I Will Live as an Actor Episode 65

Episode 65

“What was the result of the forensic analysis?”

The Violent Crimes Unit, unlike a regular police department, all wore plain clothes. As the saying goes, the difference between a cop and a thug was as thin as a sheet of paper. of the unit possessed unique auras and had faces so rugged that anyone who didn’t know better might mistake them for gangsters. However, no one dared to raise their heads with the Violent Crimes Unit chief (played by Lee Jeonghyeok) roaring at them.

“We haven’t found any traces of the suspect yet…”


As the youngest detective finally spoke up, the chief’s face reddened with anger, and his brows furrowed. One of the older detectives, unable to hold back his own frustrations, burst out,

“Chief, even so, we need at least a trace to follow, but this isn’t even like finding a Mr. Kim in Seoul anymore.[1] How are we supposed to handle incidents occurring all over the country? We’re at our wits’ end here.”

“Hey, you bastard, you really have the nerve to say that now! How many cases have there been in the past fifteen days [movie time]? How many? Four cases! While that lunatic killed four people, what the hell have you guys been doing?”

“No, chief, we haven’t just been fooling around! Dongju [the youngest detective], look at his socks. They’re completely worn out—worn out. We haven’t been home for over fifteen days, and now I’m even forgetting what my child looks like. It’s one thing for my wife to bring me underwear, but I feel sorry for burdening my child’s mother. To be honest, I feel like quitting a dozen times a day! But, as detectives, as the people’s walking stick, we bear it. We’re just as eager to catch that guy.”

“What? People’s walking stick? You’re talking out of your ass! Want to quit? Then quit, you bastard!”

Eventually, the detectives rushed to restrain the chief. Other officers passing by the corridor stole glances at the scene. Arguing further would yield no right answers. It’s like spitting in one’s own face. Before turning away, the chief shouted at the members of the Violent Crimes Unit one more time,

“Hey, you bastards, go out there right now and find some kind of clue!”

With grim expressions, the detectives hastily left the Violent Crimes Unit. The chief sighed as he entered his office, where the pungent smell of jajangmyeon assailed his nose.

“Can you even swallow those noodles?”

The Violent Crimes Unit chief scolded a detective eating jajangmyeon. He was a seasoned detective whose skills were acknowledged even within the Violent Crimes Unit. However, his fiery temper often led him to resort to violence in capturing criminals, which had nearly resulted in his suspension.

“Why are you fighting outside while I’m on leave?”

“You like being on leave, huh? You almost got demoted to a local station, but I barely managed to get you a suspension instead.”

“Either way.”

At that moment, Detective Seo Dogwang (played by Actor Seo Jongin) let out a hearty belch and lifted his head. His face was full of makeup wounds, and his chin sported a few days’ worth of unshaven beard.

“How many cases have there been in the past fifteen days?”

“Four cases. Take a look at the case log here.”

“Two in Seoul, one in Gangwon Province. Look at this, it even reached North Chungcheong Province? But how can we be sure that these are the same perpetrator’s doing? They’re happening all over the Eight Provinces.[2] Did the victims have any connection?”

“On the next page, look at the modus operandi.”

“One was drug overdose, the others were strangled or choked, and the one found at the ferry terminal in North Chungcheong Province seems to have drowned. But—”

Detective Seo Dogwang flipped through the pages and then exclaimed in amazement.

“Every single one of the victims had their heart area damaged by something sharp, and each had a cross drawn on their chest. Wow, look at this guy. He’s a complete nutjob.”

“After killing them, he seems to have stabbed the heart as a confirmation kill and then drawn a cross on the chest. There’s no apparent connection between the victims, all of them strangers to each other. Their jobs, ages, and residences are all different.”

“He’s not someone the victim knew, but a serial killer. Still, with this much evidence, there should be some clues left, shouldn’t there?”

“None. It’s so meticulously planned. Not even a common fingerprint, blood, or hair was found. They’re still trying to identify the weapon, but no luck so far.”

“With this level of serial killings, the reporters must have caught wind by now…”

The chief gestured toward the ceiling.

“The higher-ups are blocking it for now. Dogwang, I’m going crazy. Just our luck, the first and second crimes happened in our jurisdiction, and now we’re searching the whole country. The journalists are already preparing their stories, and we only have a week before the higher-ups can’t cover for us anymore. After that, it’s out of our hands and over to a special task force.”

“Wow, looks like you’re really stuck in a tight spot, hyung. Now I see why you’ve aged so much since I last saw you. I’ll take this file with me.”

