Following the press conference, news of Pan Yiming’s new album “Secret” which had finally been released after a long wait, spread widely.
On major websites, the viewing rates of the official MV and the behind-the-scenes filming videos soared wildly.
The novel theme of the MV was repeatedly publicized by many official media sites and Pan Yiming’s special album press briefing launch event could be said to have opened new avenues in the industry.
At the same time, the album was released in several countries and the sales volume in its first week exceeded 600,000. This number was already a new high for the record sales market which had, in recent years, been gradually suppressed by the development of the Internet.
However, even after a week had passed and even though there were high-definition versions of the MV’s single on the Internet, the sales of physical records did not fade.
Countless old and new fans poured into the audio-visual stores to buy out their stocks of the albums. Even record stores exhibited the MV of the title song, “Detective” on their display windows and played it repeatedly. Through the transparent glass-panes of the store windows, the mild and dark hues of the MV, the pleasant female voice, slow rhythm, coherent plot and a handsome man easily attracted the attention of passers-by.
Though rare, some passers-by who were attracted by the fleeting pictures chose to enter the store to inquire about and buy this inexpensive album.
The names of Pan Yiming and Luo Ding were bound together and gradually became known to groups of people who ordinarily did not pay much attention to entertainment news.
This was a win-win situation for both Luo Ding and Pan Yiming. The media coverage was equally shared and the phrase “working with men and women is not tiring” could best describe how well the duo complimented one another.
The benefits were ingeniously balanced. Luo Ding gained fame while Pan Yiming also regained her market popularity and won back the status in the music industry that she had gradually lost. The annual sales of the “Secret” album sat firmly at the top of the market and connected these two people, who were already friends, even more tightly.
News of scandals between Pan Yiming and Luo Ding also began appearing.
Luo Ding looked up to allow the hair stylist to attach a hair piece on his head. Though the sticky glue was uncomfortable, it was still tolerable. Filming for “Tang Zhuan” was still ongoing and Zheng Kezhen’s willingness to open up Luo Ding’s schedule and give him time to shoot other films during this period was a very rare concession.
Luo Ding did not have much time to spend in the “Wolong” crew before the crew of “Tang Zhuan” would set off to the next shooting location. He was to spend only half a month at the film and television city to shoot “Wolong”. Though this half-month period may appear to be ample, it was actually a very short period of time because martial arts films involved a lot more than just acting skills.
In this script, Guangling Wang was a hidden martial art master as such, there were many fighting scenes. Each of these fighting scenes needed to be rehearsed for a long time before a smooth picture full of strength and beauty could be captured on film.
Luo Ding needed to visit the production crew to receive martial arts training every day before dawn. These martial arts exercises were very physically demanding. Additionally, he also often needed to attend some activities in support of Pan Yiming’s album. He slept less than five hours a day and still had to work hard thus while filming he quickly lost weight.
He was already thin enough to begin with and although the deeper contours of his face looked better through the lens, in reality it gave people the sense that he was on the verge of being blown away by the wind.
Especially, like now, when his eyes were half-lidded in tiredness, his entire being looked a little dazed and not as imposing as usual. With some of this body’s inherent innocence and melancholic tendencies it was easy to evoke a sense of pity in others.
The hair stylist couldn’t help but hasten her movements: “Yuan jie will probably not arrive until six o’clock. You’ve worked so hard till now. Why not just nap for a while and I will wake you up when she arrives?”
Luo Ding’s eyelids, which had been struggling for a while blinked hard and then he gave her a sunny smile: “Thank you, but after I wake up my eyes will be swollen. It’s better for me to wait until filming ends and then sleep well. It’s been hard on you. You’ve had to work overtime at dawn to accommodate me.”
Everyone loves listening to intimate words, particularly when its coming from a handsome and soft-spoken gentleman. The hair stylist listened to the warm words and her eyes softened a bit as did that of the makeup artist who had also come into work early.
