I woke up to find I have a child - Chapter 29
On the way to their meeting with Director Tian Chengxian, Zhong Yuanyuan kept rambling about him.
“Director Tian has focused on TV dramas for 20 years now, starting with sitcoms and has continuously filmed this entire time. Except for that one period in time when his wife was pregnant, he is always making or preparing his next TV series.”
“However, although he has shot so many works, he has not won many awards. Even when he did win an award, it was never a golden award. Most actors are willing to play in his TV dramas because of his famous reputation, but if they’re looking to win awards or titles like the ‘Movie Emperor”, they will not look for him.”
Zhong Yuanyuan seems to know everything about the entertainment industry. Han Feixu listened carefully, asking questions from time to time, “Why hasn’t many awards?”
“He filmed too many bad dramas a few years ago. At the time, filming adaptations of comics/novels/games was the hottest trend. He also took a shot at it and directed two films, and used the hottest and most famous celebrities back then. However, as the saying goes, big shops cheat customers, big customers cheat shops. Not all famous celebrities have good acting skills and all of them have finicky attitudes. They wouldn’t agree to shots if it was what they deemed as ‘in a bad angle’ and they also wouldn’t shoot scenes they thought were too shameful, too embarrassing, or too tiring. After this back and forth, the films were finally aired but because the script was unpopular and the acting awkward, they were criticized by the audience from start to finish. Director Tian almost fell into depression because of it.”
Zhong Yuanyuan then laughed twice, as if she had thought of something particularly funny, “Director Tian’s rival is Director Deng. They’re classmates and have known each other since freshman year. They always compete to see who wins and who loses. Last year, Director Deng’s 《During a Breakup》was extremely successful and the ratings broke records. Director Tian almost went crazy from this. This year, he has learned from the pain of his past and vowed to never use fresh-faced little idols ever again. He said he’ll only use actors with good reputations to completely correct his reputation.”
Han Feixu looked at Zhong Yuanyuan in amazement, “Yuanyuan, are you my assistant or Director Tian’s assistant? How do you even know what Director Tian’s thinking in his heart?”
Zhong Yuanyuan waved her hands humbly, “Ai, this is nothing. Many years ago, I was mixed in with so many different groups. You haven’t even graduated from high school then.”
Liang Zhu sat in the passenger seat and said without raising her head from her phone, “When she was in school, she also was a brainless fangirl like you. In order to chase stars, she basically investigated everything she needed to know about the entertainment circle. And because she spent so much of her time chasing stars, she wasn’t able to get into a good university.”
After sending a message on her phone, Liang Zhu turned her head to look at Han Feixu, “Do you want to know what she did in order to chase those stars? She pretended to be a caterer delivering the bentos for the crew, moonlighted as a paparazzi, and one of her most amazing feats was pretending to be the wife of one of the producers. She was able to swipe one of the copies of their shooting schedule after bluffing the entire crew into believing she was the genuine article.”
Han Feixu’s eyes widened, “So fierce! Which celebrity was it that you liked so much to do such things?”
Zhong Yuanyuan rubbed her nose in embarrassment at the mention of her chunibyo-like days, “Not a particularly famous star.”
Liang Zhu said coldly, “Zhang Erbao. A professional actor in his fifties.”
Han Feixu: “….”
When they arrived at Tian Chengxian’s office, a few people were already waiting inside.
Tian Chengxian didn’t put on any airs when they walked in. He was the chubby type with a small beer belly and a perpetual smile that made him seem like a kind person.
In addition to Director Tian, the executive producer, line producer, and the assistant director were also there. This is the second female lead after all, an important role that is second only to the protagonist, so everyone attaches great importance to who will play her.
Except for the stoic executive producer, everyone else looked very kind and gentle. After they sat down, Director Tian asked his assistant to pour some water for Han Feixu and Liang Zhu while the executive producer kept staring at Zhong Yuanyuan behind Han Feixu for some reason.
Zhong Yuanyuan was startled by the staring and turned around, but found there was no one behind her. When she looked back at him, the executive producer had already withdrawn his gaze.
Tian Chengxian: “I had an idea about filming this series about seven or eight years ago. At the time, I was too busy to spare any actual time to film it. This year, I felt that I couldn’t delay it any longer so I found four screenwriters to help put a script together and finally write out a story. When they finally finished writing it, I thought it was pretty good and decided we can start making a film out of it. Hahaha.”
Liang Zhu chuckled politely along with him, “So it seems you have put a lot of effort into 《Return of the Phoenix》. You’ve seem to truly have thrown all of your heart’s blood into this production. Our Feixu took a fancy to your script at a glance, and as you know, she has never filmed a TV series before so is very happy to be able to shoot your work as her first drama.”
