Chapter 63: Many (2)
A Twist. To PD Yoon Byung-seon, the first impression of Kang Woojin was quite a twist.
‘When he acted as ‘Park Dae-ri,’ even if he was a bit brutal, he was also a bit talkative. But his real character gives off a calm vibe. Is he naturally not talkative? A failure?’
Yoon Byung-seon slightly felt uneasy.
Up until now, many characters had appeared in his variety show and many celebrities had come and gone, but the least appealing character was someone without enthusiasm. PD Yoon Byung-seon sensed a subtle, yet noticeable, lack of enthusiasm from Kang Woojin.
“Wow, such a simple response. Woojin, you’re conscious of yourself now, aren’t you? Are you perhaps really nervous?”
PD Yoon Byung-seon chuckled playfully. However, Kang Woojin maintained a poker face. Self-awareness? What’s that? His nervousness reached its peak. In such a state, Woojin responded to PD Yoon Byung-seon in a stern manner.
“I’ll do my best.”
Do what? Yoon Byung-seon was confused. Was this actor’s enthusiasm exploding or crashing? He had seen hundreds, maybe thousands of celebrities, but for the first time, he couldn’t gauge the character.
“Ah- Thank you. For now, would you like to sit down?”
Kang Woojin, with his head slightly bowed, walked slowly towards the shooting area. PD Yoon Byung-seon and the writers watched him go.
“What a twist. Woojin is very quiet.”
“He’s so quite, isn’t he? How could someone like that play the role of ‘Park Dae-ri’?”
“That’s what makes him a good actor. His real self and his character are completely opposite. Anyway, he’s got a strange aura.”
By this time, Kang Woojin had entered the shooting zone targeted by dozens of cameras. A long desk was set up, and behind it was a large poster for ‘Profiler Hanryang.’ There were many small cameras on the desk. It seemed they’d start with a talk show segment first, and after the first recording, it would turn into a game segment the in second part.
After scanning the area briefly, Kang Woojin decisively sat at the far end. There were many lights. Many cameras. Looking ahead, dozens of staff were bustling about. Half of this scene was familiar to Woojin, and half was strange.
‘Wow, there are so many cameras. Aren’t there three times more than in dramas? Are all these small ones also cameras?’
There was indeed a significant difference between filming for dramas and variety shows. Therefore, Woojin maintained an even more intense poker face.
‘Let’s keep the concept, but make the responses and reactions more in my style. Damn, honestly, I don’t have the luxury to worry about the lines or think about such things.’
Externally, he’d use his usual persona, but would do it his way. His thoughts were already erratic, and his heart rate was still rising.
It was at that moment.
Hong Hye-yeon entered the studio. The studio’s atmosphere immediately lifted because of her.
“PD! Hye-yeon is here!”
Her appearance today was natural. Her let-down long hair, jeans, and a snugly fitting t-shirt. After greeting PD Yoon Byung-seon, Hong Hye-yeon, while adjusting her microphone, turned her gaze to the shooting zone.
“Pfft! What are you doing sitting there all alone?”
Upon seeing the deep-in-thought Kang Woojin, Hong Hye-yeon tried to hold back her laughter. In the vibrant variety show shooting area, the sight of Woojin sitting alone silently looked out of place.
Soon after, other actors started to arrive. Ryu Jung-min, Hong Hye-yeon, Lee Do-jung, etc. As one by one the cast arrived, Woojin calmly greeted them, and the studio was filled with actors whose values exceeded tens of billions.
Including Kang Woojin, there were a total of 7.
After all the actors had taken their seats, PD Yoon Byung-seon at the front of the shooting zone began with his opening remark.
“Nice to meet you all! Today, ‘Sports Day’ has come to meet the actors of the super popular drama ‘Profiler Hanryang’!”
The official shooting of ‘Sports Day’ had begun. Well, actually, the cameras had been rolling even before Kang Woo-jin entered.
“Firstly – though I’m sure you all know, still! Please introduce yourselves briefly for our subscribers and viewers.”
