Chapter 43: Is it a miscasting? Or a divine move? (4)
CEO Kim Pansuk let out a cough before asking,
“Umm, about why you wore formal clothes, did you prepare it to audition for the role of Jung Haewon?”
“Yes. It said that Jung Haewon always dressed up like a career woman.”
Lee Songha explained calmly.
She wore a formal blouse and a coat, as well as pants which outlined out her slender legs. She wore ankle boots and the heels were stunningly tall. She gave off a strong urban vibe. Her clothes, which weren’t ruffled in the slightest, revealed how strict her personality was in terms of managing herself.
“Your preparation is good.”
Perhaps it was because she dressed up like this, but there were many parts about her that felt similar to Jung Haewon’s image. Above all, she didn’t look like she was in her twenties. CEO Kim Pansuk, who glanced over Lee Songha, asked the two people on either side of him in a quiet voice,
“What do you two think?”
“CEO, look at her script.”
Whispered Writer Hong Jumi.
Their gazes focused on the script in Lee Songha’s hand. There were clear signs that she looked through the thick stack of A4 papers multiple times, and it seemed that she analyzed the character thoroughly as they could see densely written notes next to Jung Haewon’s lines.
Though, they couldn’t figure out what she wrote since her writing was bad.
“It looks like you’ve prepared quite a bit?”
“That’s a good attitude.”
Director Shin Taekyun murmured absentmindedly.
In any case, it was certain that the gazes of these three people had changed slightly due to Lee Songha’s enthusiastic attitude. If they had previously thought about holding a short audition before ending it by telling her why the role of Jung Haewon wasn’t for her, they were now ready to properly observe her acting.
CEO Kim Pansuk opened the script and said,
“I will give you a scene, so just try acting that part.”
“Now, first episode, page 36. Scene 51. Let’s start with this. Since it’s easier to act if someone else reads lines as well… Director Shin, do you want to do it? Or should I?”
“If it’s fine, could I do it?”
CEO Kim Pansuk turned his gaze in the direction of the sudden voice. At some point, the man next to Lee Songha, who had introduced himself as Jung Sunwoo, was holding onto his own copy of the script.
“Since I played the role of her counterparts during practice, I think Songha will be more comfortable this way.”
Lee Songha’s expression was undoubtedly more relaxed than before. As if she was relieved.
CEO Kim Pansuk nodded his head.
“Okay, then. Jung… Uh, are you a chief?”
“I am a manager.”
“Then, let’s go with the manager reading.”
As soon as he gave the signal, the manager began to read the counterpart’s lines.
CEO Kim Pansuk tilted his head. His reading was skillful and smooth. His skill wasn’t of someone who had only read once or twice. Also, this fact was enough to make him doubt the identity of this man who said he was a manager.
Although the first thing that came to your mind when you thought of managers were road managers, even if their titles were different, chiefs and team leaders were all basically managers.
Perhaps he had a youthful appearance and was, in fact, someone who had been raised in this industry?
Just when his doubts were progressing in a weird direction, Lee Songha began to act.
“Like others who try hard to live, I will try my very best.”
CEO Kim Pansuk quickly turned his head.
Lee Songha was staring into blank space as if she was fed up.
“But, because of people like you, there isn’t anything left for me. Only me.”
Although he thought that her vocalization would be decent since she was a singer, she was much better than he expected. Her breathing was good, and her dictation rang so clearly in his ears that there was nothing to criticize. The tone of her voice was great and very charming.
Above all, she didn’t sound like she was acting. It was smooth without the emphasis or bad habits present in new actors. She didn’t seem like she was acting while paying attention to her breathing and vocalization. She was natural as if she had a talent for this.
‘This, she’s much better than I expected?’
CEO Kim Pansuk mumbled inwardly. However, that thought soon changed.
His eyes grew wider the more her acting progressed. After a long while, astonished, he thought, ‘She isn’t just good.’
W&U raised a monster.
Just when did she start receiving lessons for her to be able to act so unbelievably well at her age?
Lee Songha’s acting changed the mood in the office. The small space was silent to the point of becoming suffocating. Besides Lee Songha’s voice, not even the sound of gulping saliva could be heard. The people were focusing on Lee Songha’s acting to this degree.
