Life, Once Again! - Chapter 866. Sequence 13

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Chapter 866. Sequence 13

The shoot last week reminded her of when she first did a play in her college hall. A pleasant sensation of unease overwhelmed her throughout the entire time she was acting. It wasn’t an act that she was doing out of habit; it wasn’t an act where she followed rules; it was an act where she had no idea what was coming, just like when she acted without knowing about anything. Hyunji found even herself unfamiliar at that time, and she tasted what it meant to enjoy acting for the first time in a long while.

The fact that she didn’t change her acting style despite the criticism that it was too standard was first because of her pride, but there was also the fact that she did not know where to go from there. If she saw a crossroad, she would have chosen one path and gone ahead with it, but the only thing she saw was the vast plains. even if she wanted to take a step irresponsibly, her ‘ten years of experience’ always held her back. She was a thirty-year-old actress. If she slipped up when her charm as a lady reached its peak, her value as an actress would become like that of a fish that wasn’t sold in time. If she had spread her reputation through various good pieces, she would have tried running even if it was the empty plains and just hope that she would try to be better next time, but Hyunjin was an actress who prolonged her career through various minor roles. A close friend of the protagonist, the friend of a rival character, the woman the president had an affair with, a lesser-known protagonist. She had repeatedly told herself that this would be the last time, and that ended up lasting ten years. By the end of every year, Hyunjin thought that maybe she should have changed her acting style last year. Regret was always late, and she didn’t have anything to fall back on in order to break past her current acting style.

Straws might be worthless, but to someone who was grasping at straws, they were more important than anything. Hyunjin was afraid. If she tried changing herself and failed, the decade she had piled up would collapse on the spot. That journalist Kim, who must terribly despise her, always wrote articles whenever she did a drama. Choi Hyunjin, never changing regardless of what role she plays – she didn’t even want to retort to that. It was right after all.

That journalist Kim wrote an article as soon as the first episode of ‘Doctors’ aired. She even advertised on social media with the hashtags #choi_hyunjin #lookatthis. At this point, she even felt grateful for journalist Kim who kept writing about her, even though she had been picked as one of the top three ‘celebrities you know the face of but don’t know the name.’ What pained her more than journalist Kim’s insulting articles was the lack of comments. It meant that Choi Hyunjin as an actress didn’t even manage to become a consumable item.

Yoonseo, who had reached the top once with her dancing and singing, showed top-notch talent even during shoots. She didn’t even feel jealous of her. Her own position was way too pathetic to feel any kind of jealousy towards the female protagonist receiving the spotlight. Seeing Yoonseo being praised by seniors she had known for years made Hyunjin hide in a corner and cry to herself. You’re good at acting – the words she wanted to hear so much were given to a junior so easily.

Was she wearing clothes that did not suit her? Maybe she had talent in some other field but was doing this line of work anyway? If it was not for the shoot that happened a week ago, she would still be thinking about that.

Hyunjin looked at Maru, who looked like he would bury his nose into the gukbap bowl. The ‘thank you’s that she had uttered hundreds if not thousands of times in her line of work were fundamentally different from the thank you that she said to Maru. Although that shoot had only happened over two days, she grabbed a hold of the method to break through the ten years of mannerism. Even if she tried challenging herself now, it wouldn’t change anything dramatically anytime soon, but she would be able to say that it was the start of a change in the future. She found a path amidst the vast plains. Whether the path was the right one or one that led to an abyss, she did not know, but she gained the courage to move forward without fear.

Hyunjin opened her phone gallery. She had screenshotted an article that came up yesterday. It was that journalist Kim’s article. She was jumping on the spot as she was screenshotting the article. She even called her boyfriend in the middle of the night to brag about it.

“After yesterday’s episode ended, an article like this came up.”

She showed Maru the article. It had a title that made her excited even now: Actress Choi Hyujin, I applaud your challenge.

“I’m envious. You get articles like this written for you. So you brought me here to brag?”

“No. I really hate this journalist. She has been writing articles ever since my second drama. Choi Hyunjin’s deficient, lacking acting skills. Until a while ago, she even wrote that I had the same acting no matter what role I played. But she wrote this after yesterday’s episode. I couldn’t believe it. The critic that’s passionate about criticizing me complimented me for the first time.”

“That just goes to show that your acting was good, regardless of me.”

“You are involved in this. It felt really good to act with you.”

“Stop putting me on a pedestal. Hearing things like that makes me want to hide. Also, I may have coincidentally given you an opportunity, but it was your ability that managed to bring about change using that opportunity. Even if you give a child who never played soccer a ball, the only thing they can do is kick. It’s just like how only people who have simulated in their heads and practiced with an actual ball without anyone’s acknowledgment can eventually become professional players. Of course, there are exceptions. There might be some children who play like Ronaldo the first time they’re given a ball. People like Lee Heewon, I mean. He’s near the top on the list of people that make me jealous.”

“Heewon did seem rather different.”

“If you have time later, you should try discussing acting methodology with him. You’ll experience a thrilling sensation where the very concept of acting as you know it shatters into smithereens. I still don’t understand even now. How can there be color to emotions?”

