Aura of a Genius Actor Chapter 68

Chapter 68 - Surpassing Genius

༺ Surpassing Genius ༻

 

  [Showbiz Studies, Episode 7]

 

  └ It’s like watching ‘Pretty Woman’… Bohyung, Bohyung, what are we going to do with you… T-T

 

  └ If we think about Bohyung’s wealth, this would only be comparable to buying gum at the supermarket…

 

  └ Hana’s style is incredible. Mom, I want Bohyung to buy me stuff.

 

  └ I’m part of the Yoon Bohyung Male Lead Promotion Committee. This is urgent.

 

  └ I’m a TV monitoring staff. I got heartbroken while working. Can I file for worker’s compensation?

 

  Pretty Woman. The cliché of a wealthy man dressing a woman from head to toe was as classic as it got, but it was always effective.

 

  The fan club membership skyrocketed.

 

  Every item Bohyung wore from episodes 1 to 7 was analyzed in detail.

 

  And for the first time, the term ‘Yoon Bohyung Fever’ appeared in the media.

 

  *

 

  “You’ve won. The lesson of ‘losing’ is now irrelevant.” 

 

  “I’ve already lost the freedom to walk down the street alone, haven’t I?”

 

  “Haha, are you upset about it?”

 

  “It’s a shame, but I’ll have to accept it. Being recognized for my acting is much more valuable to me than a bit of freedom.”

 

  Yu-seok laughed lightly at the unexpectedly mature response from the twenty-four-year-old.

 

  “Here. I wrote a power of attorney to Mr. Ho-chul and told him to handle it on my behalf.” 

 

  It was a car registration document.

 

  The familiar car number was visible, his name boldly printed on top. 

 

  ‘Huh? But, the date…’

 

  Strange.

 

  The registration date was way before ‘Yoon Bohyung Fever’ hit the media. In fact, it was closer to the day the bet was made.

 

  “Director, why is the date…? Did you plan to give this to me regardless of the bet?”

 

  The thought that he couldn’t just accept such an expensive gift without any valid reason made Yoomyeong’s voice firm.

 

  “No. I just knew you would win.”

 

  “How could you know that?”

 

  Yoomyeong’s tone stiffened, remembering how he almost got tricked by his boss’s clever words.

 

  Yu-seok laughed and explained.

 

  “I have what you could call a foresight ability.” 

 

  “…What?”

 

  It was such an absurd statement… but not impossible, considering that Yoomyeong had met a spirit and even experienced a regression.

 

  ‘Could Director Moon also have some kind of foresight or… maybe he also returned? But the original actor who played Bohyung was different…’

 

  Yoomyeong’s head swirled with various theories, and Moon Yu-seok confidently continued.

 

  “It’s true. I have a good head for these things. Analyzing the situation, the competition, the producers, the writers, and the role. When I input all these variables along with the talent of an actor like Shin Yoomyeong and press ‘enter’—the result is the ‘Yoon Bohyung Fever.’” 

 

  ‘So that was what he meant…’

 

  Yoomyeong’s tense body relaxed.

 

  “It’s real. I predict the world this way, and most of my predictions come true. That’s how I make money. And if I predict a little further with Shin Yoomyeong as an actor…”

 

  “…”

 

  It was hard to tell how much was true, but his tone was full of certainty.

 

  It sounded like a bluff, and yet it was mesmerizingly persuasive.

 

  “The value of that Ferrari is nothing compared to what you will soon earn. So, don’t worry and just accept it. I prepared it knowing you would win the bet.”

 

  Only then did Yoomyeong nod his head.

 

  *

 

  Featuring the ‘Yoon Bohyung Fever’ and Hana’s dressed-up appearance, episode 7 achieved a viewership rating of 32%. 

 

  Episode 8 was where Do-jun finally realized his feelings for Hana and approached her only to be rejected. Then, Hana ended up taking a minor role in the drama Do-jun was filming, <Rivalry of Fate>. For that episode, the viewership rating was 33.5%. 

 

  <Soulmate> became a topic due to Yoon Eun-jung’s exquisite acting, but it started weak due to its ill-fitting mood for the year-end season. 

 

  <Defense of Dignity> also struggled, barely maintaining a rating in the higher line of 10% as they were overshadowed by <Showbiz Studies>.

 

  The clear winner of this three-way drama battle was clearly KBK, and the key to this success was undoubtedly Yoomyeong.

 

  After episode 8 aired, it was the end of the year.

 

  The winter break left the streets around Woondae University deserted, slowly getting covered in sleet. A familiar figure walked down the street, heading underground into a building.

