I Will Live as an Actor Episode 62

Episode 62

A week ago.

In Seoul’s wealthy neighborhood, as if following the family motto “Prosper in business, live humbly at home,” the food laid out on the dining table was modest and didn’t match the grandeur of the mansion.

From Hamgyeong-do style meat and eggplant stew to rice cooked with surf clams, and Youngchae kimchi made from pickled shepherd’s purse leaves. These were dishes that clearly reflected the hometown of the person eating them.

“Father, you seem particularly cheerful today.”

The eldest son, Kim Jeongwoo, looked at his father, who was seated at the head of the table.

“Yes, I’m in a good mood indeed.”

The brothers and daughters-in-law, seated at the long dining table, opened their eyes wide in surprise. Once a week, the presidents of the affiliated companies, known as the “sacred bones” of Daejeong Group, dined together at Chairman Kim Daejin’s mansion.

To others, Chairman Kim Daejin was generous and open-handed, but to his own children, he was endlessly stingy and valued frugality.

Thus, when the daughters-in-law visited their father-in-law’s mansion, they would leave behind their luxury clothing, even their expensive earrings and necklaces.

As this was also a gathering to review the week’s major and minor events of the affiliated companies, it usually involved a lot of scolding. It was essentially like sitting on pins and needles.

But today…

Chairman Kim Daejin seemed to be in an exceptionally good mood.

“Did you enjoy your round of golf today?”

“It was enjoyable, but I lost the bet.”

“You lost a bet? Weren’t you golfing with Director Ahn Jongman?”

“Not with Director Ahn, there was someone else. A formidable opponent indeed. I met quite an interesting character.”

Suddenly, Chairman Kim Daejin turned to his eldest son and asked,

“How old is Yumin [Kim Jeongwoo’s only daughter] this year?”

“She’s entering high school next year, so she’s still sixteen.”

“Is that so?”

At that moment, Kim Daejin’s second son, Kim Jeongcheol, abruptly joined the conversation.

“Father, why do you only care about Yumin? Jinsu is also sixteen this year. The boy was so insistent on seeing his grandfather that I barely managed to leave him at home. Father, please also pay attention to the first grandson of our family. After Yumin gets married, who else will carry on our family name but Jinsu?”

“Hey, hyung, what are you talking about? If someone heard you, they’d think Jinsu is the only grandson in our family. Have you forgotten that my Junhyuk and Junsu are boys too?”

“Jeongsu [Chairman Kim Daejin’s third son], stop interrupting your hyung. Where are your manners? What do you expect from kids who just started walking? Even when they do grow up, would they still be able to compare to my Jinsu?”

“What? Is that something to say to your nephews?”

“Enough, all of you!”

Chairman Kim Daejin slammed his chopsticks down and raised his voice, and everyone at the table suddenly became alert to his mood.

“Jeongcheol, isn’t your department store in the red again this year? I told you several times not to recklessly expand the business with those unworkable plans. If you keep listening to those sycophant executives, how do you expect to run the company? If it’s the same next year, know that I’ll take it all back!”


“I’m not finished yet. Jeongsu, I hear the media company is doing well these days with a good income. But let me tell you something: The media should be transparent—that’s what a media company does. If you make money by providing sensational stories heavy with ads and wiping others’ backsides, is that a media company or a subcontractor cleaning up after them? I’ve told you countless times not to blur the essence of the business!”

Like a tiger’s glare, Chairman Kim Daejin’s eyes was blazing, and the second and third sons lowered their heads. Eventually, the dinner became another debacle. When Chairman Kim Daejin left the table, the evening came to an end.

Everyone scurried out of the mansion as if to avoid another scolding, except for one person, the eldest son, Kim Jeongwoo.

Smoke from Chairman Kim Daejin’s cigarette wafted out of his nostrils, like a sigh.

“Jeongwoo, I told you I met an interesting character today.”

“Yes, you mentioned that, Father.”

“That guy was really something. He didn’t show the slightest bit of intimidation in front of me. Instead, he outright tried to scam me, and he was so cunning that I was initially taken in. But even after being deceived, I didn’t feel bad at all. On the contrary, it’s been a long time since I’ve felt this way, it made me happy as if I’m back in the game.”