Tian Chengxian: “Hahaha, I am quite relieved to be able to invite Miss Han to play Wen Shan.”
Wen Shan is Concubine Yi’s given name. Han Feixu has been sitting to the side with a smile without interrupting. They were exchanging pleasantries right now and then later Tian Chengxian will ask her some questions about the script.
Liang Zhu already prepped her in advance as to what Director Tian might ask. Maybe he’ll ask her about her understanding of the role, perhaps ask her to act out a certain scene, or ask what she thinks can be done to improve the plot of the script.
Han Feixu had prepared everything, but she never expected that Tian Chengxian wouldn’t ask any of her prepared questions.
He took a sip of tea and smacked his lips, “Miss Han, let me just ask you a few simple questions. First, in our country, Confucianism has flourished in our country for a few thousands of years. Following this logic, do you know what was the second rite that was taught to the elementary school students of the Qing Dynasty?”
This is…a simple question???????
Han Feixu froze for a while and could only shake her head in the end, “I don’t know.”
“Then do you know who is supposed to oversee the Qing Dynasty’s ritual ceremony of a girl’s fifteenth birthday?”
An air of awkwardness arose and Han Feixu could only say after a period of silence, “I don’t know.”
The executive producer’s brows creased together. The ritual ceremony is part of the plot of the first episode in the third scene. If she had read the script, she would have known the answer.
However, Lian Zhu has not sent her the electronic version of the full script. She has only read the outline, so naturally she wouldn’t know the answers to these questions.
After pondering for a moment, Tian Chengxian continued: “Alright, one last question. Concubine Yi’s father held a third rank literary official position. Do you know where he was stationed?”
Meanwhile, Liang Zhu was wailing in her heart. Han Feixu’s worst subject is the worst! The old Han Feixu was able to supplement some history knowledge from Weibo, TV dramas, etc, but the Han Fexiu from ten years ago only knew how to play the violin and did not attend any classes! It is impossible for her to know such obscure knowledge!
It’s over. Director Tian probably asked these questions to gauge how much attention Han Feixu paid to this role. As a result, she wasn’t able to answer a single one of the three questions. Have they failed to get the role…..
Han Feixu had already said “I don’t know” to the first two questions so she felt it was unreasonable for her to say it again. She thought silently for a couple of minutes and then guessed: “Beijing?”
Tian Chengxian revealed no emotion on his face and then sighed. He patted his legs, “Alright, that’s enough. I’ve heard you have a variety show to shoot in two days. Then we will see you next Wednesday to sign the contract.”
Liang Zhu, who was waiting anxiously on the side, cried out, “No, Director Tian, please give us another chance–ai? Wait, sign the contract?”
Tian Chengxian smiled, “Yes, sign the contract. Don’t be so nervous, I just asked those three questions out of curiosity. If you don’t know, that’s okay. There’s still half a month before we start filming, so as long as you prepare well, isn’t that enough?”
Liang Zhu immediately beamed with raised eyebrows, “No problem, I will urge her to brush up on some historical knowledge! However, did you say half a month? Didn’t you say last time that the filming wouldn’t start for another full month?”
“Last time the female lead was undecided, so I had to postpone the shooting for a month. What a coincidence, however, that the male lead, female lead, and second female lead were finalized in the last two days. Since there is no longer a need or delay, the earlier we shoot, the earlier we finish.”
Liang Zhu understood and no longer asked any more questions.
Han Feixu stood up and shook hands with the producers and directors. After discussing their matters, it was time to leave. Before they left, the executive producer was still staring at Zhong Yuanyuan and he asked suspiciously, “Miss, have I met you somewhere before?”
Most producers were in their 40’s or older and this producer seemed to be in his 50’s. Zhong Yuanyuan was taken aback for a moment, “I don’t believe we have. I have never met you before.”
Tian Chengxian knows Zhong Yuanyuan and so he spoke up for her, “Old Jin, did you mistake Yuanyuan for the wrong person? Yuanyuan used to follow Lin Yi and Lin Yi has never worked with you before. Where could you have seen her?”
The executive producer, known as Old Jin, scratched his head and smiled apologetically, “It seems I really have mistook you for the wrong person. Ai, it’s just an old habit of mine to be constantly suspicious.”
He glanced at Han Feixu, “You might now know this, but many years ago I was a producer for 《Life on the Edge》and a female con-artist from who knows where posing as my wife came in and swindled the filming schedules of the crew. She even managed to take some of the emergency contact numbers of the actors as well. Then after that day, the troubles never stopped for the crew. There were always some fangirls calling the actors’ numbers or blowing up the agents’ phones. I was tormented so many times trying to fix the issue and the executive producer of that show almost fired me because of it.”