 

  “Senior Ryu Shin~”

 

  “Hey, Seo Ryu Shin.”

 

  He looked a bit thinner than usual, his slightly longer hair tightly tied with a black band.   His casual gestures as he shook the wetness off his padding suited his good looks.

 

  “Come over here, senior.”

 

  “Ryu Shin, over here!”

 

  The noisy place, rented out for the Oedipus’ year-end party, buzzed with dozens of people. Ignoring the calls, he made his way to a corner table where Hye-Seon, Suho, and Yu-ri were sitting.

 

  They were his closest colleagues and friends from his last performance in <Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde>.

 

  “Wow, it’s my first time seeing you since you graduated, senior. How’ve you been?”

 

  “Yeah. Where did you end up, Hye-Seon?”

 

  “I joined Comet. I’ve been working hard, hehe.”

 

  “What about you, Suho?”

 

  “I’m going to study more at a Film Academy. I’ve developed an interest in directing.”

 

  “Oh, that’s great. And Yu-ri?”

 

  “I’m preparing for a drama that starts early next year.”

 

  They briefly shared their updates, and Ryu Shin listened to their conversation without saying much. 

 

  The hot topic was Shin Yoomyeong, the latest star produced by Oedipus and their friend. 

 

  “Yoomyeong’s acting is remarkable, but isn’t Yoon Bohyung more of a character victory? The writer built the character well, and the dialogue was perfect. Any actor would have been loved in that role, though to varying degrees.”

 

  Suho, who was interested in directing, offered his view.

 

  “Well, it’s a good character but a tough one to play, right? The quick shifts from warm to cold could have been disastrous with a less capable actor.”

 

  Yu-ri, as a fellow actor, praised Yoomyeong’s performance.

 

  “What do you think, senior?”

 

  Hye-Seon asked with a bright smile, and Ryu Shin furrowed his brow in thought.

 

  “Have you seen ‘Ballerina High’?”

 

  “I don’t have a ticket.”  

 

  “Not yet.” 

 

  “I’ve booked for next week.”

 

  All three answered simultaneously.

 

  “Watch that. Then you’ll only be talking about that instead of the drama.”

 

  “Have you seen it, senior?”

 

  “I just came back from watching it.” 

 

  “Wow, how was it? Oh, no spoilers, please!”

 

  “I feel angry.” 

 

  They flinched.

 

  There was deep frustration in Ryu Shin’s voice as he spoke of his anger.

 

  Only then did they notice his pale face and the weariness in his voice.

 

  “Why?”

 

  “When I realized that the gods have given all the talents an actor needs to one person and even added hard work and perseverance, I momentarily lost sight of my path.”

 

  “…What path?”

 

  “The path to surpassing genius.”

 

  The three fell silent.

 

  They had seen enough of Seo Ryu Shin’s talent, effort, and competitive spirit. They all knew too well that Ryu Shin was conscious of Yoomyeong. 

 

  However, hearing such words from Ryu Shin was a first. This was because he was a man whose pride soared high and wasn’t someone who would show weakness, someone who was always willing to repeat something hundreds or thousands of times to overcome his shortcomings. 

 

  “Is it… that serious?”

 

  “Yoon Bohyung is different. It’s a challenging and appealing role, but it’s within Shin Yoomyeong’s ‘range.’ Yoomyeong did his best to become Bohyung, but he didn’t need to surpass his limits. 

 

  Phantom, however, was different. He must have struggled and barely crossed his limits several times. It wasn’t just about portraying the unfamiliar world of ballet, but also Phantom’s complex inner acting and the subtle presence of Giselle…”

 

  He paused to catch his breath, visibly struggling.

 

  “For a year, I barely managed to build the confidence to confront his Jekyll and Hyde and to embody acting that resonated with another’s. I focused solely on that, taking only small roles. Just a few days ago, I convinced myself that I had caught up with him, if not surpassed.”

 

  Hye-Seon thought that it was the first time Ryu Shin spoke so extensively about himself.

 

  “But in the meantime, he leaped over to another cliff.”

 

  “…”

 

  “And this chasm… seems impossible to cross.”

 

  He gulped down a mouthful of beer as if his throat was parched.

 

  Hye-Seon looked at him with sympathy, while Yu-ri avoided watching her respected senior’s frustrated appearance.

 

  Surprisingly, it was Suho who easily countered this.

 

  “Huh? That’s what we think when we look at you, you know.”

 

  “…What?”

 

  “A person with all the talent in the world, and even handsome at that. Yet, you’re also the hardest-working one around. It’s frustrating to have such a boss-level monster nearby, but you’re too cool to dislike.” 