CEO Kim Pansuk glanced at the seat next to Lee Songha.
The manager expertly reading the lines of her counterparts. When he didn’t have any lines, he would look at Lee Songha with heartwarming eyes and revealed a satisfied smile as though he felt the current mood was delightful.
CEO Kim Pansuk had found it strange that he had been so relaxed when they had come for an audition.
Thinking he definitely had a reason to be, CEO Kim Pansuk looked over to his side. Writer Hong Jumi was only staring at Lee Songha. Her expression revealed the excitement of the creator.
“How is it, Writer Hong?”
“Writer Hong. Writer Hong! How is it?”
Writer Hong Jumi, who had heard his whisper late, replied with a dazed voice,
“Uh… Uh. Pardon?”
“No, it’s fine. Continue watching.”
He felt as though he knew the answer without having to ask her. CEO Kim Pansuk, who patted Writer Hong Jumi’s shoulders, looked to his left this time. Only an empty chair remained.
Director Shin Taekyun was standing in front of the test cameras, that had been set up to capture Lee Songha from the front and the side, his face burrowed in the monitor.
To be honest, he didn’t want an audition in the beginning. He admired Lee Songha’s looks but that was it.
He placed more importance on what was inside than an actor’s looks. Maybe they could garner a momentary glance with their looks, but if they were a true actor, they needed an overwhelming charm that could pull those watching towards them.
He never expected that this girl group member would have that skill.
Director Shin Taekyun looked at the monitor capturing Lee Songha.
His face, which had previously been indifferent and without drive, surged with desire. A desire to film her in a perfect filming site with proper filming equipment instead of in this small space with test cameras.
Soon, CEO Kim Pansuk said the last scene number,
“Second episode, page 48, scene 79.”
This was the most particular scene. A scene where Jung Haewon would be possessed by the ghost cat.
This was one of the reasons why they wanted to cast a skilled actress for the role of Jung Haewon. Depending on how they acted this scene, it would determine whether this scene would remain impactful or corny, garnering the ridicule of the public.
Lee Songha, who had been leaning slightly askew on her chair, suddenly opened her eyes.
Still sitting, without any movement or sound, she slowly moved her eyes. A strange tension tightly constricted the room. Soon, after checking her surroundings, she looked at her body. She raised her hand, clenching and releasing her five fingers, and tensed and relaxed her foot repeatedly before standing up.
She stumbled slightly on her first step. Her second step straightened her posture.
By her third step, she completely recovered her balance.
She straightened her back and vacantly looked down at the floor.
Her lips curled upwards in a slant.
CEO Kim Pansuk broke the silence. He abruptly asked informally,
“Why did you smile like that?”
Thinking she had made a mistake, Lee Songha showed a surprised expression.
“There was no expression detailed in the stage directions. It only said to glance down at the floor because the line of sight was of a different height from when it was a cat. Why did you smile?”
It wasn’t only CEO Kim Pansuk, the other two looked at Lee Songha’s mouth as well. She glanced at her manager sitting beside her. Only after her manager nodded his head as if telling her to answer without worry, did she calmly open her mouth.
“Although this cat is repaying the female lead by helping her, it has a fundamental hate for humans as it had been abandoned by its original owner. It has a lot of pride as well. If I was the cat, I think I would think this when I looked down after possessing someone for the first time.”
Lee Songha lowered her head and mumbled,
“The eyes of a human… is lower than I thought.”
That moment, CEO Kim Pansuk thought.
That, perhaps today’s audition, which he had no expectations for, might have been a divine move for the project, Cat Guardian Ghost.
The audition, which flipped their expectations, ended, and CEO Kim Pansuk held Lee Songha and her manager back to leave after drinking a cup of coffee. Writer Hong Jumi and Director Shin Taekyun said they were going to work on the script and quickly disappeared into a workroom, leaving the CEO of Pan Production and three producers to sit around a small table.
The producers were going back and forth between drinking coffee as they glanced at Lee Songha. Her cheeks were slightly flushed since she had successfully completed the audition just now. Because of this, her looks, which didn’t look human, felt more real.
“You did well, Songha. Have a cookie.”
