Chapter 600 Acting audition?
The next morning.
At the largest movie production studio in the suburbs of Beijing.
Previously, Zhang Ye, who had also played a bit part in the movie The Great Pugilistic World on the recommendation of Zhang Yuanqi, had been here when he was still not well-known. Today, he was driving here again with much more familiarity. Zhang Ye's reputation was no longer the same as before. He was here for an audition for a major supporting role this time. His task today was to land the acting role so that he could start paving a way for himself in the film industry and to ease the embarrassment of not having a job recently while also attempting to use it to push his advance into the B-list celebrity rankings.
He reached his destination.
"You've arrived? Please follow with me."
After he got out from his car, a film crew staff member met him and led Zhang Ye inside. After many twists and turns, they finally came to a filming location inside the studio. The soundstage was decorated in a modern setting and it seemed like there was an explosion scene planned as the props for it were all ready and kept at the side, so it was not likely they would be doing that shoot elsewhere. This scene could only be shot at the movie studios. The place appeared to be bustling with activity. There were many extras who were being briefed by the film crew staff who looked very nervous, probably because they would have to confirm the replacement actor by today and start the reshooting of the scenes again immediately after that.
In the workshop on set.
Someone was already being auditioned.
When Zhang Ye walked in, he saw the director, Wang Chengpeng, and the assistant director together with some of the film crew staff at the innermost part of the set. A male actor was having his audition as Zhang Yuanqi, Dalong, and the rest of the main cast stood around watching the proceedings.
That staff member whispered, "Teacher Zhang, please wait for a while."
"Alright." Zhang Ye nodded.
Zhang Yuanqi looked over, then smiled and said, "Little Zhang?"
Zhang Ye quickly walked over and greeted, "Sister Zhang."
"Long time no see." Zhang Yuanqi candidly reached out her hand.
Zhang Ye held her pretentious hand and thought to himself, What do you mean by long time no see? Didn't you just come to my place two days ago? And you still haven't paid me for the bush lily either!
Zhang Yuanqi smiled and asked, "How have you been recently?"
Zhang Ye also smiled back and replied, "Not too bad. I've been resting at home."
The two of them chatted for awhile and seemed very polite with each other. If anyone saw this, they would surely think that they didn't have too close a relationship. Since many people already knew that Zhang Ye had written some songs for Zhang Yuanqi before, it wasn't surprising to them that they knew each other. However, in reality, Zhang Ye's and Zhang Yuanqi's relationship was the type that surely no one could have expected. Zhang Ye was in fact not used to seeing a kind and gentle smile on Old Zhang, as she was the type who would act one way in public and another in private.
From the other side, the second male lead also came over and greeted, "Zhang Ye."
Zhang Ye looked at him, then shook his hands and said, "Hello."
The second male lead smiled and said, " I've heard so much about you."
"I'm the one who has heard more about you," Zhang Ye replied politely.
Zhang Ye had read up on the cast list and knew that he was Tian Xuetao. He was very young, probably only older than Zhang Ye by a few years. He only had a sudden burst of fame in the past two years and had probably debuted for many years already, usually acting in bit or supporting roles in the past. He just started getting better roles in these two years and was considered a late-bloomer in the film industry. He was very handsome, the pretty boy kind of attractiveness, with a slim physique and had the standard celebrity looks.
As for popularity, Tian Xuetao was likely on par with Zhang Ye but would lose out a bit on the overall popularity rankings since Zhang Ye was more versatile, able to host, produce advertisements, and teach. However, if they were compared in terms of popularity in the film industry, Tian Xuetao was obviously much more popular than Zhang Ye. Zhang Ye wasn't even considered a rookie in the film industry whereas Tian Xuetao, having lurked around for so many years in the industry, would already have a certain box office appeal. Although his acting skills were not fantastic, his fan base was quite loyal and strong, otherwise, he wouldn't even be acting as the second male lead in such a big production.
Tian Xuetao asked curiously, "You also came for the audition?"
"That's right." Zhang Ye smiled and said, "I came to try to see if I could cross over into the film industry since I have been lounging around at home without any work anyway."
Beside him, a staff member walked over and handed Zhang Ye a script. "Teacher Zhang, please take a look at this first."
"Alright." Zhang Ye took it and read.
Beside them, Zhang Yuanqi had already walked off. Dalong had a glance at Zhang Ye from where he was standing. He did not come over but simply continued observing the actor's audition in the center of the area. As the first male lead, although Dalong was not on the same level with Zhang Yuanqi, and even though not yet considered a heavenly king, he was the real deal as an A-list celebrity. He was an established actor who had already been famous for many years in the film industry and was from the same agency as Zhang Yuanqi. He was about the same age as her, but because he debuted much later, Dalong was considered junior to Old Zhang. Whether in terms of seniority, popularity, or experience, whenever Dalong saw Zhang Yuanqi in person, he would still have to greet her politely.
The director said, "Little Yu, can you try to look more ruthless?"
The actor auditioning immediately nodded, changed his expression, and repeated the same lines that he said earlier, "Don't try to bullshit me! In this era, who still dares to claim they are grandmasters? Your master can't claim such, so you...are even less deserving to claim so!"
The director nodded and said, "Alright, that's enough."