 

  Yu-ri was startled by Suho’s frank words and pulled at his arm. 

 

  Meanwhile, Hye-Seon’s eyes widened in agreement.

 

  “Right?”

 

  “…”

 

  “It’s exactly the feeling I get when I look at you, senior. I feel like I could never beat you no matter what.” 

 

  “What are you guys talking about…?”

 

  Ryu Shin’s face grew noticeably red.

 

  Direct praise from those closest to him was always awkward.

 

  “This is just you paying back for a lifetime of ‘slaughtering the villagers,’ hyung.”

 

  Suho chuckled.

 

  “…I didn’t know you guys thought of me that way.”

 

  “How else could it be? Even after joining Oedipus, there’s another test: Not to lose one’s self-esteem and quit acting after seeing Seo Ryu Shin’s performance.”

 

  “…”

 

  Ryu Shin’s neck turned red. After a long silence, he finally spoke.

 

  “That’s enough.” 

 

  “Just one more thing. Ryu Shin, you’re the coolest in my eyes. Yoomyeong is nice and a great actor, but not as cool as you. Oh, is it because he’s like a younger brother to me? Anyway…”

 

  “…”

 

  “There’s no better or worse actor. Every actor has their own unique value—I don’t want to offer such a clichéd consolation. That’s partly true, but you’re not like that. You chase even the slightest possibility of better acting, not settling until you’re satisfied, and never swayed by others’ flattery. Weak words just don’t suit you, hyung.”

 

  Suho’s lighthearted tone was mixed with sincerity.

 

  This heavy expectation, coming from those who knew him so well, firmly grounded him.

 

  Time.

 

  Time, filled with honest hard work, had always been his ally on his path to becoming a better actor.

 

  ‘Since when did I consider myself the best?’

 

  Perhaps he had grown too accustomed to the recognition and praise of being the best for too long.

 

  He remembered the tenacity of the seven-year-old Seo Ryu Shin, who, despite seeing adult actors twice his size, had the audacity to think he could outperform them.

 

  He quietly observed as those embers, which had been buried on the sand after being extinguished, began to rekindle once more.

 

  From that day forward, he began a concerted effort with time once again. 

 

  That winter,

 

  ‘Ballerina High’ achieved a rare milestone for a passion project. 

 

  It reached one million viewers.

 

  *

 

  At the beginning of the new year, a dinner gathering among the young actors took place.

 

  “The atmosphere is good these days, so let’s have a meal with actors our age,” Jung Junhee suggested.

 

  Lee Kyu-seong, visibly simmering with frustration over his reduced screen time but unable to voice it, declined the invitation and said that he was busy. Eventually, four of them, including Yoomyeong, gathered in a private room of a restaurant in Sinsa-dong. 

 

  The meal, accompanied by drinks, lasted longer than expected. 

 

  This was because one of them relentlessly continued the conversation, not giving it a chance to break. 

 

  “Have you decided on your next project, oppa?”

 

  “No… not yet.”

 

  “I’m torn between a drama and a movie. The drama is a romance, and the movie is a thriller. What would you choose, considering your experience?”

 

  “Hmm… With limited information, I’d lean more towards the movie for career diversity, especially considering that I just did a romance drama,” Baek Seunghyo responded politely to Jung Junhee’s question, maintaining a formal tone. 

 

  The distance in his replies was palpable, but she kept sending him enthusiastic reactions. She was clearly infatuated.

 

  “Oppa, let’s go out for a smoke.”

 

  “It would be troublesome if we got photographed while going out…”

 

  “Ah, there’s a terrace here that the staff use for smoking. I’m a regular here, and I’ve been there several times. It’s safe.” 

 

  “Hmm… Okay then.”

 

  He seemed unable to resist the lure of a cigarette and followed Jung Junhee out, leaving Yoomyeong and Cha Harin alone.

 

  Fortunately, they were comfortable enough with each other to not worry about being left alone.

 

  “Brother.”

 

  “Hm?”

 

  Harin, who had a few drinks, wasn’t in her usual sloth mode. However, she seemed a bit low on energy.

 

  “Bohyung.”

 

  “What’s up, Hana?”

 

  Once again, she called him by different names. The way she called him sounded so forlorn that Yoomyeong played along.

 

  “I envy Hana.”

 

  “What do you envy about her, Harin?”

 

  Still using Bohyung’s voice, he called her real name this time. 

 

  In an instant, her eyes filled with tears. 

 

  “What should I do if I can’t see any hope no matter how hard I struggle, Bohyung?”

 

  Her voice trembled as she finished her question. 

 

 

 

 

 

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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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