Chapter 232

{What do you think?}

Ian demonstrated Woo-Jin’s earlier acting exactly the way it was. Even though he was dressed as Albert, it wasn’t awkward at all –– it felt as though he was Lloyd himself. Thus, Woo-Jin, who was now portraying Albert, continued reciting his lines smoothly. 

{Even though I can’t see it, I always get good vibes from your paintings, so it puts me in a good mood.}

Woo-Jin was sitting on a chair, looking in the direction of the painting. His gaze was focused on one place for a while before shifting to other places in the next moment. Nobody could tell what those eyes were looking at; it looked as though he was cross-eyed, and his pupils were empty and hollow. 

Whenever Ian recited Lloyd’s lines, Woo-Jin would move and stretch his head towards him and pivot his ear to hear him a little better. 

{Even if you don’t wear them while painting, you have to keep them on at other times. By the way, did you hurt yourself? Why do you smell like blood?}

Rather than asking out of concern, Woo-Jin pressed for an answer. He reached his hand out and felt around Ian’s face. 

{Yes, I hurt myself. I bled a lot yesterday because I hurt myself, but I guess I’m still bleeding.}

Ian reenacted the exact look on Woo-Jin’s face earlier, which frightened him. Imitating someone else’s acting didn’t make him feel humiliated. In fact, if he weren’t able to accomplish that, he wasn’t worthy of being an actor, and that pride itself was dominating him. He was mad at himself for being afraid of Woo-Jin, and that anger was also currently helping him portray Lloyd. 

Because of that, the hearts of other people watching him sank. His acting was certainly not as good as Woo-Jin’s, but it was good enough to create a strong impact. No matter how many times they had watched this scene, they couldn’t get used to it. 

However, Woo-Jin was calm in the face of Ian’s terrifying look. No, he was fired up with a slightly different emotion. 

{You didn’t hurt your hand by any chance, did you?}

Woo-Jin cupped his hands around Ian’s face; he was feeling worried, wondering if he had hurt his hand.

Lloyd was angry with his father for only being concerned about his hands instead of wondering where and how he got hurt and how serious his injuries were. He crankily shoved Albert’s hands aside and got up. 

Lloyd turned his back on Albert while the latter reached out his hand towards him. Albert was at a loss. He spread out his fingers and then cowered repeatedly. He then lifted his hand with an expressionless face. While staring blankly in front of him, several emotions flashed across Albert’s face momentarily.

It was the face of a flustered foolish adult who didn’t know what to do because he was overwhelmed with grief over his incompetence and concern for his son. However, he soon had a firmer look on his face. It was a tangible change that stemmed from the hope that his son would become a strong person instead of a weak person like himself. 

Woo-Jin portrayed Albert’s feelings according to his interpretation without saying a single line and only using gestures and facial expressions. He didn’t look anything like the lunatic killer he portrayed earlier on –– he was just an old and miserable middle-aged man who made the foolish choice of putting up a wall between him and his son because of his pitiful fatherly love. 

***

{Thank you very much. Next, Edwin Rucker. Please get ready.}

Director Pharrell announced the end of Woo-Jin’s audition. However, Woo-Jin couldn’t act out the entire script because of Ian, so he felt it was a shame that it ended like this. He came to audition as Lloyd but only portrayed Albert until the end. Hence, Woo-Jin looked back at Director Pharrell and asked.

{What about the unfinished portion of Lloyd’s part? I’d like to finish acting out the rest.}

{That’s fine.}

Director Pharrell smiled at Woo-Jin and responded that what he did was sufficient. He wasn’t the only one who felt that way; as soon as the other judges also gave a slight nod, Woo-Jin couldn’t insist any further and had to back down. He sat down on the chair Edwin was sitting on earlier, feeling rather unpleasant. 

The awkwardness disappeared as soon as Edwin started acting. Since people usually had high praises for Edwin’s acting, this was an excellent opportunity for Woo-Jin to see what his acting was like for himself. 

