Due to the night scene’s importance, the crew deliberately moved dinner time earlier to 5 o’clock. The moment dinner ended, everyone was swept up in the intense and busy preparation process.
Ji Li sat in the lounge and stared at the content of the script with a serious expression.
On the first day of filming, he had to film an important scene for his character. It was false to say that there was no pressure to perform well.
The plot of this scene was very heavy:
Xiang Suian actually lived in a remarried family. Back then, Xiang Suian’s mother married her current husband and brought his 10 year old self along with her.
His stepfather looked gentle and educated on the outside. He wore a pair of square-rimmed glasses and was always smiling when he met people.
At first, Mother Xiang only agreed to marry him because of his easy going nature.
However, the good times didn’t last long. His stepfather lost his job after their marriage. He was frustrated when it came to his career and he didn’t want to look for a new one. He became a complete alcoholic.
Not only did he love to drink, but he also drank fiercely. Mother Xiang’s several persuasions were ignored by him. One time after drinking, he lost control and beat Mother Xiang and Xiang Suian.
This was the beginning of the demise of both the mother and son.
Over the past eight years, his stepfather had become more intense, and his tendency towards domestic violence became more serious. Mother Xiang resisted and struggled in the beginning, fled and begged for mercy in the middle, and in the end, finally felt paralysis and despair.
The neighbors all knew about this, but as outsiders, they could only persuade him once or twice. They couldn’t persuade him a hundred or a thousand times.
In the evening when the third year of high school just started, Xiang Suian had just returned home when he saw a familiar and numbing scene—his stepfather had tied Mother Xiang up with thin rope like she was livestock. He was holding a belt in his hand and was fiercely whipping her.
In this scene, it was natural to shoot the reactions of the mother and son. The most difficult aspect was that Ji Li had to play the same character in two different timelines.
The first timeline was as Xiang Suian, who hadn’t experienced being reborn.
The second timeline was as Xiang Suian, who had experienced countless identical rebirths.
It was necessary to conform to the character’s personality, but also portray a completely different state of mind. The difficulty could be imagined.
There was a knock on the door.
Baozi came in from outside and said cautiously, “Brother Ji, Director Wang called you over to practice the scene.”
He knew that Ji Li was alone in the lounge to gather his emotions and was afraid of disrupting Ji Li’s immersion.
Ji Li put down his script full of notes and calmly walked out.
The scene had already been placed in his heart, and there was no need for him to hold the script.
In the house along the river, the crew had properly arranged the scene of ‘domestic violence.’
The actor playing Mother Xu was Song Xingchen, the movie queen of the One Hundred Images Awards. She had received an invitation from Qin Yue and specially came to perform.
Qin Yue’s idea was clear.
He had already decided to take charge of this project, so the project would have to be directed as an important movie. Many veterans were invited to play cameos, and the later publicity could have one more gimmick.
Under the leadership of Yu Fuya, Ji Li politely greeted the person sitting on the sofa, “Hello Teacher Song, I am Xiang Suian’s actor, Ji Li.”
“An An, have you eaten?” Song Xingchen smiled and directly called out his nickname from the movie.
This was where veteran actors shone. Once they accepted the script, off-screen was also considered on-screen.
Ji Li was surprised for a moment. Then he gave the restrained and well-behaved smile that belonged to ‘Xiang Suian’. “I have eaten.”
Song Xingchen smiled slightly. She obviously had good feelings toward this calm and good-looking junior.
Qin Yue watched the interaction between the two of them from the sidelines and briefly smiled.
In fact, he invited Song Xingchen due to a selfish reason.
The other person was recognized as a powerful movie queen, and her acting works since her debut were greatly praised. In particular, her recognition rate among the middle-aged and younger generation was very high.
There had been a survey before. As long as Song Xingchen was in the movie, 90% of the audience said that they would go to the theater to watch it.
This time, Ji Li and Song Xingchen were acting together. Ji Li just needed to act as steadily as before, and he would gain a wave of affirmation along with the latter’s prestige after the movie was released.
Qin Yue was secretly paving the way for Ji Li in his own way. As for whether he could make it or not, it all depended on the latter’s acting.
In order to match the plot, Song Xingchen’s exposed skin was painted with many bruises and red marks. There was also a long, bloody injury on her forehead that looked very realistic.
The one playing the stepfather was the veteran actor Wei Guofu. Baozi instinctively trembled the moment he appeared on the set.
“Brother Ji, Teacher Wei acted in an urban drama in the past and his domestic violence character is deeply rooted in people’s hearts.” Baozi lowered his voice. “I can’t help remembering that character the moment I see him.”
For some actors, just one role could make the audience remember them for a long time.
Wei Guofu’s personality was actually very easy to get along with. The moment he entered, he smiled and greeted everyone.
Wang Zhang saw that the preparations for the scene were complete. “Okay, it is almost time for filming.”
The ‘family of three’ quickly entered their character’s state.
