Chapter 608 Countdown to the movie's release!
A week later.
On this afternoon.
Zhang Ye's parents were throwing a grand feast at home. Naturally, it was only a feast for their own relatives as it had been awhile since they'd had a gathering, so this was also an excuse to have a meal together.
His uncles and aunties were seated comfortably and having tea together.
His three cousins were romping about, as well as shouting and screaming.
Cao Tong asked, "Why isn't Bro back yet?"
Cao Mengmeng remarked, "I'm getting hungry."
His mother laughed and said, "Little Ye called to inform that he'll be back by noon, so it should be soon."
His father said, "Let's not wait for him if everyone is hungry. We can eat first."
"No, no." First aunt said, "Little Ye has not been home in a week already, following the film crew around all this while. We definitely have to wait for him come home before we start the meal. Sister-in-law, did our Little Ye take part in the filming of Grandmasters? Together with Zhang Yuanqi, Dalong and the rest? The news mentioned this movie before. It's a big production with a famous director and the main cast is also quite magnificent. Since Little Ye is playing an important role in the movie, his popularity will surely shoot up very quickly."
His mother answered happily, "Yes, he was filming for that movie. I don't know what the movie is about, but since he told me about it himself, it shouldn't be wrong?"
Outside, the jingling of keys opening the door could be heard.
"Let me get the door, I'll go get it!"
Before the three sisters could get to the door, it had already opened.
Seeing so many of his relatives in the house, Zhang Ye exclaimed, "Whoa, everyone's here? First Uncle, First Aunt, Second Uncle, Second Aunt, Third Uncle. Why is everyone here today?" He looked a little worn out, but was still in great spirits although he did feel quite tired. It seemed like the past few days spent with the film crew had worn him out. After he came into the house and greeted all his relatives, he took off his shoes and sat down directly onto the sofa, not wanting to get up anymore. He said loudly and tiredly, "Mom, hurry up and start cooking the meal. I haven't had anything good to eat for a week already!"
His mother, feeling sorry for her son, said, "I'll go and prepare it immediately!"
His Second Aunt asked, "Was the treatment so bad over there?"
Zhang Ye sighed and said, "It wasn't that great. We had to go into the mountains, make camp, and sleep in tents. A few days ago, when we were in the south for a shoot, we were even caught in the rain and got trapped in the mountains. I couldn't sleep or eat well, and there were times when I couldn't take a bath too, so let's not mention it again!"
His eldest younger sister poured some tea for him and asked, "Bro, did you get to see Dalong?"
Zhang Ye took the tea from her and smilingly said, "How could I not have seen him? I have three scenes together with him."
"Dalong's Battle at Huangsha Port is my favorite move!"
"Bro, did you ask for his signature?"
"I heard that Tian Xuetao is also one of the main leads in the movie. Does he look as good in person as he does in the movies? I have a few classmates who like him very much, but I find him to be just so-so."
His sisters chimed and chirped.
While his mother was preparing the dishes, he shared his experiences with the film crew to his relatives. Everyone listened with intent as he related, "...When I got there, they wanted to test my acting abilities and even taught me some moves which they claimed were 'martial arts.' I was so amused when I saw it. That kind of lousy martial arts and lousy moves, I could just close my eyes and play along with them, easy peasy. At first, I wanted to choreograph my own moves to let my character's fight scenes look more realistic, but they insisted that my techniques were too crass. Heh, those words nearly made me rage at them. They really don't know what's good for them and it seemed like what I said was falling on deaf ears, so I thought about it for a while and decided, whatever, why should I be putting in so much effort? After all, I'm not the main lead of this movie. If they insist on those moves and think that it looks better, I will just follow accordingly. It's not like I've suffered a loss anyway."
His youngest sister said with a grin, "Bro, why do I feel like you're boasting again?"
The eldest and second sisters were covering their mouths and secretly laughing at him too.
Zhang Ye said to them, "You guys just don't know how great your brother is. If you all knew about my martial arts skill, you'd surely fall to your knees and look up at me in admiration!"