Others say that Celebrities have it hard. But in fact, what about the staff behind the scenes? They accompany the crew to wake up early and follow them into the deep mountains and forests. They worked more than anyone else, but they did not earn even one-tenth of the salary of an ordinary actor. They were always ordered around, but credit was ignored.
Luo Ding’s popularity in the crew was good. He was very gentle and considerate to everyone and handled what he could by himself, unlike those other artists who consciously become “wrists” However, he was also not as fake as those celebrities who just wanted to form good relationships backstage. His attitude was neither overly humble nor arrogant, instead his position was just right.
In such a large production, there were naturally many young actors in the crew like Luo Ding who were not well-known. Nowadays, it was difficult to network in the performing arts circle and most people were smart enough to know how to present themselves. However, although there were countless humble people, they were rarely as capable as Luo Ding. There were many who were busy moving things for others all day long, cleaning and working together with the staff in order to make a good impression, but no one is a fool. Everyone can tell whether this humility is true or false.
There was a knock on the door of the dressing room and Wu Fangyuan gently leaned in and saw Luo Ding wrinkle his brow slightly while talking. For a brief moment distress flashed in Wu Fangyyan’s eyes. Luo Ding never allowed him to stay by his side when he was working very early in the morning or late at night and always sent him back to rest for various reasons.
Wu Fangyuan did not dare disobey Luo Ding who was now more and more imposing, but he was not a fool. Of course, he understood that Luo Ding was silently caring for the people around him in this way. When Luo Ding was not popular in the past, Wu Fangyuan had been worried and anxious on his behalf. Now, Luo Ding had become popular but looking at how the other party was so busy everyday and had no time to eat or sleep, he felt uncomfortable.
“I thought you will be sleeping.” Wu Fangyuan sighed. With a smile on his face, he no longer inched in quietly but walked in openly, raising the pair of large insulated containers that were in his hands, “I have brought you breakfast. I personally made preserved eggs and lean meat porridge.”
This meal was naturally requested by Luo Ding. Wu Fangyuan had good cooking skills and Luo Ding often asked him to make chicken soup, bone soup and porridge, etc. to share with the crew. There was basically nothing to eat while filming was ongoing and even the box lunch served was very crude. At this time, a thick cup of steaming homemade soup was rare and more delicious than anything else.
Sure enough, everyone laughed. As soon as the lid of the insulated container was opened, the savory aroma of the preserved eggs and lean meat porridge drifted throughout and hungry people hurriedly fetched disposable cups to line up.
The way to a man’s heart is through his stomach and after drinking Luo Ding’s porridge they naturally became close to him subconsciously. This kind of thoughtfulness was more useful than running back and forth to help the staff.
“Yo!, what are you eating?” The door of the dressing room was suddenly pushed open and a smiling female voice asked.
Everyone turned around and there was a small commotion: “Yuan jie!”
“It’s fragrant!” Yuan Bing took a deep breath, and the scent of meat and eggs made her a little hungry. She turned her head and said, “Hi!” Then she asked everyone with a smile, “Is there any for me? Where’s my share? “
This kind of thing was prepared in large quantities. Not to mention one Yuan Bing, there was enough for ten more people. After learning that she also had a share, Yuan Bing took a disposable cup from the water dispenser and without any airs asked Wu Fangyuan to pour some for her.
This was Wu Fangyuan first encounter with an actress from the “Goddess” tier so he did not know where to put his nervous hands and feet. Luo Ding had no choice but to take the insulated container from him and pour Yuan Bing a cup.
“Why did Yuan jie come so early?”
Yuan Bing laughed while carefully blowing on the porridge: “It’s not for your sake, blame your Duan ge …”
“What did I do?” Before her voice had died away she was interrupted by the magnetic voice of Duan Xiubo who entered soon afterwards. “Yuan jie, it is a good habit to sleep early and wake up early. It is good for the skin.”
Yuan Bing smiled and restrained herself from rolling her eyes at him in front of everyone. Listening to the nonsense Duan Xiubo was spewing right now, it wouldn’t seem that he had, without her permission, arranged for the hotel wake-up service to call her constantly from 5 o’clock in the morning to urge her to come to the crew early.
