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This chapter is updated by Wuxia.Blog
Translated by: ShawnSuh
Edited by: SootyOwl
“Debuted with a short film. Invited to over one-hundred movie festivals across the globe. Nominated for one of the most widely recognized movie awards in the world. Winner of Best Director for his recent feature film. Winner of Best Actor. Nominated in forty-five categories.”
“People don’t call me a genius director for no reason.”
Juho took the phone from Jenkin’s hand and looked at the search results for the director’s name, which the director had typed in himself. With an acting background, Jenkins was a director highly praised for his work. When Juho looked at his filmography, he saw a handful of titles that were also popular in Korea. ‘So, he’s the one that directed these movies,’ Juho thought to himself while telling the director the words that he wanted to hear, “Seems like you know what you’re doing, Mr. Jenkins.”
Folding his arms together, Jenkins’ eyes sparkled with confidence as Juho raised his tea mug up to his mouth. They were in the young author’s hotel room.
“I’ll get straight to the point. I’d like to turn your book into a movie. Trust me, Mr. Woo. You won’t be disappointed.”
After brushing his hair back with his hand, Juho said, “I’m sure you already know that I’ve received offers from an an array of directors, and that I’ve turned down every single one of them. And, it had nothing to do with their skills, I might add.”
“All of Hollywood knows about your standards, Mr. Woo,” the director replied, shaking his tea mug.
Juho also shook his tea mug and said, “I’m sorry, but I have no intention of doing another film adaptation,” sipping the tea. As the tea warmed up the inside of his mouth, he swallowed it.
Then, Jenkins showed the young author his palms.
“Let’s not go there just yet. Hear me out first, will ya? It’s just too soon to say no. BUT, I am curious as to why. Why don’t you wanna do another film adaptation?” the director asked.
“I’ve already seen what it’s like. I’ve experienced it myself,” Juho said in monotone.
“You mean ‘Trace of a Bird,’ right?”
Closing his eyes, Jenkins shook head and said, “My movie’s gonna be different. I’m going to create something that will blow the world away. You’ll have nothing to lose. Trust me.”
Then, he proceeded to explain the benefits a film adaptation could bring to the creator of the original.
“Everything’s already in place. Do you know the studio you’d be working with? Would you like to know the filming sites or the cast? How about the CG company? Are you into wizards or transforming cars? Lightsabers? I’m sure you know which company I’m talking about by now. It’s THE BEST visual effects company in all of Hollywood. You’ll have the best of the best working in your story,” Jenkins said, raving on about all the widely-known names in the industry, all without a single mention of failure. It was a strategy bigger companies tended to resort to when trying to draw someone in. In simple terms, it was a means to guarantee safety.
“If I were to make this happen, it would make it even easier for you to come up with that sequel.”
“That’s not what I’m looking for,” Juho said, his eyes half closed. However, Jenkins didn’t let up. Since the young author seemed much more resistant than he had anticipated, the director decided to approach things from a slightly different angle.
“OK, how about this?” he asked, leaning toward Juho and locking eyes with him. “I’ll make a movie that surpasses your novel series.”
“That’s what you wanted to hear, isn’t it? Wasn’t that why you gave the director of ‘Trace of a Bird’ the OK? I can do this. I WILL put your book to shame.”
Juho looked intently at the director. And, instead of giving him an answer, he asked a question, “May I ask why you’re so obsessed with this? What’s ‘Language of God’ to you, anyway?”
At that, the director furrowed his brow slightly and asked, “Don’t you know? Your books are impossible to put down.”
Then, he reached into his backpack and took a book out.
“… That book’s seen better days.”
“I’ve grown attached to it. Isn’t she lovely?”
Despite seeing a red sauce of mysterious origin on one of the pages, Juho didn’t say anything about it. Then, opening to the back of the book, the director said, “God dies.”
In the novel, god eventually came to his demise. Nothing lasted forever in that world, and God definitely wasn’t an exception.