The critical truth was, even if Zhang Ye didn't want to follow the film crew's choreography, he could not do so. In his previous world, everyone knew what Taiji Fist was. They liked seeing it and felt that it was a very strong set of martial arts, but only because they already had a certain understanding of it. However, in this world, no one had ever seen the real Taiji Fist or understood anything about it, so even if Zhang Ye were to show his moves, they would not accept it as they had never come across anything like it before. Subconsciously, they would immediately judge it as not good enough, but that was how it was, as appreciation for something was also down to habitual conditioning. Besides, even if Zhang Ye tried to argue his point, being a rookie actor, the third male lead, his voice wouldn't be loud enough to make any impact. The entire movie was already planned and filmed. So Zhang Ye, being the new guy, wouldn't have the clout to get the film crew to make changes as he saw fit. No one would have listened to him.
And so, being cast in his first role as one of the main roles made Zhang Ye grow a lot. He learned much about the film industry, and felt that if he had another chance in the future, he could look at developing in this area, but of course it would be best that he could be the director himself. Otherwise, he would have to listen to whatever the film crew said. That would be too constraining. If he were the director instead, he could shoot however he wanted with whatever moves he liked. On top of all that, he would surely leave the overall lead role for himself too. How awesome would that be?!
After the meal.
His relatives went home.
Zhang Ye went back to his room and checked on the recent Celebrity Rankings Index.
First: Shi Yu.
Second: Chen Fanghua.
Third: Zhang Ye.
After the Peking University incident, Zhang Ye garnered a lot of reputation from the nationalistic youths with his "idiots" scolding and jumped up in rank to second place on the C-list rankings above Chen Fanghua. But ever since then, he did not make much appearances in the public anymore, so his popularity score didn't move much and even declined a little. Together with Chen Fanghua having some new works and news coverage, she moved ahead of Zhang Ye in terms of popularity gained, again making him now one step further away from getting to the B-list.
From this, it could be deduced just how important having exposure was!
But overall, it wasn't an issue for Zhang Ye since he believed that he could bounce back in the next few days due to the impending release of Grandmasters! Of his last minute addition to the cast of the movie, Zhang Ye had rather high expectations of it. First, because he had spent almost all of his reputation points to activate the upgraded version of the Lucky Halo to get this job, he wanted to gain them back. Second, since this movie was officially his debut in the film industry, it was an important opportunity for him to expand his fan circle. He was looking forward to this movie paving a new path for him, to help to grow his fan base and expand his foray into new areas of work.
He was not like those other celebrities who only had simple goals, concerned only with their small group of fans and scrounging off of them for the rest of their lives. Zhang Ye had great ambition and an even bigger appetite. He wanted to move on to the global stage and needed fans and support from people who were not limited to his work on variety programs, Weibo followers, or poetry lovers. In the near future, he was planning to move into other areas to fight for the new achievements that no one else could accomplish.
The television industry.
The film industry.
The music industry.
The mathematics field.
The literary field.
The computer technology field and so on.
When he has gathered achievements in seven areas of work, Zhang Ye would then be able to summon Shenron! 1
Of course, his current short-term developmental direction was still geared towards becoming a television station's host. After all, that was his old profession and he had yet to become the best in that industry. Having not hosted on a satellite channel before, he was clearly still far from the pinnacle of the hosting world. At the very least, he was targeting hosting a few top television programs that he could list as his achievements before he would consider himself to be at the peak! Only then would he dare to proclaim that he had seen success in the field of television!
This was also Zhang Ye's reason for working hard this time. He wanted to raise his popularity rankings through his role in Grandmasters, hoping that he could break past the barrier and into the B-list. Then with Beijing Television's Do You Remember, he would showcase his potential in program planning, allowing the more elite television stations to learn about him and seek him to join them. Zhang Ye wanted to use his own capabilities and popularity to cover for what others thought of as his "character deficiency." But of course, Zhang Ye did not believe there was anything wrong with his character in the first place. Instead, he felt that it was the characters of others that sucked!
