Chapter 286

Moonjoong’s act began soon after. The camera shot Moonjoong from above. It seemed that the camera was shooting in the perspective of the delinquent. Maru watched Moonjoong’s act from up close. Up close, Moonjoong’s act was something that he could not describe with words.

The encouraging words they exchanged just now seemed insignificant in front of this scene. Maru turned around to look at Jiseok. He had a bitter smile on his face as though he was thinking the same thing. Although they weren’t saying anything in fear of being picked up by the microphone, Maru wanted to sigh if he could make a sound. He thought that he could do better. However, the okay sign fell, so he, who was just a minor role, could not ask to reshoot that scene.

“Do well. I’ll nag you if you don’t. You took the role I wanted to do, so you have to do well.”

Jiseok smiled and patted Maru’s shoulders. He didn’t have to say it for Maru to know that. He had prepared everything for this scene. He participated in the movie precisely to do these two lines. If he could not show the best, he might go crazy from the frustration.

At that moment, Moonjoong, who was lying on the bench, stood up and came to him. He had deep eyes as he spoke,

“I’ll receive anything you throw at me so go ahead and show me all you got. Make me make a mistake because of you; hurl all your emotions at me. Doing things moderately is something I hate. Do you understand, Maru?”

“Yes, elder.”

Moonjoong sat back down on the bench with a soft smile. Maru received encouragement. He was also told not to hold back. All that was left now was for him to throw everything he got.

He had to ram his underhanded, evil, yet pure emotions that feel that his life is still okay compared to the old man’s into a single line.

Maru closed his eyes to adjust his breathing. He breathed out very slowly in order to slow down his heart rate. He felt relaxed somewhat. Now that he had become calm, it had become much easier to make a cold smile.

What was left now was for him to forget himself. He had to immerse himself in his role. He had to become a rotten delinquent. He had to say his line with a lot of malicious intent so it won’t just make the people here frown, but the audience in front of the screen frown as well. 

‘Do I say the words slowly? No, I think I should do it a little fast.’

Maru edited the line he had been practicing for all this time on the spot. He put himself down. His ultimate objective was to make the character have a personality to himself, but right now, he had to focus on representing the character perfectly. He could be greedy, but too much greed was no good. Maru was aware of what he could and what he could not do. He had to reach that line just slightly. He couldn’t cross the line and overdo it, nor could he be so lacking that it would make him look weak.

He had to stand on that border. As for the character’s personality, that came later.

The assistant director signalled for him to get ready.

Maru stroked his face before standing upright. Jiseok stood next to him while the three others had their back to him. He looked at Moonjoong lying down on the bench. The elder had gotten into his acting mode again and his eyes were shaking. Sympathy welled up inside him subconsciously as he looked at an old man at the end of his rope, but Maru killed that emotion immediately. What he needed right now was not sympathy but self-satisfaction from trampling on such a feeble man.

After Moonjoong’s cut ended, the camera was set again. This time, the camera took a lower angle. This time, the camera was looking up at the delinquent from the elder’s view. This was the last cut of this scene. Once he turned around after saying his line, his contribution in this movie would end there.

Retarded old man. What was he doing here at his age? He’s drunk and wasted at a time like this? What a waste of a life. What a meaningless life. If you’re gonna die anyway, then donate your wallet to us at least. Wouldn’t it be better to give your money to a promising youth? You moldy old man.

He inwardly said those words in his mind. His lips twitched subconsciously. Although the camera wasn’t rolling yet, it didn’t matter.

What a complacent old man. What a tragic old man. What a disgusting old man.

Heh, a loathing laugh escaped his mouth. He could feel the director looking at him, but he didn’t mind it that much. He knew that all the emotions he built up would collapse the moment something else got on his nerves. Right now, it was the moment to immerse himself.

“...Good, let’s just go like this. Don’t make a loud noise with the slate. Don’t interrupt him. Just like that, yes. That’s it. That expression, that twisted mouth, just like that.”

He could hear the director’s words in his ears, but he did not listen to any of them. It just went in one ear, and out the other. He forgot about everything except the word he was waiting for.