When speaking of the events of that year, the executive producer’s face grew a little resentful, “Ever since then, the crews I have supervised have become the safest crews in China. I pay for everything out of my own pockets and I ask the security to constantly patrol outside of my set and to never let a single suspicious person in!”
He scratched his head, “Miss Assistant, you’re figure looks a bit like that female con-artist we captured on our surveillance cameras at the time so I may have wrongly mistook you for her. For that I am sorry.”
Han Feixu: “…..”
Liang Zhu: “…..”
Zhong Yuanyuan: “….Hahaha, it’s fine, it’s fine. I don’t mind, don’t take this matter to heart.”
When they walked out of Director Tian’s office, both Han Feixu and Liang Zhu turned to stare silently at Zhong Yuanyuan.
Feeling guilty and pressured by their staring, she said, “After joining the crew, how about when I give out gifts to the whole crew, I add an extra dragon fruit to his fruit basket?”
Years of psychological trauma and torture was compensated with a single dragon fruit. If Old Jin learned the truth behind it, he would definitely vomit three liters of blood right on the spot.
After they left, the executive producer asked the Director with a confused expression on his face, “Director Tian, didn’t you say you wouldn’t be looking at an actor’s popularity or looks this time and will only recruit the most serious and best actors? Han Feixu clearly hasn’t even read the script, so why are you so willing to sign a contract with her?
Tian Chengxian picked up the tea pet* on the table and studied its gleaming luster before setting it back down again, “Han Feixu’s acting is pretty good.”(*T/N: In China, having a tea pet while drinking is said to bring you good luck. Read more HERE)
“Good acting skills aren’t everything. Aren’t you afraid that she will throw her weight around like Lu Rao did?”
Tian Chengxian laughed as if he had heard a good joke, “Ah, but Lu Rao is considered a big player in the game. Han Feixu, on the other hand, can only be considered a second-rate celebrity at best with her current popularity and status. Or if you base it on the amount of traffic she can pull in, then she can only be considered a third-rate star. How can such a person throw their weight around?”
“Furthermore, Han Feixu is what you call a….mascot. I have my plans for her, so I let her go for now.”
The executive producer was puzzled, “What do you mean?”
Tian Chengxian smiled mysteriously, but he did not answer.
After being in the entertainment circle for so long, any secret, no matter how big or small, is no longer a secret to him anymore. The relationships in the circle are tangled together like a ball, there are some that are known and some that are unknown, but it all unravels slowly with time. After such a long time, he now knows everything.
One Han Feixu can attract two superstars to join his drama. So why not use her?
Yiyi is going on summer vacation next week and Yan Yuerong wants to take her to Switzerland for a month. While Han Feixu already agreed to the matter, Ye Mingxin did not. This is because she didn’t think it was a good idea for Yan Yuerong to take Yiyi away for so long. At first, Yiyi will crazily play to her heart’s content, but when she’s had enough fun, she’ll start missing home. Then she’ll start missing her Mama too. Soon enough, she’ll be jumping up and down, clamoring to go home.
But Yan Yuerong kept saying that it’ll be fine.
So when Han Feixu returned home, she found Ye Mingxin talking to Yan Yuerong on the phone while holding a thick stack of A4 paper in her hand, “Can’t you take her to play for only one week? Why do you have to stay for a month? That’s too long. Although you might rest assured, I won’t.”
Yan Yuerong’s words came out muffled from the other side and Ye Mingxin replied impatiently, “Enough, you just want to bring Yiyi over there to show off to your old friends. Did you not think about the consequences of that? If news reaches China, what do you think will happen to us? Yiyi’s life will be disrupted! How do you think we’re going to clean up that mess?”
After a short pause, Ye Mingxin rubbed her forehead, “It’s better to be safe than sorry.”
Han Feixu took a seat next to her and glanced at the documents in Ye Mingxin’s hand. It was the script for 《Return of the Phoenix》. Her eyes widened and she directly grabbed the script before flipping through the pages.
Ye Mingxin said one more sentence to Yan Yuerong and then hung up.
Han Feixu raised her head, “Why do you have the script for 《Return of the Phoenix》?”
Ye Mingxin smiled lightly, “Because I am the female lead.”
Han Feixu stared at her dumbfoundedly, “Then why didn’t you tell me about it two days ago?”
“That’s because negotiations weren’t finished then. They finalized it this morning and we haven’t even signed the contract yet.”
Han Feixu stared at her silently.