At that moment, Chairman Kim Daejin softened his gaze and asked,

“So, how about it, want to go see him with me?”

* * *

“Scene number 45, Psalm for the Dead—!”

A call that jolted him from reverie. CEO Kim Jeongwoo, who once dreamt of becoming a film director, focused on the film set with the attitude of a student.

The shabby room, likely unvisited by anyone, was full of mold and reeked of must. Lying on a bed that didn’t seem to have been washed for ages, an ailing layman (played by supporting actor) was being held by a priest (Jang Yeongguk).

The difference from what I saw before the shoot is stark.

The young man’s appearance he saw when he first visited the set and the priest’s presence inside the room was worlds apart. Although physically similar, one might wonder if they were the same person.

The black cassock was neatly worn, symbolizing piety, and his gaze was infinitely deep. For this moment, he looked like nothing less than a holy clergyman.

“My brother, why have you become so emaciated?”

The believer on the bed was a drug addict. His body had been ravaged by long-term drug use, and his spirit was equally worn down. Throughout his lengthy imprisonment, it was only his faith that sustained him. He leaned on his faith to correct his wrongful past.

And to forget.

Because of that, even after being released from prison, he continued to seek out the parish. But just as a sparrow could not resist the grain mill, he reached out for methamphetamine once again.

“Why have you come to me instead of going to the hospital when you’re in this state?”

“Father, I’m s-so cold. It’s so cold I think I’m going to lose my mind. I want to go to the hospital because I’m in pain, but I could only think of you, Father. You always listened to my stories so preciously.”

In the shabby room, used syringes were strewn about alongside empty soju bottles. It’s not that he chose not to go to the hospital, but rather, he could not go. If it were discovered he had taken drugs, he would have to go back to prison. That’s why he went looking for the priest instead.

The one who always listened to his confessions in silence and encouraged him with courage. The ailing man had spent a lifetime doing unspeakable things to others, but when holding the priest’s hand, everything felt forgiven.

“Father, there’s some medicine left in the cupboard. Please bring me that. That’s all I need. That will do it!”

The drug addict screamed as if having a seizure, his hands and feet trembling greatly. Because of withdrawal symptoms, his condition was so severe he could hardly control his body. The priest looked down at him with a calm gaze.

Through confession, the priest had met a variety of characters. Some had sincere faith, while others used religion to cover up their own sins. He wondered if the one crucified on the cross could truly forgive all these people. It’s a thought that has circled endlessly in his mind since he began studying theology.

Was absolution possible?

“Wait here.”

The priest got up and headed to the cupboard. As he had said, there were unused syringes scattered about. Gathering them in his hand, the priest abruptly asked,

“My brother, I will administer it for you. I pray that you will be eternally free from this torment.”

“Hurry. Hurry up!”

The priest offered a prayer as the ailing man, still unable to control his body, writhed. There was no need for Latin, as they were alone. Soon, a stern voice echoed in the damp room.

“O wicked one, why have you confessed your past to me? Was it to seek forgiveness, or was it to cover it up?”

The priest brought the syringe to the man’s neck. It was clearly a prop syringe without a needle, so it shouldn’t be a problem, but the supporting actor’s eyes widened in fear. As he pressed down on his forehead to hold him in place, a radiant smile emerged on the young priest’s face.

He began to inject the drug.

But it didn’t stop at one. The priest continued to administer the drug as if intending to use all the syringes. The parishioner’s eyes became bloodshot, and foam rose from his mouth. With a trembling body, he begged to be saved.

“Father, please take me to the hospital. Please.”

“My brother, it seems too late for repentance.”

The sleeve of the black cassock fluttered. The priest, observing the convulsing believer—or rather, the drug addict—grabbed his neck and forced him to meet his gaze. At that moment, the supporting actor felt chills all over his body and wished he could leave the filming set immediately. The muscles around the priest’s eyes twitched minutely as they realigned.

“Behold the first of the seven sins: For indulging in the vice of lust, this shall be your sole retribution. The weight of your past sins will descend anew upon your crown, a testament to your transgressions.”

Regret, sorrow, and even joy twisted fiercely in his eyes. The set was immobilized under his gaze, and Chairman Kim Daejin and CEO Kim Jeongwoo were no different. The priest’s eyes were clearly smiling, but their voices were filled with a mournful piety.