While drinking porridge, she sized up Luo Ding. His legs were as thin as chopsticks. How enviable.
Because he was to start filming soon, Luo Ding didn’t dare to eat too much. After drinking a cup of porridge, he didn’t drink more.
Yuan Bing took a sip of the hot porridge, her eyes narrowed into slits and she gave a long sigh: “Ah ~~~~ It’s so fresh. You simmered this for a long time and also added in scallops?”
Seeing Wu Fangyuan nod his head, she turned to ask Duan Xiubo, ” Lǎo Duan, won’t you have a drink?”
Duan Xiubo was frowning and staring at Luo Ding’s skinny arms and legs purposefully. On hearing the question, he returned to normal instantly. He sniffed and felt a bit hungry. He leaned over and looked at the water dispenser but found that all the available disposable cups had already been distributed.
He looked around, walked to Luo Ding and picked up the cup the latter had used. He placed one hand on Luo Ding’s shoulder: “Aren’t you still drinking? Have another one?” You eat so little. You are too thin, how can your body cope?”
Luo Ding shook his head: “I can’t eat it, we will be doing some wire work in a short while and there will be fight scenes, I’m afraid that after eating too much my stomach cannot hold up.”
Duan Xiubo was also experienced. As soon as Luo Ding gave this reason, he did not persuade him further, but asked: “There are no cups over there, you don’t need this do you?”
Luo Ding’s mouth twitched, and he shook his head. From his actions one really couldn’t tell that Duan Xiubo was reputedly fastidious and mysophobic …
Duan Xiubo naturally poured a cup of porridge into the used cup, and slowly drank from the side of the rim where Luo Ding had not used. He didn’t say very much to Luo Ding, but Duan Xiubo’s eyes always seemed to fall on him. When he saw his beautiful clavicle protruding from the slightly open neckline of Luo Ding’s costume, he shook for a moment and then discretely wrinkled his brows.”
Luo Ding’s current state was really too haggard. He was so thin! How could he still have sufficient energy to film well? Later, he would talk to Mi Rui, and have him order a pot of stewed beef and pig’s trotters and something for the crew from a restaurant outside the film and television city.
When Yuan Bing saw Duan Xiubo drink porridge out of Luo Ding’s cup, she was a little shocked. Others say that Duan Xiubo was easy-going, but as old friends how could she still not know how standoffish Duan Xiubo was in private? The smile on this man’s face made it impossible to tell what emotions he really had in his heart, but it could be seen from daily life that Duan Xiubo strictly controlled the boundary between himself and other people!
Now, was this Duan Xiubo the same as the one who never used shared chopsticks outside??
She caught a glimpse of Duan Xiubo’s gaze at Luo Ding and choked. She did not dare to think about this anymore.
After his wig was secured, Luo Ding started to have his make-up applied quickly.
His facial features were photogenic and his skin white, thus his makeup did not require much effort. It was only necessary to deepen the lines around his eyes. Because the role of Guangling Wang was evil, the makeup artist elongated his eyeline gave it a slight upwards tilt.
On the side, Yuan Bing looked a little confused. In all honesty, she had felt this way from the first time she met Luo Ding. As a newcomer Luo Ding was really different from the many newcomers she had encountered. A short while ago he did not seem to be nervous at all even though he was neither groomed nor had make-up on!
Although the hierarchy in the entertainment circle was not explicitly outlined it definitely existed. By simply looking at Wu Fangyuan’s tension in the presence of Yuan Bing and Duan Xiubo, it could be seen that just like many subordinates show respect and fear when facing their bosses, popularity and social status were the weights with which celebrities measured how to relate to one another.
But Luo Ding did not evoke that feeling in her at all.
He was very natural, and his speech and actions were balanced appropriately. While there was respect there was absolutely no fear or flattery.