“You….You didn’t decide to take on the role of the female lead because you heard I was going to be in this drama, did you?”
Ye Mingxin scratched her cheek and added cheerfully, “No need to be so suspicious. I indeed wanted the role when I heard you were going to be in it.”
Unexpectedly, she directly admitted her scheme to Han Feixu which caused the latter to turn away with embarrassment. In an act of ‘burying one’s head in the sand’, she flipped through two more pages of the script but didn’t actually take any of the words in. Then, she thought of something and asked, “There won’t be any problems with your schedule?”
“No problems at all. I only have about two scenes left to film in my spy movie and the next movie’s contract has been signed, but the filming will be delayed till the end of the year or the start of the next year.”
Ye Mingxin leaned back against the sofa and turned her gaze towards her, “Since I’ve picked up a TV series for you, how about you pick up a movie for me? We haven’t worked on a movie together since 《Blossoming Dreams》……”
There was a bit of aggrievedness in her tone, but Han Feixu didn’t even think about it before she refused, “No, that will conflict with my schedule. After the variety show finishes shooting, if there are no complications, I will be acting in the movie for that.”
Han Feixu understood that the movie Ye Mingxin was talking about was the first script she had taken a liking to long ago. Han Feixu actually still prefers that script over the others, but since she has put all her energy into 《Barrier Lake》, she wants to focus on that first. Plus, Ye Mingxin doesn’t get to decide what her role is for 《Barrier Lake》.
If she said ‘yes’ to working on a movie together, Ye Mingxin will definitely try her best to directly give her the position of the female lead. However, Han Feixu doesn’t want to get a role that way. She wants to use her own strength and hard work to win her role. She would never willingly choose to engage in crooked schemes and that hateful nepotism.
Ye Mingxin laughed, “You’re really that confident that you’ll win the championship?”
Han Feixu hesitated, “No, but I really want to win.”
Regardless if it was her from ten years ago or her ten years later, as long as there is a goal in sight, Han Feixu will devote all of her efforts on achieving that goal and she will not rest until that goal is reached!
She was like this when playing the role of Fan Rumeng, when falling in love, and when she fought for a divorce.
Glancing at Han Feixu’s side profile, Ye Mingxin’s heart pounded with a sense of pride for her lover.
She whispered, “You will definitely win.”
Han Feixu tilted her head and looked over curiously, “Why do you say so? Is this your prediction?”
Ye Mingxin sat up. She explained her reasoning, “No need to predict. Although it seems like you have five competitors, in reality, you only have two.”
“Yes,” Ye Mingxin stretched out her fingers one by one, “Let’s start with the three that you are familiar with. First, is Chi Qiu. She didn’t come to participate in this show for the win, but to promote her new studio. Think about it, the female lead for《Barrier Lake》is a girl who was abducted when she was young. She’s underfed and neglected, meaning she looks short, thin, and sallow while having a gloomy temperament. Meanwhile, Chi Qiu is about 1.75 meters tall and she’s not weak-looking at all. So among all of the female players, she is actually the most unsuitable for the role. She herself knows it’s only a matter of time before she’s eliminated.”
Han Feixu blinked blankly, “So that’s how it is. What about the others?”
“There will be two players that will be dropped into during the middle of the show. Yin Jiahe and Li Jingxuan. Yin Jiahe is only here to participate, and that is because Jiang Lingyan is good friends with Yu Tingxue. Yu Tingxue had helped her win this opportunity, but she doesn’t actually want to appear in this movie.”
Han Feixu was a little confused, “Wait, who is Yu Tingxue?”
Ye Mingxin stared blankly at her for about two seconds before she remembered that Han Feixu doesn’t remember Yu Tingxue, “Yu Tingxue is one of Jiang Linyan and I’s junior high school classmates. She is also Yin Jiahe’s…..financial backer, so to speak.”
Ye Mingxin had mulled over what words to say for a long moment before she decided to use the words “Financial backer”. There really wasn’t any better way to describe the relationship between them….well, she can’t exactly say that one of them is being kept by the other. = = (*T/N: aka Yu Tingxue is Yin Jiahe’s sugar mama~)
As expected by Ye Mingxin, Han Feixu was shocked, “Financial backer?! So there really are these types of ‘kept’ relationships in the entertainment circle?!”
Ye Mingxin laughed, “These types of relationships are everywhere. Yin Jiahe has had a smooth career from her debut till now and every single film she’s been in has been a huge hit. Do you really think that it was all luck?”
“I thought she was a lady from a rich family.” Han Feixu was still a little slow on the uptake.
Ye Mingxin took out her phone and pulled up a photo. The setting was a big table and Ye Mingxin pointed to two women on the far left, “These are the two.”
