Novel Translation

The Greatest Showman – Chapter 102

Chapter 102 – Mercenary group

Eduard Grau glanced absentmindedly at the viewfinder and said, “No problem.”

For this lighting effect, Alex Villagrasa had been busy for a full forty-five minutes. Seeing Eduard’s perfunctory response, he angrily threw the microphone sponge in his hand, “Stupid pig, if you continue to be distracted, I’ll kick your ass! Can you see the facial expressions clearly when the lighter is lit?”

According to the design, Paul would use the lighter as the first light source after waking up in the coffin. Generally, the illumination space of a lighter is very limited, especially in absolute darkness. As this is a movie shoot, insufficient light would not only affect the viewing effect but also affect the actors’ performance. “Buried” is not like “The Blair Witch Project”, trying to create a sense of reality. It needs sufficient light to present the details of the performance.

Therefore, as the visual effects specialist, Alex’s jurisdiction includes both sound and lighting. He is adjusting the size of the lighter flame, testing the brightness of the light source, and achieving the effect of concentrating the light through hidden reflectors. Eduard, as the cinematographer, must examine the effects from a cinematographic point of view.

Eduard withdrew his gaze and focused on the viewfinder, then switched to two different angles, demonstrating his professionalism, “No problem. However, when it comes to close-ups, the angle of the reflector needs to be readjusted, so that the camera could see the reflector when shot from the side.”

Alex also walked to the viewfinder to change the angle and confirm it. Standing straight, Alex saw Eduard’s gaze drifting off to the side once again. He couldn’t help but feel a bit helpless. “Why are you so bothered? We are just temporary mercenaries, merely collaborating on a project. He’s British, and he probably won’t come to Spain to shoot again, so we won’t cross paths in the future.”

Not far away, Renly was sitting quietly on a pile of wood, earnestly reading the script. His way of reading a script was quite strange; he wasn’t memorizing lines or browsing the plot. His gaze always stayed on one page of the script. At first glance, it seemed like he was daydreaming, not really reading the script. However, upon closer inspection, one could notice that he was repeatedly reading the same passage of text, then sinking into deep thought, as if engaging in a battle with himself.

To put it nicely, it was dedication; to put it harshly, it was neurotic.

“You think he’s just putting on airs, or does he have real talent?” Eduard couldn’t resist and lowered his voice to discuss with Alex. But before Alex could respond, Eduard went on, “I think it’s definitely just a façade. He looks like he’s barely finished high school; how could he possibly have any real skill? I really don’t understand what Rodrigo was thinking, picking such an actor. Could it be that he slept with Rodrigo?”

Faced with Eduard’s irritation, Alex knew he was still dwelling on the embarrassment from earlier—Eduard was the curly-haired young man from earlier.

Actually, Eduard’s jokes by themselves are nothing much. Suppose it’s the kind of face-to-face banter between men when things are said even more harshly and nastily. In that case, there are countless instances of stuff like that, which not only don’t ruin relationships but instead become fodder for even more conversation among them. However, if it’s talking behind someone’s back and then getting caught red-handed, that kind of ugliness and shame truly makes it hard to save face.

No one anticipated that Renly’s Spanish would be so good, it’s like cursing someone in Chinese in a foreign country and suddenly realising that the other person’s Chinese is as good as your own. That would be embarrassing.

Eduard was somewhat irritated and angry, while Alex didn’t want to get involved in this mess.

“Buried” has a total of only eight people in the entire crew: one cinematographer, one special effects artist, one director’s assistant, one makeup artist, one production assistant, and then adding one director, one screenwriter, and one actor, making just eight people in total. Except for the three core creatives, Alex, Eduard, and the others are just hired hands; they aren’t well-known professionals, just marginal figures they had stumbled upon.

As he said, they were hired to shoot “Buried,” and after filming, they will each go their separate ways, so there is really no need to be petty.

“We’re about to start shooting soon, and then we’ll know the answer to that, won’t we? Is he just a decorative pillow or a valuable antique?” Alex shrugged indifferently.

To be honest, aside from Eduard’s personal grudges, Alex was also somewhat curious about the origins of this Renly Hall.

Objectively speaking, Renly didn’t look like a high school student. He had stubble at the moment, neatly trimmed to add a touch of maturity and ruggedness. His intentionally unmanaged golden-brown curls looked slightly messy as if he hadn’t washed his hair for a day or two, appearing greasy and unkempt. The only discordant feature was his eyes, bright and vibrant like stars, radiating youthful vitality. The fleeting brilliance in his eyes couldn’t possibly belong to someone in their thirties, but Alex was willing to believe he was around twenty-five or twenty-six.

