Naturally, at this time it was only the movie “Wolong” that Duan Xiubo could offer under the guise of “co-operation”
As a distinctly Chinese element, the genre of ancient martial arts films was very popular both domestically and internationally. Obviously, the premise of good sales was to guarantee quality and in the painstakingly meticulous films involving Duan Xiubo quality was assured.
The director of “Wolong”, Huo Xie was one of the most critically acclaimed commercial film directors in the movie industry. His work was always applauded and praised, and this praise was continually accompanied by high box office sales.
Of course, this reputation was not unwarranted. While Huo Xie’s work pleased the audience, actors who worked with him were often tormented.
Huo Xie’s meticulousness could be seen in all aspects of his work. For instance, he must personally select and match characters to their costumes. He must never dislike a scene he films. If there is even a little bit of dissatisfaction with how the scene translates on camera, Huo Xie will scrap it all. In order to derive the essence of a film scene he will compel actors to study and prepare for half a year before filming.
However, because of the guarantee of awards and box office sales his films bring, no matter how eccentric he was, there were many actors who wanted to work with him.
Huo Xie did not like actors using stuntmen during action shots thus no one on the “Wolong” crew chose to use a stand-in actor. The cast of “Wolong” worked hard and Huo Xie was initially satisfied. However, extreme joy begets sorrow. Not long after shooting began the third supporting male actor landed in hospital with a broken foot because of inadequate protective measures during filming.
As this news was suppressed, the public was unaware and only the core personnel in the crew had been informed.
This shouldn’t have been part of Duan Xiubo’s job description. It was the director’s job to cast actors. Additionally, Duan Xiubo was a very straight-laced person who strictly separated his public and private affairs. If he had a good relationship with others, it would purely be a personal relationship and unrelated to his work.
He worked in the film industry and except Ji Jiahe, who was in the fashion industry almost all of the few close friends with whom he could speak were film industry people. As for Luo Ding, … the relationship between the two of them had not yet reached a level that could be described as good friends. In short, many people who had heard whispers of the role opening had come to him to inquire about casting but Duan Xiubo had only smiled and made no comment.
But now, after watching Luo Ding’s interpretation of Fu Zhu, for the first time he was filled with a selfish impulse.
Collaborating with Duan Xiubo, a famous actor, was a great honor for Luo Ding. So of course, Luo Ding was willing. Everyone in the industry was aware that Duan Xiubo never filmed a lot of movies, but once he joined a production it will be top quality work. As a newcomer in the entertainment industry, participating in a movie, particularly in a quality box office hit will be a great boost to Luo Ding’s resume.
As a director, Zheng Kezhen should have disliked Luo Ding for signing on to another job in the middle of filming. But people are partial. From the time he and Luo Ding were introduced he had seen the latter’s talent and the effort he put into filming.
In Zheng Kezhen’s mind, Luo Ding was a good seed with a great potential for popularity. Opportunities to film a movie with Duan Xiubo did not come around every day. If he missed this chance with the intent of waiting till a next time, who knew when that will be.
So, when Luo Ding sought his opinion, he generously approved a week-long vacation. It is unknown how much money Luo Ding’s scenes have saved him. Currently, the group performances are being shot together and Zheng Kezhen could just take the opportunity to shoot other scenes that do not include Luo Ding. Luo Ding, coming in a few days earlier or a few days later will have no impact.
Currently, Huo Xie was in a bind.
Chen Xufeng, who played male No. 3, was admitted to the hospital one week ago because he had broken his right leg in a bad take. He was out of commission for a hundred days and at the very least he couldn’t be discharged from the hospital before filming ended.
An actor can be hospitalized but the crew’s shooting schedule cannot be halted. Every day, money was being burned. A day’s delay was a day’s loss.
While delaying all the scenes of male No. 3, he had also started secretly contacting appropriate actors. However, before a new actor could be put in place, the entire cast and crew was sealed off to the media. It’s was not a good thing for the actor’s injury to be reported in the news at the moment.