“Along with people’s faith on God and the language He uses. The companions lose the purpose of their journey. That scoundrel of a protagonist actually matures. The relationship between the companions changes eventually, along with their social standings. Life is ever-changing, yet there’s only so much time.”
Then, slamming his hand down on the book, he said, “This book depicts that principle in the most efficient way. The characters experience it firsthand, and so do the readers.”
Jenkins’ eyes were sparkling with dangerous determination as he expressed how thoroughly, cautiously, and professionally he had studied the book, which was the kind of persuasion Juho preferred.
“You sound like you’ve actually died once, struggling desperately to change. Not only is it multidimensional, but it’s also incredibly realistic. The way this world ends is almost fantasy-like, and I wanna try something similar. I wanna make it into a movie.”
“I noticed that you look like you’re wondering why all these bothersome things keep happening to you. Do you get it now, Mr. Woo? The answer is in your writing.”
The answer was in his writing. Feeling the sentence resonate deep within his heart, Juho licked his lips. Meanwhile, Jenkins kept on unhindered, “Leave it to me, Mr. Woo. I’ll surprise you. I’ll upset you so much that you won’t sleep at night. You might end up itching to write something even better for a while, but in the end, you’ll feel proud and accomplished. After all, you’re the creator of the original. My success will lead to yours.”
“And if you fail?” the young author asked.
“That won’t happen.”
“I admire your confidence.”
“I have the skill and the achievements to back that up. Not to mention the talent. On top of that, I’m not lazy. If anything, I’m burning with passion.”
The situation in which they found themselves backed up the director’s claim even further. Fiddling with the handle of his tea mug, Juho replied, “I don’t doubt one bit that you’re a skilled director. They say that humans are fickle creatures, and I gotta admit, it seems like there’s some wisdom in that. This is starting to sound more and more tempting, Mr. Jenkins.”
At that, Jenkins narrowed his eyes, taking turns to look at the young author and his raggedy book. Just like that, time passed.
“You don’t seem all that tempted to me, Mr. Woo.”
Nothing lasted forever. Similarly, the author had also changed.
“Do you not want the same thing anymore?” Jenkins asked, and Juho gave no response, which told the director that he had guessed the right answer. “Do you not want a movie that surpasses your writing anymore?”
“I don’t know. What do you think?” Juho asked, taking his hand off the tea mug. Although he gave an ambiguous answer, Jenkins didn’t find the author’s answer upsetting because he knew that Juho was preparing to give him a proper an answer. Juho took some time to organize his thoughts. It didn’t feel right to send someone away, especially when they were so earnest.
“I’ve always been aware of how well the movie would turn out and how unlikely it was to fail. I’m also aware that you’re not only talented but also passionate. And I’m sure all of your movies are special in some way, am I right?”
“That’s right. In fact, it’ll be undeniably special. I’ll make a movie that no one else can.”
“That’s precisely it.”
“… I’m sorry, did I miss something? What’s precisely it?”
“The reason why I’m not all that interested in doing another film adaptation.”
Jenkins blinked rapidly, confused by Juho’s answer.
“I’ve learned something from my past experience,” the author said.
Sang Young had made a great movie, and Juho had also been quite satisfied by it after watching it in the theater with other viewers. The last scene, in particular, was still vivid in his mind. The birds that were flying up to the sunny sky were not only more embellished, but more beautiful than his sentences could ever be. While a part of him had been somewhat upset, another part of him had been inspired, making his palm itch.
“I used to think that my writing wasn’t half bad, good enough that my readers would be satisfied with it. I had no concerns. I used to tell myself that ‘Trace of a Bird,’ if any book, was the one decent book I’d written.”
“And that still holds true today.”
Upon returning home from the movies, Juho had taken out ‘Trace of a Bird’ and opened it. However, it hadn’t been long before he’d closed it back. He simply hadn’t been able to like the sentences within it, leaving him confused as to why his readers had been so obsessed with the book. He hadn’t been able to like the story he had written himself. He hadn’t been able to like himself, and the sense of relief he had had was no longer, only to be replaced by anxiety and insecurity. Only then, had the young author realized that he had been hoping in vain.
