Due to the influence of these hot searches, Ji Li’s Weibo follower count successfully exceeded 10 million in just one week.
Looking around, there were very few young actors who gained such a high popularity within the first year of their debut.
Yu Fuya was determined to give Ji Li a long vacation, apart from the offline fan meeting for Ying’s Perfume that had long been arranged.
For the remainder of time, Ji Li had no other public activities scheduled.
In the blink of an eye, it was mid-September.
Ji Li could no longer stay idle after resting for one month at home and he called Yu Fuya. “Sister Yu, I want to start filming again.”
Less than an hour after the phone call, Yu Fuya and Baozi arrived at his home with three brand new movie scripts.
“Brother Ji! Brother Ji!”
Baozi stacked the scripts in front of Ji Li in one go. “Sister Yu and I have already screened them for you. The three ‘winning scripts’ have different subjects and themes, and they are all for the male lead.”
Baozi patted the top script. “In particular, the one on top is definitely a big IP movie. It is also by the famous director Zhang Chengye, but you need to audition for it.”
Ji Li slightly raised an eyebrow. “It sounds good. What happened? Have a lot of movie scripts been sent to the company recently?”
Two months ago, he found it hard to even pick a good drama script.
Baozi raised his head proudly and his gestures were exaggerated. “No? It is just that your current worth is rising!”
Yu Fuya explained with a smile, “There are many movie projects starting after National Day. You can take a look, and if you have a favorite role, I will discuss it for you.”
Snow Cake lay lazily in the cat’s nest and slowly looked up. Then he curled up again to continue sleeping.
Baozi approached, crouched down, and teased him. “Brother Ji, why is Snow Cake not lively at all?”
“I was free some time ago and took him to get sterilized. This has made him depressed recently.” Ji Li casually picked up a script and smiled lightly.
Forget Baozi. Snow Cake even loved to ignore Ji Li, his owner.
In the beginning, Ji Li was worried that Snow Cake got infected and sick during the operation. He quickly asked the veterinarian and received a reply.
The acting skills you showed before taking it for sterilization were a bit superficial, and you didn’t act heartbroken enough. Therefore, the little one is throwing a tantrum.
The powerful newcomer who had attracted a lot of attention from the outside world, and a former grand slam actor in his previous life—his acting skills were despised by his own cat.
Ji Li didn’t know whether to laugh or to cry when he thought of this. “You guys can do whatever you want. I will read the synopsis and character biographies first.”
“Yes, Brother Ji. We won’t bother you.” Baozi held a stick to tease the cat and carefully teased him.
Yu Fuya saw Ji Li’s focused side profile and stopped talking.
It took Ji Li half an hour to browse through the script synopsis brought by the other person.
Yu Fuya asked, “What do you think?”
“I will have to read the full script to make sure,” Ji Li answered honestly.
He had to say that these movies were only better in terms of investment. In fact, the story synopsis didn’t stand out.
Even so, Ji Li didn’t intend to directly veto them. He wanted to carefully read the details of the plot before making a decision, so as to not miss a good movie.
“Ji Li, I actually have a script here.” Yu Fuya opened her large-capacity handbag. She took out a thick script from it and placed it on the table.
Ji Li looked down. The cover page was pure black, and there was a line of English words written on it.
[Long Island Iced Tea]
“Long Island Iced Tea?” A hint of curiosity flashed in Ji Li’s eyes. “Is it taking the name of a cocktail as the name of the movie?”
Yu Fuya temporarily stopped his action of taking the script and looked at him. “Ji Li, before you open the script, I have two important things to tell you.”
Baozi, who was still teasing Snow Cake, heard this and immediately sat down next to the two of them with the cat in his arms.
“Sister Yu, is that a new script? Why didn’t I know about it?”
Ji Li glanced at Baozi before solemnly nodding at Yu Fuya. “Sister Yu, tell me. I will listen.”
Looking at Yu Fuya’s expression, the weight of this movie wouldn’t be light.
“The director of this movie is Roland Cameron.” Yu Fuya announced the name of the director.
Ji Li wasn’t very familiar with the foreign directors in this world. Meanwhile, Baozi stood up excitedly the moment he heard the name. “Damn! Director Cameron?”
Ji Li was surprised when seeing Baozi react like this for the first time, and he couldn’t help asking, “…What’s wrong?”
Baozi wasn’t surprised by his doubts and explained excitedly, “Brother Ji, this director is super amazing! You know about the Yana International Film Festival, right? It’s the one that is recognized as the number 1 top film festival worldwide!”
“At this film festival, Director Cameron has won the prestigious award of ‘Best Director’ six times!”
“Director Cameron has been in the industry for over 30 years. He has brought out seven world-class actors and actresses with his movies!”
In addition, his name was never missing from the other film festivals.
“The themes of his movies might be literary movies, but the box office of each one is comparable to commercial movies. It is even more powerful than ordinary commercial movies!”
In the latest list of the world’s top 100 movies, his works alone occupied five spots!
According to Cameron’s consistent shooting standards and excellent scripts, Ji Li could directly step into the international movie circle as long as he accepted the script!
It wasn’t that Baozi was talking big. In front of the script and crew directed by Cameron, the three domestic movies they selected were indeed a bit inadequate.
Yu Fuya nodded and affirmed Baozi’s introduction.
“This movie script was introduced by Director Adolphe. I had a detailed discussion with Director Cameron’s team for over three hours before I got the opportunity to read the script for you.”
