Joongjin stood up as he rubbed his hands and left the office.
The building was quiet since all the actors that were practicing had left. Joongjin, who was scanning the building, stood in front of a mattress wall. He punched the thick mattress a few times before smiling in satisfaction.
“Hyung-nim, may I see them here?”
“Sure, go ahead.”
“Well then. Can you all stand in a line here?”
Eleven students stood in front of the mattress. Joongjin walked in front of them and scanned them from top to bottom. He made noises like ‘hm’ and pondered.
Maru looked at Joongjin who stood in front of him. He didn’t like how Joongjin looked like he was evaluating him. He felt like a mackerel put on display. Just then, he met eyes with Joongjin. Maru could see that there was a faint smile on Joongjin’s mouth.
Joongjin then left for the next student without saying anything.
“Yes, thank you all. First, I think I need to filter some of you that don’t fit my criteria.”
Joongjin picked out seven people.
“If you give me your number, I’ll give you a call when I need a crowd scene. You are a little lacking to be captured by the camera.”
He did not even mention what those criteria were, nor did he mention what he didn’t like about them. The seven of them left with bitter expressions. Choongho didn’t say much either. It seemed that he had left the appointment of actors entirely to Joongjin.
“The four of you, what are your names?”
Maru, who stood on the far left, started first.
“Han Maru, Kang Sooyoung, Ahn Bangjoo, Choi Joongi. Yes. I’ve committed them to memory now. I’ve picked you four because your eyes are alive. Of course, I did take into account your body figure as well. Your statures are similar to the lead actors who will act along with you. As for the action scenes, since hyung-nim can vouch for you, I guess I don’t need to worry about that. Oh, I almost forgot.”
Joongjin brought a camera from the office and started taking photos. All four of them were photographed.
“Does anyone here have experience acting? Not as a hobby, but like, for real. Raise your hand if you have experience participating in a drama or a movie.”
Maru raised his hand. The other three did not.
“Hm…. Mr. Han Maru, was it? I committed you to memory. Let’s see, your face is good, but I like your eyes the most. They do look a little too cold, but can you try smiling?”
Joongjin spoke as he moved up close with the camera. Maru made a faint smile. His employer told him to smile, what else could he do?
“Good. I’m getting inspiration. I think I’ll have you take that role. The role that dies. Yes, that’s good.”
Joongjin seemed like he was happy to death just imagining.
“The role that dies?”
“Oh! I guess I didn’t explain enough. It’s just a typical cliché. The death of a friend. It’s a rather old trick in the textbook, but it still works. You’ve just been cast in my movie. We’ll start shooting the movie starting at the end of this month. This applies to the three of you as well.”
Joongjin laughed heartily and shook hands with the four students. He was a peculiar man. It was unknown if he was decisive or complacent. He didn’t see anything, yet he said that all four of them were cast, which made Maru suspicious instead. He even wondered if this man was trying to rip money off them with that excuse.
“That’s the end of the audition?” Maru asked.
“I heard you were looking for an action actor.”
Hearing those words, Joongjin smiled.
“Good question. Let’s think about that, then, shall we? How many students in the country, do you think, have learned to do action acting? I mean, action is not just about punching and kicking.”
Joongjin smilingly looked at Choongho and asked for forgiveness for trying to look like an expert in front of a real expert.
“It has been five years since Kim Choongho Action School opened, and it has been two years since this large practice space was opened. Hyung-nim, what happened to the congratulatory wreath I sent you back then?”
“I threw it away.”
“No way, that was expensive you know? Anyway, what I want to say is that it hasn’t been that long since action actors have become specialized in this country. Did anyone here know that there was an action-specific acting school in this place?”
The four of them all shook their heads.
“See? Even people that are interested in acting, and have actual experience participating in a movie do not know that this place exists. Now, then. You asked why I don’t have you demonstrate your actions, right? I’m saying that I don’t need to. I have a general gist of your levels. Also, the fact that action director Kim Choongho over there picked you all means that you are capable to some extent, and I used that as my basis of judgment. As for the real action, we’re going to polish that starting now. With that hyung-nim’s skills, you four will become some of the most capable action actors in the country among those your age. Am I right, hyung-nim?”
“Probably,” Choongho replied with a confident expression.
“You know? I trust my intuition a lot when I work. And that intuition gave me the feeling that this movie will become a huge hit.”
This man had endless confidence in himself, and he said that the basis of his confidence was his intuition. Was he a hopeless optimist? Or was he a genius that sees something that the ordinary does not?
“Do you have any other questions?”
“When can we expect to receive a script?” Maru asked this time as well.
“You’ll be able to see one soon. For now, we’re going to start practicing part by part. Efficiency is the priority here after all. We’re planning to shoot at the end of August, so there are around 3 weeks left until then. During that time, you’ll learn basic acting from the action director. The centerpiece of a movie is its story, but the force that drives that story will come from the action, so you will have to do extremely well. Hm, I think it’s almost about time.”
Joongjin looked at his watch. Time for what? Maru looked at the entrance. Just then, he saw a white van stop in front of the building.
“There they are.”
Two men entered through the door. Although they weren’t that tall, their heads were small, consequently making them look like they had great proportions. As for their age, they looked to be in their late teens or the early twenties. It seemed that they were the lead actors for the movie.
“Those two are the actors that you will act with. They’re going to practice with you until the shoot begins.”
When Joongjin called out to the two at the entrance, they took a bow before approaching them. Behind them, a man with a heavy build followed with a phone in hand. He seemed to be their manager.
Maru watched the two as they approached them. He was familiar with their faces. From how someone next to him exclaimed, they might be rather famous actors. He wondered if he should start watching TV more. He didn’t know any actors other than the most famous ones.
