He locked his fingers and stretched his arms downwards to crack his wrists. Minute spasms starting from his wrist went up to his elbow.
That director, he knew how to make the most out of people. Director Park Joongjin, who was wearing a flowery shirt, stared into the monitor for a long time before raising his head. From his appearance, he looked like a man from the neighborhood who came here to look around, but that man’s requests were truly scary.
“Let’s do one more take on master 8. A long-take this time. Actors, please get into your positions. Background actors, please come over here.”
Groans could be heard. Maru stood up and dusted his knees. Bangjoo, who was lying next to him, also g.r.o.a.n.e.d as he stood up.
“For now. How about you, seonbae-nim?”
“I’m on the verge of collapsing. Please do my worth as well once I actually do.”
“Don’t say such a scary thing. That director looks like he’ll really make me do it.”
The actors who were lying on top of the mattresses started standing up one by one. They were action actors led by the action director Kim Choongho, aka the ‘Kim Choongho brigade’. Maru had lost count of how many times they fell down on the ground today.
Maru extended his hand to Sooyoung and Joon-gi, who were lying down next to Bangjoo. These two had a really hard time today. They did stunts after stunts after stunts. When the director picked these two out for their good stature, the two rejoiced, but their current states spoke for themselves. The two people who were filled with vitality in the morning looked like they were about to give high-fives to the grim reaper.
“I’ll eat my hat if I shoot anything else with that director.”
Those were Joon-gi’s words.
“You’re going to eat your hat? I’m going to quit being an actor.”
And those were from Sooyoung.
The two gnashed their teeth as they stood up. The four of them slowly walked towards Joongjin. The actors gathered with their backs towards the sea. Regardless of whether they were lead, support, or minor actors, they were all sweating like mad. They were unsure whether the salty smell was from the sea or was from their bodies.
“Let’s change the movement lines a little. From here to here, it’s two steps. I saw you running three steps last time, so remember that it’s only two steps. Oh, and Miss Miso. Please teach these two how to look natural when looking at something. As for the two of you over here, fall on your left shoulders. Also, look at the camera. As for the jumping height, I think your c.h.e.s.t height should be good. Also….”
Joongjin spoke as he stroked his beard. His detailed requests for their acting started once again. The shoot usually vastly differed according to the director’s style, but Maru didn’t know that it could be like this. Absolute control. A genius’ method of doing things was to control ordinary people with absolute perfection.
‘But I didn’t know it was this bad.’
Seeing Joongjin, who explained things as he pointed at the ground, Maru remembered back to ten hours ago, when he just arrived at Yeouido station.
* * *
Bangjoo greeted energetically in front of the station. The people around were startled since it was early in the morning as they looked at Bangjoo, but he didn’t seem to care. Why was Maru in charge of being embarrassed? Maru immediately approached Bangjoo and hooked his arm around his neck.
“Tone it down a little.”
“Have you slept well? You were energetic last time.”
“This is the first time since elementary school that I couldn’t get any sleep because of nervousness. It was just like my first ever school picnic. Do you see these under my eyes?”
Bangjoo seemed to have spotted some freckles on his face, but in Maru’s eyes, Bangjoo was the epitome of healthiness.
“Have you had breakfast?”
“My sister emptied everything when she came back from work last night. Maybe she got stressed out by something.”
“So you have an empty stomach right now?”
Maru took the smiling Bangjoo to the convenience store and bought a rice ball, some bread, and some milk. Bangjoo ate his light breakfast while they waited for the train.
“You should really eat breakfast. Unless the meetup is early morning, no one will give you breakfast.”
It was 5:10 a.m. They got on the first train and went to Yeouido station. When they left through the 3rd exit, the coach for the movie was waiting for them. They checked attendance with the staff before getting inside the coach.
Inside were Kang Sooyoung and Choi Joon-gi, who, like Maru and Bangjoo, played friends of the main protagonist. Childhood friends A through D had all gathered. As the time neared the departure time, more people started getting in the coach. Most of them seemed to be students. Perhaps some of them were older than 20, but they all looked to be high school students.
Maru closed his eyes as soon as he sat by the window. He got a message from the director two days ago. He was notified to get plenty of rest since the shoot was going to be hard. Bangjoo liked that message since he thought that the director was kind, but the first thing Maru did when he saw that message was to sigh. After all, it meant that the shoot was hard enough to the point that they had to notify even the minor actors. He couldn’t be entirely sure since he didn’t know director Joongjin’s progression style, but with precursors like this, he could somewhat imagine what it was going to be like.
“There are a lot of people.”
“Do you think they’re all aspiring actors?”
“Most of them are probably here for a part time job, or are considering it as a field trip.”
Maru slightly grabbed Bangjoo’s lips with his right hand.
“Bangjoo. I get that you’re excited, but you should really get some sleep. It’s a tip I’m giving you as someone experienced. Once you get off this coach, you’ll be spending lots and lots of stamina, so you should save up now.”
“And tone down your voice.”
Maru awkwardly nodded to the students who looked their way and closed his eyes. Bangjoo seemed to be unable to hold back his excitement as he kept moving around even after the coach departed, but he became calm the moment they left the Gyeonggi province. Maru slightly pinched the snoring Bangjoo’s neck before looking outside the window.
‘This is the second time.’
This was his second movie shoot after Twilight Struggles. He wasn’t delinquent 1, who only had a single appearance. He now played a role with a bit of significance. He was ‘Floppy friend B’. Actually, he didn’t have many lines. What was important was the action. The director chose action to express the younger days of the characters that would be played by a.d.u.l.t actors. From the synopsis, it sounded like a stereotypical mafia movie, but since the director was dubbed a genius by people, he kind of looked forward to what kind of twists it would have.