At first, she didn’t understand why Duan Xiubo treated such a young newcomer in this manner, but after communicating with him a few times, even she had begun to like this gentle and smooth way of getting along with each other.
She didn’t know whether Luo Ding’s understanding of interpersonal communication was innate or acquired, but at his age she could never match this ability. With this skill, Luo Ding could definitely thrive in the entertainment industry, not to mention that he also had impeccably good skin.
However, at the thought of Duan Xiubo’s praise for Luo Ding’s acting skills during several past conversations, Yuan Bing wrinkled her brow imperceptibly.
She had heard that Luo Ding had debuted several years ago and though still in his twenties he had only just begun to become popular. While Duan Xiubo claimed that Luo Ding’s so-called acting skills were good, was it not only when compared with his peers? To be honest, though the current entertainment industry was filled with dragons and snakes , in general their quality was really not as good as when she and Duan Xiubo first debuted.
Her assistant spoke two words near her ear and Yuan Bing hurriedly swallowed the porridge and clapped her hands. “The studio has said that it is almost ready. I am going to change into my costume. Everyone take your time while eating, but prepare to shoot soon. “
The group of people hurriedly said goodbye to her. Luo Ding, who having his makeup applied, also opened one eye. He didn’t move his head but glanced at her obliquely and waved his hand with a smile: “Yan Jie, Take care.”
His eyelashes had already been thickened, and his eyeliner made his eyes look more seductive. The slightly elongated ends of his eyes which matched the small arc of his smile was inexplicably charming.
Yuan Bing was slightly stunned, and her head was completely empty. She only felt that Luo Ding’s eyes were like a baited fish hook, tempting and dangerous.
By the time she recovered, she had been dragged by the arm and out of the public dressing room by her assistant.
This was Luo Ding’s first appearance since he joined the crew.
Because of Huo Xie’s bad temper, everyone’s nerves were strained every time they filmed a scene. While maintaining a high level of concentration greatly reduced the number of NG’s, it also placed a lot of pressure on the actors. Overall, there were advantages and disadvantages.
In fact, filming was really hard work. Luo Ding was dog tired after filming a handful of shots which were only for a few minutes of air time. But Huo Xie was even busier than him. He strove for excellence and work that he could complete by himself would never be delegated to his assistant director. Thus, he had less time to rest than the actors and everyone understood when he scolded people as a result of his sleep deprivation.
Although Yuan Bing was already a movie queen, she still feared Huo Xie a little. While walking with Luo Ding towards the set, she asked her assistant: “How is Director Huo today?”
The assistant gave her a helpless expression: “Last night, Zhang Ni NG’d more than twenty times. Director Huo filmed until three o’clock before stopping work for the day. He just slept for an hour and a half, and certainly did not have a good night’s sleep.” Zhang Ni was the actor who played Yu Guifei.
Though everyone was prepared to be stared at and critiqued for a while, Huo Xie’s poisonous tongue could not be withstood by just anyone! But such is life, if one couldn’t avoid it, one could only laugh and convince oneself to enjoy it.
Huo Xie had a pair of huge dark circles under his eyes and his originally unbecoming appearance was even more unsightly. He sat in the director’s chair listlessly, the script in his hand was rolled into a tube and his eyes stared gloomily at the entrance.
Luo Ding followed along, nodded and said good morning.
He tried to differentiate his before-makeup comportment from his temperament after makeup was applied. These days he had become familiar with many members of the crew. His quiet yet thoughtful manner had given everyone a good impression of him and thus they had drawn closer to him. When they discovered that he looked a little different after makeup, everyone squinted and stared. Luo Ding unveiled his character and and smiled a wicked smile that displayed the full aura of Guangling Wang. Many staff members were immediately shocked and dazzled
Luo Ding mouth twitched, and he suddenly felt pained.
Huo Xie glanced at Luo Ding and Yuan Bing’s costumes. When he caught Luo Ding’s smile, he was stunned, and his original anger was abruptly reduced. He turned around and called out for the crew to stand by. He was not a fool. Naturally, to lose his temper he must have a justifiable reason otherwise there will be future conflicts with the actors who have worked with him.
