“Wow, fan service from the first shoot?” said producer Park Hoon as he waved the cup in his hand.
On the disposable cup was a photo of Kang Giwoo smiling, and inside the cup were pieces of fruits cut into bite sized pieces. Giwoo smiled in embarrassment.
“Looks like there’s a reason why the popular ones are popular,” said Dongho as he twirled the pieces of fruit inside the cup.
He didn’t know what was going on when a truck suddenly entered the school premises just after lunch, but it turned out it was something like this.
“Being popular sure has its good sides.”
Joomin ate the fruits with a bright smile on her face. Dongho just licked his lips and hesitated for a while before putting down the cup without eating any.
“You aren’t eating it?”
“You can eat all you want.”
The first shoot didn’t go well. Actually, he didn’t want to treat Joomin so coldly. Who would want to distance himself from a cute noona?
Joomin smiled awkwardly and avoided his gaze. Dongho inwardly sighed. He didn’t want this to happen, but nothing was going the way he wanted. If the shoot went well at least, he would have spent the break in comfort and maybe even joke around with Joomin. However, right now, he felt very stuffy inside.
“If you aren’t eating it, I will.”
Dongho looked next to him with a displeased face. Maru chewed on the fruits with a face that didn’t look worried at all.
“Noona, being famous does really have its benefits. The fans give you dessert, and even if they don’t prepare anything, they can boast about you. Maybe this is why people are so hung up on popularity.”
“Right? I didn’t care about things like these when I first started acting, but I came to realize after working for a while. In the end, what I want to be is a popular actor. Acting is fun, but it would be even better if I am loved by the people, right?”
“You’re right. The more you have the better. It’ll be great if you can catch both popularity and acting. Being a popular star is much better than being a tragic actor. Honestly speaking, how many things are more important than money in this world?”
Maru was speaking while winking one eye. Dongho snorted.
“How many things are more important than money? Is that what you’re thinking? Well then, our Mr. Grumbly Dongho. What kind of mindset do you have when acting?”
He was flabbergasted. He was going to ignore Maru since he thought that there was nothing to be gained from talking to him, but Maru hooked his arm around his shoulders.
“Tell me. There are two people listening to you here.”
Dongho felt stuffy in his mouth as though he just ate a handful of sand.
“Why would I tell you anything?”
“Your acting philosophy. I’ll listen to you.”
“Like I said, why would I tell you something like that?”
“Then try telling Joomin-noona only. I’ll just stay quiet on the side.”
How can someone be so shameless? This Han Maru guy was completely unpredictable since there were so many discrepancies between the first impression of him, his actions during the shoot, and this situation now. Dongho didn’t get what he was thinking or what he wanted to do at all.
“It’s break time anyway. We should talk about something.”
Maru was creepily attached to him. Dongho tried to push him away, but he didn’t budge as though he was made of stone or something. Going by body figures alone, there wasn’t that big of a difference, which made it so strange.
“You know? Acting is the act of expressing the impossible. It’s creating what there isn’t.”
Dongho said what he heard in class. He even plastered those words on the wall since he found them so deeply engraved in his mind.
“Wow, what good words. I feel like that touched my heart. Noona, don’t you think so too?”
“They are good words,” said Joomin.
Dongho felt proud. Now you get it? I’m different from you. Just as he was making a smile of victory, Maru spoke,
“But that’s that. I was asking what your acting philosophy was. Don’t define what acting is, and tell me what you act for. It must be as cool as the line you just said, right?” Maru said as he crossed his legs.
His gaze was directed towards the sky. Dongho became speechless.
“Why do you act, noona?”
Maru changed the target of the question.
“Because I want to be popular.”
“That was fast. For me, I want to earn money. I want to earn a lot of money and feed my family all the good things, and buy only good clothes for them. That’s the best kind of life, don’t you think?”
“It is, it is.”
Maru spoke again,
“So, Dongho, what’s yours? Why do you act?”
“I-I act in order to reflect on myself.”
“Wow, self-reflection. That’s one good word after the other. So what is this self-reflection about?”
“Self-reflection is self-reflection, what else can it be?”
“I’m not that smart so I don’t understand difficult jargon like that. Liking money, liking fame. How simple is that? Even a dumb kid like me can understand easy things like that. But I don’t really get self-reflection. I don’t know what you’re trying to say, what you’re trying to do, or why you act.”