He felt a series of words ready to roll out of his mouth. Not yet, he couldn’t say it now. He had to say it after that word.

“Action.”

That word was small.

Maru abruptly raised his head and looked at the camera with an arrogant gaze. No, to be exact, he looked at Moonjoong, who was behind the camera with his arms crossed. That was the place. That was the place he had to round up every last bit of his emotions and spit it out to. Moonjoong nodded his head slightly. To Maru, that seemed like the director’s cue sign. Just like an arrow leaving the bowstring, Maru uttered the line he had repeated in his head hundreds of times on top of his loathing smile.

The thick lump of words passed through his throat. The words were then sharpened by his insinuating tongue, passed through his teeth, brushed past his dull lips as it was uttered out loud.

The words of a delinquent that was immature, violent, and one that seeked an unreachable ideal.

The quality of words uttered once is different to the quality of words uttered a hundred times - this line came up in his subconscious. If so, then was he satisfied with the words he just uttered now?

The words he uttered came back to his ears. He inwardly savored the words that entered through his eardrums. He wasn’t satisfied easily, but the lines he just uttered were at an acceptable level. He would be able to look at the video footage and not be embarrassed about it.

He looked at the camera lens and closed his mouth. He did his line. He did not make any mistakes. At that moment, he became absent-minded as though the factory that was his brain had stopped functioning. He was vaguely aware that he had to turn around and leave, but he had forgotten about it because he was focused on the words too much. The words he uttered just now were the best he could do. Anymore was impossible, and if this scene ended up being no good, it would be extremely difficult to put himself back into the state he was in before. Just as he thought that it was about to fail,

“It won’t be funny if you tell the cops on us, understand?”

Jiseok waved the wallet and pulled on Maru’s arm. Thanks to him, Maru was able to turn around naturally. When he took his feet off the ground, he saw what he had to do. Turning around, Maru slowly walked away from the camera.

At the same time, he heard the director shouting ‘cut!’

“That was a nice help from me, wasn’t it?” Jiseok said with a smile.

“...Yeah, thanks,” Maru said with a sigh.

If Jiseok didn’t grab his arm, he would have stood there like some dumb idiot. He was feeling thankful to Jiseok who had noticed that and acted in accordance.

Strength left his body. He collapsed on the spot and turned around. He saw Moonjoong nod at him with a thick smile.

“Well done. I couldn’t have done it as well as you.”

Jiseok gripped Maru’s shoulders. Maru smiled and stood back up again.

That ended his first, and his last scene in this movie.

* * *

Joonggeun rewinded the camera. The camera was supposed to be doing a knee shot, but it was doing a shoulder shot instead. The camera director, who took the shot, sucked his cigarette.

“I thought this would look better.”

Hearing those words, Joonggeun stroked his chin.

He had told the camera director to fix the camera on the knee. That was because it was more suitable for Moonjoong to be looking at the overall scene, not just at one single delinquent. However, the camera director had ignored his instructions and zoomed in on Maru’s torso.

Usually, this would mean a retake. It was natural for his motivation to not use that cut in the actual film since it wasn’t in his plans, but… the new picture was so good that he couldn’t just throw it away.

“He’s a good one. Just look at his eyes. He’s looking beyond the camera. He has depth in his eyes. Are you sure he’s a rookie?”

Joonggeun nodded his head when he heard the camera director’s words. It was a good shot. He didn’t have the confidence to take a better shot than this. Even if he asked the young actor to do this again, he wouldn’t be able to make those same eyes again. It was the perfect moment. Despite the camera director having disobeyed orders, the impression left behind by that young actor was very deep.

“It would’ve been better if it was a tilt shot instead.”

“You know that it’s nearly impossible to retake the shot. This fella, he’ll never be able to make the same expression again even if we told him to.”

“That’s why I find it a pity. Give me a drag.”

Joonggeun stole the cigarette that the camera director was smoking and sucked in a deep one.

“Should I have a look as well?” Moonjoong suddenly approached and spoke.

Joonggeun told him to go ahead as he pointed at the monitor. Moonjoong watched the video feed with serious eyes.

