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Translator: Legge Editor: Legge
Watching the commotion.
This wager set all of Hollywood abuzz.
All the Hollywood directors who were involved in the bet were stepping up on their movie productions. They had been spurred by the revelation that Zhang Ye was progressing quickly on his animated film. Onlookers from around the world also couldn’t wait for the day they could finally see these people’s finished products.
A few days later.
In a chartered car.
Yao Jiancai looked out of the window curiously. “So this is Hollywood?”
Ning Lan smiled and said, “Old Yao, is this your first time here?”
Yao Jiancai said, “Yes. Have you guys been here before?”
Dong Shanshan smiled and said, “It’s my first time visiting as well.”
Ning Lan said, “I came here a few years ago, but only as a tourist. There are almost no Chinese actors who come to Hollywood for work.”
Chen Guang gave a bitter smile and said, “The only person who is qualified to act in Hollywood chose to make an animated film instead.”
Ning Lan also smirked and said, “Yeah, if I were as capable and popular as him, I would just take part in a few Hollywood productions first. I’d take whatever movies and roles that I could since it’s more important to build up my reputation first. But for Zhang Ye, he’s always choosing to take the unorthodox path.” Then she looked at Ha Qiqi and Little Wang, who came to pick them up. “Hai, why didn’t you all talk him out of making an animated film?”
Ha Qiqi laughed and said, “Don’t you guys know Director Zhang’s temper?”
Little Wang sighed. “Yeah, who other than Minister Wu has the ability to change his mind? Besides, Minister Wu has always been such a good wife to him and always supports Director Zhang in whatever he does.”
Ning Lan said, “This animated film will take at least a few months to complete. Isn’t he afraid that his popularity will fall and he’ll drop back down to the International C-list Rankings?”
Ha Qiqi was amused by this. “Actually, that doesn’t seem like it will happen. We’ve been keeping an eye on the international celebrity rankings for the past few days as we were also afraid of that. However, not only has Director Zhang’s popularity not dropped, it even rose by a little bit. At the very least, his position on the international B-list has stabilized. He definitely won’t lose his ranking in the short term. The main cause of concern this time is his bet with the Hollywood directors. As everyone knows, it’s a must to raise one’s popularity. What I’m worried about now is the wager they have. If the box office earnings at the end are not good enough, there probably won’t be a way to turn things around. Director Zhang has always been the type to carry out his promises. If he says that he’ll quit Hollywood, he’ll definitely do it.”
Dong Shanshan flipped her hair. “We were worried about this too. That’s why we came over in advance to see if there’s anything we can do for him.”
The car arrived at its destination and stopped in front of Star Moon Animation Studios’ main entrance.
The moment they stepped out of the car, Zhang Ye was there to welcome them.
“Haha, you’ve all arrived?”
“We haven’t seen you in a few days, but you’re already jostling with Hollywood again?”
“It was what I had to do.”
“Can you win?”
“No matter what, we’re here to help.”
“Now that you’re all here, I feel much more reassured.”
Zhang Ye invited them inside and brought them around for a simple tour of the place. Seeing his old friends here, he felt very happy and also calmed down a little. They were, after all, his partners he had worked together with for a very long time. With them around, he would always feel much more at ease.
They came to the conference room.
Zhang Ye smiled and said, “Brothers and sisters, we’re going to be working together again. Since we’re such old friends, I’ll skip the formalities.”
Dong Shanshan laughed and said, “Since when have you ever said anything formal before?”
Yao Jiancai said, “If only he knew how to do that, we wouldn’t be in this situation.”
Zhang Ye chuckled and said, “With you guys, I don’t need to be so polite. I’ve worked together with Shanshan on many variety shows and have been longtime partners with Old Yao for many years as well. Old Chen has also always joined me on many of my shows as a guest, and I don’t think I need to mention Sister Ning, do I? We’re such old friends, so of course I would think about you guys first when a good opportunity arises. As the saying goes, a family always looks out for one another. We used to work so well together back in China, and now that I’m making my first movie abroad, it’s actually not that different.”
Yao Jiancai rolled his eyes. “But this is Hollywood. How is it not different?”
Zhang Ye said in amusement, “How is it different? Isn’t it just making movies?”
Ning Lan couldn’t help but laugh and say, “It’s only you who dares to think that way.”
Zhang Ye said, “For these voice acting roles, some of you might have done it before, and some of you might not have. But it’s actually not that different from traditional acting. You still have to carry out your work as an actor. I don’t have to explain to you all how important a voice actor is for an animated film. We have two main problems right now—English and singing. How is everyone’s English? Tell me.”
Yao Jiancai took the initiative and said, “I have to practice more.”
Chen Guang said with a wry smile. “My English isn’t up to par. I’m only around the level of CET-4 or so.”
