She turned off the tap and raised her head.
“I’m completely burnt.”
She wiped the moisture off with a paper towel and applied some sunscreen again. It wasn’t that she had given up on becoming an actress so she had to take care of her skin at all times. Just as she turned around after wiping off the excess sunscreen on her hands, Kwon Dayoon entered the bathroom.
How thin. She thought that the girl might snap with a touch. When she saw her on TV before, she gave off the impression that she was just skinny, but now that they met in real life, she looked worrifully thin. It wouldn’t be strange even if she fell over right now due to anemia.
Dayoon lowered her head and stood next to her. Since morning, the two hadn’t talked about anything in private. Ever since she heard those words from director Joongjin, she always parroted ‘I understand’.
“It’s hard, isn’t it?”
Miso spoke out to her first. It wasn’t her style to pretend that she didn’t see it.
“Eh? Ah, yes.”
Her face looked like she didn’t know what Miso was talking about. Miso smiled bitterly. As an instructor, Dayoon was the type of person that would annoy her the most. Someone that called herself an actress was shooting a movie without even knowing the basics. If she wasn’t paid for this, she would have shouted at her to do things properly.
However, as an individual who was also a member of society, she pitied Dayoon. This woman looked like she had a lot of circ.u.mstances. She always looked uneasy as though she was being chased by something, and sometimes, she even looked desperate as though she didn’t know what to do. Though, how many celebrities actually led easy lives was up to debate, but was she desperate enough to be dictated around by the director?
Dayoon, who was just fidgeting with her fingers under the flowing water, spoke.
“Is it fine for me to keep doing what I’m doing?”
Dayoon heavily raised her head as though there was a weight attached below her chin. Miso replied as she looked back into her empty eyes.
“That’s what I want to ask. What do you want to do? Are you going to keep listening to the director’s and my words? Or are you going to try something?”
“I don’t know….”
“If you don’t know, then just do it. Don’t think about it. That will be easier for you.”
Dayoon made a loathing smile. She kept washing her hands even though they were clean.
“Can I continue to live on as an actress?”
“I wouldn’t know. But like this, you won’t last long. After all, acting isn’t such an easy job. Though, no job is easy.”
Miso threw away the wet paper towel before leaving. The sun was setting. If the heat of the day was something sharp that pricked the skin, the heat of the evening was the stuffy one that made one tired.
While fanning herself with her hand, Miso walked towards the car that handed out lunch boxes. During the day, Kwon Dayoon’s fans supported them with the lunch boxes and for dinner, they were given lunch boxes by fans of Yoo Joongang. There was a ‘good luck’ sticker on the cover of the plastic container. Popular models sure had it good.
She was going to eat alone since she didn’t know anyone here, but just then she saw Maru who was also receiving a lunch box. The two met eyes, but Maru just nodded before turning around.
When she called out to him, he turned back around and sighed. She flicked her fingers. Maru approached her slowly. But he dared to sigh?
“Are you eating alone?”
“Yes, I’m eating alone, you satisfied?”
“You should eat with the director.”
“Gosh, don’t even mention him. He kept talking as he ate during lunch, and I wasn’t able to eat anything because of that. I couldn’t entirely ignore him since he was acting like an excited child. Look over there.”
Miso pointed at Joongjin, who kept following camera director Kim Jangsoo around, while she held the lunch box in her hands. The two seemed to be on close terms as Jangsoo shouted at director Joongjin to shut his trap. However, it wouldn’t be director Joongjin if he listened to those words, so his mouth would probably not stop.
“He is a little talkative.”
Maru waved his hand at three people who were walking away from him. They seemed to be his friends. When she looked closer, she saw Bangjoo as well.
“The four of you, you seemed to talk with the director a lot during the day. What did you talk about?”
The four minor actors changed the entire atmosphere for the afternoon shoot. Director Joongjin, who always one-shotted almost everything, had started to take more cuts after the brawl scene. That was the first time she saw a ‘three’ on the take number on the slate.
“We told him that we want to change the acting.”
“Oh, that’s why he started shooting more. That’s strange. He might look soft, but he has a stubborn side so I didn’t think he would accept opinions from other people.”
“He’s rather peculiar. He’s also quite different from how he looks.”
Miso looked at Joongjin who was laughing amongst staff members.
“I admit that he’s a peculiar person.”
“But what brings you here, instructor?”
“To do some acting coaching.”
“Yeah. This is the first time I experienced something like this.”
Miso looked at Dayoon who walked past her. The lifeless face she showed in the bathroom was gone. There was only a strong-willed lady that cheered others up around her and endured the hard filming with a smile. Seeing her greet each and every staff member she came across in a polite manner, Miso got the impression that Dayoon was indeed a pro. Saying that something hard is not hard had to be the biggest burden pros had to bear in front of the public.
“It must be hard.”
“Nah, just talking to myself. Rather than that, I looked at the script. It seems that the four of you won’t have any more shoots after tomorrow, right?”
“Yes. We’ll be done after just two days.”
