Aura of a Genius Actor Chapter 65

Chapter 65 - Double Role

༺ Double Role ༻

 

  “Hello, Mr. Shin Yoomyeong—”

 

  “Just a few words, please!!”

 

  The praise from a foreign master director for a Korean movie (even if it was part of a marketing strategy for ‘The Phantom of the Opera’) stirred up patriotism and sparked interest in Ballerina High and its actor, Shin Yoomyeong.

 

  Interview requests flooded in. 

 

  The agency booked several interviews, seeing them as a boon for the movie and drama, and the articles spread rapidly with sensational headlines.

 

  [Actor Shin Yoomyeong Gains International Recognition Before Domestic Fame. Praise from a Cannes Film Festival Planner and Director Joel Schumacher.]

 

  [Supporting Actor Outshines the Lead? Exclusive Interview with Shin Yoomyeong from ‘Showbiz Studies’]

 

  It was no surprise that ‘Showbiz Studies’s’ ratings skyrocketed the following week. The movie boosted the drama’s viewership far beyond Director Ki’s intentions.

 

  Episode 3: 26.5%

 

  Episode 4: 27.8%

 

  Between these episodes, Kim Hana tackled a sudden minor role and began taking private lessons with Kwon Do-jun’s acting teacher, who became interested in her. The sharp and insightful advice to grab that teacher’s attention came from Bohyung.

 

  Needless to say, Bohyung’s popularity soared again.

 

  [In-depth Analysis of Yoon Bohyung’s Iconic Looks in ‘Showbiz Studies’ Episode 3]

 

  [A Supporting Role Like No Other? Writer Yook Mi-young’s Bold Experiment]

 

  [The Entertainment Industry on Edge with the Emergence of a Phenomenal New Actor]

 

  Right before the premiere, Blue Film released an article.

 

  [Ballerina High Invited to 7 International Film Festivals Worldwide.]

 

  The actual count of film festival invitations actually exceeded ten, excluding those with premiere or unreleased conditions.

 

  And then, on the weekend of that week, ‘Ballerina High’ was released.

 

  *

 

  In Seoul, the seven theaters showing the film were packed with audiences.

 

  As Yoomyeong had hoped, the drama boosted the movie’s success this time.

 

  Devoted movie fans who booked tickets early after hearing the rave reviews from the Cannes planner and Director Joel Schumacher, people intrigued by ‘The Phantom of the Opera’ and wanting to see this movie as well, and Shin Yoomyeong’s personal fans all contributed to nearly sold-out shows.

 

  The regret of not waiting until the next Cannes Film Festival was more than compensated for. Those who saw the movie poured out glowing reviews.

 

  <Expert’s Reviews>

 

  — A film where visual beauty and acting merge seamlessly. <Lee Jin-sung>

 

  — A masterpiece that incisively explores the dual nature of human desire for art. <Kim Bi-jin>

 

  — I thought that ballet was an inhuman art, but this movie showed me the humanity hidden within it. <Sung Ryu-jin>

 

  <Audience’s Reviews>

 

  — I came for Bohyung but fell for the Phantom.

 

  — I’m a Busan Film Festival attendee and I’m rewatching it. It’s such a shame that it wasn’t submitted to Cannes first.

 

  — He was like a suddenly-discovered diamond in the rough. Where has this actor been hiding? 

 

  — I’m a film student. The ideal mise-en-scène I envisioned was right here.

 

  Naturally, when a film made money, the number of theaters showing it increased.

 

  Despite being a ‘passion project’ with a non-mainstream subject like ‘ballet,’ the number of theaters gradually increased.

 

  Shin Yoomyeong’s fresh face, guaranteed acting prowess, and box-office appeal started making waves in the industry.

 

  “Take a look at this list of luxury brands wanting to sponsor your wardrobe.”

 

  “Oppa, the company’s phone’s been ringing off the hook. They’re all trying to book you.”

 

  Of course, he was still considered a ‘rookie,’ a ‘sudden star’. 

 

  The luxury brand sponsorships were due to the character ‘Yoon Bohyung’ in the drama being perfectly suited for luxury goods, and the casting offers were mostly for supporting roles in commercials, movies, or dramas.

 

  Yet, the fact that projects were starting to come under the name ‘Shin Yoomyeong’ was still an unfamiliar and unbelievable feeling for him.

 

  Yoomyeong still pinched the back of his hand occasionally, wondering if this was all a dream, a reflection of the longing of a once-obscure actor of 15 years.

 

  He was confident in his acting. 

 

  Intellectually, he knew he was worth seeking out. 

 

  But unlike his head, his heart still asked himself whether he was really needed as an actor. 