However, if an actor offends him he would not respect that person’s human rights. That was no trouble. What’s more, Luo Ding’s condition today gave him a very good feeling. Combined with the shock that Luo Ding gave him on the day of of his audition, he had a hunch that today ’s daytime shoot will be smooth.
In today’s scene, while in the midst of pursuit, Guangling Wang’s elite soldiers were killed by the hero Mu Gui. As a result, Guangling Wang resented Mu Gui so much that he personally joined the hunting team and successfully captured the heroine Yu Shengyan. The quality of Mu Gui‘s men made Guangling Wang suspicious of the former’s origin thus he did not immediately kill Yu Shengyan, but after taking her away, he sought to seduce and intimidate her into revealing Mu Gui‘s origin.
Looking at the script, which described pinching her neck and kneeling, Luo Ding coughed and quipped in a joking manner to Yuan Bing: “Yuan jie, if I offend you in a little while, please don’t hold it against me.”
While Yuan Bing was not attracted to Luo Ding’s fresh image, this rare, beautiful and evil image of Luo Ding after makeup was to her taste. Yuan Bing was stunned by his smile and quickly diverted her gaze.
For a brief moment Huo Xie told them a few details to pay attention to and then he returned to the director’s chair and looked at Duan Xiubo strangely. This guy’s first acting scene will be after nine o’clock at the earliest, so, what was he doing here so early?
Without realizing Huo Xie’s thoughts, Duan Xiubo naturally pulled out a chair and sat down. Looking at his serious posture, a passerby would’ve thought he was a member of the production crew.
The camera was in place and the lighting was suitable.
The moment Huo Xie raised his hand, the smile on Luo Ding’s face disappeared, and at the same time he stretched out his slender palm which bent into a grip resembling an eagle’s claw and grabbed Yuan Bing’s neck.
The skin on the palm of his hand was very cold, and Yuan Bing shivered a little. Before she could recover she heard Huo Xie’s voice: “Action!”
Luo Ding tossed her to the ground, and then swiveled sideways, flinging the sleeves of his robes in a flowing gesture. He then tilted his body and fell onto the chaise lounge.
With his strength, Yuan Bing fell to the ground, before she had completely gone into character. She looked up at the person on the chaise lounge with a horrified expression.
For this scene the camera was focused on Luo Ding and she did need to make too many expressions. However, as a dedicated actor even if it was not her scene she must assist her partner play his role well.
Then she froze.
The man leaning on the couch had a snow-white face, black hair, and was wearing crimson robes. He supported his head with one arm and looked at Yuan Bing with cold, narrow eyes. However, because of his finely elongated eyes, he looked slightly bewitching and gave off a somewhat flirtatious feeling.
In the green shed, only the chaise lounge under him could be called gorgeous, but this man used his natural domineering power to make people feel that this shed was the only place in the world that was so magnificent as to be comparable to the Imperial palace.
Yuan Bing only felt that suddenly she had seen the character stepping out from the script. He was so conceited and proud that he looked down on the world and regarded everyone else as non-entities.
She opened her mouth and breathed hard and rapidly.
Guangling Wang displayed an indifferent smile, which lazily impacted only one corner of his mouth. As if the woman who had fallen in front of him was not worthy of his attention, his sharp and beautiful lips opened slightly: “Speak.”
These weighty words landed on the ground cleanly. The murderousness and coldness contained within was substantive and made Yu Shengyan tremble in fear.
“I do not know anything …” She curled into a ball, her voice already tear-filled.
Guangling Wang‘s wandering eyes finally converged and fell casually upon her.
Suddenly his smile widened and at the same time he lazily propped himself up into half-seated position. His upper body leaned out of the chaise and he gently approached Yu Shengyan.
His thick eyelashes covered his slightly drooping eyes. His eyes were as deep as the sea, and his imposing momentum suddenly became seductive. He stretched out his good-looking slender hands, and while smiling, he gently stroked the side of Yu Shengyan‘s face.
