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This chapter is updated by Wuxia.Blog
Translated by: ShawnSuh
Edited by: SootyOwl
Sang Young was out with his wife, Soo Jung, for an interview celebrating the movie ‘Trace of a Bird’ reaching ten million viewers. Surrounded by cameras in an office decorated mostly in white, they were reviewing a series of expected questions with a broadcast reporter. As he looked around the busy office, Sang Young realized that he had grown familiar with the sight only recently.
“You OK, hon? You looked like you checked out for a second there,” Soo Jung asked her husband.
“Oh, it’s nothing. I was just thinking about how fortunate we were.”
Despite the lack of context, she caught on immediately and smiled.
“It wasn’t a coincidence, you know.”
It was an opportunity that Sang Young had worked desperately for, and that opportunity bore a fruit of success for him and those who contributed to the production of the movie. In a world full of people and relationships, there was no room for coincidences.
Sang Young answered his wife with his husky voice. Though it sounded worn out, his voice wasn’t always as harsh as it was at present. As far as he remembered, his slightly younger self had had a voice that sounded much smoother and more pleasant, and his current voice was one of the results of an event that had taken place at some point in his life. After all, it was with that husky voice that he had been saying the young author’s name.
“What are you talking about? You’ve sounded like that since you were born!”
Sang Young felt slightly relieved from Soo Jung’s light-hearted joke. He was living that moment in the present because he had met his wife, and his encounter with a particular book had pointed him in a direction that proved to be crucial to his life. No matter what they looked like, encounters were essential components of a person’s life.
“All right! We will officially begin our interview now. Are you guys OK with that?”
The reporter who was hosting the interview struck up a conversation with the director and his wife. With the camera rolling, the reporter received a signal and started off with a question that had been written down prior.
“So, your movie reached ten million viewers just recently. How do you feel?”
Despite the boring question, Sang Young gave a sincere answer, “It still doesn’t feel entirely real, but I believe that people like Soo Jung here, who is sitting next to me, and the actors and the crew contributed much more to the film than I did.”
Then, Soo Jung’s turn came.
“I know that Mr. Ju doesn’t sound all that excited, but at home, he was jumping up and down with joy. One time, we held each other and screamed. It was a lot of fun,” Soo Jung said, and the reporter laughed cheerfully.
“How do you think ‘Trace of a Bird’ was able to reach ten million viewers?”
“I’m sure there are a number of factors, but what I see as the biggest factor is the fact that we made the most out of the original. It kind of sounds like I’m blowing my own trumpet here, but that’s what we decided to do from the get-go, and we actually carried it out, so I’ll just boast confidently.”
“He’s right. A majority of the viewers agree with Mr. Ju’s statement,” Soo Jung added.
Agreeing with her, the reporter asked a more specific question, “Was there a something that caused you to decide to stay faithful to the original?”
“I believe I’ve already answered this question elsewhere, but I’ll say it again anyway. There was no other reason for my decision aside from the book itself. I learned about ‘Trace of a Bird,’ and I read it without much thought. Then, I fell in love with it. So much so, that I looked through it a number of times throughout the day. I thought about it when I ate, as well as in my dreams, where I was the protagonist of the book. What would a person like that do if he didn’t make a movie that stayed true to its original?”
In other words, the movie was created by a fan of the original, and it had been an obvious choice.
“Speaking of which, I’ve been meaning to ask about that. My understanding is that there were several directors who were interested in making a film adaptation of the book. You probably remember reading about it on the news, right? ‘Yun Woo turns down film adaptation offer.’ I don’t know how I’ll sound when I say this, but honestly, I was somewhat puzzled when I first heard that you were directing the movie. Let’s just say that it was not something I was expecting.”
“I fully understand. I was surprised myself.”
“I’m very curious as to how you managed to convince Yun Woo.”
As he remembered something, Sang Young smiled and said, “There was nothing fancy enough that I said that convinced the author. I just kept bothering him. I’d been trying to kick the ball into the net, if you will. Needless to say, I was quite pretentious at times.”
