Chapter 601 Are you, like, a professional actor?
In the studio.
The first round of auditions for Zhang Ye began.
Zhang Yuanqi, Dalong, Tian Xuetao, and the rest stood around and observed the audition quietly. The film crew was also looking curiously at Zhang Ye. Some of them had doubts in their eyes, especially the actor who was auditioning just before him and another pending candidate for the role. They were both wondering why the film crew would find an amateur actor, or rather a layman who in his daily life and work had totally nothing to do with movies and acting!
Some people were whispering quietly among themselves.
"Can Zhang Ye do this?"
"Who invited him to join the audition?"
"I think it was arranged by the assistant director, but I'm not sure on whose recommendation."
"He's only a host, or at most you can consider him to be someone who also deals with literature and mathematical work, so for this urgent and important role, why would they get Teacher Zhang to audition for it? If it's just a normal comedy movie, it's understandable since those do not require too much acting skill from a person, but Grandmasters is not the same as those."
"It's even an antagonist's role which makes it more difficult."
"Shh, it's starting, let's watch."
Zhang Ye heard a little of these scattered conversations from the people around him, but was not bothered by it at all. He was also not feeling a shred of nervousness. He might not be so confident at other things, but acting? When he had gotten those Higher Mathematics Skill Experience Books back then, he had also received 141 Acting Skills Experience Books along with them. These experience books were all "eaten" by him at that time and digested as knowledge and experience into his mind. However, he had not had a chance to use it until now. When Zhang Yuanqi called him to ask if he wanted to be recommended for the audition, this was the reason why he agreed to her offer without any hesitation, because he already knew what he could do.
What kind of concept was 141 books?
Even if he could not reach the top level like Zhang Yuanqi, Zhang Ye's acting skills would certainly not be worse than those other actors!
The assistant director said, "Set yourself free, become a tiger!"
Zhang Ye did not even hesitate and reflexively went down on all fours while making an explosive roar of a tiger, "Houuuu!!!!"
That was too loud!
And too sudden!
The assistant director, director, and Tian Xuetao along with the others were all caught off guard and jumped up in fright when they heard the roar. Not only were they frightened by the sound of his roar, even the fierce expression of the "downhill" tiger sent shivers through their spines! In the artistic field of painting, tigers could generally be divided into two types. One was the "uphill" tiger which depicts a tiger that was returning back to its lair after a satisfying meal, having an expression of content and serenity. However, Zhang Ye's depiction of the tiger was a "downhill" one, the look of hunger as it went out to search for it's next prey. A "downhill" tiger was one that was the fiercest and the most scary looking!
Zhang Yuanqi also looked at Zhang Ye in surprise.
Tian Xuetao and the second female lead both looked at each other.
The assistant director clapped and cheered as goosebumps broke out all over him. "What a great 'downhill' tiger impression! That's good enough, Teacher Zhang!"
Zhang Ye stood up and dusted off his hands, looking as though he didn't do much. His throat was feeling a little hoarse since the part of his vocal chords that he used to make the roaring sound was a little different from the normal speaking part. It felt very abrasive and not just anyone could come up with such a sound.
His performance had really left everyone, including the directors and actors, stunned. Usually, when an actor was asked to set themselves free, even an acting student would know how to do it, not to mention a professional actor. Even if you grabbed a random performing arts student from Beijing Film Academy or Shanghai Theater Academy, they would be able to do it quite well. But the performing arts focused more on acting-whether the expression and spirit were like that of a real tiger, the sound part was secondary. But for Zhang Ye? Not only did he perfectly portray himself like a tiger, the finishing touch was really at the point when he roared angrily in hunger. Just between all these professional actors who were present today, none of them made a sound like that!
Why were they not able to do so?
It was down to the reason of their professions!
