Maru wondered why he was called. For now, he went to where producer Changsung was. Moonjoong and Giwoo stared at him from the side.
“Did you call for me?”
“Yeah. Uhm, can I ask you for a favor?”
Producer Changsung looked at Giwoo for some reason as he asked Maru. Giwoo smiled in embarrassment.
“I want you to do some acting.”
“I’m not in this scene though.”
“Not as the 2nd beggar, but as Han Myung-hoe.”
“As Han Myung-hoe?”
Maru realized why producer Changsung was giving glimpses at Giwoo. Maru looked at Giwoo as well.
“Please. I just can’t get a grasp on it,” Giwoo spoke in a small voice.
“Producer. I don’t think anything will change just because I’m the one doing it.”
It wasn’t that Maru was feeling pressured. It was just that Giwoo, who played the role of Han Myung-hoe, was right in front of him. He felt like he was eating out of another’s plate.
“Why don’t you just try it once?”
Maru looked at the elder who said to him that it was okay. From looking at how things were going, it seemed that Moonjoong mentioned him first. While Maru felt thankful that Moonjoong was saying good things about him, he would only receive jealous stares if things kept going on like this. The producer was one thing, but he was worried about his relationship with Giwoo.
“If you can’t, I guess producer Han needs to do some hard coaching.”
Moonjoong spoke with pity.
“Uhm, Mr. Maru.”
“I asked the producer to ask you since sir Moonjoong told me that it would help a lot to watch your acting. The producer told me the general direction of the scene, but I can’t get a grasp on it. Rather than doing fixed acting, I want to try to solve it, and the producer wants that as well. Please help me out just this once.”
Giwoo scratched his head as he smiled. It didn’t look like a childish smile.
“I know that it’s too much to ask of you, but I want to see it anyway. Although sir Moonjoong taught me, it’ll be better for me if there’s someone around my age that I can refer to.”
“Are you really okay with that?”
Acting was an actor’s pride. It was really not easy to make such requests on set like this, but Giwoo seemed to be worried more about the fact that he wasn’t able to show a satisfactory act than his own embarrassment.
“Please. I want to see it.”
The person in question gave permission. Maru made a bitter smile before looking at producer Changsung.
“What do I need to do?”
“The cut where Han Myung-hoe exchanges a conversation with senior. The lines are…”
“I remember them from watching.”
“That’s good. Let’s try it out for now, and if I still don’t get a satisfactory picture, I will go into the details. Giwoo, you’re okay with that too, aren’t you?”
“Yes. Sorry for asking you to do such a thing. Everyone’s being delayed because of me.”
“It’s because of my desire to get a good picture, so you don’t need to feel sorry. Well, then senior. Please.”
In this dark place where there were no lights, he had to show a short skit without a camera rolling. Maru stood in front of Moonjoong.
“This is the first time we are acting together after the movie, huh.”
“Then, I’ll have to ask you to take care of me.”
“Please don’t say such a thing. You’re giving me pressure.”
Maru looked at Giwoo who stood next to him. Giwoo nodded his head. Maru also replied as he pulled in his chin.
“Then I’ll start.”
Maru straightened his chest and his waist. When he was playing the beggar role, he had shrunk his body back even while he wasn’t on camera. It was to create a contrast to Gaeguk, who was bold despite having a status that wasn’t welcomed by anyone.
However, the role he had to play right now was not the 2nd beggar, but Han Myung-hoe. He was a greedy child who dreamed of becoming successful from young so that he would never get abandoned again. It wouldn’t make sense to show a shy attitude.
Maru looked at Moonjoong and calmed his breathing. Various emotions were surfacing on Moonjoong’s face. The gentleness of one who took in someone who his brother had abandoned flashed by before anger overtook it when seeing that very boy hang out with a group of beggars.
“The reason I permitted you to stay when you came to ask me for shelter was because I saw the light in you. I believed that your extraordinary talents would make our family rise again. Yet, you’re here hanging out with a beggar. Aren’t you embarrassed?”
There was a hint of worry in that scolding tone. The tone of words didn’t one-sidedly lash at the other and instead, induced the listener to think. It was possible to figure out that hint from Moonjoong’s expression and tone of words. The form of the emotion was clear enough to be transferred to the viewers who would be watching through a screen. Maru inwardly exclaimed and prepared his next line.
If the producer had a specific request, he would follow, but right now, it was up to him. He had to dig deep into the character with just the text and express the character as much as possible.
Han Myung-hoe. He was someone who walked on the line between a heroic vassal and a disloyal subordinate. However, that evaluation was given to him by the later generations. In his time, he was very powerful and well-known. Whether it was a disloyal subordinate or a heroic vassal, the ones that climbed up to the top were not ordinary. He became a gatekeeper only in his 30s after failing the national exams many times, but he became a meritorious vassal after displaying his stunning intellect in the coup of 1453.
What he was acting now was the younger days of such a person. He shouldn’t be such an obedient guy.
Maru looked back at Moonjoong in the eyes. He predicted that the young Han Myung-hoe was bold enough to go against the a.d.u.l.t of his family that took him in. However, he also thought that Han Myung-hoe should have some nervousness because of the fear that he might be thrown out to the streets again along with his little brother if he went against the will of the man in front of him.