“I think we should go with this.”

“We’re thinking the same thing. Rather than that, you taught that kid, didn’t you, senior?”

“Nah, I did nothing. I just brought him around with me a couple times.”

“That’s considered teaching. That fella, he’ll definitely become big if he meets the right work.”

“So, you want him?”

“As a minor role, yes. He’s still too young. He does feel like an adult, but due to his childish looks, there’s a limited range of roles he can take. He has no choice but to wait for the right opportunity if he wants to shine in the movie industry.”

“High school kids are plenty grown up though.”

“Well, I guess that’s true since kids grow up really fast these days.”

Joonggeun tossed the cigarette he was smoking on the ground and put it out with his shoes. The camera director told him that that was his last one, but Joonggeun simply ignored him.

“Well then! Thanks everyone for working late into the night! Let’s pack up and get some sleep!”

Joonggeun said in a loud voice. It was past midnight already.

“Clean up so that there isn't any trash left behind. After that we’ll go to the lodging!”

The assistant director’s words echoed around.

Joonggeun stretched his arms out, feeling refreshed. Nothing felt better than getting cuts that were beyond what he expected. He thought that he should have some soju when he got back.

“Director, you can’t drink tonight.”

The assistant director approached him and spoke with scary eyes. Joonggeun clicked his tongue and pouted.

“Yeah yeah, I get it.”

* * *

He didn’t do anything much, but he felt exhausted. The nearby elementary school was their lodging for the night. The elementary school had closed down and it was used as a gallery. As the only place they could wash was the toilet, it was impossible to take a shower.

“Here, take some wet wipes.”

Maru and Jiseok received wet wipes from Geunsoo. Maru wiped around his neck thinking that it felt similar to the military[1].

“Well done, both of you. The director was all smiles.”

“That’s good. I was worried about it.”

Maru spoke as he laid out the blankets. He could hear bug noises outside.

“You must be tired, go get some sleep. Thanks for all your work today.”

“You did the work, senior.”

“You should get some sleep as well, hyung-nim.”

Maru lay down next to Jiseok. He could smell wax from the wooden floor. It felt nostalgic to him. The lights turned off and the classroom, which was devoid of any light, turned dark in an instant. Just as they were gazing at the stars outside,

“You sleeping?” Jiseok asked.

“I am.”

“Then answer me while you sleep.”

“I said I’m sleeping.”

Maru scratched his head and sat up. He felt tired, but for some reason, he didn’t feel sleepy. Even though he felt like he had exhausted both his body and his mind, he just couldn’t fall asleep for some reason.

“How was today’s shoot? Were you satisfied?” Saying that, Jiseok also sat up.

“For now, I don’t have any regrets. It might not have been perfect, but I think I did a decent job.”

“What the, I wanted to console you, but I guess my consolation skills won’t come in handy.”

“You told me I did good, what were you going to console me about?”

“Then console me. I feel frustrated.”

Maru looked at the side of Jiseok’s face. He was smiling, but he looked bitter for some reason.

“You did good. You made me feel fortunate for not getting your role.”

Jiseok swung his pillow. Being hit on the head, Maru just shrugged.

“If you’re so frustrated, then you should’ve done better.”

“Urgh, you’re so cocky.”

Maru grabbed Jiseok’s shoulders and forced him to lie down. Then, he lied down as well. Jiseok, who was smiling, closed his mouth. Soon, Maru heard a regular, calm breathing. Maru faintly smiled as he looked at Jiseok who fell asleep easily. This guy was really unpredictable.

“Thanks.”

Maru closed his eyes.

The cries of the insects could still be heard. Jiseok’s laugh could be heard amidst the noise as well, but Maru smiled and pretended not to have heard it.


[1] During field training exercises in militaries, there isn’t a facility that allows you to get washed at the end of the day, so soldiers wipe their bodies with wet wipes they pack beforehand. I know this because I have first hand experience… 

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KTLChamber's Thoughts

I feel like I was overexcited for nothing... Well, I guess we'll see the results when the movie is out

EDIT

Holy nuggets. I messed up release timings again. Oh well. You can have two chapters...