On the internet.
The trailer for Grandmasters was back and showing on several online video hosting websites again. The key word being "again" because this movie has already done a round of promotions, but was put on hold after Brother Shui's arrest and subsequent inclusion on the SARFT's list of banned artists. The fact that the trailer could air again also cleared any doubts that Grandmasters could not be released!
"Let me see."
"I've been waiting for this for too long!"
"There hasn't been any news for a week now. But better late than never. I'm so looking forward to this movie. Oh, anyone know what happened to the antagonist's role that Brother Shui was playing?"
"It's going to be released so soon? Did they just cut all the affected scenes? That can't be? If they did it that way, the plot would be full of holes. No matter what, Director Wang is still a renowned director, surely he wouldn't degrade his own reputation like this?"
"Ah! Quickly take a look at this!"
"This...this person is?"
"Damn it! Did I see wrong?"
"Oh my god, why is Zhang Ye in this!"
"Although he looks much older, his face still looks the same, just that he has a mustache and beard added on. This is really Teacher Zhang, no doubt about it!"
"What? Zhang Ye was the replacement?"
"Teacher Zhang, damn it, you're crossing over into other industries again?"
"What the heck, isn't this crossover too big of a jump?! He's even cast as one of the main roles?"
"What's wrong with Director Wang? Did he get so anxious that he just went with a random replacement? How would Zhang Ye know how to act? It might have been alright if you just let him do a cameo scene, but you're actually casting him as the antagonist? The main antagonist? Just how bold did they all get? He's only a host by profession, if you put him in the movie, wouldn't he just look confused?!"
From the trailer, countless viewers had now noticed the presence of Zhang Ye in the movie. Many people had already predicted earlier that the film crew of Grandmasters would definitely find a replacement to reshoot the scenes that the main antagonist appeared in and had made a list of possible replacement actors. From the most likely to the least likely, 10 names were included as everyone guessed who would be the replacement to save this production. But it ended up with no one making the correct guess at all since the replacement turned out to be the infamous Zhang Ye, that same person who had recently led a large group of Peking University students to scold and chase off a Japanese delegation!
Some people still did not quite know who he was.
"What's this antagonist actor's name?"
"He looks familiar, but I can't remember his name right now."
"Who is Zhang Ye?"
"I know him. He's always being mentioned on the news, but I've never really paid attention to him before."
Grandmasters had started its production a year ago and was highly anticipated by everyone because there was a famous director helming the film with a star-studded cast. When the news of Brother Shui's arrest was announced and subsequently, negatively affected the movie's chances of being released, all kinds of news had helped increase the attention on the movie. Because of that, many people who did not know about Zhang Ye previously were suddenly searching for his name when they saw this trailer, wanting to find out more about this actor who helped to rescue the release of Grandmasters.
The topic was being hotly discussed!
Grandmasters was being hotly discussed again, with a large part of the discussions being doubts!
"This is too unbelievable!"
"I'm totally disappointed by this movie now. Why did they find a layman as the replacement?"
"Zhang Ye was definitely a wrong choice!"
"Haha, who says that Teacher Zhang is not good enough? Teacher Zhang has always been known for his successful crossovers in the entertainment circle. Although he is a host, he is also doing very well in the mathematics world, so who can guarantee that he does not know how to act? In any case, I strongly support Teacher Zhang!"
"After reading the comment above, I am unable to make a response to it."
"Pfft, that's really quite true!"
"I still do not believe that Zhang Ye can act well!"
"I'm so irritated by Zhang Ye! Boycott him!"
"How does this person keep coming back on the news? Hasn't it only been a week since he disappeared after the incident?"
Suddenly, at around 2 PM in the afternoon, a number of actors from the cast of Grandmasters began updating their Weibo.
Zhang Yuanqi's Weibo: "Please look forward to the movie. There's a surprise in store for Grandmasters the movie."
Dalong's Weibo: "Posting the Grandmasters trailer here. You can participate in the lucky draw for a chance to get my autograph." A link was posted along with his update.
