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The Greatest Showman – Chapter 112

Chapter 112 – Picking up a stranger at the airport

As his feet once again touched down on the tarmac of New York’s JFK International Airport, breathing in the air filled with floating particles of debris and feeling the weak sunlight, Renly had to admit that the familiarity always brought a sense of coming home.

Truth be told, Renly didn’t like New York. It is too rainy, too snowy, and too windy. One hurricane could plunge the entire city into a blackout, and one blizzard could bring the whole place to a standstill, not to mention the traffic that was congested enough to make you want to vomit. But strangely enough, after living in London for nearly twenty years and spending less than a year in New York, he had found a sense of belonging in this city, as if only by returning here could he truly feel at home.

Looking out at the airport avenue outside the window, jam-packed with traffic, Renly couldn’t help but smile. No matter how bad it is, this is his home.

This time, leaving New York, he originally thought it would be a short trip. “Buried” was just a small independent film, and the shooting schedule couldn’t be long. Unexpectedly, two months had passed in the blink of an eye, and summer was coming to an end. As he walked out of JFK International Airport, he could already faintly smell the autumn in the cool sea breeze.

Dragging his small suitcase, Renly blended into the crowd and walked out at a leisurely pace. He was pondering whether to take the subway or the bus back to the city today. The crowd was bustling in his vision, and many of them were holding signs, obviously, they were airport staff here to pick up passengers. However, it was not easy to find the person who was supposed to pick him up in this surging crowd. He could only pray that the passengers would be sharp-eyed and spot it themselves.

“Renly!”

Amidst the noisy chatter, someone called his name. Renly paused, thinking that “The Pacific” viewer had recognized him. On the flight from Paris back to New York, a flight attendant recognized him and asked him to take a photo together during her break. It was the first time Renly had ever encountered a fan who asked to take a photo, and he found it quite strange.

But he looked around the crowd and didn’t find his target. “Renly!” The call came again, and then he saw a man under thirty raising his right hand high, waving vigorously to attract Renly’s attention. In his left hand, he was holding a wooden pick-up sign with the standard printed font on it, clearly stating, “Renly Hall.”

Noticing Renly’s gaze, he broke into a delighted smile. “Renly, over here, over here!”

This is… a pickup?

Renly was full of questions. Who would come to pick him up? Could it be that Stanley and the others sent a car to pick him up? Strangely, a scene from a gangster movie popped into his mind, where under the guise of a pickup, the protagonist is forcibly shoved into a car and kidnapped. Thinking of this, Renly couldn’t help but chuckle, then he started walking in the direction of the person calling out to him.

“Renly, welcome back.” The man came forward to greet him. “How was your flight? I heard there’s been heavy rain in Paris these past few days. It didn’t affect your departure, did it?”

Things were getting stranger and stranger. How did the other person know he was coming back from Paris? And how did he know which flight he was on?

Suddenly, a flash of insight struck Renly: George Hall. If it was his father, then everything could be explained. That kid Andre, being so careless, might have mentioned their encounter during a conversation, and if George had intentionally tried to find out, it wouldn’t be difficult to deduce his whereabouts. As for Paris, using some personal connections to investigate his flight details wouldn’t be hard.

But why did George come to the airport to block him now? Wouldn’t it be more convenient to do so in Paris?

Renly still felt that something was off. He decided not to beat around the bush and directly asked, “You haven’t introduced yourself yet. I don’t remember booking an airport pickup service.”

The other person’s expression froze for a moment before he reacted, patting his head. “Sorry, I forgot to introduce myself. I’m Nathan Pryce, Fisher’s assistant.” He flashed an apologetic smile, looking somewhat clumsy and seemingly not very familiar with his work. “Let’s talk as we walk. The crowd coming out now is getting bigger, and it’s not convenient to park outside.”

The unexpected answer left Renly both amused and exasperated. Clearly, his guess was wrong. Nathan walked a few steps ahead, but Renly remained where he was. “Remind me, which Fisher?”

Realizing that Renly wasn’t following him, Nathan got a bit flustered and hurried back, “Fisher! Fisher?” He kept repeating the name, trying to jog Renly’s memory. After saying it four or five times, he finally responded with the full name, “Fisher Morgan.”

Interesting.

It turned out to be Fisher Morgan, the top agent who has been in the limelight for the past two years.

As everyone knows, Creative Artists Agency is currently dominating the industry. They pioneered what is now a unique approach in the industry: the sharing of all resources throughout the company.