Of course, a strict script confidentiality agreement was indispensable.
Yu Fuya’s agent still had the initiative, so she signed it for Ji Li.
“Director Cameron has seen your advertising video and thinks that your image is in line with the script. If you have the desire to take the role after reading the script, they will reserve time for you and we will fly to the United States to audition.”
Ji Li nodded. He felt that these basic conditions were reasonable.
“Sister Yu, what is the second thing that you mentioned?” he asked again.
The thing that could make the straightforward Yu Fuya so hesitant and cautious probably wasn’t just a problem with the script.
“I’ve read through the content of the script before you.” Yu Fuya’s complicated eyes swept over the name of the script. “This is a literary, gay movie.”
Baozi’s eyes widened the moment these words came out. “This…”
Ji Li’s heart froze and his eyes fell back on the script.
He finally understood why Yu Fuya showed such a hesitant look after taking out the script.
In recent years, the domestic movie environment was far less open than that of the west. Movies with homosexual themes had almost disappeared.
In this case, the tolerance of the male actors in China who took on such subjects was far less than foreign countries, let alone a young actor like Ji Li who was currently developing well.
However, this movie script had the name ‘Director Cameron.’ It was an opportunity for him to rush internationally if the level was good enough.
This condition was really tempting.
Therefore, Yu Fuya was a bit tangled up over these contradictions.
However, she remembered what Ji Li had said in the early days of their cooperation.
“I have the greatest freedom of choice when selecting from Sister Yu’s choice of movie or television scripts.”
Over the past year, Yu Fuya had come to a deep understanding of Ji Li’s mature ability and long-term market vision when it came to picking scripts. Therefore, she didn’t veto it the moment she learned about the theme of the script. Instead, she continued to talk with Cameron’s team in detail and won the right to read the script and to audition for Ji Li.
Now she handed over the decision to Ji Li.
“Sister Yu, I will never resist any movie or television theme because my focus is always on the content itself.” Ji Li’s gaze fell on the cover of the script that had gold letters on a black background.
Perhaps some scripts had their own natural appeal.
Curiosity had filled Ji Li’s heart little by little from the first time he saw the script. “I want to read it first.”
“Of course.” Yu Fuya let go of her hand.
Her eyebrows finally took on a relaxed arc. She had done her duty as an agent to remind him of the important considerations. The rest depended on the other person and the script.
Baozi knew that the script selection was a big task and didn’t dare to give ideas at will.
However, he thought in his heart that a same-sex theme and heterosexual theme were essentially the same. His focus was on good works and good content.
Let’s talk about the 1980s. Good same-sex movie and television works emerged one after another in China. Male actors dared to perform in the good scripts, and the movies were liked after they were released.
On the contrary, the new generation of actors were restrained. Forget same-sex themes. They didn’t even play villain killers out of fear of affecting their public image, which was very boring.
Ji Li leaned back lazily against the sofa and started to read through the movie script.
The script was in pure English with straight and correct letters. It was clean and pleasing to the eye.
The protagonists of the script were two Chinese men, one of whom was named Lu Yao.
The moment Lu Yao’s parents got married, they went abroad to start a business. The two of them started from scratch and it took them a few decades to build up their career.
It was a pity that the good times didn’t last long. After gaining wealth, Father Luo cheated and he started to dislike Mother Lu, who didn’t like to dress up.
The husband and wife separated. Their love from the beginning of their relationship was gone, and there were only quarrels day after day. The reason why they stayed together and didn’t divorce was for Lu Yao, their son who wasn’t an adult.
Soon, Father Lu and his lover were exposed.
His lover was very beautiful. She fell in love with the position of being the wife of the Lu family and started to provoke Mother Lu several times. Later, she entered the house with the child in her belly.
Mother Lu was severely depressed and chose to take medicine to end her life.
She expressed her hatred toward her husband and his mistress in the most tragic and decisive way.
The thing that Mother Lu didn’t know was that her tragic end brought a huge psychological shadow to Lu Yao, who was only eight years old.
In the following ten years, Father Lu’s career grew bigger and he disciplined Lu Yao less and less. He didn’t care about his son except for the huge amount of pocket money that he gave every month.
Lu Yao became a ‘rich second generation’ master in the eyes of other people, who only knew how to go to the bar and drink without doing anything serious.
On his 25th birthday, Lu Yao was out traveling and entered a bar. In this bar, he met the most important person in his life.
After the general background of the characters, the real story began.
Lu Yao took a fancy to a man in a bar.
The other person was in his 30s, and his Chinese face was particularly eye-catching among a group of Westerners.
His neck-length hair was tied at the back of his head, revealing a beautiful and charming side profile. His suit jacket wasn’t wide enough and it was even a bit gray and old.
He looked like a long-lost artist.
The man scanned the alcohol menu in the bar but was slow to decide.
Lu Yao’s mind moved, and he walked straight over to the other person.
He glanced at the downcast man from a closer range before motioning to the bartender. “Give me a cup of Long Island Iced Tea. I will treat this gentleman to a drink.”
Long Island Iced Tea—in the circle, it was also called tea for ‘losing one’s virginity’.
The name was too simple, so it always attracted countless people who didn’t understand alcohol to drink it. It contained strong liquor, and once drunk, anything could happen in the chaotic bar.
Over time, the phrase ‘treat someone to drink Long Island Iced Tea’ had added an ambiguous meaning in some small circles.
TL: Advance chapters are available over on my Patreon. You can go check out the details on my Patreon page.