Maru shook his head in resignation before eating the last bit of gukbap. Just as he said, Lee Heewon looked like a child from another world. They acted at the same shooting set with the same script, but that guy’s acting was fundamentally different. His sensory perception of the world was different, so it might have been a natural result. Hyunjin did not have a method to see emotions visually. However, Heewon said he could, not through facial expressions and hand gestures, but the emotions themselves. At first, she thought that he was saying nonsense, but she couldn’t help but accept it after seeing him act. It was unthinkable to think that his expressions and thought processes were from someone who had seen and felt the same thing as her. She was curious about who raised him as well. After all, someone who possessed a fundamentally different understanding of the world usually had a very different thought process before reaching a conclusion. Without leading him in the right direction, Lee Heewon would have shown acting that wouldn’t be understood by anyone. His acting was something that was polished from a special ‘something’ without letting it stay unique. He was the prime example of enchanting acting.

However, Hyunjin liked Maru’s acting better than Heewon’s uninterpretable, inimitable one. A genius’ method only made her gasp in wonder, but the method of a talented ordinary person was something she could chase after. To Hyunjin’s eyes, Maru was strangely experienced with everything, to the point that she couldn’t believe he was only twenty-five. Some might think that he’s a genius as well, but from how she saw it, Maru did not blossom all in an instant; he was nurtured and watered cautiously over a long period of time until he finally managed to blossom. She could be sure of it as she had been at a standstill for a long time. Looking at Maru made her feel that she too would reach his level if she did not give up and continued to hone her skills. That was where she gained the courage to run into the vast plains.

Maru’s act had a power that attracted people. He was the same as Heewon in that anyone watching would applaud him, but Maru’s act invoked her urge to take on challenges. Heewon’s acting made her reverent, but Maru’s acting made her want to stick to acting and fight passionately. Like fencing, whenever she stabbed, he stabbed back at a precise time as though he had been waiting. The exchange of attacks invoked her pure fighting spirit, which made her drunk on the moment. When she woke up, the act had ended. The racing of her heart she felt that day was as fast as when she first won a supporting character role. It had been a long time since she felt that the sound of ‘cut’ made her long for more.

“I hope you can continue to teach me a lot in the future, just like last week. I’m at the point where I look forward to going on sets.”

“There you go again. Even if you praise me like that, you won’t get anything from me. Also, I’m sure that my part is done. A minor character that was consumed that much means that the character has seen its use.”

“You can’t be too sure about that. You’ve seen the reactions, right?”

“That, I did.”

“These days, dramas react sensitively to viewer feedback, so the writer may change it. It’s especially the case here since the writer is young, so she wouldn’t feel any sense of rejection to reflecting the trend.”

“I’m not entirely sure about that. I’m just a bottom rung without any say in the matter.”

“I wish for your character to last a little longer. Honestly speaking, because only then will my character look better. It was just a short moment, but I can say with confidence that acting with you in the future will change me.”

“I’m glad to be of help. If you happen to become more famous in the future, then buy me a suit.”

“You might not believe me since it’s the intuition of an unpopular actress, but I believe that you’ll be in the center of attention in a little while. The eyes of the masses are sharp after all. A good actor is bound to get discovered.”

“You know that a good actor and a popular actor are similar but strictly different, right?”

“You want to become a popular actor instead?”

“Rather than someone who receives a good judgment, I want to become someone truly good. Being propped up by someone who works in the same industry will almost likely end up just as reputation. I want to become an actor who sells. Becoming a good actor comes second.”

“You’re right. In the end, only actors who sell can remain until the end and become good actors.”

“I hope you become an actress who sells too.”

“In my case, I am selling a lot. The problem is that I’m not being sold well. But now, I’ve gained the confidence to sell well too, thanks to you. So please stay at the set for a long time.

“If possible, sure.”

Hyunjin felt refreshed. Ever since she had grown older and adapted to society, she had to watch her mouth, but today, she managed to say everything on her mind without going through a filter. It felt like talking about dreams when she was still a snot-nosed brat. She felt like there was mud all over her hands; mud that she played around with at the local playground, mud that could become anything.

“Senior, I didn’t mean to look, but I think you got a text message with a heart emoji in it.”

She had placed her phone in front of Maru to show him the article. Although she was supposed to be flustered, Hyunjin strangely felt okay.

“It’s my boyfriend. I bragged about it to him last night.”

“I won’t tell anyone.”

“I don’t care if you do. I’m an unpopular actress anyway, so there won’t be any scandals.”

Hyunjin smiled and sent a text.

“Seems the director still isn’t coming.”

“She texted me that she would take care of it soon, so I’m sure she’ll be here in due time.”

“It seems to be something important, so I better stay out of it. I said everything I wanted to tell you anyway.”

It was when Hyunjin was about to stand up after grabbing her purse. The door to the restaurant opened and director Jayeon came in.

“Oh? Hyunjin’s here too?”

“We happened to be eating together. I heard you had something to talk to Maru about, right? I’ll leave now.”

“You don’t have to be in such a hurry. It’s nothing secretive. No wait, it might be better to have you around I guess?” Jayeon said as she sat down.

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