Going On Set
Ding Yan was considered to be one of the A-list actresses in the industry. Although she was only in her 30s, she had already won a Best Actress in Film and acted in various genres. From the mouths of those famous directors, she was very expressive. Although her looks were not stunning, she had a little bit of a baby face and did not appear old. It was not surprising that she was the female lead of this film. In the eyes of the public, she had a great reputation but was unlikeable in the industry. She was well-known to be troublesome and hard to work with. However, only her image fit the female lead of this play among the actresses with acting skills in the industry, so there was no other choice.
“I know what to do. By the way, can you discuss with the producer about that drama I told you about before and see if some details in the script can be changed?” Su Shen suddenly remembered.
Hearing this, Liu jie just nodded slightly. “I’ll go and negotiate with them, but there are also many people fighting for this role. I heard that the producer is set on actresses like Tang Xuan, but it seems that the director wants you, hence why the producer invited you. However, we don’t know what will happen in the end. I’ll properly negotiate with them about these matters.”
At that, Su Shen just uttered an “en,” and didn’t say anything else.
When it was about time to board, they started to get in line. At this time, there would be paparazzi waiting at the airport and some professional fan photographers. Su Shen didn’t know if she had been photographed or not, so she wore a cap for as long as she could.
It was already noon when they arrived at Jiang City. The opening ceremony would be held at 1:00 pm, so Su Shen rushed to the filming site of the production crew. This filming location was all reminiscent of the Republic of China era, with many plays about the war of resistance against Japan filmed here. There were a large number of extras running back and forth here all year long for a dozen dollars a day. It was more for meeting a scout which could enable them to get their foot into the entertainment industry. After all, everyone thought that this industry was rich and glamorous. Who didn’t want to be the focus of attention? Unfortunately, most of those with no connections in this industry could only be subjected to small roles. If Su Shen didn’t have her sister’s help, she would be no different from these people.
The set was closed off from the public, so those reporters couldn’t get in. It was drizzling today; the bluestone alley was wet. The entire film site was enshrouded by rain. Apart from being a film site, it was also a nice tourist spot.
Production crews were superstitious and just like ancient Peking opera, they would worship God before going on stage every time. The time and position of the opening ceremony had already been determined, and it needed to be on time. However, it was already 12:55 pm, and Ding Yan still hadn’t arrived. The director and producer had a long face. They had heard that she liked to be a diva, but it was another thing to see it with their own eyes.
It was not until the 59-minute mark that a woman in red athleisure wear came in a hurry, followed by several assistants. Perhaps knowing that she was late, she apologized to the producer with a smile. Although the producer was certainly not happy on the inside, the other party had already apologized so they said nothing and asked everyone to quickly go burn incense.
It was natural that Ding Yan would have her own dressing room. Su Shen had to share one with another actress, with only one makeup artist inside. Originally, there were two makeup artists, but Ding Yan’s side said that there were not enough hands on their end, so they simply took one with them. It was not a big deal, so Su Shen didn’t want to say anything more, but the other actress was not so good-tempered.
“Does she think she has a lot of face? To have three makeup artists surrounding her and boast that she has a natural face, does she think that others don’t know she didn’t get shots?” With a cigarette in her mouth, Xue Zhixin crossed her legs and glanced at Su Shen, who was reading her script over there, from the corner of her eye. “Su Shen, let me tell you, this kind of person likes to win an inch and wants a foot. Today, she took your makeup artist, Tomorrow, she’ll change your lines!”
Su Shen, who was in the midst of reading her script, just smiled and looked up. “You think too much. She’s not at the level of being able to change lines.”
For this kind of play, the director had the most authority, and even the producer would have difficulty intervening. Not mentioning whether Ding Yan had the power to change the lines and even if she did, she was introduced by He Hua. For a favor, the director wouldn’t easily change her scenes.