 

  And as he internally responded, ‘Yes,’ he felt a quiet thrill, one he was too shy to share with anyone. 

 

  He looked down at the small figure curled up beside him, feeling a mix of immense gratitude, a slight sense of regret, and considerable indebtedness towards this unknown being.

 

  {Zzz…I want beer…kyung…zzz…}

 

  *

 

  December 23rd.

 

  The day before Christmas Eve, the filming set was bustling as if it was just another day.

 

  Yoomyeong arrived 30 minutes before call time and greeted everyone loudly.

 

  “Good morning!”

 

  The producer smiled warmly at Yoomyeong, who was boosting the ratings, and the senior actors praised his dedication. 

 

  However, not everyone was applauding his success.

 

  “Director, I have some concerns about this episode’s script…”

 

  With an awkward smile, Lee Kyu-seong boycotted the script for episode 9.

 

  *

 

  “What’s the problem, Mr. Kyu-seong?”

 

  PD Bang chewed his lower lip anxiously.

 

  Episode 5 had just aired, and after tonight’s episode 6, they would only have two episodes left to film. 

 

  In other words, they were in a crisis.

 

  “Gyu-min comes off as a bad actor. You know how important the image of being a good actor is, right? Even if it’s fictional, portraying an actor as bad at acting is problematic.”

 

  PD Bang Hak was dumbfounded. 

 

  The script didn’t explicitly say ‘Tak Gyu-min is a bad actor,’ but given the character of ‘Kwon Do-jun’, a top actor with a bad personality, it implied that the second male lead was less skilled. 

 

  Of course, if the performance was genuinely terrible, then the PD could understand complaints about it not fitting the image. However, the script wasn’t portraying Tak Gyu-min as a terrible actor, but just as someone being overshadowed by Kwon Do-jun’s superior acting skills.

 

  Was that really so hard to understand? 

 

  Besides, why was he complaining about it not right after receiving the script but just before the filming? 

 

  The filming set fell into a tense silence.

 

  Eun-soo tugged at Yoomyeong’s sleeve from behind. Turning around, he noticed her nod slightly. 

 

  It seemed she had something to say.

 

  After moving to a secluded corner where they couldn’t be overheard, Eun-soo finally spoke.

 

  “I think half the reason Lee Kyu-seong is causing trouble is because of you, oppa.” 

 

  “Huh?”

 

  Yoomyeong had an idea of what she meant, but pretended not to understand and asked Eun-soo to clarify.

 

  “I used to work part-time at TW Entertainment before joining Good Enter, and I’ve heard from the unnies there that Lee Kyu-seong has a terrible attitude. Apparently, he’s extremely competitive with Baek Seunghyo.”

 

  Yoomyeong nodded, not surprised to hear that Lee Kyu-seong’s character hadn’t changed.

 

  Lee Kyu-seong. 

 

  He was a star actor, idolized for his doll-like appearance that earned him a fanatical teenage fanbase. His acting skills were also top-notch, making him a hot casting choice in the broadcasting world. However, if judged solely on his acting, he wasn’t quite lead material yet.

 

  “I heard he really liked the role of Kwon Do-jun when he first read the script for ‘Showbiz Studies.’”

 

  That couldn’t be true.

 

  No matter how generously one might view it, this drama would have been a disaster if Lee Kyu-seong had played the role of Kwon Do-jun. Not only was his image a poor fit, but his acting wouldn’t carry the title of ‘top actor’ even in a fictional world.

 

  “Anyway, since Kwon Do-jun comes off as rude in the beginning, he probably thought he could turn the tables using his popularity or at least give it a try. That’s probably why he boldly stepped into the role… But now, not only is he not the lead, but he’s also completely overshadowed by a supporting role…”

 

  Indeed.

 

  Bohyung’s popularity had exceeded all expectations. 

 

  Initially, Kyu-seong might have found the character of Yoon Bohyung slightly irritating in the script, but he hadn’t paid much attention before seeing Yoomyeong’s performance. 

 

  After all, he would have just considered him a supporting character.

 

  “He’s protesting, demanding more screen time and a stronger character focus. It’s ridiculous to use such excuses when he can’t say it outright~”

 

  Yoomyeong recalled a scandal that would erupt a few years later involving Lee Kyu-seong. 

 

  His former manager dropped a bombshell after leaving the job. 

 

  Several recorded conversations were leaked, revealing Lee Kyu-seong’s use of foul language and his true character.

 

  “Hey, I told you I didn’t want to do that. Tell them I hurt my leg tomorrow, okay? What, you’re coming to pick me up? Ha, this idiot doesn’t know who pays his salary. I’m changing the passcode. Try coming and let’s see if you’re getting fired or not.”