Following PD Yoon Byung-seon’s words, Ryu Jung-min, seated first near the desk with his signature baby perm, smiled at the camera.
“Hello, I’m Ryu Jung-min, playing the role of Yu Ji-hyeong in ‘Profiler Hanryang.'”
“Haha, but Jung-min, that baby perm really suits you.”
“Really? My mom teased me saying it looks like lettuce.”
The atmosphere was warm and friendly. Hong Hye-yeon and Jang Tae-san followed with their introductions. Eventually, it was Kang Woojin’s turn, seated at the very end.
“You’re the actor who’s currently the talk of the town, right? Actor? Please introduce yourself!”
Cameras, actors, staff, and the entire managers’ team turned their attention to Kang Woojin.
However, Woojin’s expression was firm, and his voice was calm.
“Nice to meet you, I am Kang Woojin, who played ‘Profiler Hanryang’ in ‘Park Dae-ri’.”
Good, well done. This should pass. Woojin praised himself inwardly with a calm face. However.
After a few seconds of silence, laughter erupted in the whole studio. From the actors to all the staff. But Kang Woojin didn’t understand.
‘Why? What’s happening? Why are they laughing? Why?’
Hong Hye-yeon explained the reason.
“Um, Woojin? Why did you change our drama’s name to ‘Park Dae-ri’?”
The playful Jang Tae-san joined in.
“I think we need to introduce ourselves again. Woojin just changed the title of our drama.”
Ryu Jung-min, who was seated first, corrected him.
“Woojin, you swapped ‘Park Dae-ri’ and ‘Profiler Hanryang’ when you spoke.”
Ah, damn it. For a moment, Kang Woojin felt extremely embarrassed. He never expected the words he had practiced in his mind to come out in reverse. Practice had betrayed him. However, he had to keep his composure. Pretending not to be embarrassed, he acted cool.
“It was intentional.”
However, the actors weren’t convinced.
“What intention? Mr. ‘Profiler Hanryang’.”
“So, the perfect ‘Park Dae-ri’ makes a mistake in speaking?”
“It’s such a rare scene! He’s been emotionless throughout the filming like a Terminator!”
Kang Woojin gritted his teeth and denied it.
“This is a misunderstanding. For real.”
At this point.
Among the dozens of staff members in front of the actors, the eyes of PD Yoon Byung-seon, seated in the middle, had a twinkle.
‘Maybe he’ll crack up?’
And then, continuing the flow, PD Yoon Byung-seon directed his question straight to Kang Woo-jin.
“Yes! Kang Woojin, who played ‘Profiler Hanryang’ in ‘Park Dae-ri’! You were said to be emotionless throughout the shooting like a Terminator, when was it the most difficult for you?”
Kang Woojin replied in a cold tone immediately.
The studio burst into laughter again.
At the same time, in a radio booth.
In the waiting room of a radio booth that primarily broadcasts Visual Radio. A female guest was sitting alone. A familiar mole under her eyes. It was Hwalin, the leader of the popular girl group ‘Elani’, casually dressed in a hoodie.
Despite her casual appearance, her beauty was undeniable.
She crossed her slender legs and checked the simple questionnaire handed over by the radio writer. For Hwalin, who had been in the industry for 8 years, it wasn’t particularly challenging.
She briefly muttered and took out her phone. The internet browser was opened, displaying what she had been searching for before her arrival.
『’Park Dae-ri’s’ Kang Woojin, a rising star in just 2 episodes, makes his first variety show appearance on PD Yoon Byung-seon’s ‘Sports Day’.』
The person she had unknowingly become a fan of. It’s all about Kang Woojin.
“I figured he’d be on a variety show soon, but I didn’t expect it to be ‘Sports Day’. When is this airing?”
She was curious about Kang Woojin’s first variety show appearance. It seemed like a promotional show, but what mattered to her was seeing another side of Kang Woo-jin, not just his acting.
‘But why hasn’t a fan club been created yet? When I sneakily checked his Instagram, he had over 50,000 followers. It would be too much if I created one. Huh? Why am I even thinking about a fan club? Even if I don’t actively participate, I can still watch.’