Detective Seo Dogwang picked up the case file and stood up. The Chief anxiously asked,

“Dogwang, can you catch him within a week? If we don’t by then, not only will I miss out on a promotion, but if another case happens, I’ll have to resign.”

“Hyung, what’s my nickname?”

“Crazy bastard, what else.”

“If I wrap up this case properly, consider my suspension gone and we’ll call it even.”

“If you solve it, what can I not do for you? Of course, I’ll take care of it.”

“See? Should have called me right when the case broke, right?”

At that response, Seo Dogwang gave a sinister smile and raised his hand.

“To catch a mad dog, where else would you find a better club than me?”


The film shoot was advancing towards its halfway mark. Reporters continued to circulate stories and engage in discussions about Jang Yeongguk’s upcoming project. Yet, the on-set atmosphere grew more intense each day. Every film crew member knew it. They understood that their movie, once released, would be a massive hit.

After finishing his solo scenes, Jang Yeongguk returned to his dressing room, where an unexpected figure appeared.


It was Actor Seo Jongin. Although they were both appearing in the same movie, their roles and shooting locations were different, so it wasn’t until the script was halfway through that they finally met. Seo Jongin, in the rugged appearance of his character Detective Seo Dogwang, boasted a rough beard and cheerfully put his arm around Jang Yeongguk’s shoulder.

“Yeongguk, seeing you do your solo shoot, you’re acting quite well, aren’t you? Just like what Hyeongseop-hyung told me.”

“Sunbaenim, I’m choking here.”

“Man, you’re just too adorable. Wouldn’t it be great if every shot was done in one take? I get neurotic every time Director Shin suggests a reshoot. This scene is with me, right? Let’s nail it in one go without any setbacks.”

Actor Seo Jongin said all of these while still not letting go of his arm around Jang Yeongguk’s shoulder. Though Jang Yeongguk was quite tall, Seo Jongin was no less impressive. Perhaps due to the physical training for his role as a detective, his build felt much more solid.

“Once today’s shoot is over, let’s hit a bar and have some soju.”

“Sunbae, I’m a minor.”

“If you’re with me, no one will think you’re underage. When I was your age, I used to drink soju by the crate.”

“What, as if you could even handle soju.”

In his past life, Jang Yeongguk shared a connection with Actor Seo Jongin. Although Seo Jongin was unaware, he was part of the same theater company where Yeongguk had once honed his craft as a stage actor.  So, when Yeongguk decided to jump into the film industry, he, as a senior actor, came to him with advice.

He was a person who couldn’t handle soju, yet he loved it—just three shots in and he would already be boarding the express train to dreamland. Because of that, Yeongguk found himself carrying Jongin on his back to hail a taxi on several occasions.

“Hey, how did you know I can’t handle soju well?”

“You came to the company dinner hosted by the CEO of Daejeong Distribution last time. I saw you there. You collapsed after three shots of soju. Because of that, I couldn’t even properly greet you then.”

“Wow, you really have an actor’s observational skills.”

Then Seo Jongin, noticing a cross sculpture on the table in Jang Yeongguk’s dressing room, asked,

“Yeongguk, isn’t that a prop?”

“I’ve been making it as a hobby lately. All the ones used on set were made by me.”

“Wow, you have this kind of hobby?”

“Hobby? Not at all, I had no interest in this field originally. But when I read the script, the protagonist’s hobby is woodworking, so I practiced because of that. The one on the table isn’t finished yet.”

“Can you show me some carving?”

Jang Yeongguk sighed at Seo Jongin, who still seemed incredulous, and showed him the unfinished cross sculpture. He then grasped a wood carving chisel. As he carved with care and concentration, Seo Jongin exclaimed in admiration and then asked doubtfully,

“Yeongguk, are you left-handed? I saw you using your right hand when you were eating with chopsticks.”

“I am right-handed.”

“But now?”

He was carving with the knife in his left hand. Jang Yeongguk nonchalantly added,

“The character of Kim Mujin is left-handed.”


Seo Jongin swallowed his amazement and looked at the young actor with newfound respect. This was the real deal. Nowadays, young rookie actors often became rigid as if wearing a neck brace once they gained popularity, but this rookie actor, Jang Yeongguk, not only lifted the spirits on set but also possessed excellent acting skills.

Just look at his dedication to his craft; it’s something one couldn’t do without true diligence. Suddenly, Assistant Director Kim Seokcheol’s voice could be heard from beyond the dressing room, breaking Seo Jongin’s reverie.