Although the reporter wanted him to elaborate, Sang Young spoke sparingly.
“In hindsight, it seems like you really were the best director for the movie. Do you think Yun Woo saw something in you?”
Sang Young gave a light-hearted answer to the reporter’s slightly exaggerated remark, all the while thinking that Yun Woo might have seen something special in him as a director.
“Was there any difficulty in the casting process?”
That time, Sang Young answered immediately, “Not at all. Practically everyone in the crew knew about ‘Trace of a Bird,’ and a majority of them were very into the book. There was often mention of the book during every break. I remember thinking, ‘Would there ever be another movie set like this elsewhere?'”
Because everyone had carried ‘Trace of a Bird’ around with them, Sang Young didn’t even have to remind his actors to read the original.
Then, Soo Jung chimed in, “Seriously! One time, we heard the news that Yun Woo was coming out with a new book while we were filming, and the whole place shook in celebration. It was such a peculiar set.”
“That does sound like one peculiar movie set.”
With that, the reporter moved on to the next question.
“Now, about the actor that played the protagonist’s brother in the movie. Myung Joo Mu has been drawing a lot of attention for his performance.”
“We’ve been keeping our eyes on him since the audition as well. Myung Joo Mu excels when it comes to sad scenes, and his expressive eyes really work to his advantage.”
“What kind of advice did you give the actor?”
“I wouldn’t say that I gave him any advice, but we did converse quite a bit. Both of us were quite greedy about wanting to get the character right. Besides, the brother was such a strong character in the original. Frankly, I had quite a hard time with the lack of description about the character, but I barely managed to get by.”
“What was it like working with Ji Hye Goo? I know that she was already famous and a top-notch actress, but she was an especially great fit for her role in this movie.”
At that, Soo Jung nodded in agreement. Ji Hye Goo was a great actress.
“Working with Ji Hye was a breeze, especially when we were filming. We hardly ever had to ask her to do anything because she was always so well prepared. She had already studied the script thoroughly by the time she arrived on set.”
Then, Soo Jung went on to tell various anecdotes relating to the actress to the reporter. As the names of few other actors came up, the writer and her director husband took turns answering questions about them. As if he had gotten enough information, the reporter changed the course of the interview.
“The performances of these actors were, simply put, amazing, but the visual presentation of the movie left quite an impression on me. I’m not sure if there are varying shades to darkness, but there was not one boring moment, even if most of the scenes in the movie were in the dark.”
“We paid close attention to that aspect, which was inevitable if we were to make the most out of the original. As you know, the book is very colorful. A flock of birds flying up to the sky, tombs where the dead animals are buried, the bright lights bursting out in the end. I wanted to replicate them in the movie as well.”
“It must have been quite a challenge.”
“It sure was. I spent a great deal of time thinking. Before making any choice, I was always reminded that there were countless other options. There may or may not have been better ways to direct this movie, but the matter is beyond my hands now.”
The room sank into silence as the reporter was handed over a cue card slowly. Then, a smile appeared on the reporter’s face as the time had finally come to discuss the word that had been coming up throughout the interview.
“Frankly, it’s impossible not to ask about this person when discussing ‘Trace of a Bird.’ I don’t expect you guys to make this easier for me, but I gotta ask.”
As agreed previously, Sang Young pretended to be perplexed.
“Oh, boy. Is it finally time?”
“That’s right. We’re finally getting to the question about Yun Woo.”
Sang Young smiled as the reporter’s eyes sparkled with interest. It being the last official interview, the director had the freedom to be generous that day, and he and Juho had agreed to let out a small surprise for the readers and viewers of the movie.
“How involved was Yun Woo in the production?”
“Unfortunately, that’s a question outside the realm of what I can answer. He wasn’t involved at all in the making of this movie, and that even includes the title. Even if I were to name the movie, ‘Trace of a Rabbit,’ he wouldn’t have said anything about it, even if it meant me getting beaten to death by fans of the book.”
