14.3 – I keep feeling that this person looks familiar
Xue Ling, who had become confident because of some odd changes in his life, finally received a notice from Tianxuan Entertainment. He had thought that Tianxuan Entertainment would screen him out because of his previous trashy works, but later, it seemed that anyone who sent in their resume would get a response, so he was a little more relieved.
But this was basically useless. Tianxuan Entertainment signed on new people once every quarter, but their actors quota was never filled. They did not intend to cultivate a second Su Liunian, and were looking for something different. But film emperor level people tended to have their own studios, and were extremely unlikely to transfer over. Newcomers did not have Su Liunian-level acting skills, so while Tianxuan signed on various types of people every year, the actor position was always left empty.
Tianxuan Entertainment’s rules for recruiting newcomers were the same this year. They would internally provide resources and investment for a shooting, and send scripts to every person who sent in their resumes. Those who wanted to join Tianxuan would come forth to audition, and if they passed and were given a role, it would mean that they had entered the second round of the tryouts. If they didn’t pass, they would be eliminated.
There were only a few roles that can could be acted out in a script, and there were only a few spots to audition for. It was no different from having thousands of horses cross a wooden bridge; it would be a bloody fight no matter what. And there was no other way; as long as it was a script that Tianxuan provided, it was guaranteed to be a well-made plot, and with this level of plot, in general, directors and producers would be very demanding regarding the acting skills that the actors had. There was basically no way to enter through the back door at all.
In addition to all that, joining the team did not necessarily mean entry into Tianxuan. Most people were still eliminated after the script was produced, but with their roles as compensation, there were no complaints. After all, the Su Family was not easy to go up against, and anyone who mixed in these circles knew what kind of people were behind the Su Family’s two movie emperors.
Xue Ling opened up the script. This year, the drama that Tianxuan was investing in was a modern criminal detective drama. It was an adaptation of a famous licensed work and was being done in cooperation with the World Literature Network. The author of the work was famous suspense writer from the network. Xue Ling had only received a portion of the script, so he went online to look for the book and prepared to research which role to choose.
The protagonist of the story was a forensic doctor. The story started in the police station and city that he lived in, and centered around a serial homicide case. There were several suspects, and while the overall feeling of the entire plot was relaxed and casual, underneath this bright tone were undercurrents of depression and tension. Every case was like a boulder on top of everyone’s head, but often, people were still forced to laugh.
The frequency of the murders became increasingly frequent, but the clues turned more and more complicated. It was as though the murderer was hiding in the fog, and the shadow of his figure was very indistinct. He seemed to be casually toying with the main character, and enjoyed making the followers of the novel anxious.
This method of adapting the novel into a movie or TV drama was very interesting. The author’s writing was sophisticated, and every hint of foreshadowing was well hidden; after the reader reached the ending and looked back, they would realize that the author had already told them about what the murderer had done previously, but at the time, what the reader understood and what the author ultimately wanted to convey were completely different.
Xue Ling spent two days carefully going through the full novel and script over and over, practicing in front of the mirror multiple times before finally believing that his acting skills improved dramatically, just like he had somehow suddenly turned on a plug-in.
He asked the system if it was a benefit of having the system around, but the system insisted that this was his own talent, and that it had no relation to the system in any way.
Xue Ling believed its words for the moment, then turned to continue studying the psychology of the characters.
Looking at the whole story, the most brilliant character was naturally the protagonist. The protagonist’s role was very challenging, because he was acting as both the protagonist and the villain. The serial cases in this story were actually done at the hands of the protagonist, but he was always able to create an alibi and provide proof. Even at the end of the story, he was still the main investigator for the case, and he was able to successfully dodge all the blame and keep suspicion from landing on his body.
The protagonist had two personalities, one was the investigator’s personality, and the other was that of the murderer. Both personalities knew of the other’s existence, and this entire story was set up to showcase the two personalities. Everyone around the main character, those who thought that they were his friends, his teachers, and even his working partners, were all being juggled and manipulated by these two personalities.
The story even revealed at the end that the body actually had a suppressed third personality, but in the end, no one knew whether the third personality was the original one, the ‘real’ protagonist.
When the book was serialized on the World Literature Network, it set off a huge storm. Every day, people wrote thousands of words to analyse and guess who the murderer was, but the final result was that everyone was slapped in the face with the truth. It was a very good story – if one did not read all the way to the end, there was absolutely no way to know the real truth. It was very expensive for Tianxuan to obtain the licensing for this book, and this was also related to the World Literature Network.
After all, everyone knew that the World Literature Network and Huaxia were in the same group. Basically, Huaxia Entertainment had priority over all the good stories, and for Tianxuan to have won in a bid against Huaxia meant that more than the two film emperors of Su Family had been involved.