“It’s hard to say. She’s famous for overwhelming actresses of the same cast., but contrarily, she likes to work with those xiao xian rous. I heard that she often has fun with those male models in private, and they even have a group—very open-minded at that. Last month, wasn’t there a scandal that Li Jin and a male model were swimming together abroad? That model was introduced by Ding Yan. She especially likes to do these pimp acts to expand her social circle. Otherwise, how else did she have so many good opportunities?!” Xue Zhixin inhaled smoke and slowly blew out a smoke ring. It was obvious that she was a veteran smoker.
The makeup artist was still doing her hair. Hearing this, Su Shen just smiled and said nothing. This industry has always been dirty. Men had needs, and so did women. For those rather old female artists, who didn’t like young and handsome men? It was just that they concealed it very well. In actuality, the life behind the glamour was even more dark than ordinary people.
Xue Zhixin was a B-list small-screen actress, and her acting was not bad, but her popularity was lukewarm. Perhaps it had something to do with her frankness. EQ could solve so many matters in the entertainment industry.
The male and female leads had scenes in the afternoon, and it was not until evening that Su Shen had a scene. Moreover, it was a scene in the middle of the plot. Director Li was very strict and would explain some details in detail.
“This cigarette is rather light. Remember to exhale the smoke ring after the male lead finished his first sentence. When the smoke ring is half dispersed, you can then speak.”
Director Li sat in front of the monitor and handed her a rarely-seen pack of cigarettes. Taking it over and having a look, Su Shen could tell that it seemed to be cigarettes produced in the Republic of China era. In terms of details, the production crew did a great job at it.
“Zheng Tong, you have to pat off the rain from your body when you come in later. Remember to do that before going in to see Su Shen. Don’t look at her before patting off the rain.” Director Li looked conscientiously at Zheng Tong on the side.
The retro building had people coming and going. The lighting crew had been adjusting the light over there, and the narrow space inside was a little congested. Ding Yan, who was still wearing her costume, was leaning against the chaise in the corner, drinking coffee leisurely, glancing over where the director was from time to time.
The stylist had been helping Zheng Tong straighten the collar of his leather jacket. Hearing the director’s words, he just nodded while looking at the script.
With the box of cigarettes in her hand, Su Shen came to the window and sat down to get a sense of the character. The window was open, and it was drizzling outside. In the dark night, the film site was boiling with noise, and not far away, there was the sound of gunfire from another crew.
She was wearing a red qipao with a slit to her thigh. But because of her shawl, only a portion of snow-white skin to her knee was exposed. Under the dim light, her exquisite side profile with heavy makeup could be seen, and her red lips were slightly pursed. Her jade-like fingers slowly tore the cigarette box.
Satisfied with the state of her getting into character, the director held the loudspeaker and shouted, “All of you, get out of frame. Cameraman, go over there. Yes, okay, get ready, action!”
Holding the camera, the cameraman swept a shot of the woman in front of the window, and then landed at the door. Just at this moment, the wooden door was pushed open, and a tall man walked in hurriedly. He closed the door, and then patted the raindrops off his shoulders. Then, his gaze slowly fell on the woman in front of the window.
When the camera came over again, Su Shen took out a cigarette from the cigarette box, lit it, and slowly put it into her mouth for a smoke. Her thick curled eyelashes slightly trembled, as if she was enjoying the flavor of the cigarette.
Zheng Tong came a few steps forward, leaving two meters away from her. After a pause, he asked seriously, “Why didn’t you kill him? Do you know how rare this chance is?”
As his words fell, Su Shen slightly parted her lips and slowly blew out a smoke ring. She looked down slightly and said, “I sometimes think, I have helped you so much, but you seem to have given me nothing.”
Her languid voice held a hint of indifferentness. Zheng Tong stared at the woman by the window, pursed his lips, and suddenly stepped forward. “If you wanted something, you wouldn’t have waited until today to ask me.”
“So, you’re confident that I will stupidly be used by you?” Su Shen glanced from the corner of her eye, and with a cigarette in her hand, she smiled sarcastically. “Do you know how many people die every day in Shanghai? I wonder if I will be one of them one day.”