He sweated. Dongho tried to find a suitable answer before becoming angry.
“Why do I need to tell you something like that!” He shouted in a fit of anger.
When he did, Maru smiled back instead.
“That’s it, that’s more like it. If you don’t like it, you don’t like it. If you like it, you like it. If you’re annoyed, you’re annoyed. If you hate me, then hate me. Let’s make things easy and actually say what’s on your mind. Why do you need to tell me something like that? Do you think I’m asking because I have some big interest in you or something? Of course not. I might be much better off asking what Joomin-noona likes and doesn’t like instead.”
Maru’s face closed in on his.
“You asked me why I kept asking you questions, right? Because I need to know. Only when I know will I decide if I’m going to pretend, snap out at you, or whatever. The director said, didn’t he? This will be a year-long shoot. We’ll be seeing each other from now on whether we like it or not. You know? This is my first time doing a supporting role. This is a golden opportunity for me, and I don’t want to ruin such a precious opportunity.”
“It’s also an important opportunity for me as….”
Before he even had time to finish, Maru interrupted.
“Then why is that all you can do? Do you think you can do things half-assedly just because you’re a side character and not a main character? Or are you that good? Are you good enough to be acknowledged by the director?”
“Because I’m not. I’m not good enough at acting to get an okay from him when I don’t take it seriously, nor have I made myself known to enough people that I’ll get another opportunity even if I miss this one. I have nothing, so I have only one conclusion. I will do anything it takes. You asked me why I kept asking you questions? I did so because I want to be closer to you even if it’s just a little. I’m not expecting something like friendship. I just want to be at a level where I can pretend to be close to you in front of the camera. I told you right, we should at least pretend. You told me you can do it.”
After saying those words without even breathing, Maru picked up the cup with fruits in it with a sour face.
“You said you aren’t eating this, right?”
Dongho could only stutter.
“Someone I really respect once told me, yeah?” Maru said as he looked in front of him.
“That person said that I shouldn’t put on a lie when I act, that I should stay true when acting. But that is actually something incredibly difficult to do. It’s easy to say, but I wouldn’t survive if I wanted to do something like that. I don’t dare to either.”
After chewing on something, Maru spat out a persimmon seed.
“What can I do if I can’t stay true? I can only pretend. Pretending to be close, pretending to cry, pretending to be sad. But ‘pretending’ by myself gets me nowhere. My partner should match my pretense.”
Maru forked a piece of pineapple and gave it to Joomin. Joomin made a confused expression before accepting it. Dongho frowned.
“Here, say ah.”
Maru gave him a strawberry. Dongho shook his head, saying that he didn’t want it, but Maru was forceful. He eventually gave up and ate it.
“I know you don’t like me. I would be an idiot if I didn’t. But the thing is, I can tell that even when the camera is rolling. If it is obvious to me who’s right next to you, how blatantly obvious would it be to the director? No, it would actually be okay if you actually expressed your hate towards me openly. However, you smile awkwardly at me since you’re in front of the camera, and you have a weird expression on your face all the time.”
Maru closed his eyes and scratched his brows. Dongho couldn’t find any words to reply.
“You know that you, I, and Joomin-noona are a bundle. There are many scenes where the three of us are together. If the director gets mad, he will snap out at all three of us, but I don’t want to be wrongly accused.”
Maru emptied the cup before chewing it vigorously.
“That’s why we should get to know each other. You can swear at my face. You can also talk bad about me behind my back. But you have to at least look like we’re close friends when the camera’s rolling. That’s what the script says, doesn’t it? That we are best friends.”
“...So what do you want me to do then?”
“I’m saying that we should have a talk. Even if you hate me, you have to hate me after you get to know me properly. If you hate me awkwardly because you don’t know anything, it will show when the camera’s rolling. Either you completely turn away from me and make this into a business relationship, or we stay close normally too. Let’s decide on that first. Don’t get upset all by yourself and drag others down with you when you go down. Joomin-noona, you’re alright with that, right?”
Joomin said that she was okay with it as though she didn’t even need to think about it. Dongho sighed.
“I really don’t like you.”
Maru then replied,
“Who said I liked you?”
