TM Chapter 59

Chapter 59: Begin Filming (2)

TL: emptycube / ED: Isleidir


 

“I heard people are filming a drama over there? Apparently, Seo Jijoon’s there, Seo Jijoon!”

“Who? Who’s there?”

“Seo Jijoon and what’s her name. That girl with the acting controversy. Ah, Lee Songha!”

“Should we go take a look?”

Late morning. One by one, the people who had been walking down the cherry blossom path, which only bare branches remaining, made their way to the Han riverbank. There were already quite a few people spectating the film set. Around half were female fans who came for Seo Jijoon, while the others were interested to see Lee Songha, who was a hot topic due to her acting controversy.

A woman stuck her head out from the crowd.

In her case, she was the former. As soon as she heard that Seo Jijoon had appeared at Han River, she made an excuse, saying that she had to go to the bank, and left work. Although Lee Songha’s acting skills might have been of great interest to others, she felt that she already didn’t even have enough time to only see Seo Jijoon.

With wide open eyes, she was thinking about seeing him a little more.

While she did think this, she tilted her head and thought,

‘What’s wrong with me?’

As if entranced, her gaze kept going elsewhere.

It wasn’t to Seo Jijoon but Lee Songha.

Although she didn’t know what they were filming, she knew that Lee Songha was imitating a cat. And that she was great at it. Every minor gesture and movement made her look like she truly was possessed by a cat.

Even though the person in front of her was human, as if they were an illusion, she felt like she could see the perked ears and tail of a cat.

‘I have to take a picture.’

The woman filled the photo gallery on her phone with pictures of Lee Songha instead of Seo Jijoon.

Next to her, a man holding a bicycle under his arm continuously admired,

“There was such a fuss on the internet, but she’s good at acting?”

“Eeyah, if she messed up, it would be such a toe-curling scene, but she does it so well and naturally. It’s like she’s really a cat. I wish my cat at home could change like that. Then I would serve her as my master.”

“Don’t think about that, you crazy bastard.”

“Her acting aside, how could someone look like that?”

“I know, right? Are all actresses like her? It’s like she was made through computer graphics.”

The majority of reactions about Lee Songha was positive. Someone made a big fuss, saying that they knew she’d be good, mentioning Jang Yoonok’s interview, while others felt embarrassed, saying that this was unexpected as they had been 100% sure she was an add-on.

Among them, a man who had been absentmindedly staring at Lee Songha mumbled,

“Should I make a post about her on social media? Lee Songha is still being criticized a lot.”

Although the heated criticisms came to a lull after Jang Yoonok’s interview, there were still many who ignored it and continued to condemn her. There were even people saying that Jang Yoonok did the interview for the drama.

“Yeah, post it, post it.”

When his friend egged him on, the man uploaded a post on his social media.

-I am currently watching them film Lee Songha’s drama, and it’s true she’s good at acting. To those who are commenting that she’s terrible at acting without any proof, let’s stop now. End of controversy!

-Who are you to say ‘end of controversy’? Are you being paid?

When he saw the reply, the man frowned.

-Who are you to talk so impolitely when we’ve never met before? I’m watching her act right now.

-Then why don’t you upload a video?

“Now, really.”

The man rolled up his sleeves and recorded Lee Songha acting. Just when he thought they would believe him now, comments began to stream below it. While there were people who saw this positively, the comments saying ‘Shit Eyes Confirmed’ were more eye-catching.

“The hell? Why are they like this? They are seeing it for themselves, but they don’t believe it.”

“They are just saying they didn’t see her with their own eyes.”

The man fought with the faceless commenters on the internet before raising the flag. There were so many people diligently writing hateful comments that he couldn’t face them by himself. Astonished, he screenshotted the hate comments.

“Why are you screenshotting them?”

“If this drama airs, then the comments about the controversy about Lee Songha’s acting skills will die down, right?”

“Probably?”

“I want to use this as evidence then.”