The two women in the photo are both very beautiful, especially the one on the right. Han Feixu’s attention was instantly drawn to her and if forced to tell the truth, she swears that the woman on the right is the most beautiful-looking woman she has ever seen.
The girl on the left was hugging this outstanding beauty. This woman had a more gentle and quiet countenance and seemed to be no more than three years younger than the beautiful woman. She had her head leaning against the beauty’s shoulder and looked to be a very well-behaved little young lady.
Han Feixu leaned closer to the phone. From the first glance, her attention was drawn to the person on the right, but at a closer look, she realized the younger one on the left was actually even more attractive. It was that her beauty was more subtle and calm like water.
She couldn’t help but sigh, “Sure enough, all of the ‘kept’ ones are very beautiful. If I were a ‘financial backer’, I would also like to raise someone like this.”
It was only after she said this sentence did Han Feixu remember who was holding up the phone. She fell into silence and then straightened up.
She glanced over and saw that Ye Mingxin was “warmly” looking at her, “Really? Then which one would you like to keep?”
Han Feixu: “….”
“I’m just saying.” Han Feixu quickly changed the topic, “I mean I wouldn’t actually do that. If I like someone, I’ll just chase them directly. This type of ‘give-and-take’ relationship isn’t healthy or normal. Don’t be fooled by Yin Jiahe’s obedient appearance, maybe underneath that facade she can’t wait to stab her backer to death.” At least that’s what all the online web novels say. When the mistress gains power, the domineering CEO always realizes his mistakes and regrets his decisions.
Ye Mingxin frowned, “Obedient?” Can this word really be used on Yin Jiahe?
Well, she didn’t want to talk about these two anymore either so Ye Mingxin returned to the previous topic, “As I was saying, Yin Jiahe can also be ruled out. Then there is Lu Ersi. Although she really wants to play the role of the female lead, she can be directly ignored. Her acting skills aren’t good enough and she doesn’t have a good relationship with anyone. She only has her popularity to rely on, but even then her reputation is already linked with the word ‘bad movie’ so she will definitely be eliminated. However, the production crew doesn’t even need to do anything, she’ll eliminate herself soon enough.”
Han Feixu nodded in understanding, “So in other words, only me, Han Yiren, and Li Jingxuan are actually competing for the role.”
“Bingo. Therefore, you will be the final winner.”
Han Feixu couldn’t understand how the other party was so confident. Will Ye Mingxin really try to rig the game by voting in her favor? She quickly waved her arms around, “Don’t you dare purposefully vote in my favor. If I lose, then I lose. A loser still has their dignity. If you rig the game for me, I will lose my dignity.”
“What are you thinking about,” Ye Mingxin looked at her helplessly, “You’re more than capable enough to win on your own merits. You don’t need me to do anything for you. And regardless if you win or lose, you will always be a winner in my heart. Whether others might say you’re good or bad, I don’t care what they think.”
Han Feixu breathed a sigh of relief.
The filming for the second episode started on Monday. Everyone gathered at the meeting spot and then they took the cars provided by the show to the filming location. There were two people in each car and Han Feixu and Chi Qiu ended up in the same car.
Chi Qiu was anxious and worried during the entire trip. She was tossed around and tormented the last time and she didn’t know whether or not Director Jiang’s anger had decreased this time.
Similarly, Han Feixu who was sitting next to her was in the same mood. Jiang Lingyan’s previous words to her about “giving her an unforgettable memory” sunk into Han Feixu’s heart like a stone. She was not looking forward to this at all = =
The scenery outside the window became more and more bare. Finally, they stopped in a rural village. Dogs barked at them along the way, as if these dogs knew that people coming in were strangers. Once they all got out of the car, the villagers also came out to see them not too far away.
Once everyone was ready, the assistant director raised the big speakerphone. After a few opening remarks, he finally reached the main topic–the rules of the game.
“The format and the rules of this competition are: a play rehearsal!”
When these words came out, the gathered people let out a collective sigh of relief.
Jiang Lingyan stood to the side with an assistant holding an umbrella over her. She merely chuckled, as if she was wondering just how naive these people are.
“This play rehearsal will be an adapted version of 《Thunderstorm》. In order to keep the public entertained, the Director has added unique personal quirks to these classic roles. The characteristics do not distinguish between man or woman or who draws it first or last. Now, please come up to the stage to draw your quirk.” (*T/N: Thunderstorm is one of the most famous plays of 20th century China and it’s about traditions and wealth and um…incest? Honestly I didn’t understand the play myself when I watched it as a teen. Most of it just flew over my head.)
Another lottery drawing?!!!
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