I Will Live as an Actor Episode 52

Episode 52

Was it the solemnity of the black cassock that kept the reporters from speaking rashly? After all, even the host paused momentarily, busy admiring Jang Yeongguk’s appearance. The deep gaze between his neatly trimmed bangs and the white collar on his black clothing created an odd harmony, making the place feel as reverent as if it had become a diocese.

How much time had passed? The host, momentarily captivated by Yeongguk, regained his senses and tapped the microphone.

“Apologies for my momentary distraction. Now, let’s begin The Priest’s Confession’s press conference! Before we start, let me formally introduce the production team and main cast members of The Priest’s Confession! First, the one who wrote the script and will direct the movie, Shin Seonghyeon!

The reporters regained their senses thanks to the host speaking in such a resounding voice. They had momentarily lost their minds, as if possessed by a ghost, because of the halo they felt when Yeongguk appeared. Only when the host called out Jang Yeongguk’s name did they start to get busy, pressing their camera shutters.

Still nervous, I see.

As the reporters’ Q&A session began, Director Shin Seonghyeon’s expression stiffened. In the future, press conferences like this would take place in a more relaxed atmosphere, almost like a tea party, but this time was different.

As proof, wasn’t Director Shin Seonghyeon’s fingers trembling slightly as he held the microphone? The others were no different. They all answered nervously like they were criminals attending a police interrogation.

“I have a question for Actor Jang Yeongguk. Why did you choose The Priest’s Confession, an R-rated film with a murderer as the main character, as your next project? It seems too radical for just an image change. I’d like to ask if there were any internal conflicts within your agency. Maybe you selected this role to express your dissatisfaction with the CEO. If not, were there any disagreements between the broadcasting companies? I’ve heard that all three major stations were trying to cast you.”

Look at this guy.

He pretended to be polite while asking questions, but there were thorns in his words. Not all reporters were as dedicated as war correspondents. That’s why actors had to be cautious with their words. One slip-up and the reporters would latch on, exaggerating the issue and pushing their opinions to be the truth. Whether in the past or the present, such reporters existed.

However, I’ve dealt with these brats too many times. Just as I was about to grab the microphone and display my wit, Director Shin Seonghyeon stepped in first. His face showed his restrained anger.

“Excuse me, reporter, may I answer on behalf of actor Jang Yeongguk?”

“I clearly asked actor Jang Yeongguk.”

Unfazed by the insinuation that there was a problem, Director Shin Seonghyeon began to explain.

“That’s because it’s a question that Jang Yeongguk doesn’t need to answer. Based on that logic, is the reason your outfit is disheveled because you had a fight with your wife last night? Your eyes are bloodshot, too. It seems like you didn’t get a good night’s sleep. Did you have any difficulties attending today’s press conference?”

“What kind of…! Is that something you should be saying to a reporter?”

“It’s the same for the actors. Saying that the role was selected because of a disagreement with their CEO is absurd. Actors are people who act. When they choose a role, they prioritize the script, not the pros and cons of life. Lastly, please think of his role as a priest who judges, not a murderer. I believe we provided you with a pre-interview guide, so please review it thoroughly.”


Who would have thought Director Shin Seonghyeon would be so bold? Just moments ago, he looked nervous because of the sheer number of reporters present, but now he was entirely different. After a brief silence, another reporter asked a question.

“Jang Yeongguk seems to have a bright future as an actor. Honestly, in my reporting experience, I’ve never seen such a young actor make such a daring decision. If you pull off this role well, I think you can completely break away from the child actor image.”

He was a middle-aged reporter. I had seen him at least once before at a script reading. If I remember correctly, his name was Kwak Myunghwan. I heard that among the reporters, he was quite a big name.

Of course, I couldn’t find any trace of him during the time when I was popular in my past life. He must have retired back then. After all, hadn’t he only become famous after he turned forty?

“Before I tell you the protagonist’s thoughts, let me borrow the words of someone else I know. I think we can see evil not only in invisible beings but also in our neighbors around us. How many people commit evil deeds and live their lives without repentance and regret? In fact, they might be considered more evil than invisible beings. However, the protagonist’s definition of evil is slightly different from this. I would appreciate it if you could find the answer by watching the movie at the theater.”

Reporter Kwak Myunghwan seemed satisfied with the answer, as a pleased smile appeared on his face. The following questions were all expected, so I had the leisure to mix some jokes with my answers.

The host, apparently a former comedian, also seemed to have relaxed quite a bit and began to chat like a butterfly. It turned one we got along quite well.

Meanwhile, everyone, including Director Shin Seonghyeon, was wiping away sweat and marveling at the situation. Even they, having experienced all sorts of ups and downs in the movie industry, were usually nervous at press conferences. However, the atmosphere was being led by the main actor—practically a rookie in the industry.

Moreover, the sight of him casually exchanging jokes with reporters seemed like that of someone who had experienced such events hundreds of times. Thanks to that, the frozen atmosphere at the press conference momentarily bloomed with laughter.