Xue Ling did not concern himself over the deal that the World Literature Network and Tianxuan made. He simply devoted himself to playing the leading role of this disillusioned split personality madman. After the main character’s split personality had been exposed, his fans suddenly increased a lot. Many people expressed their surprise at such a turnaround; hadn’t it been said that he would be a good, simple, abstinent protagonist?! How could he share a body with this psychopathic monster boss! Yingyingying, they really liked this kind of thing!
This novel was followed by a wave of similar works, but they were all unable to match up to, let alone crush, the overpoweringly perfect protagonist of the original. No matter how they were written, they were still considered as poor imitations.
Taking on this role and acting it would be the same. If he failed to portray the core essence of the role, it would definitely arouse the audience’s disgust and he would probably eventually be blackened into the worst of all scums. In that case, he wouldn’t be counterattacking against the entertainment industry; he would be kicked out by the circle.
A week after receiving the audition, Xue Ling had already gone through the entire script over a dozen times before finally determining that he had it all under control. He took some time to go onto his Weibo, and told his fans that he had formally terminated his contract with his previous agency.
Fans also thought he would stop performing, and kicked up a fuss. Xue Ling explained that he was just looking for another agency, and was not giving up acting, then recorded a video of him singing in order to appease them before finally turning his fans back into cute little appearance worshippers.
Because of this video of him singing, Xue Ling inexplicably became popular again. He had recorded it at home, and because it was intended to coax his fans, he had sung a love song. He himself did not feel like he had made any progress with his singing, but everyone praised him for singing very well, and it made the group of listeners suddenly want to go and fall in love.
Xue Ling expressed that he was innocent, and tossed the matter to the back of his head. Naturally, he did not realize that the video had attracted certain people’s attention.
[ Tentative Dawn: Liunian, I found someone for the voice actor position you were looking for earlier~ ]
[ Adverse Years: ? Earlier? Is it for the song at the end of the drama? ]
[ Tentative Dawn: Yes. Didn’t you say that it was okay if your second brother sings it, but it didn’t feel right? You wanted me to help you stay on the lookout for a voice that sounded like it wanted to fall in love? I’ll send you the video. You can take a look~ ]
[ Adverse Years: Okay. Send it over. ]
[ Tentative Dawn: I don’t know if it’s an illusion, but I keep feeling that this person looks familiar. ]
[ Adverse Years: You’ve only been working fully for half a year. How could there be so many familiar people? Perhaps they’ve been on film before and you caught a glimpse. ]
[ Tentative Dawn: Maybe. In that case, I’m going to go deal with some new projects. Soaring Skies’ new script is auditioning for actors today. Soaring Skies doesn’t have time to go, so I’m going to help him take a look. ]
[ Adverse Years: Go ahead. ]
Su Liunian was also an author that belonged to the World Literature Network. He had the same editor as Soaring Skies, and Tentative Dawn was now the editorial assistant in charge of their affairs. He had a lot of things to manage, and they were all complicated. It was hard on him, and he was busy to the point of going around in circles, but he still managed to pay attention to the voice he needed for the end of his audio drama.
Although Tianxuan was investing in this project, and Tianxuan was responsible for selecting actors, the audition was still held in the Huaxia Entertainment building. It seemed that Huaxia Entertainment was also investing in this, and a large portion of the directors had come out of Huaxia.
Xue Ling formally said goodbye to his former assistant due to the termination of his contract. He had no outstanding projects, and did not require an assistant for the time being, so he only brought the system with him to the Huaxia Entertainment building. After the front desk confirmed the letter on his nano-computer, he was invited to the seventh floor.
Huaxia Entertainment was a company that belonged to the Yuan Group. They mainly focused on the film and television industry. Other than Huaxia Entertainment, Yuan Group also had several other cornerstone enterprises in the cultural and entertainment industries, including the World Literature Network. This was also why Xue Ling’s first choice had been Huaxia Entertainment when he was considering switching agencies. Regardless of whether it was at home or abroad, Yuan Group was the sky for the entertainment industry. They controlled more than half of the entertainment lifelines of the industry in the world. Regardless of whether it was fiction, film, television, or games, music, as long as it was in any way related to people’s spiritual entertainment, the Yuan Group was involved in it in some way. They were very much worthy of their title as the entertainment industry’s number one.
But the system ultimately did not feel that it would be good for him to join with the Yuan group, so went with Tianxuan instead. Compared to Huaxia Entertainment, the shadow of the seven great families could also be seen in Tianxuan Entertainment. Although it seemed worse than Huaxia in all aspects, their company’s productions were always of a guaranteed quality.