“I eventually came to realize that a book is a book, and a movie, a movie. My novel, his movie. No matter how hard I try, I just can’t overcome that limit. Now, I believe it’s a line that must be respected at all times. Although one would argue that they’re the same piece from a certain standpoint, what I had looked for hadn’t been in the movie.”
It had been as if searching for the sea in the middle of a desert, expecting the flavor of an apple while biting into a mango, or asking for a sausage at a gelato shop. It had been a form of denial.
“In which case, it would make logical sense to go where I think I would find what I’m looking for. And now, here I am, in Frankfurt, Germany. I hate to disappoint you Mr. Jenkins, but our encounter has nothing to with why I’m here.”
The director remained silent, realizing that he didn’t have what the author was looking for. He had understood that much from Juho’s roundabout explanation. However, he still didn’t let up. He didn’t accept it. The room sank into silence, leaving only the sound of their breathing. After holding his breath for a brief moment, Juho breathed out slowly. At that moment, Jenkins dropped his head all of a sudden, and the author looked intently at his sudden behavior.
“Interesting,” the director murmured.
“I’ve read every single one of your books because I wanted to know what kind of person Yun Woo was. You’re somebody who tries to face his readers through his writing. But, the yous within your novels were so extremely different that I just couldn’t get a grasp of what you were really like. Nevertheless, that’s what brought me all the way here to Germany.”
“Well, is there something you learned?”
“Yes. You’re more defensive than I’d thought.”
Aside from blinking, Juho showed no response. After which, the director murmured the same words as he had a moment before, “Interesting.”
“On top of that, you’re very proficient.”
With that, he started talking even faster.
“Not only do you write a lot, but you write fast. I have screenwriting experience, so I know how writing can be. What you’re doing is just unthinkable. Sometimes, it makes me wonder if you’re a robot, but as we both know, there is no such thing. At which point, the next most logical explanation is that the author is really, really brave. Although having already achieved success, he keeps going around acting like a curious rookie. He doesn’t play hard to get or try to store anything up. He just writes and writes, which seems to me like he’s much more desperate for an opportunity than he’s fearful of running dry. Yet, he’s Yun Woo. It just doesn’t add up,” the director said, resting his chin on his hand. Then, one corner of his mouth turned up.
“And it seems like you’re still doing the same thing here. I saw the video of you writing onstage. You were writing as if standing on the edge of a cliff, as if it’s your last story. Yet, now, you’re casually talking about your experiences because you’re not writing. Who knows? You said it yourself that books and movies were inherently different. Shouldn’t you be trying to do everything within your power rather than backing down after a single failure? You’re a young author. You can afford to face challenges head on,” Jenkins said restlessly and desperately.
“It appears to me that you’re only brave as an author.”
Juho and the director locked eyes with each other. Jenkins was provoking the author in a way that was different from Coin. Juho felt the director’s presence from the sole of his feet, traveling up his legs. It was as if he were standing in a swamp.
Then, opening his mouth, Juho replied in a gentle tone of voice, “That’s good to hear.”
“What?” Jenkins let out, no longer looking piercingly at Juho.
“You’re absolutely right. I’m a big coward. I’m so terrified of the water that I can’t even think about going into it. Sometimes, I even imagine a dead body floating on the surface of a body of water and I get caught up with worrying, which is the first thing I try to get rid of the second I pick up a pen. You said you have screenwriting experience, so you’ll know what I’m talking about. If I don’t do something about that fear, I can’t write. Fear brings even more fear.”
“As far as I can tell, it appears to me that I’ve succeeded.”
At that, Jenkins let out a deep sigh. The taunting approach had been hardly effective. In the end, he resorted to the easiest, most effective and efficient method of approaching those living in a capitalist society, which was equally as ineffective against Yun Woo.
“If you have a certain amount of money in mind, we’ll do our best to…”
“I’m gonna have to politely ask you to leave.”
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