*

The shoot that started early morning didn’t end even though the sun was leaning towards the west. All we did was move locations from Han River to an outdoor film set.

Whether she was in front of the camera or not, Lee Songha went around as if she was possessed by Jung Haewon. I let her be because I had heard that she could become more immersed in her role and that it would show up better on the camera this way, but there was a big problem.

She didn’t eat.

Lee Songha didn’t eat.

Because of the Next K-Star recording, she hadn’t been able to eat much yesterday, and all she ate at night were the snacks LJ had left her. Even when the staff brought her a lunchbox, which I could tell was high-quality at a glance, she barely ate it.

Oh my god. For there to be ‘barely eating’ in her vocabulary.

While I was wondering what I should do, a truck arrived at the film set.

“Please take care of Jijoon oppa! Cat Guardian Ghost, fighting{1}!”

Ah, now that I think about it, they said Seo Jijoon’s fans were coming today.

When I checked, it was a food truck{2} emitting a delicious scent. There was a menu on its banner, and it was pretty much a gift set. For Lee Songha.

I dragged the still absent-minded Lee Songha in front of the food truck.

“Songha, look at that. Fish cakes, tteok-bokki{3}, chicken skewers, shrimp tempura…”

“Pardon?”

Sure enough, Jung Haewon disappeared and along came Lee Songha. The food truck opened like a ‘Transformer’, and as soon as the plentiful food inside was revealed, Lee Songha’s eyes twinkled like a child who was seeing an amazing toy.

“I want it. I wish I could take it home.”

“You can’t so give up.”

It looked like she planned on putting it her stomach to make up for being unable to take it home as Lee Songha piled food on her plate to form a mountain. She really piled it up into a mountain. The staff became wide-eyed at the sight as they stared at her.

Well, this made sense since the Lee Songha they had seen since she had gotten into character early this morning was the cold, mature Jung Haewon.

As if they thought this was a good scene, the behind-the-scenes team came over and filmed it.

“Wow, how unexpected. She eats all that? Where does it all go?”

“Why are you saying that to a person who has been working hard since early morning. Eat up!”

When she was Jung Haewon, the staff only glanced at her from afar with an expression that seemed to show they were holding back their words, however, they were currently approaching her and saying something to her before leaving.

We went around the film set and told the other actors and staff, including Director Shin Taekyun, to eat well.

Just when we sat down and raised our chopsticks,

“Luck Tosser and Songha, you guys should eat a lo… Oh, you already are. Did you ransack the food truck?”

Chief Lee Bongjoon, who brought a crowd of Seo Jijoon’s fans behind him, showed a dumbfounded expression when he saw Lee Songha’s plate.

“Songha didn’t eat much since yesterday.”

Of course, she would eat this much even if she did. Either way, I turned to Seo Jijoon’s fans after making that excuse. There were women who seemed to be around my age as well as girls with no makeup, who seemed to have just graduated school.

“Thank you for the meal.”

When I said this, Lee Songha bowed her head with a shrimp tempura in her mouth,

“It’s really good. Thank you for the meal.”

“Ah… Eat a lot, unni!”

The fans, who had been blankly looking at Lee Songha, waved. Just now, there were a few who were giving her a sharp look, but, perhaps due to a preconception, their gazes softened the moment they received Lee Songha’s greeting. After they took a few pictures of Lee Songha eating, the fans handed me a paper bag.

“Please take this. And please take care of Seo Jijoon oppa from now on.”

“Ah, yes. Please take care of me as well.”

The bag was filled with items that were useful on a winter film set. There were hot packs, hand cream, candy, and even a lap blanket. Seo Jijoon’s name and the name of his fan club were engraved on the corner of the blanket.

Although I was well aware of the support and present-giving culture of celebrity fans, after experiencing it firsthand, they were extremely devoted.

Did I have to hand something out with Lee Songha’s name on it as well?

“But, aren’t you guys going overboard? The drama hasn’t even been broadcasted, yet you already supplied a food truck and presents. It must have cost a lot, right?”