But how easy was it to find a suitable actor in such a short time? Male No. 3 was a villain. Although he did not have many scenes his every appearance on screen was a highlight of the script. Chen Xufeng was not a very famous actor, but his appearance and temperament suited the role perfectly and it was only by accident that Huo Xie had encountered him. Other than Chen Xufeng, how many actors were suitable for this role?
Over the past few days, more than a dozen people had secretly auditioned but he was not satisfied with any of them. Meanwhile dragging this process on will inevitably affect everyone’s work thus even if he was unwilling, Huo Xie had to consider changing the script.
However, pull one hair and the whole body is affected, when the script is changed, it becomes a wholly different movie. This was a big blow to Huo Xie who treated every piece of work like his child. So, after receiving a call from Duan Xiubo, he immediately asked him to bring this person to meet him without delay.
Duan Xiubo had never personally recommended any actors. This was the first time. A person who can make Duan Xiubo gamble on his reputation was bound to have enough talent. This was really good news for Huo Xie who was on the verge of giving up.
After taking on this trouble, Duan Xiubo also felt that he was really acting out of character. But when he saw the young man sitting quietly in the front passenger seat, the little remorse he had originally generated suddenly disappeared.
“Director Huo is a bit quick-tempered and speaks like he is about to start fight. Don’t be afraid when you audition. I’ll sit by and watch, he won’t dare target you.” Seeing Luo Ding quietly looking out the window, Duan Xiubo was not sure if the other party was worrying about the audition, so after thinking about it for a while, he decided to offer a few words of comfort.
Luo Ding looked back at him and smiled slightly: “Thank you.”
Regardless of whether he could pass this audition, he owed Duan Xiubo a favor. But in front of Duan Xiubo he had no psychological burden as a result of this. One may owe others and others may owe you, Isn’t this life?
Luo Ding’s attitude made Duan Xiubo, who was worried at first that Luo Ding would change his way of interacting with him as result of this favor, gradually feel relief.
The crew’s security was very strict. Even an actor brought by Duan Xiubo must be approved by them before he could enter.
As soon as Duan Xiubo brought Luo Ding into the office, he saw Huo Xie, who was seated behind his desk, staring at the door with bright eyes.
Huo Xie was very ugly. He had an inverted melon face, a double chin, a thick neck and dark swarthy skin. Because he frowned all year long, he had no artistic temperament and as a result of his poor sense of style he looked just like a farmer in the mountains tilling the loess.
However, Luo Ding did not dare underestimate the person in front of him. After entering the office, he nodded politely to the other: “Hello, Director Huo, my name is Luo Ding. I have come audition for the role of” Guangling Wang”.
He and Duan Xiubo had walked into this makeshift office, side by side. Two people of outstanding appearance and temperament and just like two searchlights they instantly brightened the surrounding area.
Huo Xie’s eyes brightened on seeing Luo Ding’s excellent looks. In commercial films an actor’s appearance is also a big publicity selling point. But after a closer inspection he couldn’t help being disappointed.
“How old are you?”
“Have you ever acted in a film?
“No. But I’m acting in a new drama directed by Zheng Kezhen.”
“Are you kidding me?” Huo Xie turned to stare at Duan Xiubo. “He’s young and inexperienced. Where does he fit Guǎnglíng Wáng’s character? Guǎnglíng Wáng is evil! Evil! Not a bookish intellectual”
Duan Xiubo knew that Huo Xie had made the same mistake he did but did not rush to explain. Instead, he smiled, pulled out a chair and sat down: “Why are you talking so much. Am I a hero? Do you think I would normally do such a chivalrous thing? Just let him try it. It’s too early for you to draw a conclusion before testing him”
Huo Xie’s hopes had already fallen rock bottom. A newcomer in his twenties who had never filmed a movie, what good acting skills could he possibly have? But as he was already here it was not good to drive him away without auditioning. Huo Xie took out Guangling Wang’s personal script from the drawer, turned a few pages, frowned, and finally flung the script directly on the table: “You take it yourself, pick a scene and after two hours show me what you have. “After saying this, he left with a tea cup in his hand.