At that moment.
The thick door of the radio waiting room opened, and a chubby manager walked in. Hwalin quickly put her phone down and swiftly picked up the questionnaire. The manager handed her a bottle of water.
“Hwalin, you can go in 15 minutes later. They said you’re only doing the first and second segments today.”
“Okay. But I didn’t answer the CEO’s call, did he call to nag me?”
“I took that call. I told him you were preparing for Visual Radio. But you should at least pick up the CEO’s calls, right?”
“If I answer, he’ll just nag using worry as an excuse. His nagging gets worse after group activities end.”
The manager shook his head and handed her two script bundles.
“I got more scripts like you asked. But why do I feel like I’m just giving you toilet paper to clean up after yourself? Do you even read these scripts?”
“I’ve never seen you read one. You’ve already passed on more than 10, without any feedback.”
“Because none of them are interesting.”
Hwalin briefly responded and opened the first of the two scripts she received. At the same time, the chubby manager sitting next to her began explaining with his cellphone in hand.
“Ah, that’s a YouTube music web drama. It’s planned for 10 episodes, and since it’s a music web drama, it goes in a musical format. It feels a bit childish.”
“Sounds like a big production if they sent it to me.”
“I thought it was strange too, so I looked into it. Seems like there’s some Chinese investment in the production company. So they seem to have a lot of funding.”
“Oh, then I’ll pass. The vibe isn’t good, and I’m not a fan of rumors.”
“Well, that’s true. It’s not that there aren’t ‘Elani’ fans in China, but since the main markets are Korea and Japan, it’s better to focus more on Japan.”
Hwalin then switched the direction of her crossed leg and opened the second script.
“This one’s from Netflix?”
“Huh? Oh, yeah. It’s a project from Netflix of a collection of short series drama series. I heard it’s an award-winning piece from that competition. I kind of got it through connections. The head of the Netflix creative team is on good terms with our team leader.”
“It’s not the first time.”
“Our team leader said not to worry about it too much since he received it, just as a formality. Netflix seems to be interested in the short series dramas, so there seems to be more funding, and the project does have some symbolic value and promotional power. But it’s not really something for you to take on.”
Letting out a small sigh, Hwalin read the first line of the script and chuckled.
“They put a kiss scene right at the beginning.”
“Ah, seriously! Hwalin, just ignore those trivial things. I’ll have them cut it from our end. Just focus on the major stuff. Since you do things randomly, they send anything and everything.”
“What’s the big deal? Look at Hye-yeon. She did a random short film, and it was a big hit, right? And it boosted her image as a real actor. Maybe I should try short series drama too?”
“Are you crazy? Will the CEO just let you?”
“What if he doesn’t? If I want to, I will.”
“Who would dare to stop you… Are you kidding? I’m freaking out.”
The manager was genuinely surprised, but Hwalin didn’t respond. She just continued reading the short series drama script. In truth, she thought,
‘The group activities were really intense. I honestly want to do something short.’
She hoped her solo acting activities would be a bit lighter. Her album had been a hit, and the group activities were intense, including promotions in Korea and even Japan. Especially the schedule in Japan, where the KPOP wave was strong, was exhausting.
It wasn’t that she hated acting.
Unbeknownst to herself, Hwalin loved acting enough to be a fan of Kang Woojin. However, she just wanted some rest. She needed to recharge. That’s all.
No matter what.
Hwalin focused on reading the short series drama script.
‘Maybe a short series drama isn’t so bad? If it’s a project from Netflix, it might be good.’
Of course, she wasn’t overly excited.
A few hours later, in the early afternoon, at the ‘Sports Day’ studio.
The ‘Sports Day’ recording that started late in the morning was nearing its climax.
After finishing the talk segment, they were in the middle of a game called ‘Name the Celebrity,’ where they had to say the name of a celebrity shown in a photo within 1 second. If all the 7 actors of ‘Profiler Hanryang’ managed to do it without mistakes, they would receive a prize.
“Please remove one of the prizes.”
Of the original 10 prizes, only 3 remained now. But the real issue for the actors wasn’t the current prizes.
