Chapter 554

“When I first met Sir Yoon, I actually didn’t feel anything. Naturally, I knew that he was a famous actor, but I’ve never seen his work after all. A kindly smiling senior was my first impression of him.”

Sungjae drank the rest of his glass before continuing to speak,

“Then I met him again at the shoot. Now that I think about it, I met Maru for the first time back then as well. He asked me for an autograph which was quite peculiar. He was really calm about it after all.”

“It’d be strange for a high school boy to fanboy over a male idol group,” Maru remarked.

Suyeon added ‘that’s true.’

“Anyway, the first day I met him at the shoot, he told me a lot of really important things. Actually, back then, I had somewhat of a victim mentality.”

“Victim mentality?” Geunsoo asked.

“One of the senior actors coughed when he saw me. Do you know what I thought back then? I thought that was his way of expressing his displeasure. I thought that that was his way of saying that an idol shouldn’t be here. Actually though, it turned out that he just had a cold.”

“You were being way too shy for a grown-up.”

“I was lacking confidence back then. I had a guilty conscience too. I felt sorry that I received an actor’s work after being successful as an idol, and when I looked at the actors with that kind of mindset, I thought they were all ostracizing me. It’s embarrassing to talk about it like this, but it was really bad back then. I even had the thought that that was what I got for being a traitor.”

“Maru, Sungjae’s quite innocent, you know?”

“I actually felt that quite a while ago.”

Maru smiled as he ate some food.

“Well, ever since I got a good scolding from Sir Yoon, I came to myself though.”

“What a kid.”

Suyeon pointed at Sungjae and giggled.”

“If he’s a kid, then so are you. You guys are the same age after all.”

“Hey, even though we’re both 27, there’s a huge gap between our mental ages, you know? I’m a mature lady, and you’re a kid.”

Sungjae was about to retort but did not in the end. It seemed that he had learned that he couldn’t win against Suyeon in a battle of words. Maru picked up the drink bottle and held it in front of Sungjae.

“You should drink when you feel bad.”

“Right?”

After pouring a drink for Sungjae, he poured one for the other two as well. Since this drink cost 60 thousand won per bottle, it tasted really good. He could drink something like this only when other people were buying.

“Idols or whatever. It’s laughable to put up an entry barrier to keep our plates safe. Who the hell cares about what people used to do? All that matters is acting skills,” Geunsoo said.

Suyeon, who was next to him, slightly frowned before he continued.

“I oppose the notion of acting being treated like some sanctuary. Of course, those that have half-assed acting can get insulted for all I care. However, I find it pathetic that people insult each other based on what the other party’s background is. No, it’s beyond pathetic. I’m angered by it. Actors need to be evaluated on acting skills alone. Good acting will definitely receive the light after all.”

“That only applies to people like you, Geunsoo-oppa, who have the acting skills to back it up.”

Suyeon rested her chin on her hands. Both of them looked slightly drunk.

“I think we’re past the age where we can become successful through acting alone. Of course, someone as good as you might be able to do it, oppa. These days though, the system relies on agencies most of the time. What good is being good at acting? There are fewer stages to show it off.”

“If it’s stages, it has increased compared to before. There’s cable TV as well. Since the number of people watching movies is increasing every year, the pie has increased.”

“But the difference between having someone behind you and not having someone is too big. You know how many actors disappear every year without being able to knock on the door of commercial media after having debuted in indie movies.”

Phew - Suyeon sighed before falling towards Geunsoo. Geunsoo used his left hand to receive Suyeon’s head before carefully pushing sideways. Suyeon tried her best to lean against Geunsoo’s shoulder, but Geunsoo’s left hand mercilessly and perfectly defended it.

“Are those two always like that?” Sungjae asked quietly.

Maru nodded.

“Even that’s considered close. A year ago, they were still using polite speech to address each other. No, I guess Geunsoo-hyung was the only one who did that.”

“That’s somewhat incredible, both of them.”

“The two of them aren’t exactly normal. Rather than that though, a movie, huh. Are you going to quit being an idol completely?”

“We’re doing well in our respective fields, so I don’t think we’ll have any activities for a while. President Park promised as well.”

“You belong to NL Company, right?”

“Yeah, why?”