His voice was soft and gentle, as if he was sighing: ” Yù fēi niángniáng, you know everything, you know it all. You can escape from the forbidden palace by yourself, and then avoid the tens of thousands of elite soldiers who were sent after you by Xiao Wang. No one is smarter than you.”
His words were sarcastic and thorny and reversed black and white as though he truly did not feel that there was anything wrong with chasing down an Imperial concubine. His face and body, which were drawing closer and closer was filled with a strong but suppressed momentum that caused Yu Shengyan‘s heart to tighten.
Luo Ding found that Yuan Bing’s gaze was a bit stiff, and his fingers flicked her ears indistinctly at a place where the camera could not see.
Yuan Bing immediately recovered and quickly returned to the plot in the script and made a backward movement to evade him.
Guangling Wang‘s expression suddenly became cold, he hummed softly and grasped Yu Shengyan‘s white neck with one hand in a thunderous movement while dragging her back.
The murderous aura that was initially withdrawn was suddenly vented causing one’s hair to stand on end in fright.
“Cut!” With a word, the tense atmosphere relaxed.
Luo Ding quickly relaxed his grip, sat up on the couch and lifted Yuan Bing from the ground: “Are you okay? Was I too heavy-handed just now?”
Yuan Bing shook her head blankly. She was still a little immersed in the emotions just now and couldn’t pull herself away. The contact from Luo Ding’s body filled her with some uneasy panic.
The director’s group was as happy as if it were the Chinese New Year: “Unexpectedly, there was no NG. We finally escaped from Zhang Ni’s curse!”
Huo Xie rubbed his eyes. His face was expressionless, but his mood was several times better than before the filming.
“Take a fifteen-minute break and prepare for the next scene.” He gave a rare and forgiving break of more than ten minutes. Leaning back in his chair, he yawned. Hu Xiao glanced at Duan Xiubo, who was sitting beside him and staring at the field motionlessly. He patted Duan Xuibo’s shoulders with affection: “Good eyes, thank you very much, I owe you a favor.”
Duan Xiubo’s forehead twitched slightly. A mild smile appeared on his face and one couldn’t tell that he had still been in a daze a second ago. He was filled with a sense of pride knowing that the person Hu Xiao was referring to was Luo Ding.
He returned his attention to Luo Ding, who was having his makeup retouched. He had tilted his head slightly and was allowing the makeup artist to apply powder to his face in a docile manner.
Unexpectedly, Luo Ding’s seductive smile suddenly flashed through his mind and Duan Xiubo’s heartbeat sped up and became somewhat disorderly. It was not something that one could explain clearly and make people understand but not long after the scene with Luo Ding his emotions rolled and tumbled in his chest. What was this? He clenched his fists.
After a short while, Duan Xiubo lowered his eyes, licked his dry lips, and asked Mi Rui in a low voice to go and order some stewed pork trotters and beef stew.
The make-up artist on set held her powder box and stared at Yuan Bing, unable to begin
The blush on Yuan Bing’s face had spread to her ears, how could she apply powder now? This can’t be covered anymore…..
 “腕儿” – I take this to mean those celebrities who simply order people around by pointing here and there and do no work even if they are capable of it
 The idiom here translated into “A man’s mouth is short”. I chose to use what in my opinion would be the English equivalent of the Chinese idiom to make comprehension easier.
 Appellation – Meaning old i.e. Old Duan
 A mixed bag. Good talent and bad talent mixed together
 For this part the original text translated into “life is like rape”. Wuuut. I couldn’t bring myself to leave it as such in big 2020 seeing what came after it. I claim my wannabe translator’s privilege here.
 Title for Imperial Concubine Yu Shengyan
 Spoke lies as though they were the truth
T/N NOTE: Wu Fangyuan is still adorable. Duan Xiubo is still cute. Luo Ding seems to have won another jie over with the power of eyeliner and scallop porridge.
It takes a village. Let me know in the comments if you spot any typos 🙂