Luo Ding wasn’t angry. During filming Huo Xie’s temper was worse than now. Once upon a time Luo Ding had sufficient status to be valued but at present there was no need for him to make an uproar and humiliate himself.
Duan Xiubo was a little bit upset. He patted Luo Ding’s shoulders to signal that he shouldn’t take Hou Xie’s behavior to heart, and then followed Huo Xie to leave the office together.
In fact, the plot of this film was actually very simple. It told the story of a hero who was being hunted down after learning an incredible secret, till he finally defeats the hidden villain to emerge triumphant. Duan Xiubo played the hero, and the role Luo Ding was fighting for was that of the hidden villain.
Guangling Wang, the emperor’s most favored prince, held power and glory, but was still ambitious and dissatisfied with the status quo.
He deceived the emperor’s favorite concubine Yu Guifei and lured her into secretly poisoning the Emperor using the throne as bait. Additionally, he created a camp of officials ostensibly to eliminate dissidents but rather slaughtered ministers who were loyal to the emperor and were unwilling to stand with him. Yet by virtue of Yu Guifei’s pillow talk the emperor continued to place his trust in him.
The heroine of the story was a princess who was persecuted by Yu Guifei. Her newborn child was poisoned by Yu Gufei and while investigating the cause of the child’s death, she accidentally uncovered the conspiracy between Yu Guifei and Guangling Wang, commencing a game of hunt and escape with the two.
Mu Gui, a hero of the Jianghu, played by Duan Xiubo, was a straightforward man. After encountering the heroine and learning of the series of conspiracies and after seeing Guangling Wang beheading and killing loyal officials imperiously before the court he immediately sought to intervene.
The end of the story is of course a bad outcome for the conspirators. Good will be rewarded with good and evil with evil. After the death of Yu Guifei, the heroine returned to the palace and separated from Mu Gui. Later, however she followed her heart to escape the palace and return to Mu Gui.
The film does not challenge the three views, but as a martial arts picture it is absolutely magnificent and uncompromising.
At the end, Guangling Wang’s demise was so tragic that he was sorry to the emperor who had trusted him, and the concubine Yu Guifei who had been deceived by him. The scene of his death in the plot was also beautiful. After Luo Ding read it, he determined the character’s psychology, and understood why Huo Xie was so serious about this villain.
The current audience was really easy to please, especially the female market, who drive movie sales. Most do not care if the role is good or bad, as long as the actor is handsome and has good taste, the appearance of such a character in a film can easily be remembered by the audience.
He kept an eye on his watch while reading the script for two hours.
Huo Xie returned and it was not known what Duan Xiubo had said to him but at this time his attitude towards Luo Ding was much milder than before.
Duan Xiubo who was walking behind him looked over at Luo Ding and raised an eyebrow to inquire about Luo Ding’s condition.
Luo Ding nodded at him.
Huo Xie put down his tea cup, took out his glasses, put them on, and raised his hand to Luo Ding in a “please start” gesture. Although his attitude was better, he still seemed a little careless.
Luo Ding ignored him completely. He adjusted his mental state, slowly mobilizing his understanding of the role.
After a moment, he slowly opened his eyes and one couldn’t say whether the look in his yes was that of mockery or frivolity. His gaze became charming like a tickle in one’s palm. His entire being was nestled in the sofa in a languid state and then his temperament changed suddenly.
As soon as Huo Xie’s lips touched the edge of the cup, he saw this scene and immediately sat upright as if a stopwatch in his body had been pressed.
Soil. A specific type of loosely compacted yellowish grey soil deposit found in eastern china and the American Midwest.
 In Chinese philosophy, the phrase three teachings (Chinese: 三教; pinyin: San Jiao; Vietnamese: Tam giáo; Indonesian: Tridarma), refers to Confucianism, Taoism, and Buddhism when considered as a harmonious aggregate.
T/N: 25 Chapters! A small milestone. We are about a quarter of the way through folks! Happy Saturday .