I Will Live as an Actor Episode 46

Episode 46

The nation’s first love.

Could anyone receive such an exaggerated title that neither an Olympic athlete nor a politician has ever laid claim to? After the broadcast of Youth, everything about Yeongguk became trendy, from short haircuts to neat school uniforms.

Thanks to that, the schoolteachers had no complaints. The delinquent students who used to wear baggy pants and have messy hair started to follow Yeongguk’s trend, so their attire naturally became neater.


A calico cat sitting on the fish board rubbed its head on Yeongguk. He wouldn’t know that this cat was the offspring of the mother who ate the fish he gave away at the auction house three years ago. Maybe because of that, the cat followed Yeongguk like it was its owner.

“Kitty, I have to go to the store now.”


“Wait for me.”

As Yeongguk entered the auction house, the auctioneers who had finished their morning auctions narrowed their eyes and looked at him. He tried to hide his recognizable eyes by pulling down his hat as much as possible, but it was hard to hide them. As Yeongguk greeted first, the auctioneers and wholesalers recognized and cheerfully greeted him. In the meantime, Yeongguk grabbed a small fish from the basket to say goodbye to the cat.

“Eat a lot.”


The cat responded as powerfully as the sound of a boat, and it ran off with a fish bigger than its body. It didn’t forget to blink its eyes at a distance, saying goodbye.

Namhang was the same as before Yeongguk left. In the maze-like market, the strong Busan dialect of the ajummas still spilled out, and tourists, seemingly more than ever, wandered around everywhere, enjoying its bustling sights. The fishy smell he used to hate so much in his past life now felt sweeter. He would love to visit a tea house and enjoy a cup of ssanghwa tea, but there was no time for that.

[Namhang’s son, Yeongguk!]

He stopped in front of a store with a stylish sign. As he opened the sliding door forcefully, the familiar scenery unfolded. Tourists watched as his mother skillfully prepared the fish. Yeongguk, wearing his hat low, waited in line pretending to be a customer. When it was his turn, he lowered his voice and asked,

“Ajumma, what’s the most delicious thing here?”

“Everything in our store is delicious. The flatfish is thick, and the sea urchin is in season, so it’s full of roe.”

“Is this the store owned by the actor Jang Yeongguk’s mother?”

“Yes, as you can see from the shop’s name, it’s my son’s shop. Aigo! When did you come down?”

His mother, busy moving around without even a moment to spare, finally recognized Yeongguk’s face and happily approached him.

“Mom, how come you couldn’t recognize your son’s voice?”

“I’ve been too busy. I almost didn’t recognize my own son! I’m glad you’re doing well. I was worried.”

He narrowly stopped his mother from pinching her thigh. Her eyes were filled with mixed surprise and joy. Soon, the mother and son warmly embraced each other to celebrate the happy reunion. Not only tourists flocked to see Yeongguk’s sudden appearance, but Auntie Yang from the next store also rushed over.

“Aigo! What’s all this commotion? When Yeongguk comes, the customers swarm in! Everyone, line up! If you want an autograph, line up!”

Although the happy reunion with his mother was brief, Auntie Yang took the initiative to control the throngs of tourists. As a wealthy merchant who has experienced all sorts of ups and downs in Namhang Market, her management skills were so powerful that even professional managers could not compare.

“Son, why did you come down suddenly?”

“Tomorrow is Father’s memorial day, right? I was worried I might forget it. Since I didn’t have any filming today, I came right down. The CEO even got me a separate plane ticket, so don’t worry.”

“Son! Greet the customers first and then take care of the line. It’s getting crowded!”

At Auntie Yang’s call, Yeongguk turned around. He clapped his hands to focus the attention of the lined-up tourists.

“Alright, come over here, and I’ll take care of each of you. And while you’re here, it would be great if you could buy a fish from Namhang!”

“Yeongguk-oppa! I’ll buy ten!”

“Then that’s great! Take something good and enjoy it. You’ll visit Namhang a lot in the future, right?”

It felt like he had returned to his childhood, just like when he laid out the fish board with his mother and tried to attract the tourists. His mother proudly watched her son, who was now receiving love from numerous people and giving autographs.