Her manager passed her a cookie that had been brought out as a snack. Lee Songha gave a small smile as she snacked on the cookie. Recalling her age, CEO Kim Pansuk was astonished once more.
“I would have regretted it if you didn’t audition for the role of Jung Haewon. I never knew you were such a great actress.”
“Thank you, CEO.”
“Although we need to hold an internal meeting, I think everyone saw it positively so I think it’s alright if you consider as almost a certainty. We will contact you by today or tomorrow.”
Lee Songha and her manager exchange glances. Although they didn’t speak, it felt as though a few words were exchanged through their gazes. The two soon bowed their heads. CEO Kim Pansuk waved his hand and asked the question that he wanted to ask for a while.
“But, why did you choose our project? If it’s W&U, they probably get most the synopses of projects getting produced in the country, and with Lee Songha’s acting skills and looks, I feel as though you could certainly get a good role on a public broadcast network.”
Production Producer Park Sookyung nodded his head and added in,
“That’s right. You could have joined the Monday-Tuesday drama from PBS, Mermaid out of Water, since Son Chaeyoung from W&U is the lead role in that.”
Her manager, who had been drinking coffee, flinched. Park Sookyung continued,
“Both Mermaid and ours are of the romance genre with fantasy added in. Although they are Monday-Tuesday and we’re Friday-Saturday, we start at around the same time. I’m curious why you decided on our project…”
When gazes looking for answers focused on her, she looked at her manager.
Her manager placed his coffee down and rubbed his thumb against his lips as he said,
“Since I think that this project will do better than that drama.”
Because he said it as though it was obvious, the people from Pan Production nodded along with him before halting. Then they all showed the same expression.
‘Is this person serious?’
“Umm, thank you. While I am thankful…”
“No, it’s okay. My job is finding good projects.”
“You might have found the wrong one…”
Park Sookyung whispered in a quiet voice so that the person on the other side couldn’t hear him. CEO Kim Pansuk, who overheard him with his ghost-like hearing, widened his eyes.
“Why do you act like we’ve lost already? We might be better than them!”
“CEO. Even if our drama becomes an unprecedented hit, that’s a bit… The other side is one of the most promising projects from a public broadcast network for the winter season. The fans of the original will play a large role as well, and people in this business predict that that drama will have over 20% viewership ratings.”
“… That much?”
“The amount of investment is enormous, and it looks like it’ll be advertised all over the place before it airs. Also, they say that their script is amazing too. It might be better if we just compete with the project airing on GTBN at the same time…”
The manager, who had been listening to their conversation, lowered his head a little. He even coughed as if he was choking on the coffee. Just when the youngest producer was looking at him, wondering whether to get him a tissue or not.
The manager showed an expression that was difficult to decipher.
However, because that expression disappeared in an instant, the youngest producer simply scratched his head, thinking whether he saw it wrong.
As soon as their coffee cups was empty, Lee Songha and her manager got up. CEO Kim Pansuk said while shaking hands with the manager,
“If things become certain, we will start filming immediately after we do a script reading next month. Please adjust your schedule.”
“Yes. There is a Next K-Star recording every week, but if you could excuse us for that day, there won’t be any problems.”
“Of course, we will since that’s a schedule you already have. That’s a new entertainment show on Knet, right? The one with tons of idols.”
“Yes. That’s right.”
“I hope that that program does well, and Lee Songha’s popularity shoots up. You never know. It’s not uncommon for things to change overnight in this industry. She might be a star instead of a rookie by the time we have our script reading next month.”
Of course, this was flattery to make them feel good.
When dozens of entertainment programs were broadcasted every week, no one was certain that their popularity would rise from appearing on a new show, on a cable network to boot, that didn’t have any guarantee of success.
Of course, as CEO Kim Pansuk said, although this was an industry where it wasn’t uncommon for some to become a star overnight after appearing on an entertainment program, the ones who enjoyed this fortune were a minority.
Even though the producers of Pan Production all thought this, they said their farewells with optimistic words.
“We will definitely watch the broadcast.”
“Both our drama and Next K-Star will be a hit.”
“Both Lee Songha and Neptune are going to be successful from now on.”
Before he left, the manager had an odd smile as he replied,
“I think so too.”