“Sins cannot be erased and so must remain forever.”

The last syringe was plunged into the sinner’s heart.

The floor of the small room, strewn with Bibles and the figure of the priest, formed such a contrasting composition. Like a wake-up call, a faint whistle was heard.

The whistle was not his. It was the sin begotten by the wicked. Like a brand that couldn’t be erased, sins could not be washed away. And this would be the last gasp of the dying wicked.

Even Director Shin Seonghyeon swallowed hard without calling cut. At that moment, Jang Yeongguk the priest lifted his head as if looking beyond the screen.  At that sight, CEO Kim Jeongwoo felt as if this dirty little room had suddenly become like the foot of the cross.

* * *

The waiting room was shrouded in silence. After filming a scene that required such emotional output, the director and staff on set made it a point to not speak to the actor. It’s a practice that had been considered customary for a long time, so even if someone spent a long time in the waiting room, no one would complain.

Yeongguk was sitting in the waiting room, staring into the mirror.


He sighed inwardly. Including his past life, his acting experience was nothing to scoff at, even compared to seasoned middle-aged actors, but it was still hard to emerge from the depths of the script.

Still, this was an improvement compared to his past life. Back when he was obsessed with acting, he would get so immersed in the script that he felt stuck in a swamp, struggling to shake off residual emotions after the scene ended.


Yeongguk grabbed a bottle of mineral water and poured it over his head. It was not a problem since he had already changed out of his costume and into something more comfortable. It was a habit carried over from his past life. After shooting a scene where emotions were at their peak, cooling down his head this way used to earn him a lot of grievances from the makeup and styling team.

Previously, this alone wasn’t enough to dispel his emotions, but now it’s different. Back then, he was often isolated, but now he was surrounded by people.

“Ah, refreshing.”

The water from the fridge was so cold it chilled his skull, helping him shake off the emotional remnants of the scene. He grabbed a towel, then dried his hair with it, and finally wiped the water from his face.


Manager Lee Bongchun stepped into the waiting room, hesitant at first, and asked,

“Did you cry?”

“Cry? It was just too hot, so I was cooling my head down.”

Yeongguk showed him the empty water bottle, and only then did the relieved Manager Lee Bongchun continued,

“Chairman Kim Daejin left a little while ago. It seemed like he deliberately didn’t say goodbye to you, thinking you might still be dealing with your emotions. Instead, CEO Kim Jeongwoo said he’s picking up the tab for the after-party tonight.”


“Yeah, he said it’s not just for the film crew but also for the actors and extras who didn’t have scenes today, so the set is in a rather festive mood.”

Like father, like son; that man sure knew how to live large.

* * *

Just like a construction site felt lacking without liquor, the same went for a film set. Drinking sessions were a common way to soothe the day’s labor. Especially today, when someone else was picking up the tab, who would refuse?

“Director Shin—no, Shin-hyung, why the long face? Today’s shooting wrapped up well. And we’ve resolved the hair-pulling problem too. It feels like a thorn’s been removed from my side!”

“Seokcheol! Come over here and have another drink! Sunwoo is already drunk, and it’s no fun talking to Shin-hyung.”

“Park-sunbe, I’m on my way!”

Did they rent out the whole pub? The drinkers were having a field day. The AD and cinematographer were already slurring, and the juniors’ faces were flushed with alcohol. Amidst them, only Director Shin Seonghyeon was sober.

Heh, I didn’t expect it to be resolved like this.

The distribution problem that he had been trying to solve was taken care of, not by the film crew, but by an actor. Of course, CEO Kim Jeongwoo did not divulge the actual reason, but from the looks of it, that was the case.

In a corner, Director Shin could see two people: CEO Kim Jeongwoo and Actor Jang Yeongguk.

Perhaps out of consideration for the minor Yeongguk, CEO Kim Jeongwoo also refrained from drinking. Instead, they seemed to be engaged in an endless conversation, as if raising their glasses to each other.

The Pitfalls of the Film Industry.

“I’ve heard about the problems of the film industry that you, Mr. Jang, discussed with my father.”

“Ahaha, it was just my humble opinion. Don’t take it too seriously.”

“No, I was truly impressed.”