At Chief Lee Bongjoon’s words, the woman who looked to be the oldest of the bunch replied friendlily,

“Since the situation is what it is, we prepared it early to cheer you up. And the moment we opened up the bank account, the ‘ammunition’ gathered in an instant. We became more tightly knit after the controversy broke out and people kept bothering us from all around.”

“That’s right. Since we all fought like hell these days, everyone’s fighting skill is at their max.”

“We collected a bunch of hate comments, and we’ll send it over to the PR team.”

Looking at this, I became a little jealous.

For there to be fans who would roll up their sleeves and help out this much.

“Yeah. I’ll try to set up a small fan meeting if the drama is a hit.”

“Once the broadcast starts, there will be a flow of ‘light’ fans, so we’ll bring a food truck and coffee truck then.”

“Although we’re thankful, don’t push yourselves too hard.”

Soon, Seo Jijoon, who had finished talking with the director, walked this way. His fans gathered around him. His fans, who said they had fought against the haters, were jumping up and down with flushed faces.

It was rather Seo Jijoon who spread his arms out and met with no hesitation. He lightly hugged them, held their hands, and it looked like he knew a few of their faces as he even called them their names. The fans who were called by their names looked like their faces would burst.

Seo Jijoon’s great at fan service.

His youngest-looking fan babbled,

“There is a poll about which drama broadcasting early next year people are waiting for, and Cat Guardian Ghost is second right now, oppa! We posted it a lot on social media and gathered a ton of votes!”

“We’re second? Who’s first?”

At his question, the fans showed a sad expression.

“Mermaid out of Water. The firepower of the fans of the original work is so strong!”

“We fought hard, but we were crushed, oppa.”

I didn’t know where the poll was going on, but I decided to vote as well.

“You must be tired because of all the fuss on the internet.”

When his fans looked at him with sympathetic eyes, Seo Jijoon clicked his tongue. Then he looked at Lee Songha as he said,

“She’s the one who should be tired. There are still a lot of people who think she was cast as a set with me when, in fact, it was me who joined after she was already cast. You should watch her act and spread the word around.”

“Yes!”

His fans nodded their heads incessantly.

After the short meal time, the filming commenced right away. Lee Songha, once again, got into character and was waiting. I was watching her when I kept hearing Lee Songha’s name from somewhere.

When I looked around, I saw Seo Jijoon’s fans gathered in a circle, looking at something.

“Wow. So much nonsense. Do they really have nothing to do?”

“This person looks like he has a grudge on Lee Songha.”

When I took a few steps closer and looked, it seemed one of them had uploaded a picture of Lee Songha eating online. When I took out my phone and checked, it was a picture of her eating. I was also caught on camera as the person sitting in front of her.

The picture was fine, but the comments below it were quite the sight.

-Wow, did she go to the film set to eat? She’s just stuffing herself instead of practicing.

-A genius doesn’t need to do such things like practice.

“These crazy…”

I intentionally spoke my mind. The fans, who had been looking at their phones, became surprised and looked at me.

“Ah, sorry. I lost control for a second.”

When I explained while showing them the page on my phone, a girl with a ponytail consoled me.

“Ah, you saw it. There are a lot of crazies on the internet.”

“Since it’s a battle of fandoms as celebrities, it’s not this bad when you have a big fandom.”

“That’s right. Although there are a lot of people protecting her, it’s more like commenting in the passing. There aren’t a lot of fans who are grabbing the haters by their collars and talking back, saying, ‘You’re dead.’ That’s why haters will start to gather.”

When a few of them opened their mouths, a few more voices joined in.

“But does Neptune have no fandom? They’ve recently been getting popular.”

“Although they have been gaining popularity because of Next K-Star, their solidarity is weak. There are apparently Neptune fans who don’t think well of Lee Songha. If this continues and a fight between group fans and individual fans break out, it’ll be hell.”

Neptune fans don’t think well of Lee Songha?

I had been happy thinking that they were gaining fans as Neptune’s ranking in the Next K-Star viewer polls was slowly rising.