“You know who they are right? I mean, they’ve appeared on TV a lot as child actors. This is Park Gwangsoo, and this is Cha Taehoon. You can get to know each other. You’ll have to see each other a lot for the next month or so.”
Gwangsoo and Taehoon greeted first. Maru greeted back.
“Ah, hyung-nim. I want our big actors to start their action education this week. Is that okay with you?”
“I don’t mind.”
“There are a few ladies, so I hope you can get a female coach for them. Oh, some will have to learn wire action, is there a problem with that?”
“I’ll teach them well as long as you bring them here, so don’t worry about it.”
“Alright. I’ll see what their timetable is like and schedule their time here.”
Joongjin started humming and started calling various people. Was he involved in casting and scheduling the actors as well? Normally, a ‘director’ would be in charge of everything during the shoot itself. Other than that, most of the things were handled by the production company. The production company provided everything else so that the director could wholeheartedly focus on making the movie itself.
In that sense, Joongjin was very eccentric. Although Maru couldn’t be entirely sure about it, it seemed like he was in charge of everything regarding the production of the movie. He was like the director and producer in one.
After giving many places calls, Joongjin closed his flip phone audibly.
“Well then, can you all stand next to each other? You should get into poses as well.”
Like a movie poster, they split up into threes and glared at the other team. Joongjin appreciated that scene from many angles before clapping in satisfaction.
“I think I should really go with these members here. Your proportions are good. Well then, Mr. Gwangsoo and Mr. Taehoon, you two will receive instructions from action director Kim Choongho here. It might be a little hard, but consider it as medicine and I hope you can make his skills yours. Hyung-nim, please take care of them for me.”
Choongho nodded as though to say that he should leave everything up to him.
“And as for the four of you, I’ll contact you within three days. You might have lines, but you might not as well. However, I can assure you that you will be on screen, so you can look forward to that.”
Joongjin gathered everyone’s attention with a clap and bid farewell after rallying the group. Seeing Joongjin hop his way out, Maru was reminded of a storm. Joongjin was like a storm that came suddenly and made everything chaotic before leaving suddenly as well.
Choongho led Gwangsoo and Taehoon to the office before telling the rest that it was over for today.
“Everyone’s on holiday so you’re okay timewise right? I’ll give you all a call once the schedule is set, so you can come here. I’m planning about three or four hours a day of practice. It might take longer if something doesn’t go well. Once you go back home today, I hope you can at least start running regularly. It will be hard to catch up to the rest of the class if you don’t have enough basic stamina.”
The rather peculiar audition ended like that. In any case, it was something to be happy about since he got another job. Maru sent his manager a text message. After a while, he got a reply that he should contact him again once it became official and he had to write a contract.
He had heard last time that it was very rare for minor roles, background roles and staff to write formal contracts. Most of the time, it was a verbal contract instead. He was told that it was customary not to write any contracts since the people working together knew each other.
That was one convenient custom. Wherever it was, the system was structured so that the bottom of the rung could be swept away easily. Telling them to write a contract was not an option either. The moment they mentioned ‘rules’, they would be excluded from the casting list without a word.
“Are we really shooting a movie? It doesn’t feel that real,” Bangjoo asked on their way to the bus stop.
“He was rather peculiar as a director.”
“Are auditions usually like this?”
“Hm… that’s hard to answer. Although his method was rather peculiar, the fundamentals are the same. After all, all that’s left after taking into account all the factors is intuition.”
“Well, I guess he did say that our action abilities must be on a similar level,” Bangjoo seemed to have accepted.
“Seonbae-nim, do you want to eat hamburgers? I’ll treat you. I got to learn action thanks to you, so I can’t just sit still.”
“Didn’t you eat a lot of meat?”
“It’s all digested already,” Bangjoo spoke as he tapped on his stomach.
Despite his small stature, his digestive capabilities were top-notch perhaps thanks to his sturdy build.
“How could I accept something from you? Let’s go, I’ll treat you.”
He took Bangjoo, who refused him to no avail, to a nearby fast food restaurant. Bangjoo ordered two burgers, a pack of nuggets, and a pack of fries as well as a drink. That was a lot for someone that just ate meat for dinner just an hour ago.
“You can eat all that?”
“Incredible. If you find it lacking, then you can order more.”
“I’ll feel sluggish if I eat too much. This is just enough.”
Now that he looked at it, the amount of food Bangjoo ate was comparable to Daemyung’s.
Maru chuckled as he saw Bangjoo eat. He was at the age where he could chomp on stones, so this must be an easy feat.
Maru sipped on his milkshake as he thought back to Joongjin who he just met. Was he a new director? Or was he someone with a career? Although he did meet him, he didn’t find out much about him. All he found out was that he was quite eccentric.
After having a look at the time, he called Geunsoo.
“Hyung-nim, are you okay taking the phone right now?”
-Yeah… wait a sec.
There was no word for a while. It seemed that he was switching places.
“It looks like you’re busy. Sorry about that.”
-Nah. Rather than that, what’s up?
“I just had something to ask. You’re the only one I could ask.”
-Okay, what is it?
“Do you know a person named Park Joongjin? He’s a director.”
-Park Joongjin? Yeah, I do. I don’t know him personally, but I’ve heard the rumors.
“Ah, it seems like he’s quite famous.”
-He’s very famous in the movie field. You should know the movie ‘Spring Calendar’ right? It’s a movie from ten years ago, and Joohyun-noona became a rising star thanks to that. She earned the title ‘the supporting role that gobbled up the lead role’.
 People send large ‘wreaths’ (I didn’t find any other suitable translation, look up ‘hwahwan’ in google images) in both ‘celebratory’ and ‘mourning’ occasions with ‘well wishes’ written on them. In this case, Joongjin sent Choongho one to congratulate him and wish him luck on his ‘business’ (action school)
Nothing from me this chapter