* * *

The day after the press conference, articles about The Priest’s Confession began to flood in. If it had been an ordinary movie press conference, this many articles wouldn’t have sprung up.

After all, wasn’t this the next work of the actor who had earned the title of the nation’s first love? It was only natural that there would be this much interest.

They wrote so well, didn’t they?

The words from Kwak Myunghwan and other veteran entertainment reporters were mostly praises.

A rookie actor walks the unwavering path of an actor.

The headlines were just amazing. Of course, not all articles were positive. Some poured out malicious rumors under the name of an image transformation, saying the movie would fail. However, the number of such articles was so small that one couldn’t find them unless one looked for them.

“Jeongseok-hyung, when did you do this interview?”

Song Jeongseok was an actor who had gotten a lot of screen time on TV in the past three years. As his acting skills grew day by day, he earned the title of the nation’s actor in his past life.

Thanks to that, he didn’t just appear in dramas but also in variety shows and documentaries. In an interview with a weekly magazine, he named me the person who changed his values in his acting life.

It was a beautiful story.

[I had a friend who gave me white rice and a warm bed when I had nothing. That child was younger than me but much more mature than I was. He was the one who gave me the compass of life while I was worried about my future as an actor. As a reporter, do you know what eating rice mixed with tears tastes like? I still can’t forget the feast I had back then.]

It was embarrassing. In a way, I merely repaid the favor the National Actor Song Jeongseok had given me in my childhood. While I was reading the newspaper for a while, a shadow loomed over my head.

“Yeongguk, why are you giggling like that since morning?”

“Uncle, please make some noise when you come! You startled me!”

“What do you mean by making some noise? I called you several times to come down and eat, but you couldn’t hear me. By the way, your friend Kwak Myunghwan wrote a really good article about you.”

“Do you know him, Uncle?”

“Of course, I doubt there’s an actor in the entertainment industry who doesn’t know him. It’s surprising that a friend around my age is still active in the field. He’s an entertainment reporter now, but he used to cover society and economics. The newspaper offered him an editor-in-chief position, but he refused and is still on the scene. In a way, you could say his professionalism is strong, or he could be stubborn. I heard he was finally offered the chief editorial position at his newspaper this year.”

The chief editor referred to one of the highest-ranking people in a newspaper. They decided on the publication’s editing and direction. No wonder I didn’t know. Anyway, the journalist Kwak Myunghwan was a really incredible guy. In a way, it was like a team leader skipping the middle process and going straight to an executive position.

“Stop looking at the articles and come down to eat breakfast. The bean sprouts soup Auntie made today is spicy and very refreshing. It’ll cool down your stomach.”

Uncle must have had a lot to drink last night. Grandpa’s nose was still red, so it seemed the two of them had a good time. I finished my breakfast with the spicy bean sprout soup Auntie prepared and was getting ready to go to school.

“Yeongguk, take this with you.”

Grandpa (Director Baek Janghun) handed me something. It was a handkerchief embroidered with a hibiscus flower. It was old but was still stiff, probably because of good care.

“Grandpa, what is this?”

“It’s something I had on my body whenever I filmed a movie. It’s like a talisman. Drama sets might be somewhat safer, but movie sets aren’t. The shooting location changes from time to time. I’m giving it to you so you don’t get hurt while filming your first movie (excluding indie films) as the lead.”

Indeed, what kind of story was contained in this handkerchief? I bowed my head deeply to express my gratitude, and Grandpa smiled and patted my head. Uncle, watching from the side, interjected.

“Hyung, you gave that precious thing to Yeongguk, but why haven’t you lent it to me?”

“Do you think an old veteran like you and a young actor like Yeongguk are the same? Besides, even if I gave it to you, you would have just carried it around. It’s a relief you didn’t lose it.”

Leaving behind Uncle and Grandpa arguing, I got on my bicycle. The handkerchief nestled in my chest seemed to warm my heart.

* * *


It was the highest viewership rating for the drama Youth. With the final episode approaching, SBC’s drama department was excitedly buzzing, wondering if it would surpass 40%. It had been nearly five years since an SBC-produced drama had a rating of over 40%.

“Kim Jin!”

The head of the drama department shouted toward the partition. The other junior PDs looked shocked. After all, wasn’t PD Kim Jin the current hero of the drama department?

However, the department head’s expression was far from ordinary; he looked extremely angry. At that moment, Kim Jin, crouching in the corner just behind a partition, raised his head and looked at the youngest PD.

“Howon, did the department head come in?”

“Sunbae, that’s not it.”

“Damn, my legs are killing me. Hurry up and tell me. If I knew this would happen, I would stop talking and run straight to the variety show department. Why do you look like that?”

The face of the youngest PD turned blue, and at the same time, the head of the department, with a face turning red and blue, popped up. Kim Jin stood up and started to pour out excuses that didn’t seem like excuses.

“Aigo, why is this pen lying here? Uh! Sir, what’s going on?”

“That’s what you get for leaving it to the youngest. Stop trying to be cunning and follow me!”