Many people came to participate in the audition. Fortunately, Xue Ling had arrived early, because otherwise he might have to wait in line until next year. Some people who came later basically gave up on the opportunity this time because they would be unable to join the current team. The director’s time was limited, and there was no shortage of actors in the circle. Even if they ended up unable to find the right actors from amongst so many people, it was still very possible for them to choose people that did not belong to Tianxuan. Regarding this point, Tianxuan had never insisted on anything. They had provided the opportunity, and whether or not the actors could grasp it was up to them.
Xue Ling’s spot was towards the front of the line. He put on his headphones and looked through the script again rather than greeting the people around him. Only when his nano-computer prompted him did he stand up, tidy up his clothes, and step calmly into the audition hall.
Because it was a modern drama, the audition did not provide any choice for clothing. Therefore, Xue Ling put in a little extra effort when he chose his clothing today. He picked out a long white overcoat and dressed up a bit according to the most common description of how the main character and the opposing boss dressed. They liked to wear all kinds of overcoats, and when they were worn on top of their suit, it gave off a kind of ascetic, serious, cold and distant feel.
The group of directors was seated in a line within the audition hall. Xue Ling’s eyes swept over them, and paused over a cute looking youth before sweeping on as though he hadn’t noticed anything. He bowed and greeted, “Hello, directors and everyone present. I’m Xue Ling. I am auditioning for the role of Wei Chisu.”
The director nodded, looked at Xue Ling and said, “You were an actor before, and I have heard a little about the roles you played. With your acting skills, you won’t be able to grasp a character like Wei Chisu.” He spoke very directly, and his words basically expressed one thing—you won’t be able to do it.
Xue Ling curved his lips, “If it’s possible to fully deduce whether or not a role is suitable based on previous works, then there would be no need for auditions.”
The director did not reject his response. He merely raised his hand and said, “Give it a shot then. Which scene?”
“Scene 10.” The script had not been fully completed, and most of the scripts that could be put into production now were all from the early stages of the story. Amongst the available scenes, the one most well suited to showcasing the protagonist was Scene 10, which expressed the contradictions within this character.
It was the first time that someone from behind the scenes appeared, and also the first time he confronted protagonist and his party.
The real murderer was clearly standing right beside him, but Wei Chisu still had the ability to control everything around him and make it so that his partners completely excluded him from the list of suspects. Many of his moves were even made right in front of everyone, but no one doubted him.
The audition hall was very empty. There were some props in the corner that people coming up for auditions could choose from to assist them in their performance. Xue Ling looked through the props, and finally chose a lighter that he then held in his hand.
Turning around and returning to the middle of the hall, he bowed again. When he looked up again, in front of everyone, he already resembled Wei Chisu.
Regardless of whether it was the clothing on his body or his pair of beautiful fox’s eyes, by the time he lifted up his gaze, everything was different.
A fair and powerful hand slowly flipped the lighter in his hand. He stood there, and there was clearly only one person, but everyone felt as though they could see several other characters following from behind. This was because all of Xue Ling’s movements indicated that beside him, were his companions.
His body turned slightly to the side, and his gaze occasionally flashed with amusement when they touched on various places. His sombre, yet incredibly pleasant voice rang out as he slowly, leisurely opened his mouth to speak, reciting a few lines that belonged to Wei Chisu.
Standing there, he clearly showed the personality traits of two different people. His movements and appearance looked serious, but when one looked at that pair of hands that were spinning the lighter, the unrestrained side of his personality became obvious. The expression on his face was solemn, and even carried a trace of deep fear as though he felt that the opponent they were facing was a very powerful one.
But in fact, the person he was dealing with was nothing but a little lackey he had paid for. All of the lackey’s instructions had come from him, and he was the only person in this game who knew everything, and controlled everything.
The cast of characters for this final arc is actually based on three other novels written by the same author. The author wrote a set of four books set in the same ‘universe’, of which WTMT is the fourth (and last) one. This is also why some of the characters seem to have a deeper backstory than what’s actually written in the arc; it’s assumed that you know some things about their background already.
The pairings for the previous works are:
1 – Su Liunian x Su Xuanqing
Su Liunian rebirthed, the two of them are technically brothers, but not blood related~ Su Xuanyan is their eldest brother
2 – Yuan Chuanbai x Baili Shaojue
Yuan Chuanbai is a genuine fortune teller, the Yuan Family is the same one that owns the World Literature Network
3 – Ji Zichen x Shen Chongwen
Ji Zichen is the transmigrating child that Xue Ling’s soul was originally attached to~