When we were moving from one boarding house to another and eventually living in a rented room without even a security deposit, I laid down a thick blanket and shared a room with my mother. Although I had a separate room after moving to our new apartment, I somehow wanted to be together like in those old days, just for tonight.

“Mom, would you like to come to Seoul with me?”

“Seoul? Why all of a sudden?”

It wasn’t sudden. I had been considering it for a long time. My mother’s hands were rough and chapped from cleaning fish and exposure to the sea breeze. Especially today, seeing her unable to straighten her back while working made me uneasy.

“I’m already grateful that Teacher took you in, but I don’t want to impose on him further.”

“Not at Teacher’s house. We could buy our own house.”

“A house? In Seoul?”

My mother’s eyes widened. The reason was simple. Although the housing prices in Seoul had not skyrocketed yet, it was a world of difference compared to Yeongdo. However, there was no need to worry. At this point, advertising offers were pouring in as I appeared in Youth.

As I still had some time, I could easily shoot a few advertisements if I wanted. Although I didn’t become an actor for the money, I was willing to do anything for my mother.

“My son, you’re making a lot of money. But I have something to tell you.”

My mother’s wrinkled hand held mine.

“I like Yeongdo. I like the seagulls crying by the waterfront every day. I like the smell of the sea between people. I’m so used to the smell of fish now that it would feel strange without it. I know you’re worried, but I enjoy working here. I have friends and other interesting merchants around.”

It was then…

“Yeongguk, are you there? Are you asleep?”

As they say, speak of the devil, and he shall appear. The voice of one of my mother’s friends could be heard from beyond the entrance. I got up, turned on the light, and opened the door. There, a mother and daughter carrying late-night snacks appeared.

“Minjeong, what are you doing? He’s your oppa. Go ahead and say hi. Let’s have some fried chicken.”

“Hello, oppa.”

The daughter of mom’s friend tried her best to pronounce each syllable clearly as if to erase the awkwardness of the dialect. Since we were hungry, my mother and I welcomed them eagerly. Under the bright light, Minjeong’s face was the spitting image of her mother’s. Late into the night, laughter filled the room, accompanied by the smell of fried chicken, all on the eve of my father’s memorial. My mother liked Yeongdo for this reason.

* * *

When I was young, I didn’t have the means to observe my father’s memorial. Living in a boarding house, I hadn’t even set up a proper altar. I just threw paper money into the sea to express my longing and sorrow.

“Father, I’m here.”

My father suddenly left this world. Didn’t he get swept away by the waves while fishing? There wasn’t even time to prepare a portrait. That’s why his portrait showed him just as he was, freshly off the boat after finishing his work. His thick beard seemed to be tearing as he laughed. Although it wasn’t visible in the photo, little me was in his arms.

“Father, I’m here.”

I bowed respectfully to my father in my neatly dressed clothes. In my past life, I didn’t look for my father. On his memorial day, instead of going to Yeongdo, I used it as an excuse to visit bars, resenting him for leaving us when I was still so young. He had gone fishing in the harsh weather for the sake of his family.

“Father, are you doing well?”

But this life will be different. Didn’t I have a goal in life that I couldn’t attain in my past life? My mother, who watched me with pride, and my father, who seemed to be laughing in his portrait as if we were a couple, were both looking at me. Seeing his smile, it felt as if I could hear my father’s hearty voice.

“Of course! You’re my son, after all!”


After the memorial ceremony, I had to return to Seoul because of my filming schedule. My mother prepared various things for me to take with me. She had come to Seoul a month ago and brought some food, but it seemed she couldn’t rest easy with just that. Holding a bundle filled with side dishes in both hands, I headed to the airport.

“Mom, I’ll come again next time.”

“Alright, don’t worry about it. I’ll come to visit you instead as you’re busy.”

“Really? Then, don’t hesitate to come whenever you miss me.”

These were words I never spoke in my past life. Why did I have to give up such ordinary happiness back then? But now, I was looking forward to my mother’s visit more than ever.

As soon as I arrived at Gimpo Airport, I saw Bongchun-hyung waiting for me. We got out of the airport and boarded the car together.

“Yeongguk, let’s stop by the agency first.”


“Well, the CEO told me to stop by.”