In the end, Kim Jin was dragged away like a calf being led to the slaughterhouse. As soon as they entered the department head’s office, the head of the department picked up the “wrap-up party planning document” on the table and shouted,

“Hey! Are you kidding me with this plan to have a wrap-up party at a theater? And what’s with the second round being Korean beef? Is this the wrap-up party plan you submitted? I have to contact the reporters right away. What am I going to do?”

“Well, just go ahead with it.”

“You’re just saying what’s easy for you! Do you think only your team is attending the wrap-up party? Reporters will come, I’ll be there, and the vice president might show up too. Does it make sense to have it at a theater? Just change it back to a hotel convention hall. Even if we spend a lot on fancy wrap-up parties, you guys always act like frogs in a well!”

“No, how long are we going to be so formal? I’d be fine with a convention hall if it was just me. But the film crew and actors would be uncomfortable. To be blunt, the wrap-up party is where the film crew and actors can unwind after going through a hard time filming the drama. But with reporters coming for interviews, the department head attending, and even the vice president, do you think alcohol will flow smoothly in that kind of atmosphere?”

As the name suggested, the wrap-up party was where the actors and the film crew who participated in the drama could unwind after all their hard work. However, it became more formal at some point, with reporters coming for interviews and even broadcasting executives showing up. Everyone tried to be cautious with their words, but it would be a lie to say that such an atmosphere wasn’t burdensome.

“Having it at the theater has its merits too. Everyone agreed to watch the last episode together, so wouldn’t it be better to watch it on a big screen? In a way, it’s like watching the growth of a child born with a stomachache! To be honest, when you were a PD, you even had many uncomfortable moments during your wrap-up parties. It’s tough when the vice president, who never even cared about the filming site, comes to pay their false respect. And it’s a relief if only the vice president comes. If he brings a bunch of executives with him, just ask for more contributions instead!”

“Hey, are you the department head? How can a child always try to take advantage of a meeting? Is the theater already prepared?”

“I have already reserved it.”

“Alright, I got it. You can go. I’ll try to talk nicely to the vice president.”

The completely exhausted drama department head shook his head. At that moment, Kim Jin left the room but poked his head back into the office and asked,

“Sir, what about our Phuket trip?”

“This child, really!”

When the department head gestured that he was going to throw his nameplate, Kim Jin quickly closed the door to the office. The department head sighed deeply as he put down the nameplate. Sometimes Kim Jin seemed like a social expert, but at times like this, he was like a runaway colt.

But it was not bad. Just looking at him standing up for his family so they wouldn’t feel uncomfortable was enough to show that, with someone like him, this dull drama department could progress.

* * *

After I finished school, I went straight to the diocese in my school uniform. As the afternoon mass ended, the parishioners left the church and priests in cassocks moved around.

“My child, the soutane you wore at the production presentation really suited you well. Finding a priest who looks that good in our diocese is hard. Come in. The tea will lose its taste if it gets cold.”

The Archbishop gave a warm smile and handed over a cup of tea. Like his personality, his room was filled with old and worn-out things. Even just looking at the Bible and rosary, both showing the traces of time, was proof enough.

“Archbishop, I know you received the script for the movie through the production company, but I couldn’t help but feel guilty for not telling you earlier, so I came to see you like this.”

“No, on the contrary, if you had told me before, my excitement might have actually been less. I read the screenplay while losing sleep for the first time in a long time. I don’t know how many times I re-read sentences like that. Brings back memories of when I was young and read The Sorrows of Young Werther.[1] But I worried. I wondered if the young child here could handle this screenplay well.”

“What do you mean?”

His Grace elaborated as he put down his teacup.

“The protagonist is a very introspective character. He builds up guilt in his heart as if confessing to the deeds he had done. I was worried that acting out such a character might also create pus in your heart. Can I ask you just one thing? In your opinion, what do you think evil is?”

It was a question I had asked before. However, the situation had changed this time, with the Archbishop asking me the question. If I had been asked this question on the first day I visited the archdiocese, I would have been frustrated, but not now.

“I think of evil as possessing a malicious heart and carrying out wicked deeds, bringing them shame and ensnaring themselves in a trap. When I look at the sinner trapped in the snare, my sorrowful eyes are not on the sinner but on the people who suffered because of him. These are the same sentiments I had when reading the Psalms.”

With a pious tone in his voice, the Archbishop nodded briefly.

“My worries were groundless.”

“Archbishop, didn’t you consider that the movie could damage the image of the church?”

It was an honest concern. It was true that I felt uncomfortable portraying this image of a priest that was the opposite of the good image people had. However, the Archbishop did not care at all and showed his unique, kind-hearted smile again. And he added, holding his rosary,

“There is no right answer in religion. One’s faith belongs to the believer and is not determined by religion, so the content in the screenplay is not that important. There’s freedom of expression in our society. No matter what the movie says, it cannot harm faith. I think that is the power of religion.”

At that moment, under the choral singing of the deacons, the setting red sun shone on the bell hanging on the spire.

[1] The Sorrows of Young Werther is a novel written by Goethe.

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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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