* * *
“Look at them.”
Park Hoon tapped on the new producer, Kim Minjoong’s head, before pointing at the young actors. Three people, standing next to the goalpost, were talking to each other.
“They’re getting along well.”
“Does that look like they’re getting along well to you? I’m not sure about Joomin, but Maru and Dongho are practically swearing at each other. It would be fun if they got into a fight.”
“Oh, really? Should I go and stop them?”
“Nah. They’ll take care of themselves. They aren’t popular enough to receive care from their agencies, so if they get into a fight, we just cut them off. I really don’t like that guy. Geez, was I wrong in the head when I did that audition? Why the hell did I pick that little shit?”
“You mean Seong Dongho?”
“Then did you think I would be talking about Han Maru? If he looks like he won’t improve after we shoot the 2nd episode, we should just cut him off. If we roll team B and edit the scenes, it will be easy to fill up a supporting character.”
“May I go and give them some advice?”
“You can try. But you sound like you have a lot of time, minding people like that. From what I know, you are supposed to be remaking the time schedule since Kim Suyeon can’t come to some of the shoots.”
“Oh, that? We just have to get one scene early Wednesday.”
“Really? That’s strange. Senior Kim Daesik, who’s in the same scene, said he can’t do early mornings. Am I the only one who got told that?”
When Park Hoon narrowed his eyes and said those words, Minjoong turned pale in fright before standing up.
“Work properly will you? Before you have time to care about the actors, you have to look after your own work.”
“Get it adjusted quickly. Don’t just leave a gap.”
Park Hoon rolled his script up and hit Minjoong’s head lightly with it.
* * *
“Yeseul, that girl. I wonder if she’s a kind girl, or just a little lacking in the head.”
“I’m not sure about Yeseul, but I get that you sure are a little lacking in the head.”
“Lee Chan, that’s how you treat me?”
“What ‘that’s how you treat me?’. Forget it and just give me back my notes from yesterday. Though, you probably didn’t study at all.”
After Maru’s words ended, the camera moved off to the side. Producer Park Hoon gave the okay sign.
Okseon quietly looked at the two people. The two were terrible in shoots in the morning. But ever since lunch, the number of NGs decreased, and now, they were getting okay signs faster than anyone.
Did that mean the two got along well? Well, that wasn’t it either.
“You should have rolled your tongue a little more there.”
“Shut up. What I did was right, you know?”
“Even if I advise you, you don’t take it seriously.”
“Is that even advice? ‘Roll your tongue’?”
While the staff members moved the equipment in order to switch locations, Maru and Dongho kept quarrelling in one corner. Who’s better and who’s not - they were being childish. What was funny was that even though they looked like they were about to fight, Maru would hang his arm around Dongho’s shoulders, and Dongho would strangely smile even while being frightened out of his wits.
Are they perverts? Okseon could only think of it that way. Those two were an incomprehensible duo.
‘Though, he’s strange too.’
Okseon looked at Giwoo. He looked polite and was smiling on the surface, but from time to time, he would make an evil grin. Though, she didn’t care that much, since it wasn’t like she was going to become close to him. Okseon lost interest and looked at the script. She didn’t really care. As long as the shoot went well, that is.
* * *
“Okseon might actually be quite a lonely girl,” Joomin said.
“Why would you say that?”
“We met eyes a couple of times. She looks expressionless on the surface, but perhaps she’s waiting for us to talk to her?”
“I don’t think that’s what it’s about though.”
When Joomin tilted her head, Dongho added.
“I know. Girls like her think about strange things in their minds.”
“Okseon is not a pervert like you,” Maru interrupted.
“Why do you keep picking a fight with me?”
“Then do you want me to whisper love into your ears?”
“Urgh, you’re making me puke.”
Joomin smiled faintly when she saw the two talking. What she thought was going to be a horrible relationship looked somewhat better now. It would be great if the two got closer in the future.
“Hey, hey. Let’s go,” Maru said as he grabbed Dongho’s arm.
Dongho grumbled but still moved.
Joomin looked at the two before following them.Previous Chapter Next Chapter
Dongho sounds like the kind of anime character whose face would turn red easily and snap out at the main character for saying embarrassing things.
I hope Dongho grows up quickly cuz I'm already tired of him.