 

  “Listen, I’m not doing that skinship. Will you take responsibility if the fans back off? Idiot. Didn’t I do it in the last project? At least She was pretty. If it affects sales, so be it. Can’t you set some standards?”

 

  His condescending tone made it all the more chilling.

 

  After that, he was essentially buried in the entertainment industry.

 

  He had the inability to accept anything less than what he wanted and wrapped it in a seemingly friendly demeanor. 

 

  His fans, steadfast until the very end and believing it all to be a setup, finally turned their backs after his confession and public apology.

 

  “I’m sorry, PD-nim. Our actor is usually frail and seems to have collapsed from stress.”

 

  Lee Kyu-seong, who had stepped out for a moment to think, eventually left the set with a plausible excuse. 

 

  For the first time, the PD cursed openly.

 

  *

 

  The shoot had to go on as it was driven by a tight schedule.

 

  PD Bang Hak, suppressing the urge to throw everything away, was cutting scenes that didn’t involve Lee Kyu-seong.

 

  In the middle of this, the director had a call with writer Yook Mi-young. 

 

  “Lee Kyu-seong? That crazy bastard…”

 

  Yook Mi-young cursed as soon as she heard his name.

 

  “I had a bad feeling about him from the start. His greetings were polite but sly. What should we do, PD-nim? Should we kill off Tak Gyu-min in a car accident?”

 

  Her fury somewhat restored the PD’s rationality.

 

  “We can’t afford a broadcast failure. If we tweak the script a bit to appease his ego, maybe he’ll show up pretending to be pitifully heroic. Could that work?”

 

  “You know it’s not that he doesn’t like the scene, Director. He’s just protesting because the supporting character is completely overshadowing him. Well, then he should just perform better. Tak Gyu-min has his own charming lines that could win over the viewers.” 

 

  That was true.

 

  The PD suggested a compromise as a temporary solution given the tight schedule, but he knew it wasn’t a fundamental fix.

 

  “I’ll send you the script for the beginning of episode 10. Shoot that along with today’s scenes. I’ll come to the set and we can discuss further.” 

 

  “Haa… Today’s scenes heavily feature Tak Gyu-min, and there’s a crucial scene between him and Kwon Do-jun. There’s also the problem of having to disturb Seunghyo’s schedule too.” 

 

  “Why don’t we shoot Baek Seunghyo’s close-ups first? We can film the two-shots later. It saves time.”

 

  “But then Baek Seunghyo has to act without a partner.”

 

  “Why? There’s the ‘monster rookie.’ Just put him in front of him, and Baek Seunghyo will rise to the occasion.”

 

  PD Bang Hak smacked his knee, struck by the idea.

 

  *

 

  Yoomyeong nodded in agreement to the PD’s request.

 

  Even if he couldn’t memorize them, reading the lines from the script was no big deal for him.

 

  “Still, I think I should familiarize myself with the lines.”

 

  “Of course. We’ll shoot the other scenes first and leave the Do-jun and Gyu-min scenes for last. You can look over the script in the meantime. To avoid confusion, I’ll schedule Bohyung’s scenes last.” 

 

  “Okay, that works for me.”

 

  Yoomyeong sat down in a corner and began reading Tak Gyu-min’s lines.

 

  ‘Acting poorly…’ 

 

  It was an intriguing challenge.

 

  Doing it properly might actually be harder than acting well in itself.

 

  The role of Tak Gyu-min was the complete antithesis of Kwon Do-jun. 

 

  At the press conference, Baek Seunghyo said that playing Kwon Do-jun was challenging because he had to act well both as ‘Kwon Do-jun’ and as ‘the character Kwon Do-jun played.’

 

  However, Tak Gyu-min had to act well as ‘Tak Gyu-min’ while deliberately performing poorly as ‘the character Tak Gyu-min played.’

 

  Yoomyeong thought that this role was far more challenging since it had to look natural.

 

  ‘Had he just showcased this aspect, he could have been more popular…’

 

  His portrayal of a bad actor could have garnered more attention. 

 

  Of course, this assumption hinged on one key factor: the actor’s acting skill.

 

  ‘Normally, I wouldn’t put so much effort into someone else’s role, but…’

 

  Right now, Yoomyeong had no intention of holding back. 

 

  Although it wouldn’t actually be used, he planned to perform so well that Lee Kyu-seong would feel embarrassed upon his return.

 

 

 

 

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Aura of a Genius Actor

Aura of a Genius Actor

Score 9.99
Status: Completed Native Language: Korean
[Winner of the 5th Korea Web Novel Contest] He cast his very being into a life of acting, only to go unrecognized.   But now, his life begins anew

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