“Good for you. Maybe I shouldn’t have taken up his offer. This is no fun. Should I ask if I can do a cameo?”
“I don’t think the director will allow that.”
“I know. I just tried saying it.”
Miso ate the shrimp tempura inside the lunchbox. It was supposed to be crispy, but it was soggy as heck.
“Is it doable?”
“Is what doable?”
“Acting. No, I mean being an actor.”
“Yes, it’s somewhat doable. It’s not hard physical labor, and I’m used to waiting now.”
“That’s good. There are plenty of people who can’t adapt.”
“I will have to endure. No matter what happens.”
“You sound pretty determined.”
Miso turned to look at Maru. He looked pretty tragic, scraping off every last rice grain into his mouth. It was as though he was like a physical laborer going off to construction sites every morning. Maru was putting strength into chewing. Miso shrugged when Maru looked like he knew full well the meaning behind every meal. She even felt like there was another face under his facial skin.
“What happened to your movie audition?” Maru asked as he put down the spoon.
“I failed. Pretty cleanly too.”
Miso was eating slices of kiwi when she said that and suddenly flicked Maru on the forehead.
“I had almost forgotten about it too. Why did you have to bring it up?”
“I just asked out of courtesy. Rather than that, when are you going to marry Mr. Taesik? I mean, you two aren’t exactly young right now.”
Miso glared at Maru. Maru flinched and started moving backwards.
“Just get ready to come and eat some food.”
“Looks like you’ve greeted each other’s parents already.”
“Yes, we have.”
“Congratulations. I was wondering when I’d get to eat noodles, but it looks like I might be able to eat some within the year.”
“It’s next year though. Since I’m getting married, I might as well get to be the bride of May.”
“Ah, the bride of May. It must be expensive though since that’s the season for it.”
“You know all sorts of things huh.”
Maru brushed the rest of the food into his mouth before standing up.
“I’ll get going then. I still have stuff to consult with the others.”
“Fine, you can go.”
Miso also closed the lid and stretched her arms out.
The sun had set already.
* * *
Changsung clapped to thank everyone. The countryside shoot schedule of three days was finally over. The coup scene with more than a hundred people was also finished without a hitch. Although there was a long time until that scene aired, they shot it early because of the weather.
“Thank you for all your work.”
“My dear little main characters. Well done.”
Changsung massaged the shoulders of Lee Uljin and Kang Giwoo who came to say thanks. Although there was a lot of controversy during the beginning of the shoot, their acting was clean now as though they had adapted to the situation. It was especially the case with Giwoo. His childish side was gone. Even other middle-aged actors praised him for his weighty acting.
“Let’s work hard for just a few more days. There’s not long left.”
Changsung encouraged the kids before looking for Jinhyuk.
“How is it? Did those guys say that they were okay with the schedule?”
“Just barely. They might join us late on the set, but I don’t think there will be any delays in the shooting. But what do we do about tomorrow? The forecast said it would rain and that’d be a big problem for us since we’re shooting outside.”
“If it rains, then it rains. Just get prepared so that the old folks don’t catch a cold.”
“I’m going to get a heater and some heat packs. Oh yeah, Giwoo’s acting has gotten a lot better.”
Jinhyuk pointed at Giwoo, who was leaving the set while greeting the staff, as he spoke.
“He’s definitely become a lot better.”
“But senior. Don’t you think it’s similar?”
“You know, that kid. What was his name again? The second beggar.”
“The second beggar? Ah, it’s Maru. Han Maru.”
“Yeah, him. There was a bit of a commotion during our first shoot in Moongyeong. Uljin pushed Maru and almost caused an accident.”
“I remember that. I still don’t understand why he did that.”
Changsung shook his head when he thought back to that incident.
“But what about it?”
“You know, Maru showed a guide once. Han Myung-hoe’s acting. Do you remember that?”
Ah, that’s right.
Changsung nodded his head. He understood what Jinhyuk was saying. The Han Myung-hoe that Maru showed back then as well as the Han Myung-hoe that Giwoo was acting definitely had their similarities. The tone of voice, and the expression. When he compared his memory to the footage he took just now, it definitely was similar. No, rather than similar, they looked identical.
“Giwoo’s pretty good at grasping the characteristics of others.”
Jinhyuk spoke as though he was proud.
“That’s also a form of talent, I guess.”
However, Changsung was a little weirded out when he thought about how the two people’s acting was strangely identical. Although they say art starts from imitation….
“Senior. Let’s drink some coffee.”
Changsung shook off his thoughts when Jinhyuk pointed backwards. He was clearly overthinking. He should be cheering for someone who was doing their best, not try to put down his work.
“You the one buying?”
“Senior, I’ve already run out of money this month.”
“Yeah. I guess I was expecting too much. Let’s go. I’ll buy you the 300 won vending machine coffee.”
“I’ll take the 400 won one, thanks.”
“Fine, 400 won.”
Changsung smiled and gave Jinhyuk a bill.