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As soon as Xu Luoyang got off the plane, he first sent a message to Qi Chang’an saying that he had landed safely and then rushed to the set without stopping.
When he was brought to Chu Wei by the director’s assistant, the director was wearing a long black down coat and was fiddling with an equipment. When he saw that he had arrived, he only lifted his eyes, glanced at him, then ordered his assistant in a cold tone, “Take him to the dressing room and come out again after he has the dragon robe on.”
So Xu Luoyang’s introduction of ‘Hello Director Chu, I’m Xu Luoyang’ was stuck in his throat and he never got the chance to say it.
Every production carried with it the director’s unique style and habits, so one hour later, as Xu Luoyang sat in front of the mirror with his golden crown and tied hair, wearing a magnificent dragon robe and allowing the make-up artist to work on his face, he couldn’t help but sigh in his heart – this was too efficient! He had previously estimated that it would take another three or four hours to adjust his costume plus his make-up, but it turned out that he had thought too much.
As the stylist who was holding a needle and thread helped him adjust the details of his clothes, she mentioned kindly, “When you go out later, you don’t need to say hello to Director Chu, just go straight to the scene in front of the camera and act. Act in whichever scene the director says, if he doesn’t say anything, you can choose which part to act yourself.”
Xu Luoyang was a little surprised, then immediately smiled gratefully, “Thank you Sister Fang for mentioning it, I will definitely work hard.”
Tang Fang didn’t say any more, “Hmm.”
When Xu Luoyang stepped out of the dressing room, he adjusted himself to the heavy gold crown on his head and the equally heavy dragon robe slowly and controlling his pace, tried to take each step as smoothly as possible, while rejoicing mentally – fortunately he had stayed up late last night to read through the script twice, and today he had stayed awake on the plane to review it once more, so he was able to remember some of the lines.
Otherwise, under this ‘random audition’ arrangement by Director Chu, he would have been confused the moment he stepped in front of the camera!
The site where the crew was located was a stretched out complex of ancient buildings, located on the eastern side of the Gaoyu Film and Television City, covering a large area. Having been redecorated by the crew, it showed a kind of decadence after its extreme heyday.
Xu Luoyang walked along the winding corridor, letting himself go bit by bit to find out the feeling of what it was like to be Emperor Zi Chu of Jin.
In the script, Zi Chu’s mother, Empress Sun, died in a court battle, after which the eight-year-old Zi Chu was taken in and raised by Noble Consort Cheng and was often subjected to her sexual advances, even being quietly hidden behind a screen by the latter to listen to her bedtime drama with the emperor.
Day after day, Zi Chu’s heart gradually turned into a twisted mess. He hated Noble Consort Cheng while at the same time obsessing over her voluptuousness, which belonged to a grown woman.
Soon after his coming-of-age ceremony, the old emperor died in the bed of a palace maid after taking a pill that helped him liven things up and Zi Chu was hastily made Emperor. At this time, the emperor was surrounded by formidable enemies, ministers forming cliques, as well as the court in turmoil.
As he got closer and closer to the set, Xu Luoyang’s expression gradually changed subtly. The corners of his mouth spread into a smile, but it didn’t give people the impression of a spring breeze, instead it was eerily chilling. Every step he took was so steady that even the jade pendant tied to his waist swayed very little. The bright yellow dragon robe set off his very white complexion and his crimson lips, his evil like beauty making one’s heart tremble.
Director Chu was still standing in the same place, discussing the lighting scheme with the lighting technician and when he saw Xu Luoyang who had changed into his costume come over, the expression on his face didn’t change as he just shouted, “Zi Chu?”
Xu Luoyang turned around unhurriedly, his eyes looking in askance at him, “What are you calling Zhen for?” His tone carried a condescending tone of looking down on an ant with an air of superiority and the subtle expression on his face made one feel as if they didn’t give him a reason, they might lose their life.
Seeing that Director Chu still didn’t say anything, Xu Luoyang continued to stride away from the camera one step at a time. And at that moment, on the long openwork gilt couch, a roughly made white slender pillow lay in silence.
Director Chu’s voice remained cold, “That’s Noble Consort Cheng.”
