Chapter 564

“Are you a person from the school?”

“No. I’m here to meet producer Park Hoon who’s shooting here.”

“Ah, I see.”

The youth nodded before making way while gesturing to someone. Geunsoo parked his car before getting off. The school parking lot had a few vans, presumably belonging to some of the actors.

There was no one on the school field, so they were probably all shooting inside. He walked inside the school building through the right entrance. The 1st floor was very quiet, so he took the stairs to the 2nd floor. He started hearing voices halfway up the stairs. It was someone’s bold voice. It seemed that the shoot was still going on. Geunsoo walked close to the wall worried that he might interrupt them. He saw some staff members surrounding the monitor in the corridor and in the middle of them was producer Park Hoon. He got to know Park Hoon through director Choi Joonggeun not too long ago. The guy who lives a tiring life and refuses all ‘requests’ from agencies - that was Joonggeun’s introduction of Park Hoon. After that, they rarely met because they worked in different parts of the industry, but still maintained contact.

He leaned against the wall and watched the shoot for a long time. He saw some students absorbed in acting through the classroom window. He also saw Maru, sitting in the corner of the classroom. It was actually quite weird to see him in glasses.

“Okay, let’s take a break,” Park Hoon said.

The quiet corridor became noisy in an instant. The staff, who were crammed in the narrow corridor, sighed in relief and scattered around. Geunsoo smiled at the staff members who glanced at him as they walked past before approaching Park Hoon.

“Director.”

“Oh, you’re here. Looks like you have lost some weight since the last time I saw you.”

“I have to reduce my weight.”

“Working on something?”

“Just one.”

“A film?”

“Yes.”

“Joonggeun, that fella, always said that you’d become big one day. Do you think this will be the piece that will make it happen?”

“Actually, I’m not that interested in popularity. If it goes well, it’s good, and if it doesn’t, I’ll be satisfied as long as I can enjoy acting.”

“Investors wouldn’t want to hear that.”

“That’s why I’m telling you about it in a small voice.”

Park Hoon laughed in a small voice as well.

“So? What brings you here? Doesn’t look like you’re here to see me.”

“I am here to see you, on the side anyway.”

“Well, thanks for that. Coming here to see me on the side. So, why are you here?”

“To take him.”

Geunsoo pointed at Maru, who was looking at the script in his seat.

“Han Maru, you mean?”

“Yes.”

“You two know each other?”

“We belong to the same agency. He’s a junior at school before that though.”

“Gimme a sec. Where did Maru belong again?”

“JA. Of course, that makes me a JA person too.”

“Right. The kid under Lee Junmin. Is the president doing well?”

“He’s doing a little too well that it’s making us tired.”

“The people who live busily are mostly healthy. Folks like me, who move busily once in a blue moon due to work usually die from over exhaustion. Is the president still finding new talent?”

“I’m not so sure. He likes working by himself, but I think he meets them at least once or twice a year. He met Maru like that too.”

“His eyes for actors are incredible. He keeps picking up gems in this vast land like picking up rocks. If he sets his mind to it, he’ll probably take all the gems for himself.”

Geunsoo stayed quiet while Park Hoon gave out orders and just looked around. The shooting location was filled with vitality. Lots of equipment and even more numerous people. This was hard to see at indie movie shoots where they had a limited budget.

Young people, who seemed to be actors, walked in front of the director. They glanced at him, curious about who the new guy next to the director was. Geunsoo smiled and looked at them. The people that met eyes with him greeted him awkwardly before walking away.

“Looks like you aren’t popular at all.”

“I have no ties with dramas after all.”

“Why don’t you ask the president to get you one? With his connections, you’ll be cast in a mini-series from the three main stations in an instant.”

“I like films for now. Before, I was a die-hard fan of plays, but ever since I shot a movie, I fell in love with it.”

“You’re in a different league, you’re saying?”

“Don’t people value drama actors more highly these days?”

“If it is about the money, it does look like dramas will surpass film soon, but there’s a difference in mindset that will never be overcome. Especially among actors.”

“Fortunately, I don’t have anything like that.”

“That, I know. If you were that kind of person, you’d have probably splashed drinks at me on the day you met me with Joongjin.”

“Looks like I’ll have to be careful with my words in front of you next time. When’s Maru’s scene going to finish?”

“I think it’ll take about an hour, give or take. Since you’re here, why don’t you take a look around? Even if you decided to rot in the film industry for life, you won’t know what will happen. You might end up working with me.”

“If that happens, please take care of me.”

“If it’s JA Production, I’m the one who’s thankful.”

Geunsoo accepted a cold drink from Park Hoon.

“How’s Maru?”

“He’s good. He’s a pro.”

“In what sense?”

“In the sense that he does just enough for the money he gets.”

“Hahaha.”

“I’m not saying it in a bad sense. He knows what kind of role he has. It’s not like he doesn’t have any desires, but he doesn’t think about overdoing things so that he can rise up. Also, it’s quite fun to see him from time to time. He’s the boss at acting.”

“Boss? What do you mean?”

Park Hoon pointed at the three people in the corner of the classroom. Maru, a boy with a sharp-looking face, and a girl in her early twenties were sitting in a group. Maru seemed to be at the center.

“If you keep watching them, Maru really knows how to match the others. At first, I thought that was just his personality, but whaddya know? I found out that he’s acting excited on purpose after I talked to him.”

Just then, laughter could be heard from the three of them. The boy with the sharp-looking face grabbed Maru by the collar and shook him. Maru, who was grabbed, laughed like a little prankster.

“He knows that that’s what’s good for him. To be precise, he knows that it benefits him,” Geunsoo said.