Undoubtedly, the focus of this scene was Xiang Suian, who was played by Ji Li.
After some research, Wang Zhang and the filming team planned to use the one-shot filming mode, and there was no fixed point camera change. In other words, the actors couldn’t make any mistakes throughout the process or they would have to restart.
The interpretation of the scene was originally a hell mode. Now this difficult filming mode was adopted, and made the difficulty of Ji Li’s scene even higher.
The group went through the scene several times before confirming the details of each camera position.
Before filming started, Ji Li took the initiative to walk to Wei Guofu’s side and requested in a somewhat embarrassed manner, “Teacher Wei, once filming officially starts, you can use some strength in the part where you hit me with the belt. This will make the scene more realistic.”
Wei Guofu was surprised after hearing this and asked, “Are you sure? Some strength should be held back with the belt or else it will really hurt.”
Ji Li lowered his head and insisted on his own thoughts, “You can rest assured. I am young and I can stand it. It is okay for actors to sacrifice a bit for the greater effect of the movie.”
Wei Guofu pushed up his glasses and smiled.
Ji Li received his positive reply and nodded politely at him. Then he walked quickly to the door to get ready.
Wei Guofu stared at this person’s back, and there was a flash of praise in his heart.
It was rare these days to find young people who weren’t afraid of hardships. He just didn’t know if Ji Li could perform with this type of energy during the formal filming.
Ji Li stood in the alley. Directly in front of him was the main moving camera. He closed his eyes, threw away all the thoughts in his mind and silently waited for the call to start.
30 seconds later, there was the sound of the clapboard.
Ji Li opened his eyes and walked toward the house with a calm expression.
The moment he arrived at the door, he heard a suppressed whispering sound from inside the house. There was a man’s angry scolding voice mixed with a series of whipping sounds that made a person’s heart beat faster.
Ji Li’s slightly curved up lips instantly stretched into a straight line. He grasped his backpack strap hard, and his knuckles were clearly white.
Didn’t this just happen last weekend? Why start again?
Ji Li’s chest rose and fell slightly for a moment before he walked in quickly. “Mom, Uncle Li, I’m back.”
The sound of the door opening was loud, but the words that came out were soft.
Ji Li’s eyes lowered slightly. He saw that the floor was full of chaos. The table had been overturned, and all the soups and dishes were scattered on the ground.
The woman’s hands and feet were rudely tied up by thin rope, and her body was covered with belt marks. The most serious injury was her forehead, which was torn open and was bloody.
Ji Li stood quietly in place. If one looked closely with the camera, they could detect his quietly clenched jaw. He clearly suppressed and hid his emotions to the extreme.
His arrival made the cruel air inside the house slightly loosen up.
The scene changed and revealed his red-faced stepfather throwing the belt onto Mother Xiang’s body and sitting down drunk on the sofa, gasping heavily.
Mother Xiang, played by Song Xingchen, struggled to raise her head, revealing her blood-stained, pained face.
She put on a smile that was uglier than crying. “…An An, Mom is fine. Y-You go to your room.’
Lock the door, close the window, and don’t come out when you hear something.
Xiang Suian heard the familiar opening remarks and took a deep breath.
“An An…” Mother Xiang’s voice was extremely weak, but there was an indescribable urgency. “Be good, be obedient.”
They both knew that a new round of the man’s beating was about to begin.
It was better to be beaten alone than for two people to be injured together.
A mother who couldn’t even protect herself was guarding her child in the most humble way.
Xiang Suian met his mother’s pleading eyes, and the fog in his eyes flickered. The toes that had just been lifted were retracted without a trace.
He mechanically turned sideways and walked stiffly back to his room.
He closed the door, locked it, and closed the windows.
The series of movements that Mother Xiang hoped for were so standard that he was like the walking dead.
Outside the room, another round of beatings and scoldings from the man rang out.
Mother Xiang’s whimpers were intermittent and soft. It was the sound she made while desperately biting a towel in order to prevent the neighbors from hearing and running over to persuade them.
It was because after the neighbor’s ‘short but well-meaning persuasion’, the mother and son would face a more painful night.
Xiang Suian sat in his seat and took out his test paper in an expressionless manner. He pressed against the page again and again with the palm of his hand.
His palm pressed harder and harder until the fragile test paper was suddenly torn apart.
Across the neat test paper, a large tear suddenly appeared and ruined the roughly printed font.
The camera slowly moved upward and fixed on his red eyes.
Tears pooled in Ji Li’s eyes, and there was a bottomless despair in them. His teeth were fiercely gritted, and his body was trembling violently.
Wasn’t there anyone who could help them?
Couldn’t anyone see their desperation?
The neighbors or police—no one had ever saved them.
They resisted, and were beaten even more painfully. They ran away, but the man appeared like a ghost and pulled them back to hell within minutes.
They survived until now, and it seemed that even death was a luxury.