“Is that true?”

When I asked seriously, a short-haired woman flinched as she replied,

“I heard a bit about it since I fangirl over another girl group on the side. They seemed to think Lee Songha is the only one who’s not trying?”

“But it makes sense that they think that.”

Other fans carefully added in,

“I saw all the episodes of Next K-Star out right now, and maybe it’s because she gets pointed out a lot more than other members, but I did think that she wasn’t trying hard and glossing over things.”

“Why, you see it occasionally in other groups. Members who don’t care about team activities and are only concerned about their personal schedules. She might be branded as someone like them.”

To call her a member who is only concerned about her own personal schedule and passingly does team activities. It was vastly different from the real Lee Songha. When I thought that there could be many people looking at her with that opinion, I became so frustrated I was about to suffocate.

On the other hand, I also thought that it was possible that those who only saw her through the TV could think that.

Next K-Star was a program with 60-minute episodes, and there were dozens of celebrities appearing on it. Although Lee Songha had more on-screen time compared to others, they only made up a fraction of the episode. There was no way they could tell what kind of person Lee Songha was and how hard she tried with just that.

“How frustrating. She’s practicing for her performances just as much as acting.”

When I mumbled while clicking my tongue, the fans said,

“But it’s not noticeable.”

“Since we don’t know her circumstances, we’re just spouting nonsense, taking the bait.”

“To be honest, if we had decent bait, we could get the fandom to unite. Right?”

“Bait?”

The girl with the ponytail replied,

“A video or a gif, something like that. Something that could show ‘she’s a hard-worker’.”

A bait that could show Lee Songha was a hard-worker, huh?

“I did record her practicing in the practice room a lot.”

“That seems too much like a setup. If the company is involved, then it looks like they are trying to brainwash the public and will probably make things worse than not doing anything.”

“Have people uploaded any fan cams?”

They proactively began tapping their phones.

“Not much. Are there any broadcasts where all the members appeared on together?”

I looked back at my memories.

“They appeared on a music broadcast on Knet, a public network music broadcast, Next K-Star, and they had a live broadcast on TBS’s sharing campaign… Ah, they didn’t appear on that.”

When I thought back to that day, I reflexively frowned.

The day of the sudden downpour.

The day Lee Songha had been dancing on the wet stage before she fell and later recorded Next K-Star with an injured ankle. What was worse was that they only did a rehearsal, they didn’t get to show their faces on the live broadcast. Even when I thought about it again, it was ridiculous.

“Uh.”

A girl who had her face pressed against her phone tilted her head. Then she showed me her screen.

“Is it this?”

When I looked at the screen, it was the personal blog of a public officer.

It seemed he was someone who participated in TBS’s sharing campaign as he had uploaded a brief post of what occurred that day and some pictures.

There was also a video as well.

The title was ‘The girl group Webtoon who suffered in the rain’.

Webtoon?

As soon as the video began to play, I heard heavily pouring rain. Then I saw the girls dancing on the stage. Their figures, which had become completely soaked in less than a minute, was clearly reflected in the high-resolution video.

“What the hell? Why is the stage like that? There could be an accident.”

When someone mumbled this, the Lee Songha on screen staggered and fell. Two or three people sucked in their breaths. Lee Songha got right back up within a few seconds like a roly-poly toy before quickly resuming her dance.

The screen turned black once the video ended.

The fans who had been staring at the screen, one by one, raised their heads and looked at me.

The girl with the ponytail said,

“We found the bait.”

 


{1} Words of encouragement. Korean equivalent to ‘Good luck’, ‘Go for it’, ‘Cheer up’, etc.

{2} In this example, he is specifically referring to a food truck that makes ‘flour-based food (분식)’.

{3} Hot spicy rice cakes. Very popular.

 

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Comments 7

  1. Thanks for the chapter:)
    I’m really enjoying the characters interactions in that novel^^

    Webtoon…O.M.G that’s totally meme potential here:o

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