Two years ago, Miso called him excitedly about being an acting instructor at Woosung High and then one day called him again in an angry voice. The situation was quite simple. A conflict occurred in the acting club, and Maru just solved it in one go. Geunsoo asked her why it wasn’t a good thing since it was solved. When he heard his method though, it wasn’t something to laugh about.

Maru’s ways were quite extreme. There was a quite commonly used expression that went ‘you need an external enemy to put down internal conflict’. Maru literally became that external enemy to extinguish the conflict within the acting club. The people that growled at each other became of one mind and turned their hostility to him. A boy in his 1st year of high school did not hesitate at all when breaking apart his own personal relationships. Even adults had a hard time making right of wrong relationships. His lack of hesitation, his choice, and his actions - Maru decided to be the devil’s advocate, and as a result of that, the relationship between everyone else, except him, became sturdier.

When he heard that, Geunsoo thought that it was quite like him. On the day he first met Maru, on that rooftop, and during that get-together, he had a brief glimpse at what was inside him. A kid who was realistically worried about an unrealistically far future. Someone who was strangely fixed on efficiency. The fighting spirit or recklessness usually possessed by boys around his age did not exist inside him, and he was only thinking about how to stably gather income.

He had definitely changed a lot now compared to two years ago, but he still did not hesitate to put himself down for the environment. Some might call it a sacrifice, but in Geunsoo’s mind, that was definitely not it. During the acting club incident two years ago, if Maru received practical damages as a result of his actions, Maru would not have played the devil’s advocate. It might be a cold evaluation of him, but back then, the acting club was perhaps just one of the ants on the road, which he could give up at any moment without any consequences to his feelings. Of course, while the individuals that were a part of that club might be important, the frame that was known as the acting club was probably useless to him.

“He’s an interesting kid. He doesn’t try to look cool. He’s not doing that in order to look good. Should I call him a natural? He’s just naturally used to doing things like that. It's like how I smile at my president even if I don’t want to.”

“He’s a realistic kid after all. Wasn’t there a problem at the beginning of the shoot?”

“There was. The boy next to Maru is called Dongho. He has decent skills, but we couldn’t make progress with the shoot because he froze up. I watched him and thought about calling him out separately to talk to him about it, but Maru struck first.”

“What did he do?”

“He shouted a bunch of swear words out the window, saying that it was vocal exercise.”

“Oh my lord.”

“Back then, I thought he was a little weird in the head. But when I watched him, it turned out that he’s really smart, eh? Should I say that he thinks deeply? Or that he uses his brain in a sneaky way. Thanks to that, I grab him from time to time to talk.”

“You found a good conversation partner huh.”

“But it really feels quite weird to talk to him. Maybe I’m an idiot for complaining in front of a high school kid when I’m over forty.”

“He’s someone who even talks to sir Yoon Moonjoong over a drink.”

“Seriously?”

“He’s one of the drinking friends that he cherishes.”

“Now I feel even more that I should get closer to him. One of my wishes was to shoot a drama with senior Yoon too. Maybe I’ll get to talk to him if I ask him?”

“Sure, you can try. I’m not sure it’ll work on him though.”

Park Hoon laughed silently before waving his hand. Geunsoo also knew that he was joking. He was someone who detested ‘requests’. Of course, he’d probably welcome a light meeting to get close.

“Can I watch while you shoot?”

“Sure. It’d be even better if you can teach them. There are many cases where hidden experts teach young disciples.”

Geunsoo shrugged before stepping back. Park Hoon looked at his watch before telling everyone that they should start getting ready. When the staff members around him talked into the walkie-talkie a few times, the scattered staff members and actors all returned to the classroom.

Geunsoo found the face of someone who he wanted to avoid and quickly turned away. However, it seemed that he couldn’t escape that woman’s field of vision.

“Geunsoo-oppa. What brings you here?”

She was the teacher-in-training, right. Seeing Suyeon wearing formal attire, Geunsoo made an awkward smile.

“Are you here to see me?”

“You know that I’m not.”

“Acting embarrassed, are you? How cute.”

“Why don’t you trust me?”

Suyeon smiled before leaning forward towards his face. Geunsoo became slightly flustered and took a step back. He could get back at her if she used words, but he was defenseless if she attacked him physically like this.

“What a pity. If there weren’t any eyes around, I would’ve left a hickey.”

"Phew....."

"I’m happy that I'm getting to know your weaknesses, Geunsoo-oppa. But what really brings you here? Are you here for me? Or is it for him?"

Suyeon pointed at Maru. Geunsoo nodded.

"How cruel. You came to meet a boy instead of a cute girl like me."

“I get it so get going already. The shoot must be starting soon."

"They're still getting ready."

"Then go check your script or something."

“I can recite everything, including other people’s lines without a single mistake.”

Geunsoo sighed in a small voice. It was easier to deal with her when he completely ignored her before, but now that they had gotten a little closer, he felt like she was leading him by the nose. Not to make excuses, but at times like these, he regretted not dating because he was busy. He honestly didn’t know how to deal with women like her.

“You’ll hate me if I tease you too much, so I’ll let you off here. Then, see you later.”

Suyeon waved her hand and walked into the classroom. Geunsoo tried to put on a poker face in order to endure the gazes of the staff who looked at him with weird gazes. He then met eyes with Maru inside the classroom, and Maru smiled as though he understood everything.

‘I suddenly feel exhausted.’

Geunsoo crossed his arms and leaned against the wall.

It was time to remind himself of the scariness of creatures known as women.

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KTLChamber's Thoughts

I kinda like this producer.

Editor's Note:
So cute. Geunsoo x Suyeon is adorable. Also, always interesting to see how 'actual' adults see Maru.