Chapter 52: A person who found something to protect (3)
The meeting room where the Cat Guardian Ghost script reading session would be held was already noisy.
The behind-the-scenes team was busy setting up the cameras and lights, and the cast and related parties arrived one after another, ate the snacks on the table and began to chat.
The mood was peaceful as there were many people who were acquainted with one another from other projects.
“Hey, why are there three cameras when we are only reading the script? You’re making me feel pressured. I guess I need to try really hard.”
“They say that our project is the hottest topic in the first quarter.”
“It’s not a promising project but a hot topic?”
“Why does it matter? It’s important that people are interested. I’m happy with the script, and I chose it because I thought that the drama wouldn’t fail with Seo Jijoon as the lead, so this much hype is great.”
The actress playing the role of the female lead’s friend lowered her voice, aware of the cameras,
“Do you think Lee Songha will be good at acting?”
“How tiresome. Do I even have to listen to that question here?”
An actress in her thirties shook her head as if tired of this.
“People around me kept asking me this question when I told them I was cast in this drama. I even got multiple calls from reporters, asking for comments about Lee Songha’s acting after the script reading session. Haa, stop pestering the young girl.”
“But we are curious.”
“She probably has the basics down at least since there haven’t been any talks about her resigning after the controversy. Don’t you think there’s a reason W&U is promoting her?”
“That’s right. Also, if she really was terrible, I bet Director Shin wouldn’t have even cast her.”
While all sorts of speculation were being made, an actor playing the role of the subordinate of Seo Jijoon cut in,
“Now that things are already like this, I hope Lee Songha is really good at acting.”
When gazes gathered on him, he shrugged,
“Currently the public is equally divided between she’s terrible at acting and that she’ll be good.”
“So if she was criticized about her acting this much, but in reality, she’s unbelievably good at acting, then… Won’t there be a huge fuss when the drama airs? I bet the internet will explode after the first episode.”
Other actors smirked when they heard his increasingly excited voice.
“Eh, that’s going too far.”
“Yeah. Looking at the script, it’s not an easy role either.”
“Don’t put pressure on her by saying words like that. How do you think she feels right now?”
The actor resigned and licked his lips,
“Hope that it was the case.”
Just then, they heard noises outside the door. Thinking someone else had arrived, the actors all turned their gazes towards the door.
Swish. The door opened.
When Lee Songha first entered the room, a few actors thought that if the drama ended well, she would be rolling in commercials.
The haters who said that her looks were due to the lighting, makeup, and camera were all full of nonsense. They couldn’t help but admire her looks the instant they saw her.
Her looks were classy yet elegant, and the proportions of her eyes, nose, mouth, and ears coexisting on her face were flawless. No, there wasn’t even a need for flowery words.
Just her standing there created a picture.
The advertisers wouldn’t be able to keep their eyes off her. If she could put her acting controversy to rest and her image became better and if the drama did well enough that it and her character could boost her career as well, then there was an overwhelming possibility that she would instantly take a spot as a visual star.
That was why a few actors thought,
‘Her acting must be so-so.’
Their thoughts contained a bit of bias. That she was from an idol group, still young, and above all, too pretty.
They might have been expectant of her acting skills if she wasn’t so pretty, however, with those looks, it was possible for W&U to promote her even if her acting was a little poor as her looks could definitely overcome her faults when it came to acting.
Like how top class beautiful stars, who would be swept up in controversy about their acting skills whenever they took up a project, could still star in commercials and continuously receive casting calls from broadcasting companies.
That was why the cast of the Cat Guardian Ghost completely put away their expectations for her.
They only wished that she at least had the basics down and that she would perform well enough that she wouldn’t hinder the quality of the drama.
So, when the script reading began, the actors all thought with stunned expressions,
‘This is the acting of a twenty-something-year-old girl? Someone who has received a lifetime’s worth of criticism because of her acting controversy?’
“… Oh my god.”
“I know right…”
Would there ever be a script reading session where the actors were this immersed in acting?
Including Seo Jijoon, all the cast members acted as though they were on the actual film set when reading their lines. Then, once they were done, their gazes would naturally turn towards one place.
To Lee Songha. No, to Jung Haewon.
After the reading began, there was only Jung Haewon in her seat. A temperamental woman in her late twenties who was already tired of life, Jung Haewon. They could see her in every breath or gesture she took.
The mood wasn’t like this right from the start.
Everyone cheered when Lee Songha’s acting skills smashed their expectations. They cheered because she could flip the current controversy on its head and the project could maintain both quality and success with her acting skills.
Then they whispered amongst each other.
“It looks like Lee Songha’s personality is similar to Jung Haewon.”
“Right? It’s pure raw acting, yet it looks like she’s actually possessed by Jung Haewon.”
“It suits her so well. It looks like Director Shin saw this when casting her.”
However, this didn’t last long either.
The role of Jung Haewon didn’t continue following one style. When she interpreted the cat ghost’s ridiculous words, she had to grasp the black comedic tones, and when she was possessed by the cat ghost, she had to be noble and elegant.
