It was just after 8 o’clock when Ji Li arrived at the set.
It was still early and the staff members were doing preparatory work. The core shooting area was sealed off and outsiders couldn’t go in and out at will.
The company didn’t assign an assistant to Ji Li. They just gave him an actor’s crew pass.
Currently, Ji Li was standing on the outermost periphery of the set, clutching the straps of his backpack tightly with a rare expression of confession on his face. Where should he go to report?
These trivial matters before filming had always been entrusted to his assistant in the past.
A man in a black jacket saw him and approached. “Hey, who are you? This is a set and you can’t enter casually.”
Ji Li saw the work permit on the other person’s chest and immediately reacted politely. “Hello, Brother. I am the actor of Song Zhao in ‘Country and the World.’ My name is Ji Li.”
He handed over his actor’s pass as he spoke.
“Ji Li?” The man glanced at his ID and carefully examined his appearance. “So you are the newcomer of Dream Media who is temporarily stuffed in?”
Temporarily stuffed in?
Ji Li pondered over this vocabulary and hesitated. “May I ask who you are?”
“I’m the casting director of this movie, Xiao Linsen.” Xiao Linsen handed back his credentials. “Go straight for 50 meters. Once you see the blue wall, turn right and it is the actor’s dressing room. Get there and you can find someone to ask.”
“Yes. Thank you, Director.” Ji Li nodded, not delving into the meaning of the other person’s words.
Xiao Linsen stared at Ji Li’s distant back and shook his head, muttering, “He looks good but he seems to be a vase who can’t act.”
He should hurry up and find an alternative actor according to Teacher Qin Li’s instructions.
As far as Ji Li’s appearance was concerned, how could Ji Li be willing to be ugly? He probably wouldn’t even want to get dirty makeup!
Xiao Linsen bet that he wouldn’t have to wait for the rival scene with Teacher Qin Li. In the first beggar scene this afternoon, the other person probably wouldn’t be able to pass.
Ji Li found the small room where supporting roles put on makeup. Before he could knock on the door, he saw the stylist coming over while carrying a bunch of things.
The moment the two of them met, the stylist asked with surprise, “Are you the actor for Song Zhao?”
“Yes, hello Teacher. My name is Ji Li.”
The stylist raised his eyebrow and motioned for him to go in. “Just call me Zhang Ming. Go in. I will be responsible for your overall look today.”
Ji Li nodded and followed Zhang Ming silently.
“I heard there was a temporary change of person but I didn’t expect it to be changed to such an immortal-like beautiful man.” The stylists in the circle basically regarded ‘exaggerated praise’ as a necessary skill and any adjective could be said.
Ji Li wasn’t surprised and just slightly smiled.
“Sit down. We will put on your headgear first, then makeup before finally changing your clothes.” Zhang Ming took out the headgear and patted the simple styling table. “The first scene in the notice is set at 10:30. We have to hurry.”
The scenes might not be shot on time but the styling must be done on time. This was the default principle of the set.
Ji Li sat down calmly according to the instructions and took out the script from his small backpack.
Zhang Ming saw his calm expression and was interested. “Is this your first time filming? I have met a lot of newcomers before. Most of them are nervous and excited. I really haven’t met anyone like you.”
“…It is my first time filming.” Ji Li answered from the perspective of the original owner.
He looked down and opened his script. The thin booklet with less than three pages was filled with colorful pen marks.
“So serious?” Zhang Ming was really surprised.
How could a beggar character who didn’t have many scenes be treated so carefully by Ji Li?
“I naturally have to be serious.” Ji Li looked at Zhang Ming through the mirror and his lips curved up. “Even if it is a small role, it can’t be done badly in my hands.”
Zhang Ming was hooked by this pure smile. He was stunned for half a second before continuing his actions while giving encouragement, “Then jiayou.”
Ji Li smiled and retracted his gaze.
This was the first step for him when starting all over again. He had to work hard.
The movie Country and the World was adapted from a novel of the same name and told the story of Song Yi, a famous general of the Luo Dynasty and Cao Shijing, the king. [*]
The content of the script available to Ji Li was limited. In order to understand the background, he spent an entire afternoon and night finishing the original novel.
He played Song Zhao, Song Yi’s exiled younger brother.
The brothers encountered a war when they were young and forced to separate. The older brother Song Yi was adopted by the royal family and became a general. Meanwhile, the younger brother Song Zhao was exiled outside and became a beggar.
Song Zhaog’s appearance in the novel was only three lines and it was expanded to five scenes in the script.
Ji Li wasn’t from a formal acting class and his usual acting method was to turn himself into the character.
Such an ‘immersive’ approach wasn’t the mainstream of the film and television circles. It was because once a complex role was encountered and the actor had too much empathy, it was likely to affect their psychological state.
During his free vacation, Ji Li went to minor in the theory of performance. Even so, he couldn’t change his ‘immersion’ mode of acting.
Thus, after getting the role of the beggar, Ji Li deliberately reduced the amount of food he ate and even drank as little water as possible to give himself a real sense of hunger.
This was combined with reading the original book all night and he had very little sleep time in the past two days. He wanted to close his eyes and sleep right now.
The background of the movie was a war and people would die if they were careless. For a beggar like Song Zhao, it was normal to not dare to sleep deeply and to not get enough sleep.
Once the psychological state was similar, the details of the character would come out naturally.
Zhang Ming walked around the front to prepare for makeup and immediately noticed the dark circles under Ji Li’s eyes. “Brother, young people can’t stay up late just because you have good energy. The dark circles under your eyes have come out. Fortunately, what I want today is a beggar’s dirty makeup.”
Ji Li heard this feedback and felt satisfied in his heart. “Help me with the ugly spots. The rougher and dirtier my skin, the better.”