A few minutes after Woo-Jin waited in anticipation for Edwin to portray a different version of Lloyd, his face became distorted. Edwin Rucker often portrayed intellectual characters because of his cold aura, but he had been an actor with very diverse acting skills since his early years as an actor. Woo-Jin had high expectations as he didn’t know how he would portray Lloyd.  

However, Edwin’s current version of Lloyd was extremely familiar. It was similar to the Lloyd Woo-Jin portrayed earlier. It wasn’t exactly the same as Ian’s, but the acting style was strangely similar. 

{Wait a minute! I’d like a do-over.}

Perhaps Edwin felt it too –– he raised his hand abruptly halfway through acting and requested a do-over. 

{What do you think?}

Edwin started acting again, and his own version of Lloyd could be seen at a glance this time around. His Lloyd wasn’t as adorable as Woo-Jin’s Lloyd at the beginning of his performance, but Edwin displayed his charm, which was the cold aura that was unique to him.

However, it only lasted for a short moment. At some point, Edwin started imitating Woo-Jin’s acting again. Worst of all, he was well aware of his acting. Thus, he couldn’t tolerate it every time he recited a line and couldn’t move on to the next line smoothly. 

{Damn it!}

Edwin couldn’t finish reciting his lines; he got up from his seat and tousled his hair with both hands. Coincidently, it was the same part Ian had stopped at earlier. However, he couldn’t continue acting for an entirely different reason. 

{I’m sorry, but I can’t go any further.}

Edwin’s perpetually cold face was covered in sweat. As a result, his face was already dirty because his makeup smudged everywhere. His contorted face was on the verge of tears at any moment, so none of the judges were mad at him. They knew that the person who was currently having the hardest time here was none other than Edwin himself. 

As an actor, it was difficult for Edwin to continue putting up with himself for imitating Woo-Jin’s acting, so he apologized to the judges before leaving the audition hall. Whether it was because he had a hard-nosed personality, just like the rumors said, or he couldn’t tolerate being here any longer because he felt embarrassed, it was a matter no one else could fathom but himself.

{Uh… uh!}

Lina Owen was the most aggressive of all the judges when supporting Edwin. She stuttered in embarrassment, but she didn’t try to stop him from leaving either. The judges were not upset by his insolent behavior of quitting the audition halfway and leaving. Instead, it was a situation where they had to be worried about Edwin. 

Nobody could speak easily. Edwin just had to watch Woo-Jin’s version of Lloyd twice, including the one portrayed by Ian. Choi Woo-Jin’s acting was so intense that it still lingered in his head, and he watched Ian’s performance right after Woo-Jin’s, so it was hard for him to act properly. 

But that didn’t mean he was in a position to blame anyone. Perhaps, even if Edwin didn’t watch Ian’s performance, he would have still found it hard to portray other versions of Lloyd as his mind was occupied with Woo-Jin’s version of Lloyd. While it was a shame that things would’ve been better had Edwin acted first, it was unlikely that the outcome would’ve changed significantly. 

Director Pharrell tried his best to maintain his composure and spoke to Woo-Jin. 

{We have no other choice but to end the auditions here. We’ll inform you of the results afterward via your agency.}

Since they had conducted an interview yesterday, they didn’t conduct another one today. Even if they did, it was pointless as they’d be interviewing Woo-Jin alone since Edwin left. As the situation took a strange turn, Woo-Jin had no choice but to leave the audition hall without saying a word.

“This is so unsettling….”

Seeing another candidate leave halfway was never a pleasant thing. Woo-Jin was looking forward to receiving the results after following every step of the process and competing fairly. This felt somewhat empty. 

“But that doesn’t mean I have an absolute advantage over him, so I can’t celebrate yet.”

Just because Edwin didn’t finish his audition, it didn’t mean that Woo-Jin was confident he had the upper hand. Woo-Jin was well-aware that auditions weren’t always fair. 

Judging from what happened with Park Min and Do-Ya at the audition, Woo-Jin didn’t think it was an issue unique to Korea. Regardless of how fair they tried to judge the actors, the judges were still human beings after all, so personal reasons and standards played a huge role in affecting their judgment. Thus, it was hard to guarantee the results with just one’s performance alone. 