Ning Lan said, “It’s not a problem for me.”
It was even more unnecessary for Dong Shanshan to mention hers. Graduating as a broadcasting major, her English would definitely not be bad.
Zhang Ye nodded. “Old Yao doesn’t have too many lines and should do OK with some practice. Old Chen has more scenes, so do hurry and put in more effort to practice.”
Chen Guang said, “Alright, you don’t have to worry about it.”
Ning Lan looked at him. “I can understand your concerns about our English, but what was it about singing?”
Zhang Ye said, “There will be many scenes in the movie where the characters will be singing.”
He assigned the roles to them.
The supporting roles.
Ning Lan said in anguish, “I’m not great at singing.”
Dong Shanshan smacked her lips. “I’m only so-so, but I can sing.”
Chen Guang laughed. “I’m a professional when it comes to singing.”
Zhang Ye laughed and said, “Let’s do a table read.”
The group had just arrived, but they were already pulled in for practice by the workaholic Zhang Ye.
There wasn’t a need to mention Chen Guang since he was a professional singer. Even though his English was average and he had a heavy accent, when he opened his mouth to sing in English, the accent disappeared, and all of the words were properly enunciated. Perhaps this had to do with him singing English rock songs in his early years in the industry. Hence, Zhang Ye was very happy with his performance. What most astonished him was Dong Shanshan’s good singing. It wasn’t at a professional level yet, but it fit the role she was going to play. The ingenuous sense in her singing portrayed Princess Anna’s character quite well, and there was nothing in her English to nitpick either.
Zhang Ye only had praise for her.
Ning Lan blinked. “What about me?”
Zhang Ye said nervously, “Sister Ning is lacking a little.”
Ning Lan said helplessly, “That’s all I’ve got though.”
Chen Guang said, “Why don’t you practice more? There’s still time.”
Ning Lan shook her head. “This is a matter of talent. It’s not something that can change with practice. I can’t sing the songs that the character sings in the movie. Zhang’er, do you have any other roles that don’t require me to sing?”
“I do.” Zhang Ye gave it some thought. “But who will sing the female lead’s songs then?”
Chen Guang said, “The female lead hasn’t been decided yet?”
Zhang Ye said, “There are two female leads. Shanshan will be playing one of them, and I wanted Sister Ning to take the other one because I think her voice is very suitable for it. But that’s not really possible now since Sister Ning can’t sing the key song. This song is the crux of the entire movie. It’s even more important than all of the other songs in the movie combined. That’s why I must cast someone with the right voice who can both act and sing. Old Chen, do you think your wife is up for it?”
Chen Guang said, “She might not be able to sing it good enough.”
Dong Shanshan said, “Can Sister Lan do it?”
Zhang Ye said, “I’ll check with them.”
Zhang Ye went looking for them.
They recorded their samples and sent them to him.
In the end, Zhang Ye was still unsatisfied. Fan Wenli was a professional singer, and there was nothing to say about her singing. However, her voice was not suitable for the role. A person’s vocal register was not something that can be changed. It was the same for Xu Meilan as well. Not only did her vocal register not match Zhang Ye’s requirements for the character, she was also not a professional singer. She made her name as an actor, so her singing was relatively weaker.
What should he do then?
Who else was there?
Zhang Ye was starting to get worried. He could improvise on everything other than this role and song.
Suddenly, Ning Lan smiled. “I thought of a person who can definitely do it.”
Zhang Ye was taken aback. “Who?”
Chen Guang gave Ning Lan a look. “I also thought of someone.”
Ning Lan smiled. “The two of us must be thinking of the same person.”
Chen Guang said, “Yes, if it’s her, she’ll definitely be able to do it.”
Zhang Ye urged them, “Hurry up and say it. Who?”
Ning Lan blinked. “I’m just afraid you won’t be able to convince her.”
Zhang Ye chuckled. Then he boasted, “Sister Ning, are you looking down on me? I dare not claim so for the celebrities abroad, but in China, this bro still has some influence, alright? Who can there be in Chinese showbiz that I cannot convince?”
Ning Lan gave him a look. “Can you convince Sister Zhang?”
The former Heavenly Queen?
One of the rare few people in the Chinese entertainment industry who stood on the international stage before?
Zhang Ye had a contemplative look on his face. Then he suddenly slapped his thigh and shouted out, “That’s right! That’s right! How could I have forgotten about Sister Zhang! She will definitely be suitable for this role!”
Sister Zhang was a perfect fit for the role!
There wasn’t even a need for her to audition. Zhang Ye knew that she could absolutely play the role!
But the only problem was that Sister Zhang had retired from the entertainment circle for a long time. Was there anyone who could possibly convince her to come out of retirement?
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