Your consort looks like this? I feel for your Emperor.
However, Xu Luoyang immediately understood that this was for him to act with ‘Noble Consort Cheng’. However, because he hadn’t passed the test yet, the actress who was playing the role of Noble Consort Cheng would definitely not come over, hence Director Chu had very unkindly thrown in a broken pillow that he didn’t know where he had found it from.
Xu Luoyang wasn’t upset. In fact, all these ideas only went through his head for a moment before being ignored.
The crew quieted down and all looked at Xu Luoyang in the center with bated breath, wondering if the fourth ‘Emperor Zi Chu’ would be able to stay. They all felt that the director was too picky about the actors for this role. At this time, a large part of the male and female leads scenes had been filmed, but the person who would play the role of Zi Chu was still being changed.
At that moment, Xu Luoyang, who had been standing in place, moved.
They only saw him take a few steps forward, one of which had his leg raised a little, as if he was crossing the threshold, and then he stopped and spoke, “Mother Consort isn’t going to welcome Zhen?” His tone was filled with grievance, like a child who had been denied candy, except for the sudden burst of hostility in his eyes which made people’s hearts startled while subconsciously wanting to submit to such imperial majesty.
It was unknown what Noble Consort Cheng said, but a smile instantly spread across his face again as he said, “Zhen didn’t know that Mother Consort was unwell. It’s Zhen’s fault.” Saying that, he quickly walked to the bedside and sat down, his tone extremely gentle, “Where is Mother Consort unwell? Can you tell me?”
“It’s your thigh? Then I will rub your thighs. Mother Consort’s skin is like snow, so it must feel very good.”
Seemingly rejected, the smile on Zi Chu’s face disappeared instantly, his expression turning obedient but harsh, however his tone was still very gentle and soft, “Since Mother Consort is unwilling, then Zhen will send someone to send Mother Consort to the military camp to be used as a camp prostitute. Zhen will ask those military men to rub and massage you.”
Seeing that Noble Consort Cheng was frightened, his expression changed back to his usual gentle one, “Mother Consort, don’t be nervous. Of course it was a joke, how could I let Mother Consort be bullied by those dirty and evil men?”
Sliding slowly from the edge of the long couch to sit on the footrest, Zi Chu leaned clingingly against Noble Consort Cheng’s lap, his eyes smitten as he whispered, “Mother Consort, look, as long as you listen to me, I will treat you very, very well, and put the whole world in front of you. So you have to be good, okay?”
The ending note was soft, as if dissipating into the air. Standing up, Xu Luoyang straightened the hem of his coat. Although he was still wearing the same dragon robe, he no longer had that frightening aura about him. He smiled and said, “The scene is over.”
Although he kept a smile on his face, Xu Luoyang was very apprehensive, not knowing whether his performance had passed Director Chu’s test. He had only gotten the script last night and time was too conscripted, what’s more Director Chu didn’t specify which scene he was to act out, which obviously meant he wanted him to choose his own scene.
Chu Wei stood out from behind the machine and looked Xu Luoyang up and down many times and Xu Luoyang allowed him look at him with a big smile on his face.
After a few minutes, Director Chu spoke, “Stay, from now on you are Zi Chu.” Then he added, “You’re fat, get a little thinner.”
His heart dripped with blood!
However over the next ten days, there was absolutely no need for Xu Luoyang to deliberately lose weight, because he slimmed down naturally.
He was called by the scriptwriter the night he arrived and then had three versions of the script shoved into his hands, with instructions to make sure he memorized them all.
And just as he returned to his room with the scripts in his hands, the director’s assistant came again with a message, saying that Director Chu had requested that he write a character analysis for all three versions of Zi Chu, each with no less than 6,000 words that was to be handed in by noon the next day. Xu Luoyang was so frightened that it was as if he was rushing a dissertation. He wrote words in his room until his fingers went numb, staying up all night until he started yawning unceasingly.
The next day, he sent a pile of character analyses to Director Chu, only to understand that Director Chu was actually deciding on which version of the script to use by looking at his analyses.
Xu Luoyang instantly felt that the psychological pressure on him was bigger than Mount Tai!
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