I Will Live as an Actor Episode 28

Episode 28

“Will there ever be an actor like Charlie Chaplin in Korea?”

Master Baek Janghun often asked himself this question. He wasn’t just talking about a master of slapstick comedy. He was referring to the great actor who led the golden age of silent films and the global film industry. There are clear differences between film acting, stage acting, and TV acting. However, it was extremely rare for actors to overcome these boundaries and cross between them.

“An actor who can convey the truth to the audience without any dialogue…”

There is a story that many masters of silent films agreed upon. When watching Charlie Chaplin’s acting, one could feel not only laughter but also sorrow. He conveyed meaning to the audience with simple hand gestures and eye movements. Even without dialogue, he naturally drew the audience’s attention and interest. Furthermore, his ability to immerse himself in the characters within the script was truly remarkable.

“We haven’t had such an actor born in Korea yet.”

Of course, there were many talented actors in Korea. However, Baek Janghun could not find anyone who had reached the epitome of acting that he imagined.

“Teacher, I’ve seen all the works scheduled for the opening. Which one should we do?”

At that moment, one of Baek Janghun’s production staff members timidly asked for his opinion.

“Tell the office to take some time and contact me.”

“Is it because there are no works you like?”

“It’s not like that. I’m not looking for a perfect job. I can’t judge these excellent works created by outstanding directors. It’s difficult to be in charge of such an event. But what are those works?”

“Oh, those are the works submitted to the indie film section of this film festival.”

A certain work caught Baek Janghun’s eye. He picked up one of the indie films as if he was mesmerized. It’s unclear why he chose that particular film out of all of them. Maybe he just wanted to reminisce about the fierce and pure passion of his youth. Or perhaps he just needed something to refresh his complicated mind.

“Let’s watch this one.”

“Ah, are you talking about To Jihwan[1]?”

“Yes, the director’s name is unfamiliar. Is it their debut work?”

“Yes, it’s the work of a director who just graduated from college. Interestingly, they cast a child actor in the lead role. The judges of the indie film section said the script is quite exceptional.”

“Really? We’ll see how the film is after I watch it myself.”

Baek Janghun leaned on the sofa and leisurely watched the film. It was the director’s cut with minimal editing, not the edited version shown to the general public. So, it had a rather long running time for an indie film. However, as the film progressed, Baek Janghun’s posture gradually leaned forward instead of feeling bored.

There were definitely some shortcomings in the directing. As it was a debut work, expecting a deep understanding of film directing was unreasonable. Also, the limitations of visual aesthetics because of the poor production environment inherent in indie films existed as well. But considering they were all just graduates, they did a good job. However, there was something else that caught his attention.


After the film ended and the screen went dark, Baek Janghun let out an involuntary exclamation. The claim that the script was excellent was not wrong, but there was something else to pay attention to. The child actor who played the lead role in the indie film showed acting skills reminiscent of an experienced actor who had been through ups and downs in the entertainment industry. The wrinkled corners of his eyes seemed to hold a gun. It was as if he had gone back to his youth. His gaze lingered on one actor for a long time.

“Jang Yeongguk.”

* * *

It was around the time when the late summer heat receded and cold dew appeared during the Hanro season[1]. As usual, school was out, so I helped at my mother’s fish stall before returning home. Unbelievable news tends to arrive at unexpected moments. 

“CEO, what did you say?”

I asked, wondering if the receiver had a problem or if I had heard incorrectly.

– “To Jihwan was selected for the opening of the Busan International Film Festival!”

CEO Kim Seonghwan’s voice was full of excitement. It was understandable, as the Busan International Film Festival was in the process of transforming into a world-class film festival. Not only domestic films scheduled for screening but also works from renowned directors from around the world were invited. Being selected for the opening ceremony was tantamount to obtaining an opportunity to gauge the global response.

“So, it’s not just a general invitation, but the opening ceremony?”

– “I just got a call from Director Choi Taeseop. Because you were at Namhang Market, they couldn’t reach you, so they contacted me directly. I wasn’t sure, so I called the film festival office, and they confirmed that it was selected for the opening!”


Was it even possible for such a thing to happen? At the Busan International Film Festival, many outstanding works, including indie films, were screened. Most of them were shown twice at designated theaters for each section. However, the opening and closing films were screened only once in front of a large audience of film professionals and viewers. Although the number of screenings was small, the impact of the films was different. Moreover, it was unprecedented for a debut work to be selected as an opening or closing film. This was a remarkable achievement for an indie film.

– “Yeongguk, by any chance, do you know Baek Janghun?”

“Director Baek Janghun? How could I not know him…!”

There were many renowned directors in Korea. In the future, a famous director who would win the Golden Palm and achieve the Triple Crown at the Academy Awards would be born. Someone asked how Korea achieved such development in the film industry when just fifty years ago, it was practically barren.

Baek Janghun.

It was no exaggeration to say that Director Baek Janghun was at the center of this growth. He was the father of the Korean film industry and one of the great masters throughout modern history. No wonder even the arrogant famous actors bowed their heads to the three characters of Baek Janghun’s name, and the internationally renowned domestic directors later called themselves “Baek Janghun Kids.”

