Early on Sunday morning, Yu Fuya took Ji Li to the venue of the styling audition, the Shimei Special Effects Studio.
This studio was responsible for the special production of the ‘Godslayer’ series directed by Xu Cheng.
The venue was arranged in the Shanghai Economic and Trade Building and covered the entire 21st floor. Once they entered through the door, they could see a dazzling variety of special effect props.
From realistic dummy skins to various monster models and ‘bloody’ stumps and severed arms. The studio’s visual effects were among the best in the circle.
A bald look in the movie wasn’t common in the entertainment industry. They wanted to choose a young actor for the male protagonist. However, it was just an audition, and the final result was undecided. It was naturally impossible for everyone to directly shave their heads.
Therefore, the director team asked the Shimei Special Effects Studio to be responsible for the styling of this first round of auditions.
“Sister Yu, long time no see,” A smartly dressed woman greeted them with a smile.
“Vivian, long time no see.” Yu Fuya hugged her and immediately introduced Ji Li. “Ji Li, this is the boss of Shimei, Vivian. She is the top female stylist in China.”
“Hello, I am the actor Ji Li.” Ji Li extended his hand and took the initiative to greet Vivian.
Yu Fuya and Vivian were old acquaintances. She was the one who created a ‘bridge’ with her connections to help Vivian get some styling and special effects cooperation with several movie crews.
For this, Vivian had always been grateful to Yu Fuya.
“Vivian, this time you have to make my family’s Ji Li look good.” Yu Fuya said as she walked. “We want to fight for this role.”
“Sister Yu, looking at what you said, how can I not care?” Vivian examined Ji Li’s face and covered up her unfinished words.
Ever since last week, her team had been responsible for the audition looks of actors every day.
From well-known male stars to newcomers, from people in their early 20s to the 30s… people of various statuses and age groups in the circle had tried the styling.
It could only be said that a bald head was too challenging. It was more of a ‘demon mirror’ than a crew cut. It pursued the ultimate coordination of facial features.
No matter how good looking some male stars were with their hairstyles, their shortcomings were immediately exposed the moment the ‘bald head’ styling came out.
Either their facial lines were too rigid, resulting in an insufficient soft beauty, or their temperament didn’t match and they just looked silly.
“How has it been? Director Xu Cheng wasn’t satisfied?” Yu Fuya secretly investigated their competition.
Vivian looked at her and revealed in a low voice, “Director Xu was mostly dissatisfied, but there was someone yesterday who looked good. He is a newcomer of Jincheng Pictures called Zhang Ye.”
Yu Fuya heard this and her face stiffened slightly.
She had no objection to hardworking newcomers. She just habitually felt physically disgusted when she heard Jincheng Pictures.
The three of them walked into the styling room.
Yu Fuya decisively stopped the topic. “Vivian, I will have to trouble you.”
Vivian responded with a smile. “It isn’t any trouble.”
The first step in this look was to create the ‘scalp.’ They used petroleum jelly and vulcanized latex to create a suitable thickness on the model. Then they used loose powder to remove the dried, fake scalp.
Ji Li sat down in the styling seat and calmly waited for the next step of the makeup.
The styling assistant took some effort to comb Ji Li’s hair.
Vivian examined it twice before saying decisively, “We don’t need to use cotton to fill it in. This is good, so just bring the fake scalp.”
Everyone’s head shape was different, so before they applied the fake scalp, they needed to use soft items like cotton to fill in the unevenness on the surface of the head.
However, Ji Li’s head shape was very beautiful, and this step could be skipped.
The staff used special white glue to glue the fake scalp. Then cotton swabs were used to deal with the uneven edges. Finally, a small brush was used to color the fake scalp and create a slight hair residue effect.
This process took almost three hours.
Ji Li looked at his somewhat strange self in the mirror and couldn’t help staring for a while.
Even with the countless roles he had played in his ‘previous life’, he never had such a bold and unique look.
Before he could speak, Vivian said expectantly, “Follow the staff members to change your clothes and try on the costume?”
So far, Ji Li had given her a very good feeling. He was far better than the actors who tried this style previously. She just didn’t know if this temperament could hold up after putting on the costume of a legendary, pure monk?
Ji Li took off his clothes and followed the male clothing assistant into the dressing room.
In just a few minutes, the change was completed.
The moment the curtain was lifted, exclamations rang out one after another.
Ji Li’s appearance as a holy monk was amazing!
The costume wasn’t the red and bright yellow robe that was the traditional appearance of a monk. Ji Li wore a costume designed by the movie costume team and was specially used for the first round of role auditions.
When the Su Dynasty was intact, Chen Yi was both a holy monk and the most noble person in the country.
In order to reflect his noble and holy identity, his robe was pure white and wasn’t embroidered with the traditional patterns of a conch or umbrellas. Instead, there were whole pieces of Buddhist scriptures, which were gorgeous and shocking.
The robe was fastened with special jade ring buttons and outlined Ji Li’s thin waist, making his figure more upright.
It took the costume team a full three months to make such a gorgeous costume. The production cost alone was as high as six figures.
It had to be known that white clothes were actually very picky about skin tone. Now this gold silk, white robe was put on Ji Li’s body, making his face even more radiant. It was a perfect bonus.
Even without the influence of hair, his extremely handsome facial features gave a fatal impact.
His light brown eyes shimmered, seemingly ruthless yet affectionate. He gave off a cold yet warm sense of compassion.
The brown mole on the bridge of his nose was faintly visible under the illumination of the light, and his thin red lips were slightly pursed, invisibly stained with a sense of temptation.
Vivian was stunned, and all the employees under her looked stupid.
He was clearly wearing the most holy robe, but he had an abstinent and seductive demeanor. This sense of contradiction made people feel itchy.