Zhang Ming heard this request and didn’t know if he should laugh or cry. “Everyone else wants their character to be as handsome as possible but you are the opposite? Originally, I was worried you wouldn’t be able to adapt to the beggar’s appearance and would have me help you look a bit better.”
“The role is first.” Ji Li didn’t care about it at all. “What beggar is white and clean?”
Zhang Ming was a face con. He originally had a good impression of Ji Li’s face. Now that he saw Ji L’s seriousness about the role, the good impression score in his heart was soaring upwards.
“You are so exquisite that it is difficult for me.” He joked while looking at the other person’s white and smooth skin. “Still, I promise that I will turn this little immortal into an ugly beggar.”
Ji chuckled. It should be like this.
By the time Ji Li changed into his costume, it was already 10 o’clock. After finishing his styling, Zhang Ming rushed to apply makeup for the other group actors.
No one had come to call Ji Li to the scene. He saw that it was getting closer to the shooting time in the notice so he simply grabbed his script and went out, intending to wait directly at the shooting site.
Then hunger pains came from his stomach. Ji Li crouched on the ground, silently enduring it. He didn’t think about going to relieve it using the warm water in the thermos out of fear it would affect his dry lips.
Shooting was about to start and he couldn’t give up all his efforts here.
It wasn’t until the period of discomfort disappeared that Ji Li struggled to get up.
He was numb from the long squatting. Combined with the delirium and dizziness caused by hunger and he uncontrollably fell forward.
Ji Li didn’t have time to make adjustments so he instinctively covered his head with his hands.
The pain of falling to the ground didn’t appear as expected. Instead, he ran into someone.
“Are you okay?” The low voice hit his eardrums. “Be careful when you walk.”
“I’m sorry.” Ji Li was taken aback and hurriedly retreating, standing up firmly. He raised his eyes and saw the superior figure opposite him.
The other person’s height was 188 cm just based on a visual inspection. His appearance with makeup was extraordinary. He wore a costume headgear and his long hair that was like ink was tied back with a gorgeous gold and copper crown. He looked capable, free and easy.
The man wore an ordinary, black short-sleeved shirt. He hadn’t changed into his clothes yet. Even so, the strong figure under the clothes was obvious and he exuded a natural, powerful aura.
In an instant, Ji Li recognized this person as Qin Li.
In the original novel, the other person was a legend standing at the top of the entertainment circle. The protagonist Ji Yunqi had collaborated with him in his first film and television work.
After the assessment that day, Ji Li had searched the Internet for the movie ‘The Awakening.’ and he had a better understanding of Qin Li.
The other side’s acting career could simply be called divine in the Chinese entertainment circle. His vision when choosing scripts was extremely keen. After the release of the movie, all the movies he starred in were the box office champion of that period.
There was a saying in the film and television circles: the person who can surpass Qin Li is probably only Qin Li himself.
This time, the movie ‘Country and the World’ was invested and produced by Qin Li himself.
The preliminary preparations alone took nearly a year and a half. It was said that after it started, all the actors involved in the filming were powerful, traditional actors.
However, the crew’s confidentiality measures were extremely good. So much time passed but there was hardly a whisper outside. This made the hearts of netizens’ itchy.
It could be seen that the crew really wanted to make a movie, rather than relying on excessive marketing to gain popularity.
This time, Qin Li was playing General Song Yi, the older brother of the beggar Song Zhao. Ji Li’s three rival scenes were all against this person.
Ji Li admired the strong deep in his bones. He loved to work with actors like Qin Li even in his original life.
It wasn’t that he looked down on new actors. It was that acting paid attention to compatibility between characters’ auras and experienced actors were more efficient at cooperating.
Ji Li thought of Qin Li’s superb acting skills in that movie clip and was suddenly looking forward to the next shooting.
The ‘little beggars’ face was dark and dirty but the eyes looked extremely smart and bright.
Qin Li looked down at him and felt an indescribable sense of familiarity.
“Qin Li, why did you stop here?” Qi An approached and saw a stranger beside Qin Li. “Are you a group actor? How did you get here?”
Before Ji Li could reply, the scene affairs person hurriedly ran over in a panic. “Ji Li? Where are you going instead of staying in the dressing room?”
Then he saw Qin Li and his words instinctively slowed down. “Brother Li, you are…”
“Hello, I’m Ji Li.”
“Get ready to shoot. The director is calling for you. Hurry up.” The scene affairs person remembered business and urged.
Ji Li nodded when he heard this and ran toward the studio with his backpack. Since he and Qin Li had rival scenes, he would have a chance later. There was no need to be in a hurry right now.
“Brother Li, I’ve found the person so I will go back first.” The scene affairs person said.
“Yes.” Qin Li glanced sideways at Ji Li who was running away. The familiarity from those eyes still lingered in his mind.
The next second, he saw Qi An suddenly pat his forehead. “I was wondering why this name was so familiar! It turned out to be him!”
The beggar who could make the scene affairs person come over to call him personally definitely wasn’t as simple as a group performer.
Qin Li made a guess. “It should be Song Zhao’s actor.”
“Yes, but I’m not talking about that.” Qi An hooked an arm around his friend’s shoulder and explained, “The assessment video sent by Director Wang Zhang a few days ago. I also watched it privately…”
Qi An was an agent and had the ability to know people.
He felt the trainee in the video had potential and privately investigated the other person’s information.
“Ji Li… this name is rare.” Qi An glanced at his friend and jokingly reminded, “Teacher Qin, you probably didn’t expect it? The trainee you favored and the new actor not favored by you are actually the same person.”
Qin Li’s eyes shook slightly as he finally understood where that subtle sense of familiarity came from.
He shook off his friend’s hand and glanced over lightly, “Let’s go and watch the shooting scene.”