I was no exception. In my past life, I had never longed so much for a role, but when I made a name for myself as a supporting actor, Director Baek Janghun had already passed away, so I never met him face-to-face. Nevertheless, I admired him for a long time because of his great passion for movies. Why did CEO Kim Seonghwan suddenly bring up his name? I felt my heart pounding uncontrollably as the conversation continued.

– “The director said he really wants to see you once.”

* * *

To Ji Hwan?”

The reporters gathered at the Suyeong Bay Yacht Racing Area, where the Busan International Film Festival was being held, couldn’t help but tilt their heads. It was because of the opening film announced by the organizing committee. Until now, the opening films of the Busan International Film Festival had been directed by famous European or renowned Korean directors. In contrast, Director Choi Taeseop’s To Ji Hwan was unfamiliar.

“Who is Director Choi Taeseop?”

“I heard he graduated from Han Yeong University? Does he have any previous work? Reporter Choi, didn’t you graduate from there too?”

“I did some research and found out that he graduated only a year ago, so this is his first work. It’s an indie film.”

“What? His debut film? Then how can it be selected as the opening film?”

Not only the reporters but also the film industry insiders were puzzled. The Busan International Film Festival’s organizing committee was bombarded with numerous inquiries, but they only asked to judge the film after viewing it. Ultimately, the decision to select the opening film wasn’t made by the organizing committee but by the general judges.

“Who are the general judges this time?”

“Director Jang Pierre from France, PD Leo Chen from Hong Kong, Korean actor An Junghyun, and Director Baek Janghun as the chairman of the judges.”

“Director Baek Janghun is a judge? Then the film must be a sure thing. Who is the lead actor in To Ji Hwan?”

“They say it’s a young actor named Jang Yeongguk.”

“What? A young actor? Who is Jang Yeongguk?”

“Do you remember that mini-series made by KBC that outperformed its competitors? It’s called Man of August. He starred in it as a young actor.” 

“Jang Yeongguk?”

Everyone tilted their heads. Being film industry insiders, they were unfamiliar with the situation in dramas. Although film actors and talents may seem similar at first glance, there was a subtle feeling that each word defined their respective worlds. In fact, it was common for actors with the title of film actor to appear only in films. So, insiders tended to think of the two separately.

* * *

“Yeongguk, do you seriously want to ride this?”

Song Jeongseok, dressed snappily in a tuxedo, shook his bowtie. The indie film To Jihwan was selected for the opening ceremony of the Busan International Film Festival. Thanks to that, they had the chance to walk the red carpet. CEO Kim Seonghwan offered to send a luxury van to Busan, but they strongly refused.

“Yes, hyung, don’t you like it? Where can you find a car like this? It was our hands and feet during the filming of To Jihwan, and it has meaning, you know! Meaning!”

“Yeah, but Yeongguk, you haven’t ridden in the back yet. I almost died that time. So, do you still want to ride in the back…?”

“Then let’s all ride in the back. What do you think, Taeseop-hyung?”

“I agree!”

They all laughed, looking at Song Jeongseok’s protruding lips…


Song Jeongseok’s eyes widened. The market association chairman, who was usually dressed casually, appeared in a suit. Of course, the Marine Corps hat he always wore was still there. The chairman gave a shy smile. Many reporters were already taking photos on the red carpet set up at the Suyeong Bay Yacht Racing Area, where the Busan International Film Festival was being held.

Cars announcing the opening of the Busan International Film Festival on the red carpet began to appear. Since the official vehicles hadn’t been introduced yet, the vehicles arranged by each actor’s agency, such as luxury cars or vans, arrived one after another on the red carpet like a car parade.


Like the sound of fireworks in the night sea, spotlights poured down as the actors and directors appeared one by one. The cheers of the fans left a deep lingering feeling. Since the event was also broadcast live on terrestrial television, the reporter tirelessly threw questions at the actors walking the red carpet.

” Kim Heeryeong! Your outfit today is quite captivating! Please say a few words to the fans who are watching on TV right now!”

When everyone’s eyes were drawn to the actress wearing a provocative dress with a plunging neckline…


A noisy engine sound, as if a helicopter was arriving, accompanied the appearance of a Bongo truck in front of the red carpet. They thought it might have taken the wrong road, but seeing the security agents escorting it, it didn’t seem to be a mistake.


At that moment, the window of the Bongo truck’s driver’s seat lowered. It was an incredibly unbalanced combination. A Marine Corps hat and a suit—what a strange mix! The middle-aged man shouted, “We have arrived!” and tapped the driver’s seat door. Three men in tuxedos jumped out of the truck bed. In an instant, the attention of the public and reporters, who had been captivated by the provocative dress, was focused on the three men who had just emerged from the Bongo truck.

[1] Hanro is a term used to describe a period in the traditional East Asian calendar when the late summer heat starts to recede and cold dew begins to appear.   

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Private: I Will Live as an Actor

Private: I Will Live as an Actor

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Status: Hiatus Type: Author: ,
I Will Live as an Actor is a heartwarming story of a young man who grows up poor as the son of a widowed fishmonger. Fueled by a passion for acting, he neglects his mother and her sacrifices, only to regret it when she passes away. In a twist of fate, he is reincarnated back to his youth, just before he went down the wrong path. Determined to live a better life and honor his mother’s memory, he embarks on a journey to become a successful actor while also being a filial son.
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