“Not one bit, huh?” the reporter asked, looking surprised.
“M-hm. He granted me complete freedom. Mr. Woo dislikes making conclusions regarding certain subjects. If anything, we had to cling to him for answers and beg desperately for clues.”
“So, did he give you any?”
“Not one,” Sang Young said, choosing his words carefully. There couldn’t be anything said about the author’s identity. Then, Soo Jung said, “Because of that, the conversation between Mr. Ju and Yun Woo became an everyday occurrence for them. Mr. Ju pouring out questions, while Mr. Woo wanted him to interpret things however he wanted.”
“How did they converse? Did they meet in person or talk over the phone?”
People were curious about even the smallest, seemingly insignificant details.
“We had meals together occasionally, but the conversations mostly happened over the phone, especially when we were filming. Actually, we met in person recently. Doesn’t that make you jealous?”
“I’m not the jealous type, but I don’t think that would apply here,” the reporter said sincerely, and Sang Young smiled proudly. “My understanding is that he’s in the process of translating a book as per the request of the infamous Kelley Coin. This is the first time something like this has ever happened.”
“Yes, I heard. It’s been quite the news.”
“There are people who are starting to doubt Yun Woo’s real age. Speaking of which, I’m kind of starting to have doubts myself. Is he really a high school student?”
At her question, Sang Young chuckled and answered, “Yun Woo is the best writer among all the students I’ve met thus far.”
It made sense for people to have doubts, especially after meeting the young author in person. When Sang Young conversed with Juho, from time to time, he found himself wondering if the author really was an eighteen-year old. Then, he remembered the author’s young face.
“Have you heard anything about Kelley Coin?”
“No, not at all.”
“Anything about his recent work-in-progress?”
“He doesn’t talk about that either.”
At his answer, the reporter’s eyes narrowed with doubt.
“Seems like Yun Woo is either really good at keeping secrets, or not all that close to you.”
“It makes me sad that you’re doubting our friendship. By the way, aren’t you here to interview us?”
“Yes, I am. Pardon me, Mr. Ju. It’s just that there are so many people who are dying to know about Yun Woo, including myself. Anyway, back to the subject.”
Then, the reporter kept on with the interview with an apparent anticipation, and soon, she brought up the question that would mark the highlight of the interview.
“What was Yun Woo’s response to the movie reaching ten million viewers?”
The time had come for them to reveal the surprise, and Soo Jung took Yun Woo’s letter out of her pocket as agreed previously. The camera focused on her hands, and the reported asked, “What’s that?”
“This is a letter from Yun Woo,” Soo Jung said as she handed it over to the reporter, who was ecstatic about it.
“Was this written personally by Yun Woo?”
“That’s right,” Sang Young said proudly as the reporter showed the letter to the camera and opened it, revealing the author’s somewhat tidy handwriting.
“Ladies and gentlemen, here is a letter written personally by Yun Woo himself, and as you can see, he seems to have quite a nice handwriting.”
Then, wearing an awe-struck look, the reporter brushed her hand down the letter and read it. Being about half a page long, the letter didn’t take long to read at all. In short, it was a letter of appreciation to the readers, the audience, and those who had contributed to the creation of the movie.
“If you’re a high school student watching this interview right now, pay close attention to your peers’ handwriting. That person might be Yun Woo.”
“This is going to be another trend, isn’t it?”
With that, the interview came to an end after a brief closing statement, and just as the reporter had predicted, the interview clip and Yun Woo’s handwriting became the most searched for things on the internet.
“What if you get caught?” Bom asked in a whisper, even covering her mouth. Her eyes were fixed on Juho’s hands as he was in the middle of writing. Staring at her for a little while, he smiled and said, “No way.”
“Don’t let your guard down! Do you have any idea how popular that interview was?! It was the interview with the most information about Yun Woo by far!” she said, looking rather serious.
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