The light in the small building was not very bright, but the exquisite looks of the woman did not decrease the slightest bit. There was no expression on her face, but that pair of slightly smiling eyes made people feel as if they went through the ups and downs of life.
The director in front of the monitor frowned tightly and stared at the screen. Even Ding Yan, who was drinking coffee in the corner, looked at this scene with a half smile. Interesting. So young, but schemes well. Else, she wouldn’t have been able to win over Xie Yan.
“You’re not the kind of person who’s greedy for life and afraid of death.” Zheng Tong stared at her and then put on his hat before turning around and leaving.
Su Shen snickered and took a deep breath of smoke. “How do you know that I’m not greedy for life and afraid of death?”
Seeing that he paused his steps, Su Shen stepped two steps forward on her high heels and glanced at him with a cigarette in her hand. “Let me tell you, not everyone is as righteous as you. You’re asking me to help you, but why should I? What have you given me?”
“Do you want to say that it’s my duty to sacrifice a bit for the poor, innocent common people?” Su Shen snickered and took another deep breath of smoke before walking over to the window slowly. “I help the poor common people, but who helped me when I was suffering?”
“My parents were bombed when I was twelve years old. I narrowly escaped and had to follow a group of beggars wandering around the streets. Who helped me at that time?” Su Shen took a deep breath and said in a cold voice, “The winters in Shanghai are so cold. I remember one year, I was almost frozen to death. Eventually, a woman threw a copper coin in front of me. She looked at me with nothing but disdain, but I was so happy. But…”
She put her hand on the edge of the window, and her red nails slowly clasped the edge. “It was snatched away, and those people laughed at me. Do you know how desperate I was? But, who came to save me at that time?!”
Zheng Tong said nothing and just looked at the woman, who was caught up in her memories, with a perplexed expression.
“Until one day, a human trafficker took me home. She had me washed up and fed me delicious food. I thought that there were still good people in the world. However, it was not until she sold me into…” Su Shen suddenly paused and turned around, staring at him fervently. “At that time, who came to save me?”
When the director’s word fell, Su Shen seemed to still not have gotten out of character, so she stood in front of the window and took a few deep breaths before she came to the monitor with a smile.
“Not bad. But Su Shen, you can speak slowly. This is not a memory, but simply a statement. You’ve already reconciled to life, so you have to tell it as if it was someone else’s story.” The director looked at her seriously.
Hearing that, Su Shen nodded and began to reflect on the script.
Although she had seen Zheng Tong at Jiang Liankai’s wedding before, Su Shen wasn’t very familiar with him. Contrarily, Xie Yan and he were rivals in a sense because they were about the same age. Fans liked to compare Xie Yan and him the most, and then turn it into a catfight. From looks to acting, the two of them were like fire and water. However, the relationship between Xie Yan and Zheng Tong was not that bad, but they weren’t close either.
Later, there was another scene that was NG before it could pass. When she returned to the hotel, it was already 10:00 pm. As soon as she entered her room, her phone rang.
Seeing that it was Xie Yan, Su Shen somehow didn’t want to answer it. But since she wasn’t there anyways, there was nothing she was afraid of.
As soon as the call connected, a deep and mellow voice came from the other end. “Finished with work?”
Su Shen went to get a glass of water and sat down on the sofa. “I just got back to the hotel. What’s wrong?”
Xie Yan was not the type to talk endlessly on the phone, so there must be something wrong with his sudden call.
“Need me to come see you?” He said calmly.
Hearing this, Su Shen felt a little embarrassed. They just separated today…
After taking a sip of water, she sat cross-legged on the sofa, holding her phone and saying softly, “Aren’t you being closely followed by the paparazzi? If it’s troublesome, it’s alright. I’m fine.”
At that, there was a pause on the other end before a deep voice sounded, “En. Are there any kiss scenes in this film?”
The scale of the plot in literary films was bigger than in commercial movies. Hearing what Xie Yan just said, Su Shen felt somewhat guilty before saying slowly, “I… I seem… to have a kiss on the cheek scene.”