Tian Xuetao's Weibo also posted a joke to Zhang Ye: "I saw earlier that there were many people scolding Zhang Ye. @ZhangYe Teacher Zhang Ye, in the past, I heard that you have a very poor reputation but it wasn't something that I was convinced about. Now I've realized the rumors are true. It seems like you have offended quite a lot of people! Ha!"
Yao Jiancai also appeared from nowhere and replied: "What did I miss? When did Little Zhang join a cast and film a movie?"
Peking University's Teacher Su Na forwarded the post on Weibo.
Radio host Wang Xiaomei Liked the Weibo post.
Dong Shanshan also made a post on Weibo: "Wishing the crew of Grandmasters a record breaking box office earning!"
The director of Grandmasters, Wang Chengpeng, had not intended to say anything at first. The actors were all busy posting on Weibo and appearing on television station programs to promote the movie. Wang Chengpeng was also not slacking as he had more work to handle than them. However, when he saw such heated discussions regarding Zhang Ye online, he felt he had to say something to address everybody's criticisms.
A few minutes later.
Wang Chengpeng's Weibo updated: "We've already wrapped up filming and production for Grandmasters. The recent scare has left us all really shaken, and having met all these difficulties and faced with the possibility of the movie being taken down, I can only sum it all up with one phrase-the road to success is strewn with setbacks. I would like to thank one person here. Thank you Zhang Ye, for coming to our rescue when the film crew was in its most difficult period. Without any requests, demands, or conditions, you just worked as hard as we needed you to. In the past week, as we reshot the footage for your scenes, all the other actors had their chance to rest, except for you. In every scene, we needed Zhang Ye's participation and that in turned led to him only getting about four hours of rest each day. On one of the days, he even got only an hour of sleep. But what really moved me was that, from the start, no one from the film crew, including me, heard Zhang Ye complaining about being too tired to carry on. In fact, he even did his job in the most perfect and outstanding way and completed his role's scenes with utmost professionalism. For an actor like that, I can only admire and give respect to him. Those who doubt Zhang Ye's acting skills can watch Grandmasters first before commenting on it. I believe no one will be disappointed, as Teacher Zhang joining the cast of Grandmasters only served to improve the film's quality!"
With that post, he had given Zhang Ye his highest praise!
When the netizens saw this, they were left wondering in doubt.
"Is he really good?"
"I'm skeptical about it."
"If Director Wang can say that, then it must not be bad."
"I'm really anticipating the movie now. I wonder if I can attend the movie premiere!"
"It shouldn't be too many days away now?"
"It should be soon. They're promoting it as the film is getting reviewed at the censors. Once that is done, they can distribute the film to all the movie theaters. But I believe that the schedule for its release has already been arranged."
On websites and in forums, the promotions were overwhelming all possible channels.
There were promotions in the form of trailers as well as posters that were put up all over the major cities in the country. The posters for Grandmasters were put up at the bus stops, subways, and shopping malls. Nobody even knew if the movie has already been approved or not, since the release date was also printed on the posters. On the posters, there was a picture of Zhang Ye on the far right side, in his role as the antagonist and with a fake mustache. This was actually the first time his image was publicized in such a manner, and across all the major cities, helping him gain even more popularity.
On this night.
It was just past midnight. The Celebrity Rankings Index had just been updated. In the newly released rankings for the next day, Zhang Ye had once again surpassed Chen Fanghua and went up to second place out of the C-list celebrities. It was possible that their popularity scores were not that different to begin with, but the promotions for Grandmasters surely helped a lot as well.
Anyhow, Zhang Ye's popularity score was now considered to have stabilized at last.
Not only that, there was even a slight increase as he began his chase for the number one spot in the C-list rankings!
The Zhang Ye who was forever unwilling to step out of the limelight and stop in his march had made his comeback again after one week of lying low! With his new role and work, he was now charging forward for the top spot!!
1. This is just a reference to DBZ, tongue in cheek moment by the author