CEO Kim Jeongwoo was astounded by the young man’s penetrating insight. When he first heard about the conversation that took place in the clubhouse’s sauna in his father’s study, he thought it was rather presumptuous, but as he mulled over it for a week, he realized that it was all correct. As such, he couldn’t even feel offended by what he said.

He said he’s 18, right?

Even though there’s only a two-year difference between him and his only daughter, the discernment and knowledge of the youth in front of him were extraordinary. Of course, why wouldn’t his father, second to none in judging character, take an interest in him?

“The vertical integration of the film industry’s structure can expand the market, but it can also lead to a monopoly. A ship with only one sailor won’t move forward—it will just stop.”

It was a future he had never considered.

“Could you please talk a little more about the problems of the film industry? Since I’ve arranged this gathering after the main event, I’m sure you won’t mind sharing your thoughts.”

Seeing CEO Kim Jeongwoo’s earnest gaze, the student eventually nodded. Naturally, since he had just made a firm promise to double the promotional investment, this sort of service was the least Yeongguk could offer.

“Firstly, I think the growth of the film industry is very steep. It’s known as a high-risk, high-return industry, but it’s also a one-source multiuse industry. There are many benefits to it. However, as many as there are benefits, there are side effects as well. Vertical integration is one such example.”

“Why do you think it causes side effects? It’s a method that has been used in Hollywood.”

“CEO, this is not the United States, this is South Korea. The methods used in the U.S. work because the pie is so large, there’s a lot to go around, but South Korea is small.”

CEO Kim Jeongwoo inwardly admired him again.

He chose the distribution company from the many affiliates of Daejeong Group for two reasons.

First, because he himself once dreamed of being a film director, and second, because he saw a great future for the film industry. The industry was changing faster than the saying “Even the mountains and rivers change every ten years.” Just a few years ago, production costs hovered around 1 billion won, but now they were approaching 2 billion won.

Furthermore, profits didn’t just end with box office sales of a single movie but extended to DVDs, TV, cable, and even overseas exports. The scope of this one-source multiuse was set to expand.

Underpinning all of this was the firm belief that the Korean film industry would only see vigorous growth going forward.

And to think that there was an actor who had already considered this.

Is he really 18?

It’s almost doubtful. His extensive knowledge of the film industry was no less than his own. Yet, every now and then, his naivety revealed the unmistakable image of a high school student, as it did right now.

“CEO, can I order just one more side dish? Hehe.”

Unable to drink, the student unabashedly grabbed a chicken leg, perhaps intending to fill up on appetizers instead. Watching him, CEO Kim Jeongwoo pondered deeply.

Have I made a mistake?

Vertical integration (production, distribution, exhibition) of the film industry started long ago in Hollywood. As a latecomer, Daejeong Group’s distribution company had no choice but to model itself after foreign direct distributors, and the unintended side effects were unexpected.

It was too arrogant.

If one had thought about it a little, it was something that was easy to understand. After all, South Korea’s landmass was as small as a single state of the United States.[1]

“Do you have no plans to become a central figure in the film industry, Mr. Jang?”

“I’m already acting, aren’t I?”

“No, I mean not as an actor, but in business. If you have such foresight at such a young age, your future is very promising. I’m saying this because I’m as intrigued by you as my father was when he talked about you.”

“CEO, I’m still a student. And…”

Jang Yeongguk flashed a natural smile. Sure, he knew about the future but didn’t think he could use it well. Knowing something and being able to utilize it were completely different things. After all, some people were meant to be in business.


At that moment, a drunkard with a beer in hand came over.

“Ah, Director Yu, why did you drink so much?”

“I came because I missed youuuuu. Aigo, my apologies to the CEO.”

“Ahaha, it’s alright. It’s a gathering for everyone to enjoy. I was perhaps being too serious?”

“Right you are. Now, let’s all give a round of applause to the CEO who made this gathering possible!”

The smell of alcohol hit his nose hard. How much did he drink? Yeongguk joined in with the shoulder-to-shoulder director.

CEO Kim Jeongwoo smiled faintly. He hadn’t heard Yeongguk’s answer, but he understood perfectly.

That man…

…will live as an actor.

[1] South Korea is about the same size as Indiana, or about a quarter of California.

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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