Eventually, astonished, someone mumbled,
“Holy cow. She’s just… born with it.”
“You said she’s only in her twenties. Then, of course, she was born with it. Kids like her are geniuses.”
“Life is so unfair. Her life must be easy.”
Jang Yoonok, who was playing the role of the mother of the male lead, Kim Seungwoon, frowned when she heard this.
Although most of the whispers were of admiration, some couldn’t hide their envy. Especially a few young actors, who weren’t that different in age from Lee Songha, even possessed jealousy.
When she looked in front of her, Lee Songha was still immersed in her acting.
In attempt to not disturb the reading session, Jang Yoonok said in a quiet voice,
“If that’s all you see, then stay quiet.”
“Ma’am, what do you mean…”
The actors next to her showed flustered expressions and read the mood. This was obvious as they became an eyesore to the person who was the oldest actor present and was called ‘Ma’am’ wherever she went.
“Of course, she’s a natural. If not that, it’s ridiculous for her to act like that at her age.”
However, Jang Yoonok was more attracted to something else besides Lee Songha’s talent.
“She’s not someone who just jumps in recklessly believing in her talent. Look at her acting. She almost never looks at the script when she reads her lines.”
The young actors’ eyes widened.
When they examined more closely, there was something strange about her acting. Although her script was open, her eyes didn’t move following the script. Instead, her gaze momentarily hovered on the table, floor and walls.
As if there was something there.
Even though she wasn’t reading the script, her lines were perfect. This was something that was impossible unless they had thoroughly memorized it. The young actors’ gazes fell on her script.
The edges of her script were worn, and there were tons of tiny scribbles wherever there were Jung Haewon’s lines.
The actors who voiced their jealously placed their hands on their script, covering it in embarrassment.
Jang Yoonok looked back at Lee Songha.
As if she didn’t notice the heated gazes aimed at her, she continued her amazing acting. When it was Lee Songha’s line, even Director Shin, who was known to be detailed with directing, kept his mouth closed.
It wasn’t only Director Shin, but even CEO Kim Pansuk and Writer Hong Jumi, who were from the production company Pan Production, showed pleased expressions.
As she prepared for her lines, Jang Yoonok thought that a splendid actress would come out from this project.
It wasn’t only the actors who were surprised.
The related parties who sat behind the actors were busy chatting amongst themselves whenever it was Lee Songha’s turn while checking on their respective actors.
This was obvious since there was no one who expected Lee Songha to be this good at acting. It wasn’t only them, everyone who knew about the controversy thought this way.
That was why the surprise was multiple times greater.
Since the script reading session hadn’t ended yet, they were calming their agitation as they whispered to each other, but if they met reporters after the session, they could spend over two hours talking about Lee Songha’s acting skills.
A chief who came with the best supporting actor from his company mumbled,
“Where did W&U find a gem like her? This industry is transparent, yet how did someone like her pop out of nowhere?”
“No wonder… As expected. That’s why their director came with her,”
Said the team leader on his right.
“Director? What director?”
The chief asked the team leader in a quiet voice. As their assigned actors appeared in the same project before, they were quite close.
The team leader gestured at the man sitting left of the chief with his eyes.
“That person. They say he’s the director of W&U.”
The chief turned his head with widened eyes. From beginning to the end, the man on his left was sitting leisurely as he watched Lee Songha read her script. He occasionally admired in surprise or smiled in delight.
Also, for some strange reason, he was recording Lee Songha on his phone.
He had said his name was Jung Sunwoo.
Because his outer appearance seemed extraordinary, it was a bit awkward when they first exchanged greetings, but he had definitely said he was her manager.
“Eh, what do you mean he’s a director? He looks younger than me.”
“Age is what you quibble about in school. Well, maybe he had a few strings pulled.”
“He said he was a manager when we introduced each other. Are you sure?”
“He is someone I’m seeing for the first time today, but you know that Chief Lee Bongjoon who’s assigned to Seo Jijoon? Chief Lee called him director before.”
“Uhhh… That’s not right. Wasn’t the director of W&U a balding man?”
“Maybe the position changed? Either way, I clearly heard him call him director.”
The chief wet his quickly drying lips as he turned around. Now that he knew his position, he seemed even more extraordinary.
Since he never knew if he would ever change his employment to W&U…
Once he thought this, the chief cleared his throat and asked Jung Sunwoo in a friendly tone,
“Excuse me. Why are you recording? Is it to monitor her later?”
Jung Sunwoo paused for a moment. The chief wasn’t sure what he was thinking about as he looked down at his phone in his hand.
The pleased smile on his face had disappeared without a trace. When he was smiling, he looked like a well-behaved person, but when his smile disappeared, he clearly wasn’t the easily approachable type.
He replied slowly,
“I need it for something important.”
The chief gulped his saliva.
It was certainly a gentle voice, yet why did he hear it as ‘Because there’s someone I need to kill.’