He wondered how he should express the two clashing emotions. Under the condition that the camera was shooting his entire body, he had two options.
His face and his body.
Expressions were direct. It would give the other party raw emotions. On the other hand, the body was subtle. If a smiling man was shaking his legs, then he was trying to cover up his nervousness by showing a leisurely front.
How was he supposed to express the mental disparity of standing up for his friend Gaeguk and the wish to look good in front of Han Sang-jil? Maru decided to follow the textbook. He loosened his fist and clasped his hands to show that he was compromising, he showed his attitude by not avoiding Moonjoong’s gaze, and he showed his fear with his slightly shaky voice.
“I am aware of what you’re worried about. However, I do not want to become a cruel person that throws away his friends. When you took me in, great uncle, I was also an abandoned baby. I do not think there’s a difference in me being thrown out by my family, and this fellow being thrown out into the streets.”
“So you’re saying you will stand up for him and hang out with him until the very end?”
“I just do not want to become a shameless man who loses a good friend.”
When he said his lines, he ended up changing a few words because he was swayed by his emotions, but he didn’t think much about it. It was just practice anyway. It would be fine as long as he showed Giwoo that this was the general gist of it. Though, he didn’t know how helpful this would be.
“I think that’s about it,” he said as he looked at Giwoo.
“Mr. Maru…. You’re good.”
Giwoo clapped in applause. Maru awkwardly smiled and turned around to look at producer Changsung.
“Is that enough?”
“I think it’s enough. I feel sorry for Giwoo, but if I got that on camera right now, I would have given an okay immediately. Senior, this one’s good.”
Producer Changsung approached Maru and patted Maru’s back strongly. Maru quickly ran away when he felt the sharp pain from his back.
Only after he heard Moonjoong’s compliment did he feel relieved.
“But you weren’t as good as you were in the movie. It’s just lacking.”
“If I want to do that, I would have to hang onto this line for days. Please let me go this time.”
“There you are sounding weak again. You should always be ready to show it when people order you to.”
“I’ll prepare more next time so that you can order me with a press of a button like a vending machine.”
After exchanging jokes, Maru walked away. He walked towards the rest of the minor actors when Giwoo came to him and started walking next to him.
“Thanks for the help. I got a grasp thanks to you.”
“That’s good. But I was really awkward so it shouldn’t be very helpful.”
“Not at all.”
Maru clicked his tongue as he saw Giwoo turn around. He was young, yet he had the air of a pro around him. It was surprising how he admitted what he lacked and tried to improve himself. People around his age would usually have a hard time doing such a thing, but he looked very trustable due to his kind-looking face.
As soon as he returned to his place, the shoot resumed. When the younger actors asked him what he was doing there, he just said that he stood still.
Maru sat down on the ground and rested his chin on his hands before watching Giwoo and Moonjoong. The camera captured the two. The scene that made several NGs started again. He wondered how it would be now.
“...When you took me in, great uncle, I was also an abandoned baby. I do not think there’s a….”
Giwoo’s line could be heard.
Maru frowned a little. Giwoo’s tone, posture, and expression were surprisingly similar to the act he just did. His lips were softened, his eyes were raised, his neck was tense, and his hands were clasped. Maru stroked his chin with his left hand. It was quite curious. It was as though Giwoo had done dozens of practices.
Maru thought that Giwoo would interpret Maru’s own act in his own way, but he was creating a completely identical scene. It was to the point that it didn’t feel awkward at all. Maru clicked his tongue as he watched Giwoo. He felt like he was the one standing there instead.
“Cut! That was very good!”
Producer Changsung’s satisfactory shout could be heard. The shoot was finally over now. The staff thanked each other for their efforts and started putting away the equipment. Maru also got changed and got ready to go to the residence that the TV station had booked for the actors.
Giwoo, who had changed into casual clothes, approached Maru and said. Maru smiled and replied.
“You were really good back there.”
“Not at all. Rather than that, how was I?”
“Did I look like I imitated you too much?”
“No. It didn’t feel like that at all. It was perfectly original.”
Giwoo smiled and extended his hand.
“Please take care of me in the future too.”
Maru grabbed that hand lightly.
“I’ll have to ask you for a favor from time to time then. I’m not very good, so I have a lot to learn. Then see you tomorrow.”
Giwoo went on first while leaving behind a hearty laugh. Maru also let go of his hand and went to return his clothes.
Just then, he saw Uljin hurry and catch up to Giwoo. The two looked like they had something to talk about. Maru just looked at the two without thinking much, but at that time, he met eyes with Giwoo. Giwoo nodded with a courteous smile before turning around again. Uljin followed him once again. He looked like he was explaining things to him.
Maru shrugged his shoulders before starting to walk. It was probably nothing much. Uljin was probably making excuses about his actions on set or asking him not to tell others.
“Hyung, let’s go!”
Maru headed to the residence with the younger actors who were waiting for him.
 Again, Han Sang-jil is Han Myung-hoe’s grandfather. It’s probably meant to be Han Sang-duk.