More importantly, if there were other criteria apart from acting skills, the judges had enough reasons to fail him. Woo-Jin already knew what the criteria were after watching two of the judges’ interviews. He shook his head because there was nothing he could do about it. He just wanted to rest today without thinking about anything.

{Is it over? What would you like to do about the makeup? If you’d like to remove it, you may head towards the waiting room. If you’d like to leave immediately, you may head straight to your accommodation without going anywhere else.}

As soon as Woo-Jin left the audition hall, two employees waiting for him pointed to the two doors and explained. 

The door leading to the waiting room was on one side –– he had to head there if he wanted to remove his makeup. And on the other side was the door leading to the passageway, where actors that had completed their auditions used to exit. The front door was used by the judges and staff members, as well as people from Midas Agency, so many people were using it. The door at the back only had an emergency exit and elevators along the long passageway.

Thus, if he wanted to leave the venue without removing his makeup, it was recommended for him to go directly to the underground parking lot via the back door. Lloyd’s makeup wasn’t a secret, but it was good to avoid any media exposure in advance. 

Woo-Jin chose the latter because he wanted to take a bath first instead of removing his makeup. Even if he were to remove his makeup here, he didn’t have the proper tools with him, so all he could do was wash his face. Instead of being surrounded by people and removing his makeup in a slipshod manner, he’d rather use the time to get back to his accommodation as quickly as possible. 

{In that case, we’ll tell your staff members to wait for you in the underground parking lot instead. And here’s a hat.} 

As though they had already known Woo-Jin’s answer, the employee spoke eloquently and even handed him a hat they had prepared in advance. Woo-Jin left via the back door, wearing a hat to cover his hair and eyes to a certain extent –– even though it wasn’t a perfect disguise. 

As he waited for the elevator to go down from a higher floor, he suddenly heard a strange sound. 

*Sobbing sounds.*

Woo-Jin looked around after hearing the intermittent sounds of someone sobbing and realized they were coming from behind the emergency exit door. However, he didn’t intend to head in that direction or open the door as he could guess who the person on the other side of the door was. 

As soon as he heard the sound of the elevator, the sobbing sounds from within the emergency exit stopped abruptly. Watching the doors of the elevator opening, Woo-Jin’s heart grew heavy as well because he understood how Edwin felt –– he couldn’t bring himself to cry in front of the staff members waiting downstairs, so he hid there and cried instead.

In Edwin’s case, he wasn’t bothered about whether or not he would fail the audition. Just like how there were roles suited for him and others that didn’t, he couldn’t always be good at acting. If it was just a bad day, he would merely feel sad about not having luck on his side, and that would have been it, but imitating someone else’s acting was simply horrendous because there was no justification for it.

Woo-Jin wasn’t conceited by the fact that he was the reason behind Edwin’s predicament; he was simply thankful he wasn’t the one crying over there. 


Woo-Jin looked at Ian and realized how circumstances could change at any given moment within this industry. Today, he wasn’t the actor Woo-Jin looked up to and liked. Woo-Jin might or might not have been expecting too much, but Ian’s acting was dry and disappointing. It felt as though he was looking at a clock that had stopped. 

It was a world where you’d fall behind and be overshadowed by others if you did nothing and remained the same. It was a providence that even Ian, who had stopped progressing at a certain point, couldn’t avoid. But, regardless of how the results would turn out to be, it was only the beginning –– not the end. 

***

As soon as the judges reconvened after the auditions ended, Daniel and Lina’s mixed feelings were written all over their faces. That was because they could no longer insist on casting only White Americans. From the moment Choi Woo-Jin and Edwin Rucker entered the audition hall for the first time, their hearts had already wavered. 

Edwin clearly had the image that was more in line with Lloyd’s without makeup. He had pale skin and blonde hair that was close to silver, as well as a cold and smart-looking face. Lina argued that he could instantly turn into Lloyd with just a few tweaks here and there because of his cold appearance. It was initially convincing. 

