding. The read-through ended without a hitch. The journalists started taking photos of Moonjoong immediately. Even Taeho, the currently hot actor in Chungmuro, was given the cold shoulder right now.
Maru shook his head before applauding. This was just a read-through without any moving action. There was a limit to how real just voice acting could be, yet Moonjoong enchanted Maru from the beginning to the end. If movement action was added to this, it would look scarily good.
He was about to act in tandem with such a person. The pressure on him suddenly increased. If he was to not make a fool of himself; if he was to not be pressured by Moonjoong’s aura, he would have to do better than he was doing now.
Maru saw Taeho who was having a conversation with Moonjoong. He thought to himself that a pro was a pro after all. Taeho’s voice acting did not lose out to Moonjoong’s at all. If there was no strength behind his lines, his lines would have been gobbled up by Moonjoong’s lines, but the two were on equal footing, and he added more to the tension of the read-through.
‘That’s experience for you.’
It was hard to do a scene where Moonjoong didn’t even talk, yet the actors around the table actually had to converse with Moonjoong. Without enough skills, their character would be trampled upon by Moonjoong’s presence and become faint. The reason why the actors near Moonjoong could be at ease should be because they have the confidence not to be trampled upon. Meanwhile, the minor actors who were sitting far away from the director looked very nervous. Overcoming that pressure, or fading away as an extra. This was a threat and at the same time, an opportunity. The ones that overcome that pressure would receive attention from the media.
“Thank you all everyone. We’re going to do rituals on the roof of this building so don’t go anywhere and come join us.”
The director spoke with a hoarse voice. The people inside the conference room started standing up one by one.
“Well done,” Maru said to Yoojin, who looked exhausted. After she made a mistake in her screaming part where she found the dead bodies of her parents, she looked pale. It seemed that she was afraid after making two mistakes.
“You have it good.”
“What’s this about?”
“Haa, I don’t know. I’m tired, I’m really tired.”
Yoojin walked behind Maru’s back and put her hands on Maru’s shoulders and loosened her legs so that she was practically hanging off Maru’s shoulders. Maru frowned as he put strength into his legs.
“You know you’re heavy, right?”
“Oh, please!” Yoojin grumbled. Maru wanted to shake Yoojin’s hands off his shoulders and go to the rooftop first, but he found her pitiful and decided to act as her servant for now. He took the limping Yoojin and walked towards the elevator. The important people seemed to have gone up already as the ones remaining in the conference room were just some journalists and minor actors.
“Who’s that behind you?”
Geunsoo asked him in front of the elevator. Geunsoo was the third son in the movie, and he was the first one to get killed by the ‘elder’. Unlike his usually witty attitude, he was one of the villains in the movie who dearly wished for the elder’s, his father’s, death.
“M, my name is Lee Yoojin.”
Yoojin immediately stood up straight and looked at Geunsoo. Geunsoo replied,
“Oh, you’re Yoojin.”
“We don’t have any scenes together, but I hope we get along.”
When Geunsoo extended out his hand, Yoojin immediately grabbed it.
Maru saw that Yoojin was smiling after the handshake with Geunsoo as she looked at her right hand. From her expression, it seemed that she knew who Geunsoo was. Otherwise, there was no way she would rejoice that much.
“Aren’t you going to ask me anything?”
Maru thought about the meaning behind those words before speaking,
“From how I don’t hear anything about him, he must be doing well.”
“I guess that’s true.”
“Did he not cause any trouble? He’s the kind of guy who doesn’t appreciate help.”
“Family members are supposed to get angry at that statement, but somehow, it doesn’t feel offensive at all. Maybe it’s because I’m a weird one myself,” Geunsoo chuckled.
Yoojin judged that this was a conversation she wasn’t supposed to hear and distanced herself.
“At first, he didn’t even eat anything and did the exact opposite of what I told him to do, but these days, he’s at least getting his meals. It seems like men are equal before the desire to eat.”
“Well, he that would eat the fruit must climb the tree.”
Maru lowered his voice before following up.
“Did you check on what I told you last time?”
Geunsoo nodded back.
“Are you going to report it?”
“I’m not sure yet. I don’t want to poke around my younger brother’s mind when he just stabilized. To make a report, I’d need his testimony, but I still can’t imagine him going against father for the time being.”
“For now, I’ve distanced him from the house, so I’ll keep watching over him for the time being. If he’s frustrated, he’ll ask me for help, if he doesn’t, well…,” Geunsoo did not finish his words.
Although he was speaking as though he was a third person in this matter, Geunseok’s father was Geunsoo’s father as well. If his emotions were completely separate from his rationale, then he would immediately report it to the police and get an approach prohibition order, but that wasn’t as easy as it sounded. Moreover, there was the possibility that Geunseok would deny any events of violence and speak badly on Geunsoo’s behalf, so Geunsoo had to be careful about reporting this matter.
“It’s about time he grows up.”
After that, Geunsoo no longer talked about Geunseok. It wasn’t that good of a topic, and telling others about family matters wasn’t something that anyone would be comfortable with.
“Is that your girlfriend?”
“No way. My girlfriend is a hundred times prettier than her.”
“Wow, she’s that pretty?”
Yoojin approached after realizing that the topic had changed.
“What was that just now?” Yoojin whispered to Maru in a low voice.
Maru just replied, “I said you were pretty,” before getting a smack on his waist. Maru dodged sideways to parry her hand.
“She’s a bit violent, don’t mind her.”
“Why? She’s cute.”