That actor reverted back to his own expression and asked, "Director Wang?"
Director Wang Chengpeng shook his head and said, "Little Yu, this role is not too suitable for you since you don't look ruthless enough to bring out the spirit of the antagonist."
The assistant director added, "Little Yu is more suited playing the roles of protagonists with a good image and will do very in any of those roles he plays." He said this with the intent to politely reject the actor for the role.
That actor said with a smile, "It's alright, I understand."
Wang Chengpeng said, "You go back first. I still have another movie this year with a role that I have already reserved for you. It's a good role too, so let's keep in contact."
"Sure, thank you Director Wang for taking care for me." That actor turned around, greeted Dalong, and then cheerfully greeted Zhang Yuanqi as well. He did not leave, but instead remained behind to observe the next one up.
Wang Chengpeng shouted for the next person, "Little Qu."
A man who was standing in the corner went up and asked, "It's my turn, Director Wang?"
"It's your turn." Wang Chengpeng said, "Let's have you throw some punches first."
The martial arts director of the film crew went forward a few steps and demonstrated some moves.
Director Wang Chengpeng said, "Just do the same as what you were shown and we'll see how it turns out."
That actor did accordingly and immediately imitated what he saw from the martial arts director's movements. He threw a punch, did a roundhouse kick, and spun around to give a palm strike. The movements were not difficult but he still managed to do it quite choppily.
He continued trying out for a few more scenes.
Ten minutes later, the director called for a break. "Little Qu, take a rest first." He did not give any indication of whether it was good enough or not, but from the looks of it, he was not too satisfied, but no one knew exactly either. Wang Chengpeng had a big mustache with a goatee, and was reserved, a man of few words. Whether because of the ongoing production crisis or his character was like that, Wang Chengpeng's expression did not look good and his eyes were filled with a sense of urgency.
The director asked, "Are there anymore auditionees?"
The assistant director said, "There's one more person. It's Zhang Ye."
The director looked around and asked, "Has Teacher Zhang arrived?"
"I'm here, Director Wang." Upon seeing that it was his turn, Zhang Ye went forward immediately.
All of the working staff at the set turned to look at Zhang Ye at that instant.
Earlier, Wang Chengpeng called the first auditionee Little Yu, and the second one Little Qu, both of which were quite casual ways to address them. Even when he addressed the male lead actor, he called him as Dalong directly and was not too formal about it. Logically speaking, there was little difference in the popularity of Zhang Ye with the two auditionees, and all of them could not compare to Dalong as an A-list celebrity. Even if the director called Zhang Ye Little Zhang, it would still be acceptable and appropriate, yet he addressed him as "Teacher Zhang."
A staff member of the film crew who was not familiar with Zhang Ye was stunned by this and turned his head to ask the person beside him, "Who is he? Why is the director being so polite to him?"
That man asked back, "You don't know him?"
"I do know him. He's a host, right? But why did the director address him as teacher? Even for the type of S-list celebrity like Sister Zhang, Director Wang does not address her as teacher?" The person was very concerned and said, "Does he even call for such a respectful tone?"
That person smiled and said, "The circumstances are different as his identity is rather special."
"Special? How special can it be?" He did not understand what was going on at all.
"It is because he's also a professor at Peking University."
There was a explanation to this.
Zhang Ye was not the same as the others celebrities. With Wang Chengpeng's status and experience, it wouldn't matter how he addressed those celebrities who acted in movies or shows, but Zhang Ye was different. Not only was he a host, he was also a famous literary scholar, world-renowned mathematician, as well as an associate professor in Peking University's Math Department. Even though he was suspended now, he was not stripped of his position, and an associate professor was still an associate professor. With the title of professor in a top educational institute in the country, it was not wrong for the director and assistant director who did not know him well to address him as Teacher Zhang in such circumstances. Anyone who knew the details would not find it strange either.
But the other celebrities?
Of course they would not be addressed this way.
The assistant director asked, "Have you read through the script yet?"
Zhang Ye nodded and said, "I've read it. I'd simply just scanned through it a bit."
The assistant director said, "Then let's try out some lines and get you into the feel of the character's role..."
"Let's try out the acting skills first," Wang Chengpeng interrupted.
The assistant director acknowledged and then said to Zhang Ye, "Let's try out your acting skills first."
As for the rest of the actors, they were already very familiar with them as everyone had already worked in the film industry for such a long time. Some of these actors had worked with them before, and for those who they did not work with before, the film crew had mostly watched their movies or performances before too. Whether they had any acting skills or not, everyone knew from the bottom of their hearts. Only when it came to rookies would they have an audition for acting skills, while for most celebrities who were already well-known, they would be asked to act out the character's role directly.
For Zhang Ye, they only knew about his achievements in other industries, but as for his work in the film industry? His acting chops? Since no one knew what Zhang Ye's standard was, when it came to the auditions, he would naturally be treated like a rookie. They had to see whether his acting skills were passable, and if he couldn't even clear this hurdle, then there was no need to go on for the rest of the audition as the movie wouldn't be using him anyway. This was why it was so rare for celebrities to cross over from other industries. There were some things which were not determined by popularity and fame alone as there were still thresholds to meet to be able to get into the different industries. If someone wanted to succeed in this industry, then they had to abide by the standards of the industry.