“Ah, darn. I’m so sorry to Mr. Seo Jin-se.”
“I… I couldn’t say Director Kwon Ki-taek’s name. This is driving me crazy.”
“Ah, PD. This is too cruel, isn’t it?”
With many failing to name the displayed celebrities, it was a real challenge. And where was Kang Woojin in all this?
‘I’m really lucky that they mess up at the start.’
He had only one turn so far, and it was an easy one which he passed smoothly.
‘Ryu Jung-min, that was a close call.’
However, the production team wouldn’t let it slide. Suddenly, PD Yoon Byung-seon suggested a seat change.
“Woojin, you’re looking desperate to answer, but you aren’t getting many turns, right? How about changing seats?”
Me? When was I ever desperate? Startled, Woojin tried to decline as nonchalantly as possible.
“No, I’m fine here.”
“No! Woojin, switch with him quickly! Jung-min is completely incapable. The first seat is the most important!”
However, starting with Hong Hye-yeon, all the actors agreed to switch seats, and Ryu Jung-min moved to Woojin’s seat like a defeated general.
“Let’s switch, Woojin. Baton Pass… touch.”
Ryu Jung-min was very dejected. But Woojin was even more serious.
‘Ah, shit. I don’t know many celebrities!’
He had very little to no knowledge of the entertainment industry. He didn’t watch content often, so he was weak at recognizing celebrities’ names. Of course, not every question was about celebrities, but they came up often. It was just a simple game, but Kang Woojin was also very competitive.
I mean, who likes losing?
Therefore, as Kang Woojin changed his seat, he vowed to himself. He would try his absolute best. It was evident in his expression. His usually indifferent face showed strong determination, resembling that of a soldier staking his life.
Naturally, the camera captured Kang Woojin’s expression.
“Why is Woojin looking so serious?”
“He looks like he’s going to a battlefield, so serious.”
“But he’s kind of cute, right? There’s something very different but charming about him.”
Behind the staff’s murmurs, Kang Woojin sat in the first seat. The game started immediately.
PD Yoon Byung-seon quickly showed a photo to Kang Woojin. It was a famous Hollywood actor. Woojin hesitated for a moment but miraculously named him.
“Oh, Michael Fassbender.”
He was correct. He was a very famous Hollywood actor after all. What was interesting was,
“Wow- that pronunciation.”
The staff whispered in awe. Why? Even though he just mentioned a name, Kang Woojin’s English pronunciation was on point. Of course, PD Yoon Byung-seon noticed.
‘Huh? That pronunciation…’
But the game continued. Hong Hye-yeon passed, Lee Do-jung passed, everyone passed, even Ryu Jung-min. Soon, it was Woojin’s turn again.
“Will he succeed this time?”
Behind the commotion of the managers and staff, it was once again Kang Woojin’s turn. Woojin was incredibly anxious.
“Alright, Woojin, this is the last one. It’s easy, really easy!”
PD Yoon Byung-seon flashed another photo. It was a female actress, a chic magazine photo. A very familiar face. Everyone in the studio predicted he would get it right because it was too easy.
Kang Woojin paused as he looked at the photo.
‘Who is she? Wait a minute. I’m confused. Why is it a magazine photo?’
Then, with a slight smirk, PD Yoon Byung-seon announced,
He declared decisively.
“Woah- This was basically a freebie. What should we do now? This is awkward.”
Kang Woojin solemnly admitted his defeat.
“I’m sorry, who was it?”
At that moment,
Someone punched Kang Woojin’s arm. It was the furious Hong Hye-yeon.
“Ah!! It’s me!! Are you out of your mind?”
“…The photo looked different.”
“What are you talking about!”
“I admit my defeat.”
While Hong Hye-yeon was raging, PD Yoon Byung-seon approached Choi Sung-gun, who was smirking nearby.
“Does Woojin speak English by any chance?”
Choi Sung-gun replied nonchalantly,
“It’s not just ‘speak’, it’s at a native level. And Japanese too.”
For a moment, PD Yoon Byung-seon’s eyes widened.
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