“Standby complete!”


“Scene number 75, the detective and the priest―!”

Detective Seo Dogwang (played by Seo Jongin) entered the parish after the mass had ended. Facing him was none other than the young priest, Matthew (played by Jang Yeongguk). The parish office was filled with old and worn furniture. A Bible, a rosary, and an old teacup symbolizing integrity stood out, but among them, it was the cross that captured Seo Dogwang’s attention the most.

“Do people drink coffee in the church these days?”

“Why, is there a law against it?”

“No, I’m not religious, but I thought churches would serve green tea or black tea or something. But it seems a sweet flavor suits my taste better. Anyway, I came here to see the bishop, but it looks like he’s not around today?”

The young priest offered a faint smile.

“The bishop is a very busy man, even after mass he has plenty of work. But, brother, why have you come all this way? I heard from the bishop that you are a detective.”

“Ah, it’s nothing much.”

Detective Seo Dogwang pulled out a photograph from inside his leather jacket.

“Do you know this guy, Park Cheol? He’s thirty-nine, looks just like in the photo. A regular school dropout and a meth head. According to what I’ve found, he was a faithful parishioner here, right?”

“I am aware of it. Whatever Brother Park Cheol’s past may be, it does not pose a problem. For those with faith, nothing is as equal as prayer.”

“Hmph, it seems his faith was weak. Old habits die hard, they say, and this guy has gotten his hands on meth again. They always say when they’re high, it feels like they’re flying, and this time he really went up there. He overdosed so severely that his house was full of syringes.”

Detective Seo Dogwang observed the young priest’s expression. It was full of pity, as if he felt sorry for the man in the photo. The young priest then sighed as if lamenting.

“It’s my fault for not paying more attention to Brother Park Cheol. I hope that he has now found peace under the Lord’s care.”

“Care? Lucky if he didn’t end up in hell.”

Seo Dogwang added, then pulled out three consecutive photographs from inside his leather jacket. However, the young priest looked at the photos and asked with a composed expression,

“Brother, who are these people?”

“Ah, I see they’re not parishioners. Hmpm. Anyway, is there anyone among the parishioners who might have held a grudge against Park Cheol, or perhaps Park Cheol did something to earn their hatred? When these meth heads are high, they do all sorts of crazy things. Running naked on the street or jumping off building rooftops claiming they are the almighty God.”

“There has never been such a case. Brother Park Cheol was always quiet and disliked causing trouble for others. He was someone who reflected on his past and sought to live a new life in repentance before the Lord.”

“Eh, does repentance erase the sins? Trash remains trash forever. That being said, since the bishop isn’t here, I should be going. But, Father, what’s that over there?”

Seo Dogwang looked at a cross statue standing idly on a bookshelf. The young priest answered as if it’s nothing,

“I enjoy woodworking, and I make one like that whenever I have time to calm my mind.”

“Wow, with that skill, you could sell them. They’re quite nice.”

“Would you like one, brother?”

The young priest offered a cross statue. The face and form of the Lord attached to the cross were intricately made, showing more than a day or two’s worth of skill. Seo Dogwang accepted it as if grateful, and the young priest asked,

“Brother, I’d like to revisit something you said earlier. Do you truly believe that once a wicked person, always a wicked person?”

“The trash remains trash thing? Of course. How many years have I been a detective and how many criminals have I met? Do you know what they all say when they’re dragged in for interrogation? Ah, just my bad luck. If they were truly repentant, would they say that? Times like this, I miss the old days when we could really teach them a lesson. Now it’s all human rights this, human rights that. Tsk, I’ve spoken too much.”

“Not at all, thank you for coming today. Now that I’m aware of Brother Park Cheol’s passing.”

Detective Seo Dogwang turned around before leaving the office.

“But do you really believe that with faith alone, one can repent? That’s always what religion preaches. Have faith.”

To that question, the young priest merely responded with a thin smile. In the end, Seo Dogwang scratched his head and left the office. As the young priest watched the empty space left behind, he added,

“Of course not.”


Theater Troupe.

It was a rare day off. Just as I was about to spend the whole day looking at scripts in the main hall, I received a call that, with no other choice, made me go to Daehakro.[3] It was because of Actor Seo Jongin. He had called me out of the blue, asking me to come to Daehakro. Although my plans were disrupted, I wasn’t in a bad mood. It also had been ages since my last visit to Daehakro.

“Wow, you came fully made up. Our Yeongguk.”