Zhang Ye's acting chops were enhanced by his consumption of the Acting Skills Experience Books, but his broadcasting background was entirely trained with great practice. At the Media College where he graduated from, Zhang Ye had specialized in vocal performance, so what the others could not do was no problem for him. This was an advantage he had over the others based on his training, and also something that he wouldn't do poorer than others of the same profession, not to mention these laymen who only specialized in acting. Since vocalization was his specialty, the foundation techniques behind this roar was down to the hard training of three to five years. The frictional changes in the vocalization, with the adjustments of the vocal tract to how to change the frequency after a sound has been made-all of these were due to his knowledge!
The assistant director gave another topic, "Wolf. A wolf that is calling out to its pack."
Having seen the previous performance, everyone seemingly had some kind of expectation now. All of them were staring at him without blinking.
Zhang Ye did not rush this time but slowly mimicked a wolf lowering its body, looking left and right and not making a sound for a few seconds before taking a few steps to the front and looking around again. Thereafter, he stretched his neck upwards and raised his head towards the sky as his slowly let out a continuous howl, "Awoooooo..."
From low to high pitched!
This breath and this sound actually lasted a full 17 seconds!
A few of the film crew staff even got goosebumps on their arms all of a sudden. The feeling was indescribable, except maybe calling it something similar to primal fear!
Everyone was once again stunned by Zhang Ye's performance!
How similar! It was just too similar! Not only did the expression look the same, even the howl sounded like a real wolf's howl!
A female staff member from the film crew who grew up on the prairies in Inner Mongolia cursed in her mind when she heard Zhang Ye imitating the wolf's call. This was as good as the real thing and if a wolf had poorer vocalization means, it might not even be able to howl as well as you!
The other actors only acted out the form and spirit of a wolf.
But it was Zhang Ye who added on the vocalizations that had married form and spirit to display a lifelike portrayal of a wolf!
With Zhang Ye's display, many of the professional actors around were thoroughly convinced of his acting skills. They could do the same as him, except for the vocalization part!
The assistant director continued on to the next topic, "An eagle that is..."
Director Wang Chengpeng interrupted him and gave a wave of his hand. "There's no need to go further than that."
The assistant director nodded. It was true that it wasn't necessary to go on anymore. A basic acting skill like this needed no extra testing since none of those present could do any better than Zhang Ye. He knew that Zhang Ye's broadcasting foundations had given him the bonus points, so he said, "Then let's move to the second part, character portrayal."
Zhang Ye nodded and said, "Alright."
The assistant director said, "You can prepare a little to get into the mood of the character. Just follow along with the script that we gave to you earlier. You can just let me know whenever you're ready."
Zhang Ye smiled and said, "I'm ready. We can start anytime."
For any actor to get into character, as long as it wasn't a character similar to their own, they would definitely have their own methods to get into character and it was a very common thing to do. The assistant director had noticed that Zhang Ye did not do any preparation at all, but still claimed that he was ready, so he gave him a second look and said, "Alright, then start from the ninth scene for the third male lead's first line." The assistant director held his script and read from it, "The scenario is at the top floor of a skyscraper, the line is 'I don't care...'"
But Zhang Ye expression suddenly changed to a very cold look at this moment. The chill was expressed through a soft smile, yes, not a cold smile but a gentle-looking smile. He was still able to depict the lofty austerity with such an expression and it made people have a choking sense of tension when they saw it. He did not let the assistant director finish his words and directly started his portrayal by reciting the lines from the script, "I don't care where you came from, all I know is where I want to go. Even your teacher can't stop me, so who do you think you are? All that's left of Xingyi Fist now are your teacher and you. How pitiful, how regrettable, and how sad! But, heh, your teacher is still more blessed than I am. At least he has a disciple who is promiscuous, unlike me who is all alone in this world now!"
The assistant director was a little stunned, but immediately said, "The 15th scene where the lines say 'Don't try to...'"
Zhang Ye's expression changed again. This time, it showed a trademark antagonist's villainous look. He said, "Don't f**king try to bullshit me! In this era, who still dares to claim they are grandmasters? Your teacher can't claim so, and you, you are even less deserving to claim so!" The original lines of the script were not exactly like that as Zhang Ye added in a vulgarity as well as adding function words to the ending part that went "you are even less deserving to claim so." He did all of this based on his own sense of artistic portrayal of a character's performance.