“I met president Park Narim once. I got some tickets to your concert from her as well. Thanks to that, I scored some points with my sister.”

“The president did that? She usually doesn’t do something like that though.”

“Our president was with me back then.”

“President Lee Junmin? That makes sense. He’s one of the people she has a hard time dealing with. Perhaps she wanted him to see her in a good light. So, how was your first impression of her?”

“She felt like a politician. She was good with words as well.”

“That’s how she is.”

Maru ate a piece of sushi with fish eggs on it. The texture was pretty interesting.

“Who’s the director?”

“It’s director Lee Jincheol, and he’s known Geunsoo-hyung for a long time. I met him for the first time not too long ago, so I don’t know what he’s like. Well, I did get that he was a quiet person.”

“An acquaintance of Geunsoo-hyung, so that means he’s the director of the indie movie?”

“Yeah. It’s his first try at a commercial movie.”

“Can I ask which places invested in it?”

“I thought you’d be interested. It’s SC. SC Cinema.”

“The same place that invested in the production of Twilight Struggles, huh. It belongs to the SC Group[1], right?”

“Yeah. Thanks to them, we get to procure hundreds of cinemas to air the movie in as long as we finish producing the film. When I see situations like this, I can sort of sympathize with Suyeon. The investor even has its own cinema branch. How many film actors can survive after going against their wishes? No matter how good the final piece is, it’s not good for anything if there isn’t a place to air it.”

“The dream of all film actors is to shoot a movie that can surpass all of those conditions. A film that everyone wants to see will have to go up in cinemas.”

“You’re right. This is a bit different, but in the case of music, there are some people who rise with skills alone. Even in Hongdae, there are many indie bands with large fanbases.”

At that moment, Suyeon, who had been struggling to get herself on Geunsoo’s shoulders, said something.

“But every one of them wants to become major. Why do you think that is? It’s obviously for the exposure. Indie bands, they’re good. I have a lot of teams I like as well. But they disappear quite easily. There’s no music without food in your stomach after all. With that being the case, Geunsoo-oppa!

Suyeon, getting encouraged by her drunkenness, latched onto Geunsoo. Geunsoo wrestled with Suyeon before standing up.

“Looks like I’ll have to get some fresh air.”

“Wait for me.”

Suyeon followed Geunsoo, who sighed as he walked out of the room.

Maru looked at them as he chewed on some pineapple. At this point, Geunsoo was practically enjoying it.

“How did you get to know Geunsoo-hyung? A get-together?”

“The first time we met was back when we had a get-together for Twilight Struggles. Back then, we didn’t even talk much. We just greeted each other out of formality. We never meet during shoots, either. Then, I went to the get-together after the film was released because I wanted to see Sir Yoon, and we introduced ourselves properly at that time. Though, we got properly close when Miso-noona held a drinking occasion with the two of us.”

“I thought it’d be like that. You must have had a hard time drinking with the two then, huh? Miso-noonim usually drinks until her limit once she starts, doesn’t she?”

“So you know about it.”

“I had to massage her back several times. A woman who’s over thirty was… geez. She doesn’t know how scary the world is.”

“It’s strange when you put it like that. What’s even more strange though, is that it suits you.”

“I do look a little old. With the right hair style, I think I’ll be able to pass off as thirty,” Maru said as he combed his bangs backwards with his hand.

Sungjae laughed.

“Anyway, that was really unexpected of Miso-noona. She couldn’t be scarier during her lecture, but she’s kinda cute when she drinks. She was crying and sniffing, and I really had the urge to shoot a video of her.”

“Hyung, did you take videos?”

“No, I didn’t. I don’t want to die early after all. Geunsoo-hyung said that she’d kill me.”

“Well done. You’ll really get killed, and you won’t even know why.”

“She’s getting married in May, right?”

“Yeah. There’s not long left. Man, I already feel sad for the teacher who’s going to live with her for a lifetime.”

“I was also surprised when I heard about it for the first time. A school teacher, huh. Doesn’t that only appear in movies?”

“Teacher Taesik is a winner in life.”

“Yeah, that’s right.”

Both of them laughed. Miso-noonim in a wedding dress, huh. He couldn’t imagine it that easily. It would fit her more if she ripped that dress and abduct Taesik during the wedding instead.