“You’re the one who called me out to Daehakro, sunbae.”

Anticipating a crowd, I donned a hat, pressed down firmly, and even put on glasses without lenses. Seo Jongin took me to none other than a theatre where a play was being performed. He guided me past the empty seats, all the way up to the stage, and explained,

“It’s not good to just read scripts even on a holiday; you should clear your head once in a while. This is Comet, the theater troupe where I learned and performed plays. There’s a show by the juniors this evening, so I thought we might as well watch it together.”

A flood of emotions overwhelmed me. This was the very place where I first learned about acting in my past life. The worn-out seats, the tension of the lights beating down on the stage—it felt like returning to a life long gone. Seeing my expression, Actor Seo Jongin asked with curiosity,

“Yeongguk, have you ever stood on a theater stage?”


“Really? Your expression looks like someone who’s found their hometown. It’s fascinating.”

You wouldn’t doubt he’s an actor, with a knack for catching such details.

“It’s rare for an outsider who isn’t a member of the troupe to step onto the stage. But it seems a lot of the juniors performing today are big fans of yours.”

“My fans?”

“Why do you look so surprised? You’re the nation’s first love. Don’t be like that, and after tonight’s performance, why not give your beloved juniors some autographs? They’d appreciate photos too. If they knew you came with me, they’d probably be racing out of the green room right now.”

It was unexpected. Although not the majority, there were theater actors who disliked commercial movie actors. They performed the same craft, yet their paths diverged completely, reflecting their distinct values.

“By the way, sunbae, what’s the play being performed tonight?”

“It’s called Morning in the Western Sky, not sure if you’ve heard of it. It’s a traditional piece that our troupe has been performing for a while.”


How could I not know? In my first life, I debuted on the stage with Morning in the Western Sky. Although it had been decades since the play was written, it was like a cash cow for the company. That’s how closely the play was associated with the Comet troupe.

Just then, however, …

“Myeongseok, why are you running around like that?”

“Oh! Sunbae! When did you get here!”

One of the staff members running around behind the stage spotted Actor Seo Jongin and bowed in greeting. However, he didn’t seem to recognize my face. And why would they, with my hat pressed down and glasses on? They probably thought I was Seo Jongin’s manager.

“Just before you guys start the play, I wanted to bask in the stage lights for old time’s sake. But why are you sweating bullets and running around? Is something wrong?”

“Well, it’s not anything else, but Jinsoo-hyung, who was scheduled to perform today, suddenly got appendicitis. So, we’re frantically looking for a replacement.”

Issues like this sometimes arose when preparing for a play. It wasn’t uncommon for actors to suddenly be unable to perform due to unforeseen circumstances. But the problems didn’t end there.

It would mean refunding all the pre-sold tickets and dealing with the financial losses from the production costs. As the staff mentioned, if a lead actor had appendicitis, you could use an understudy, but with a supporting role like this, canceling the play was a painful option they were hesitant to take.

“Is there no other actor who has memorized the lines for the role of Do Jeongsu?”

“Well, the senior actors all know it, but you know how it is. All the senior actors just left. It’s difficult to ask them for help. Before they left, we had a farewell drinking party, and it ended in a big fight over whether they should give up on their dreams because they’re broke.”

Wow, things just kept getting worse. Even Actor Seo Jongin looked seriously concerned. The role of Do Jeongsu, though a minor one, was still significant. His time on stage was limited, almost like an extra, but it required real acting talent. However, it was a role that demanded acting skills, making it a daunting task for not-yet-fully-developed actors, just as the staff have pointed out. And as for Seo Jongin stepping into the role himself, his age didn’t quite match the character’s.

I was once a member of Comet in my past life.

Therefore, it wasn’t an exaggeration to say that I knew all the lines of Morning in the Western Sky, which could be considered Comet’s representative work. After hesitating for a while, I asked Seo Jongin,

“Sunbae, about the play Morning in the Western Sky, I’ve enjoyed that script for a long time.”

“You have? How did that happen? It’s hard to find it in stores.”

“You know, I’m staying at Teacher Baek Janghun’s house. His study practically has all the theater scripts you could think of. So…”

I took off my cap and glasses to show my face and added,

“I’ll try playing the role of Do Jeongsu.”

[1] This is an expression used to describe an almost impossible task, as Kim is a very common last name in Korea.

[2] “Eight Provinces” refers to the historical eight provinces of Korea. In other words, the whole of Korea.

[3] Also called Daehangno

I Will Live as an Actor

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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