The assistant director breathed in hard and said, "The 33rd scene."
Zhang Ye held his chest tightly as he took his last breaths. "When...I die...my martial arts...cough...will really be lost for good....That's good, might as well...cough. In birth...we bring nothing..." up until here, the script made no remarks of anything, but Zhang Ye suddenly increased his volume and shouted in a hoarse voice that made what he said a little inaudible, "In death, we take away nothing. Hahahaha!!"
It was loud laughter in the moments before his death!
The last bit of insolence in his life!
The second male lead, Tian Xuetao couldn't help but be moved by this!
The other staff members of the film crew were all quite dumbfounded by this!
The assistant director who was stunned, said, "Did you memorize all of the lines already?"
"Yes." Zhang Ye broke out of character very quickly as well as he immediately "walked" out of the scene. He did not have much thought about the acting he did earlier, but he understood that the 141 acting skills experience books he ate were not for nothing. It seemed like the effect was much better than he had expected. He said, "I memorized it already. Wasn't I just reading from the script just now?"
The martial arts director beside him said, "You've only gone through it once but already got it all memorized?"
Everyone could remember that Zhang Ye had only arrived at the studio a short while ago. Wasn't it just 10 minutes ago? That would just barely be enough time for him to go through the script once over! He only browsed through it and memorized every line in it?
Zhang Ye said matter-of-factly, "That's but of course. It's not like the lines are really complicated or something, so why wouldn't I be able to memorize it?" He answered in a rather impatient manner as he felt that they were all looking down on him like they were insulting his professional standards. If I couldn't even memorize these lousy lines after one look, then how the f**k could I still be a host! Are you all really taking me to be an ordinary actor? This bro is a professional host who could even do a live broadcast off-script! If I didn't have the ability, would I dare claim that I could do it! Isn't that question too degrading?
Director Wang Chengpeng, however, asked a good question. He looked at Zhang Ye and asked, "How did you think of adding that laugh at the end? It wasn't mentioned in the script, right?"
Zhang Ye said, "For a crazed martial arts master and an ambitious man, even though he was already tasting his own defeat at the end of his life, it would not fit him if he just went silently like that. I am a novel writer myself, if I may praise myself a little, and the sales of my books are doing quite well in the domestic market, so I am still quite sensitive and experienced about how the story should be set up and its character developments. In my opinion, this person would not just go away so quietly like that. It shouldn't be the case either. If he had to end it there, then surely he must make it a grand exit. A laugh and a final bit of insolence seemed to be the best way out!"
Oh yes, this person was also known as a famous author!
This person really carried too many titles on him, so if he didn't bring them up, everyone probably couldn't remember it either.
When he heard this, the screenwriter who was seated at the back, said, "When Teacher Zhang mentioned this, it really does feel better if it were done like how he acted out earlier. It feels more complete than when Brother Shui had acted out the role and could be considered as a reeling in the character and also a sublimation of the role. It also brings to point that in this movie Grandmasters not only were the male and female leads grandmasters, but even the antagonist who got his just deserts was a grandmaster in his own right, just that he had taken a different path from them."
The assistant director also nodded and said, "It was very well played out. The feeling I got was really good!"
And so, this audition of Zhang Ye's had left the whole studio stunned!
His acting skills...
His understanding of the characters in the movie...
At the side, a few actors and those two celebrity actors who had come for the audition couldn't help but cry out in their minds as they felt that, when compared to them, why does it feel like Zhang Ye was the professional actor instead!!
Translator's note: Some news update for everyone, I've started my Patreon, so you can check it out here
For every $50 increment in total pledges, there will be 1 chapter accumulated for release in the following month. Thank you for your support!
On top of this, until the end of April, for every increase of 10 patrons, up to 80 patrons, regardless of amount pledged, 1 chapter will be released within the day of hitting the milestones. This will run concurrent to item 1. (The next is the 40 patrons milestone/10 more to go!)
There are plans for advanced chapters sometime next month, so watch out for the announcement!