This was the Chen Yi in the script!
The young holy monk who was admired by women all over the country in the Su Dynasty, the one who could make people, demons, and ghosts still care after learning that his identity was a ‘demon monk.’ They were afraid that only Ji Li’s appearance was qualified!
Over the past few days, they had received so many auditioning actors.
Many actors had already exposed their shortcomings with their bald heads alone. Then, after wearing the crew’s high-end robe, their greasy and vulgar feeling simply ruined the words ‘holy monk.’
There were some employees who couldn’t hold back the praise in their hearts and started discussing him in low voices.
“Ahhh, Ji Li is so beautiful!”
“This is amazing. How can he support any look?”
“This should be the actor that Director Xu is looking for, right?”
“Don’t be too hasty. The demon monk appearance is the core of the movie. It is a pity that Ji Li can’t try it on now.”
“As far as I’m concerned, Ji Li’s appearance is definitely the most suitable among the recent group of actors! No rebuttals accepted!”
Vivian’s mind returned, and she showed a trace of appreciation in her eyes. “Ji Li, according to Director Xu’s request, you have to take a few photos and styling videos. Is that okay?”
Their studio would send the actor’s styling to the directing team’s inbox. If Director Xu Cheng and the screenwriter felt that the actor’s image was appropriate, they would notify the actor’s company to determine the time and location of the second round of auditions.
“David, take him into the studio next door.” Vivian gestured to the exclusive photographer who had come to the studio.
David rubbed his hands together and excitedly led Ji Li next door.
After photographing so many ‘monk’ actors these days, David thought he was aesthetically exhausted. Then he saw Ji Li and the other person’s appearance completely met his aesthetics!
The group of employees followed to see Ji Li taking photos with this styling.
People in the movie and television styling industry had always been critical and vicious.
After seeing everyone’s reactions, Yu Fuya knew that Ji Li’s style was half a success, and her tense heartstrings finally relaxed. “Vivian, is my family okay?”
“We think he is okay, but is it useful to say that? We can’t make the final decisions,” Vivian answered truthfully. “Director Xu has the decision making power for this movie.”
The moment she finished speaking, an inquiring voice was heard behind her.
“What decision is up to me?”
Yu Fuya and Vivian turned around, and both of them showed surprised looks.
“Director Xu, you are free today? You should’ve told me earlier. I would’ve personally gone down to receive you,” Vivian spoke politely.
“I came to conduct some private business nearby. I heard from the assistant that your studio was close by and came up to take a look,” Director Xu Cheng simply explained.
He looked at Yu Fuya on the side, and his eyebrows flickered with surprise. “Ms. Yu?”
“Director Xu.” Yu Fuya nodded. “I contacted your team the day before yesterday and brought the artist under me to try out the look.”
Xu Cheng thought for a moment. “That actor called Ji Li?”
“Where is he?” Xu Cheng was a bit interested.
“In the studio next door.” Vivian looked at Yu Fuya and took the initiative to lead the way. “Director Xu, shall I take you to see?”
Xu Cheng nodded and followed them.
Yu Fuya stared at Xu Cheng’s back and her heartstrings tightened again.
She didn’t expect to accidentally encounter the director here.
She hoped that Ji Li’s strength and good luck would continue to bless him and bring them good news.
Inside the studio.
The shutter sound was heard nonstop, and David became more excited as he took the photos. He looked at Ji Li in the camera and was so hot that he was about to sweat.
David’s heart was pounding. If it wasn’t for the restrained nature of Chinese people, he would’ve wanted to shout about Ji Li’s beauty.
In fact, the directing team had stipulated that each actor could only take 10 photos, but David couldn’t help shooting at least 100 photos for Ji Li.
“That’s it.” David stopped and adjusted the camera’s recording function. “Take two more steps at will, turn to the front side and back, and pose.”
The purpose of recording a video was to show the director team the physical dynamics of the actor.
Before Ji Li could respond, the crowd of onlookers scattered in surprise.
Ji Li looked toward the source and found that the leader was a middle-aged man with his hands behind his back and a scrutinizing look in his eyes.
Yu Fuya stood behind the man to the left and silently mouthed the identity of this person to Ji Li.
–Director Xu Cheng.
Ji Li naturally recognized him, one of the four major directors of the Chinese movie industry.
He quickly regained his composure and took the initiative to bow in greeting. “Hello, Director Xu. I am the actor Ji Li.”
Xu Cheng nodded, and the smile on his face slightly widened. “I know. I have seen your Xiang Suian in ‘Time Lobbyist.’ If the publicity was more powerful before the release, I’m afraid that the box office champion during the New Year’s Day holiday might’ve changed hands.”
They were competitors in the same period, so Xu Cheng had privately watched the full version of ‘Time Lobbyist.’ The actor who left a deep impact on him was only Ji Li in front of him.
“Director, you are overpraising me.”
Xu Cheng didn’t let Ji Li move but wandered around him. Then he showed an appreciative smile. “Your malleability is beyond my expectations.”
At this moment, Ji Li had completely lost the shadow of Xiang Suian. On the contrary, he possessed the air of Chen Yi in his youth.
However, this alone wasn’t enough.
The core part of the movie was the ‘demon monk’ Chen Yi, which had a completely different, evil feeling from the ‘holy monk’ appearance.
Here, appearance was important, but acting skills were even more important than appearance.
Xu Cheng was an efficient director. Since Ji Li’s appearance suited his wishes, he simply issued a formal invitation.
“Are you free next Friday? Next Friday is the second round of auditions, and you will act out a scene from the script for me to see.”
TL: Advance chapters are available over on my Patreon. You can go check out the details on my Patreon page.