However, as soon as they saw the two actors standing side by side in the same clothes and makeup, the judges’ gazes were drawn to Choi Woo-Jin. Edwin looked like someone dressed as an albino with white skin, white hair, and red eyes, while Choi Woo-Jin looked natural, like an actual albino. His hollow and mysterious image made him look beautiful. 

The fragility emanating from his skinny body was reminiscent of Lloyd even when he was standing still. They couldn’t take their eyes off him. They had a feeling that if they were to shoot the movie with him looking like that, it would look perfect with just his looks alone. 

{It’s now time to come to a conclusion.}

Ian nodded after hearing what Pharrell said. He was the first one to speak, albeit with much difficulty. 

{My opinion has not changed  –– I still think there’s no better actor than Choi. In fact, it seems like the problem lies with me instead. When I imagine myself acting alongside him, I look forward to it, but I feel afraid too. Would I be able to handle him?}

Ian had lost his confidence. After hearing his words, aside from Ilya, everyone looked up at the ceiling for a moment. Because they had swapped roles, Choi Woo-Jin showed everyone that he did a better job than Ian when portraying the blind Albert. Ian’s concerns were valid –– he wasn't just grumbling. 

{Other actors would be worse than Ian at handling him. Instead, it would be more convenient if someone else played Lloyd instead of Choi.}

{Absolutely not!}

Pharrell built up Ian’s self-esteem and paid lip service to keep him around. However, Daniel seemed to have misconstrued it as letting Choi Woo-Jin go and casting another actor in his place –– he sprung to his feet and protested agitatedly. Daniel, of all people, reacted in such a manner, so everybody looked up at him in bewilderment. 

It seemed like Daniel realized what he said only after his outburst; he blinked for a moment before smiling awkwardly and muttering an excuse. 

{It’s all about acting skills when it comes to actors.}

When Woo-Jin portrayed Lloyd the day before, it was bearable to some extent. However, after dressing up as Lloyd, he was pretty much like the real deal. He checked all the boxes –– from his looks to his acting. He couldn’t object to casting him just because he wasn’t an American. 

Just imagining Choi Woo-Jin’s version of Lloyd alone had already made his heart tremble with exhilaration. Thinking about casting another actor for that role was enough to annoy him. He loved Confession of White so much that Choi Woo-Jin had to be cast as Lloyd to shoot a perfect film. 

{I approve of Choi Woo-Jin as well.}

After Daniel expressed his thoughts, Lina acknowledged Woo-Jin with much difficulty. Even though she didn’t expect Edwin to break down during his performance, she had never expected Choi Woo-Jin to overshadow Edwin in terms of his appearance after they both dressed up as Lloyd.

To be precise, it wasn’t that Edwin was not a good fit for Lloyd –– he merely paled in comparison to Choi Woo-Jin. As such, Choi Woo-Jin was better than him in every aspect; he was perfect.

{He looked great dressed as Lloyd, and we’ve all acknowledged his remarkable acting skills yesterday, but he only looks like Lloyd because of the makeup.} 

{You’re wrong.}

Ilya had been silent the entire time. He broke the silence by refuting Lina’s comments. 

{It wasn’t because of the makeup –– he was already Lloyd from the moment he stepped into the audition hall.}

{Isn’t that the same thing?}

She thought Woo-Jin looked like Lloyd as soon as he stepped into the audition hall because the makeup was done right. 

{From the way he walked to his facial expressions –– Choi Woo-Jin was completely different from his usual self today. Rucker merely entered the audition hall dressed as Lloyd, while Choi Woo-Jin had been acting as Lloyd from the moment he opened the door. Thus, unlike Rucker, who separated the character from his getup, Choi Woo-Jin naturally left an impression on us as Lloyd.}

Since he was looking at Lloyd, he naturally regarded Woo-Jin as Lloyd. Ilya was someone who knew Lloyd the best in the entire world and knew Woo-Jin personally as well, so only he could notice the difference.

{Isn’t the attempt to win against someone who’s already Lloyd a comedy in itself?}

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