Yoojin grinned when she heard Geunsoo’s words. Oh? Maru hopped on the elevator as he thought that this girl was helpless. Just as the elevator doors were about to close with the three inside, they saw Suyeon who was shouting ‘wait’ as she ran towards them. It seemed that she was fixing her makeup until now.
Maru looked at Geunsoo, and Geunsoo smashed the close button on the elevator without hesitation.
“She’s pursuing you, why don’t you two go on a date once?”
“I’m a free spirit. I don’t like scary women.”
A giggle escaped Maru’s mouth. As the doors almost closed all the way and Suyeon’s panicked expression could be seen, Suyeon ran with all her might and put her leg between the closing doors. She really had good reflexes as she exercised frequently.
“That’s strange. I thought I told you to wait.”
Suyeon returned to her precocious self as she shook off the dust on her jeans.
“Yeah, that’s strange. I pressed the open button. Why didn’t it work?”
Geunsoo spoke with an expression without any malice. He was definitely an actor, alright. The shift in his expression was instant. However, the one talking to him did acting for a living.
“No way. You must have been smashing the close button. How about you buy me dinner as compensation?” Suyeon spoke.
This woman really wasn’t ordinary. Maru coughed awkwardly as he turned his head. He didn’t want to get caught up between the two.
“Actually, Maru was the one pressing the close button,” Geunsoo said with a refreshing smile.
“No way. I saw you pressing the button with all your heart. Yoojin, you saw it too, didn’t you?”
“Huh? Uh, yeah.” Yoojin replied obliviously.
Maru ignored Geunsoo’s eyes that looked at him calling for help as he got off the elevator, hoping that the two would become a good married couple.
He took the emergency stairs to the rooftop. On the rooftop, he saw a ritual table with various kinds of food on it with the pig’s head at the center. There was also a folding screen as well behind it.
Geunsoo and Suyeon immediately walked towards where the other older actors were, while Maru and Yoojin stood a little far away.
“Please let our movie do well.”
The director and the other people from the film industry stuffed envelopes of money in the pig’s mouth. After offering soju to the spirits, the director did a kowtow.
“Lord pig, please let our movie shoot through break-even point and occupy half of the views of movies for this year!”
The director then raised the plate with the pig’s head on it and kissed the nose of the pig. The journalists took photos while laughing, while the main actors immediately went up and stole the plate from him, saying that he was cursing it.
After the ritual, someone said that the members of JA Production would have a meal together on the 16th floor restaurant.
“Let’s go, then, shall we?”
Suyeon hooked her arms around Geunsoo’s as she went down. Geunsoo was powerlessly dragged along.
“She really is good,” Yoojin said as she watched the two.
“You mean Kim Suyeon?”
“Yeah, that unni is really amazing.”
“You think there’s something to learn from her?”
“Of course. She shows how a woman can use her weapons. Practice is inevitable to become a seductive character,” Yoojin said with a smile.
“That really doesn’t suit you.”
“What was that?”
“Don’t you go around places trying to show off. Someone really might pick a fight with you.”
“That’s how you wanna play this, huh? I’m going to tell everything to her. Everything!”
“Why does it suddenly change to that?”
Maru had to surrender himself to Yoojin. He couldn’t take any countermeasures. He seriously considered calling her up and telling her to stop being friends with Yoojin.
“But hey, how did you do your practice?” Yoojin asked as the two climbed down the stairs.
Her sweet-sounding voice creeped Maru out.
“Why are you staring at me like that?”
“I was wondering if you were sick or something. You’ll creep me out if you get embarrassed like that all of a sudden.”
“You are a… no, let’s not.”
Yoojin sighed as she looked upwards. Her bangs lifted into the air for a brief moment before sinking down.
“Then I’ll ask you straight. Do you have a special practice method or something?”
“Why do you ask? That was random.”
“I’m asking because you’re good. I want you to tell me if you have any secrets.”
Yoojin pouted before sighing.
“I made a stupid mistake. Twice to boot. No, let’s forget about the mistakes, they can happen. But I don’t like my acting. The academy didn’t point me out on anything, but my acting skills pale in comparison to everyone else. I can see that myself so how would the others see me? I don’t even want to imagine it. It scratches my pride.”
Yoojin stared at Maru’s eyes straight on. Maru wished that he could applaud her courage for asking such a question despite her embarrassment, and wanted to tell her the method, but he didn’t have any. Right now, the man named Han Maru was a mixture of the blessing that was the experience of a grown man, and the challenging mind that came from his youth.
To sum it up, his advice would be ‘to die once, meet god, and start over’. That wasn't valid advice at all.
“...Talent, I guess.”
“Whoa, you are so full of yourself…. What does she find good about such a guy?”
Yoojin went down first as she shook her head. Maru scratched his eyebrows as he followed. As they went half way down the stairs,
“Then the ones with no talent won’t get good no matter how hard they practice, huh?” Yoojin turned around and asked.
“That depends on how much effort they put in… is what I want to say, but I don’t like the word effort. After all, if those with talent put in effort, it would be impossible for those without talent to make up that gap.”
“You’re such a pessimist.”
“Better than being an optimist.”
“I am going to get acknowledgement in this movie just because I don’t wanna see you getting cocky. Talent? Hmph, persistence and effort will win over talent!”
Yoojin left through the emergency exit with a grin.
“...Then why did you ask?”
Maru licked his lips before walking slowly.
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Hm, I also like it when people other than Maru roasts Suyeon.
Conclusion. I just like people getting roasted, regardless of who does it to who.