Even so, portraying the role of Paul Conroy won’t be an easy task.

He seemed… to be lacking in any aggressiveness, not that it is necessarily a bad thing, but he lacks the kind of unstoppable momentum that many actors possess—of course, except for the moment when he unexpectedly turned the tables on Eduard.

After exchanging greetings, he didn’t continue to pursue Eduard’s faults relentlessly; nor did he take advantage of the situation to dissolve the awkwardness and bond with them. Instead, he sat alone on the side to study the script. While the crew prepared for the shoot nearby, an hour passed in the blink of an eye, and he was just sitting there for a full hour without being disturbed by the surrounding atmosphere at all. He also didn’t move a muscle from his position. Isn’t this a clear symptom of autistic solitude?

Eduard couldn’t predict what the situation would be like after Renly’s immersion in the filming, nor could he predict what kind of performance Renly would present. Deep down, he was also somewhat looking forward to it.

“Hmph, let’s just wait and see.” Eduard sneered, wanting to say something more, to utter a harsh word, but ultimately he kept quiet, turned his head, muttering something in a low voice and busying himself away.

Mónica Alarcón stood in front of Renly, politely waving her hand, trying to get Renly’s attention, but she wasn’t successful. Renly remained focused on the script in his hands as if he didn’t even realize someone was in front of him. So, Mónica had no choice but to call out, “Sir, sir?”

Renly finally raised his head, his gaze somewhat dazed as he swept it over Mónica, then slowly adjusted his focus. A perplexed expression appeared in his eyes. Mónica raised the makeup kit, “I’m here to do your makeup. We need to conceal your handsome face a bit.” She joked in a flirtatious tone.

Renly raised the script in his hand, “I’ll pay attention to the script, it won’t affect your work.” Then, Renly straightened his body, raised the script a little and pushed it farther away, so he could still show his face while continuing to read the script.

Mónica was stunned for a moment. Her joke fell flat, leaving her feeling a bit embarrassed. She had to gather herself and she began to busy herself, focusing wholeheartedly on the makeup work.

The makeup for Paul Conroy wasn’t difficult because it wasn’t about beauty makeup, but rather about creating a look as close to real life as possible, truly showcasing Renly’s original appearance. Or to be more accurate, it was dirty makeup, showing Paul’s appearance after being kidnapped—dishevelled, sweating profusely, even having a greasy face.

Mónica quickly finished her work and kindly said, “All done, you can go on camera now!”

Renly raised his hand holding the script and nodded, gesturing with an “OK” sign. He flashed a faint smile at Mónica and said, “Thank you for your hard work. ”

That gentle smile warmed Mónica’s heart, and she couldn’t help but respond with a bright smile, “It’s my job. I’m really looking forward to your performance.” Mónica said enthusiastically. But to her surprise, Renly’s attention shifted back to the script. It seemed he had no intention of continuing the conversation, which made her instantly feel awkward, with her smile stiffening.

After standing still for a few seconds, Mónica realized Renly had no interest in talking. Her enthusiasm collided with a cold reception – she had been standing here for so long, yet Renly didn’t even bother to look up. Embarrassment surged within her. “Good luck then,” Mónica dropped a sentence, then turned around and walked away briskly.

After walking a distance, Mónica couldn’t help but stop again and turned around to look. She found that Renly still did not react, completely immersed in the script. She couldn’t help but stomp her foot, feeling indignant, so she angrily left with a big stride.

Compared with the “The Pacific” crew, the “Buried” crew was not only smaller in scale but also it was somewhat more chaotic on set. The production staff was unfamiliar with the job, resulting in very low efficiency. While the organization and discipline of the hired mercenaries were also quite average. Fortunately, this is a small crew with fewer personnel and tasks, otherwise, it would have been even harder to imagine what it would be like.

Renly was completely unaware that within just one hour, he had become the target of criticism within the crew, as he had unintentionally offended others. Even if he had known, he wouldn’t have had time to care because he had to immerse himself completely in his role. He wasn’t yet one of those acting giants who could enter acting mode anytime, anywhere. Before diving into the performance, he needed sufficient preparation.

“Renly? Renly!” Rodrigo approached him, calling him out three times in a row without getting a response. Finally, he had to wave his hand between Renly’s line of sight and the script to get a response. “We are ready to start filming.”

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