Upon arriving at Sonwon Entertainment, CEO Kim Seonghwan greeted me warmly. Along with his inquiries about how my father’s memorial went, he handed me a script.

“Yeongguk, I know you must be tired after going to your hometown, but I wanted to give this to you as soon as possible.”

“What is this?”

“It’s a movie script. I’ve already looked at it first, and I think it’s good. Plus, the filming schedule is not going to conflict with Youth.”

“What kind of work is it? I’m even more curious since you’re recommending it so highly.”

“The director needs to decide on the main character quickly because of pressure from the investors. No matter how I view it, this role is perfect for broadening your acting range. I couldn’t wait to give you the script, so I immediately called your manager. I’m a bit concerned about it being too controversial since you’re still a minor, but actors aren’t products, they’re people who act. If not now, it would be difficult to find the right timing.”

What kind of script could it be? However, as if to prove that CEO Kim Seonghwan wasn’t lying, I got goosebumps all over my body as soon as I opened the script’s first page. The first paragraph caught my eye. It was definitely a familiar sentence.

It was the script for The Priest’s Confession. The same one I had acted out during my college entrance exam in my past life.

* * *

As the full moon rose, the night wind swept over the eaves. The willow branches danced as they swayed gently against the night breeze. Sitting in the spacious hall, I listened to the sound of the wind chimes hanging from the eaves. I then opened the script.

The Priest’s Confession.

It would be a lie to say there weren’t any new feelings. It was the script that awakened my talent for acting in my past life. Although my talent was as small as a firefly, wasn’t this work the one that ignited the fuse? It brought back memories like invoking the scent of the past.

“It doesn’t seem like it was very successful back then.”

The script was brilliant. The protagonist was outwardly beautiful, but he was cynical and utterly calculating inside. Moreover, he had no qualms about killing villains, as if he were eating a meal.

Killing someone was unjustified, but ironically, the character being a priest made the story even more shocking. The audience wouldn’t know this until they reached the middle of the movie, but there was a significant backstory to his killings.

So why couldn’t this movie succeed in my past life?

The decisive factor was the lead actor’s poor performance. It also didn’t help that the film’s direction collapsed because of pressure from investors. Both factors contributed to its box office failure. Fortunately, the exceptional script was preserved and later used as a textbook for acting-related universities.

“Can I do it?”

The swaying landscape was the only response. The script itself was incredibly charming. It wasn’t the protagonist’s emotional changes that made the work stand out. Perhaps that’s why the movie failed. With ordinary acting, it would have been difficult to convey understanding and persuasion to the audience beyond the screen.

“Even if they show it, I won’t be able to watch it in the theater.”

It was not uncommon for minors to appear in adult-rated movies. In Hollywood, child actors performed a wide range of roles regardless of age. I could understand why CEO Kim Seonghwan strongly recommended The Priest’s Confession.

‘Actors aren’t products, they’re people who act.’

I liked Kim Seonghwan’s philosophy. If he were an ordinary CEO, he could have used my “nation’s first love” title as a weapon to conquer the high-teen genre, thereby making considerable profits in both popularity and appearance fees. However, if that were the case…

“The role’s width would be limited.”

Like a plant climbing a pillar and spreading its branches, it was the same for actors. The branches could only grow in that direction if confined to a limited genre. In that sense, Kim Seonghwan was already trying to create many branches for me. This was a golden opportunity, especially for someone like me who hadn’t been able to shed the image of a child between a boy and a young man.

The Priest’s Confession.”

I reread the script. The mesmerizing sentences were enough to pull me into its depth. As the night breeze blew, I was so immersed that I lost track of time.

– “Growing up under the shadow of my mortician father, I bore witness to the relentless march of death from my earliest years. I studied theology and became a priest, praying for the dying, but can they truly be saved? The victims return to the earth, while the perpetrators live without hesitation.”

What, then, was a sin?


At that moment, a willow tree swayed and danced in the night wind. A line in the script that perfectly matched the sound caught my eye.

– “The sound of the whistle is not his, but the sin born of evil. Just as the mark of sin cannot be erased, so too is sin indelible, a final gasp escaping from the dying evildoer’s heart.”

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Private: I Will Live as an Actor

Private: I Will Live as an Actor

Score 9.7
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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