The shooting location was Gunsan in North Jeolla province, near Gunsan port. There was no better background environment to show manliness than the saltiness of the sea. Maru pictured all of the action moves he had learned until now in his head.
Hearing Bangjoo’s voice, Maru opened his eyes. The coach was stopping. When he looked outside the window, he saw an old school building. From how there was a signpost that said ‘Dreaming Gallery’, it seemed to be a closed school.
Maru stretched his arms out as he stepped on the ground. His bones were creaking since he had been sitting still from Seoul to Gunsan. And he was young too.
Bangjoo took in a deep breath as though he was a mountain climber that just arrived at the summit. His face was practically shining. Maru was going to calm him down since he looked like he was going to explode with expectation for the shoot, but he decided not to. No amount of talking seemed to suffice. He just let Bangjoo be. After all, once the shoot started, any excitement was going to end and it would be an endless stream of boringness.
“Seonbae-nim. I’m so excited for it.”
“Don’t be. Shooting a film isn’t such a fun thing.”
“I’m looking forward to the shoot, but more than that….”
Bangjoo, who was short, tip-toed, and looked afar. Maru also looked where he was looking. There was a black van. In front of the van was a girl wearing a deep brown hunting hat, a checkered miniskirt, and ugg boots. Ugg boots? In this weather?
“She’s Kwon Dayoon. I’m a fan of hers even amongst the girls of Blue.”
“Looks like you like her quite a lot.”
“Of course. Dayoon-noona is the dope in my class.”
He knew what it meant, but he really couldn’t get used to saying it. Was it because he was old? He really had a hard time following young people’s trends.
“I should get an autograph.”
“Hey hey, get yourself together. Why are we here?”
“For the film shoot.”
“Is the film shoot work? Or play?”
“Ask her for one once the shoot ends and everyone starts clapping. No, before that, you should figure out the director’s personality. If you act like that in front of strict directors, they’ll swear at you immediately.”
“If you’re really curious, you can always try it out for yourself.”
“I’ll give up on it then. I’m not here to play around after all.”
He patted Bangjoo’s shoulders.
“But they won’t say anything to me if I just look at her like this, right?”
Bangjoo looked at Dayoon who stood afar in disappointment. Just then, they were told to gather in front of the school entrance. The students that got off the coach walked towards the front door. The word ‘Believe’ was written on top of the yellowed-out white paint. School mottos were always similar wherever it was.
“Get changed into these school uniforms and drill uniforms, and change with the people next to you if it doesn’t fit you. If it’s too baggy, we’ll give you paper clips to size them down.”
The staff didn’t speak to them in polite speech. There was a small commotion among the students, but they soon quietened down.
“Listen and do as I say. Don’t delay the shoot by doing unnecessary things. Understood?”
The staff scanned the group once before leaving.
“Who the hell is he?”
“I don’t know.”
“Who’s he to order us around?”
The students all started complaining, but when that staff came back, they all shut up.
“Let’s get changed,” Maru said to Bangjoo.
Sooyoung and Joon-gi also got a pair of clothes and stood up. It was much better to get some rest after getting changed rather than complaining. Nothing would change even if they grumbled about it anyway.
“I wonder what the director is like.”
“Maru, didn’t you get to talk to the director a few times?” Sooyoung asked.
“How is he? Is he strict? I got that he’s a strange guy from when we first met, but I don’t really understand in detail.”
“Well, I don’t know either. He’s a strange fella to describe. You should experience it for yourself.”
The figure of Joongjin he saw in the high-class restaurant last time flashed through his head. Just what could describe his ‘style’ when he pressed down on cooked meat with his fingers? He couldn’t tell at all. It was only possible to find out by experiencing the shoot itself.
They stopped talking and changed their clothes. Changing their clothes in public practically became normal for them now. Although female staff passed by, they didn’t mind each other.
“Should we do move number six as a warm up?”
Sooyoung spoke as he tried clenching both of his fists.
“That sounds okay.”
The three others surrounded Sooyoung. The one that spoke was always the main character. In move number six, the main character would get beaten up. They simply did the actions they repeated numerous times in the action school. At first, they were shy in their actions in fear of hurting another, but right now, they looked quite good since they were able to ‘attack’ without restraints.
They could hear other students exclaim as they watched. Sooyoung seemed to be excited as he was exaggerating his actions. After a while, his fist tangled with Bangjoo and they both fell down together.
“Hey! Don’t get the clothes dirty!”
Hearing the staff’s shout, Sooyoung made an awkward smile.
It seemed that all the equipment entered the building as the props vehicle seemed rather empty. The busily moving staff members couldn’t be seen either. It seemed that they were working inside.
Just then, a van entered the school field. The white-colored van stopped before a tall man got out. It was Lee Hyuk, who had cut his hair short and was wearing sunglasses. He was one of the main characters in this movie.
“Wow, he’s good-looking.”
“It’s Lee Hyuk!”
Joon-gi was the one that spoke without any change in his voice, and the one that jumped around was Bangjoo. Bangjoo, this boy, seemed to like all celebrities.
“He’s one of my favorite actors. I was really impressed after seeing his action in ‘Violent Crimes Third Department’.”
“Was he good?”
“Yes. He was really good.”
Just as he nodded, other vehicles entered the school field in series.
The main actors were finally here.