“Rather than that, I’m kinda envious. You get to be a lead actor.”

“It still doesn’t feel real to me either. Well, it also doesn’t feel like I didn’t get the role with my skills.”

“If you don’t like it, you can always give it to me.”

“I’m going to cling onto it like my life depends on it. I spent all this time as an idol in order to grab opportunities like this after all. For now, I’ll start with getting the title of a ‘skilled idol actor’.”

“Sheesh, I wonder what my president is doing.”

“Should I tell that to president Lee Junmin?”

“Hyung-nim, here, receive a glass from me and forget about it.”

He poured a glass before pushing it over to Sungjae. It was pleasant to drink since the alcohol content wasn’t that high. Maru looked at the door. It had been around five minutes, but the two of them did not return.

“Were we interrupting?” Sungjae asked.

“No, we’re the guardian angels.”

“Guardian angels?”

Maru just smiled back at Sungjae who looked at him in curiosity.

“Oh yeah, I’m watching the drama.”

“Really?”

“I’m watching it in the van while travelling. The character seems to be similar to you, right?”

“I was lucky.”

“You should really wear your glasses. I think people will recognize you more that way.”

“Are you serious?”

“When I first made my debut, I went around in my stage outfit. It’s quite fun, you know? Now, I can’t even reveal my face in public, but back then, it was really enjoyable to see people looking at me half with doubt from afar.”

“I was forced to change my name to ‘Lee Chan’ at school for a few days, and from that, I don’t think I enjoy someone recognizing me like that.”

“Is it annoying?”

“Rather than annoying, it’s embarrassing. I didn’t show anything much, nor did I do anything much, but they still kept calling me by the character’s name, so it felt rather strange.”

“Maru, you’re quite strict with yourself, aren’t you?”

“Personally, I don’t think that’s true, but what do you think?”

“I do feel like you’re lashing out at yourself from time to time. You’re doing plenty well now, but you seem quite urgent too. Though, maybe that was just during the acting classes.”

“Urgent, you say… I guess you’re correct about that. I’m actually quite eager to become successful right now too.”

“I think that’s good. For me, such obsession was what motivated me. It’s similar when I look around. There are kids who are fixated on success among the aspiring idols around me. And most of the time, it’s kids like them who succeed. After all, they’ll do anything to get it.”

“Did you do anything you can as well?”

“I spent my time passionately as an idol, and that’s how I got this opportunity to become a lead actor.”

“...I know that it might be rude and foolish of me to ask this, but should I try being an idol as well? I’ll rise to the top ranks first and then get the roles.”

“Hm.”

Sungjae looked at him with a piercing gaze. Maru looked back at him in a serious manner.

“From the perspective of a company, you won’t make the cut because of your face.”

“I knew it.”

“Right now, the softer-looking ones are the ones that work against people. Some places seem to be preparing idols that focus on masculinity, but it’s unknown whether the market is ready to accept that or not.”

“Do you also look at the trainees applying to NL Company from time to time?”

“It’s one of my important schedules.”

“Suddenly, you look like a big-shot now. Please take care of me later.”

“Likewise. Oh right. I heard that it’s going to be released next Wednesday.”

“What’s going to be released?”

“Director Park Joongjin’s movie. Didn’t you participate in that?”

“I did. But I didn’t know that it was going to be released.”

“I thought Miso-noona would have told you about it.”

“Looks like she’s quite busy with the wedding. Is it getting released next Wednesday?”

“Yeah. That makes it your 2nd film, right?”

“Yes. Though, I didn’t have many lines and just rolled around in the dirt in the mountains.”

“Go watch it and see if the action scene came out well.”

Maru rested his chin on his hand and sighed.

“I wonder when I will be able to stand in the same line as a director during movie previews.”

“Once you become a lead actor, of course.”

“I guess there’s a far and rocky road ahead of me.”

“It won’t take that long. Here, have a drink and cheer up.”

Maru faintly smiled at Sungjae who picked up the drink bottle.


[1] Group as in a group of companies/conglomerate.

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KTLChamber's Thoughts

Big reveal! Sungjae and Suyeon are the same age!

Editor's Note:
Suyeon and Geunsoo's dynamic is honestly so good. Quality entertainment.