In the traditional talent agency industry, resources are undoubtedly the most important asset for agents. Connections with actors, directors, producers, and major film companies form a web that spreads throughout Hollywood. The top-tier agents at the pinnacle of the pyramid can truly make or break careers.

Generally speaking, there are two types of top-tier agents. One type has a roster of ten to twenty artists, encompassing different job types and various levels of artists. The other type represents top-tier artists; for instance, having a client like Johnny Depp gives them the upper hand in negotiations.

However, the Creative Artists Agency (CAA) breaks this industry norm by making all resources internally accessible and shared. An actor may have four to five agents at the same time, with one principal agent, while any agent with suitable resources will provide them to the actor. Similarly, an agent may manage multiple artists simultaneously, and if one artist has appropriate resources, it can help other artists find work.

This model not only maximizes the benefits of resources but also enables the comprehensive rise of its actors. The most famous example is the comedy group, The Frat Pack.

Ben Stiller, Will Ferrell, Owen Wilson, and a dozen other comedians have banded together in what Hollywood jokingly calls “The Frat Pack.” Whenever one of these actors gets a new project, the Creative Artists Agency (CAA) insists that the organization in charge of it must sign one or two other Frat Pack members. For example, if they sign Ben Stiller, they also bring along Luke Wilson and Jonah Hill.

In this way, they have brought up a large group of comedians and produced successful comedies such as “Wedding Crashers,” “Meet the Parents,” “Tropic Thunder,” and “Night at the Museum.”

Faced with the strong presence of CAA, neither the veteran powerhouse William Morris Agency, the rising International Creative Management, nor the up-and-coming Endeavor Talent Agency and United Talent Agency can form a direct opposition. Although there are currently five major talent agencies in the industry, CAA stands out, absolutely leading the pack.

In such a situation, Fisher Morgan forcefully entered the public eye. Three years ago, he sold the “True Blood” project to HBO, initiating a vampire-themed craze. Subsequently, he successfully marketed Kristen Stewart to the “Twilight” crew, creating a box office miracle in idol movies. Bradley Cooper, who had been struggling in Hollywood for ten years without any breakthrough, became an overnight sensation under Fisher’s management after starring in “The Hangover.” This year, he is also behind the most highly anticipated new show, “The Walking Dead,” and has pushed at least four actors into the cast.

It is no exaggeration to say that Fisher has carved out a bloody path on his own amidst the fierce competition of the Creative Artists Agency. Currently, he undoubtedly ranks among the top twenty most powerful agents in Hollywood.

Renly knew about Fisher because after the premiere of “The Pacific,” he received a call from Fisher. However, the call was very brief, lasting less than two minutes. Fisher directly inquired about Renly’s intentions and expressed his desire to meet and discuss in detail to evaluate the potential for collaboration between them.

Swift and decisive, clear and concise.

This was Renly’s first impression of Fisher. Later, after inadvertently chatting with Roy Lockley, he finally understood just how remarkable Fisher is. However, after that, Fisher never contacted him again. Apparently, to Fisher, Renly’s value was not worth the trouble.

Their next encounter was today.

“Please convey my gratitude to Mr. Morgan. I think I can make my way back on my own.” Renly smiled and politely declined the offer. He had no ties with Fisher, and the fact that Fisher had gone to such great lengths to pick him up, even figuring out his flight details, made him uncomfortable with his privacy being exposed like that.

Nathan suddenly panicked, “Renly, I mean, Mr. Hall, Mr. Hall.” He jogged to keep up with Renly, “Please, you must get in the car. Fisher sincerely wants to invite you for a conversation. He hopes you can give him a chance.” Following closely behind Renly, Nathan was very anxious, “Wait, are you planning to take the bus now?” A bewildered expression appeared on his face, as if… he was lost.

This sudden change in the scene made Renly unable to hold back and he burst out laughing, “Yes.”

Nathan realized what was happening, “Sorry, I’ve just started this job less than a week ago, and I’m not very familiar with it yet.” He then said anxiously, “Fisher flew from Los Angeles to New York specifically for you, giving you an entire day of his time. His sincerity is unquestionable; he just hopes to have a face-to-face conversation with you…”

At this moment, a car braked and stopped by the side of the road. The back door opened, and a voice came from inside, “Mr. Hall, please get in the car.”

Renly looked up and saw a middle-aged man in a suit sitting in the back seat. His facial features were obscured by the shadows, but he could see a pair of calm but not sharp eyes, radiating unwavering determination and confidence.


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