Novel Translation

The Greatest Showman – Chapter 23

Chapter 23 – Natural born actor

The whole set was silent, not because of the need to keep quiet during filming, but because they could clearly feel the power of the performance, dragging them into the real world of the “The Pacific” story, experiencing it and feeling as if it was real.

In the acting industry there is a category of people, who have a natural sense for the camera, and can always easily grab the focus of the camera, presenting the most beautiful and most natural and vivid sides of the scene, the camera seems to love their pose, while also possessing acting charisma that is maximized to its limit, easily touching the soul of the audience. They are known as natural actors.

However, there are too few such geniuses, and this has nothing to do with acting skills, but with talent – they can always easily win the camera’s favor and are considered to be God’s favorites. Such as Marlon Brando, and Audrey Hepburn.

Just now in the middle of that brief performance, they once again saw this kind of talent, talent that makes people jealous.

Every move, every smile makes people want to savor it, with mixed emotions dancing on the tip of their tongues, that brief glimpse was interpreted with a colorful touch, even to the point of sketching out the image of the whole character in their minds: delicate but stubborn, fragile but strong, weak but persistent. It is hard to imagine that in just five seconds, the scene set off a shocking wave in the minds of every single spectator.

What’s even more incredible is that such a performance came from a rookie, a rookie who only three minutes before had caused the entire crew to fall into a slump because of a cheap mistake, a rookie who showed only the tip of the iceberg of the power and depth of his performance and it was enough to create a tsunami. Such a paradoxical combination is so funny that it seems like a joke, but it was truly played out in front of their eyes.

“Eeewww,” the doors were pushed open again, and Renly strode back onto the set, his narrow eyebrow tilting in a quizzical inquiry, “So, was the performance earlier, okay?”

Standing in the middle of the crowd, Darin’s cheeks burned slightly, originally it was just a casual prank, he knew very well that Renly would stay quiet – even if Renly opened his mouth to accuse him, he would not be worried at all, the whole crew would stand by him, instead, Renly would be in the position of being ostracized; however, the direction of the situation was somewhat different from what he expected. He felt that his cheeks were on fire, as if he had been slapped, especially when he saw the professional and serious look in Renly’s eyes, which left him in a state of embarrassment.

Before Darin realized it, he averted his eyes and avoided meeting Renly’s. However, he quickly realized that he was cowering in front of a new actor. He was flinching – he was actually flinching in front of a rookie actor? Even if he was clearly giving the rookie a hard time, so what? Such a situation is really common in Hollywood, but his aura dwarfed in front of the rookie, and the sense of humiliation burned from the bottom of his feet.

“There is no problem.” David, the the director, was first to come to his senses, and he opened his mouth to respond, after his response crew began to calm down, after everyone came to their senses, they could not help but try to make some small movements to cover their embarrassment, such a hilarity let David completely restore his calm, “excellent.” David gave a fair assessment, in fact, the performance just now can be described as “outstanding “, but it is only the first day, he does not need to elevate the criteria too high, right?

Renly can’t help but secretly clench his fist, he finally made it through the first scene, which was a good start.

David hesitated for a moment, but he was unable to hold back his inner curiosity, “Is this your first proper acting experience?” He has been a television director for ten years and has handled more than a thousand actors and actresses, yet he has never seen such a spiritual performance

Spirituality is something that can’t be seen or touched but can be felt, such as the delicate vulnerability shown by Edward Norton in his debut film “Primal Fear”, or the fear and innocence shown by Haley Joel Osment in his film “The Sixth Sense”. The “Sixth Sense” shows a kind of fear and innocence, which really makes watching it a pleasure, and also gives the film a unique temperament.

However, this kind of actors are usually in the film industry, the TV industry is constrained by the way the episodes are filmed, the market positioning model and so on, and the series are rarely able to tap into the layers and depth of the actors’ performance, not to mention showing the spirituality. At least David has not experienced such a performance in the TV industry.

Until today.

“Yes.” Renly nodded in affirmation, “Only participated in plays before this.”

It dawned on David, “That makes sense.” The elementary mistake of the first shot just now is especially frequent with theater actors. “Continue with the next shot, is that all right with you?” David was more curious whether this was just a flash of brilliance or a true gift, after all, that one shot just now was only five seconds long, and still a beginning of a full set of ten episodes, and after this there is still a very long shoot to complete.

“Of course.” Renly replied as a matter of fact.

Acting is a very interesting experience, and it seems to Renly that after the “action”, he enters a wonderful state where he is pretending to be a very different person, but he is acting according to his own understanding and pattern, and he can even feel his connection to the real world weakening while his connection to the imaginary story is strengthening. It was exhilarating to be in that chaotic zone between the real and the unreal, between self and others, between the familiar and the unfamiliar.

Renly couldn’t wait to get back to shooting.

Looking around, Renly was looking for Darin’s figure. How the next scene should look like and how to light it, it still has to be told by the chief dramaturg.

However, Darin has disappeared, just a few minutes ago he was standing next to the monitor, but now he cannot be found in the whole set.

“Eugene.” A short, thirty-year-old-looking man in strappy pants approached, “I’m Stewart, the assistant dramaturg, and I’m here to explain the next scene to you.” Renly withdrew his eyes and nodded at the other man, who then continued, “The next scene is a solo scene by you, after you ran out of the doorway, you will pick up the bike on the ground, and then you will ride it all the way away from the mansion. Deacon will run after you; however, you leave him behind and go away.”

Eugene was the son of a wealthy family.

His father was a private doctor, who was a member of the upper class in the 1940s. Therefore, Eugene lived in a mansion, the traditional mansion where slave owners lived in the old feudal period. Deacon is Eugene’s sheepdog, his most beloved companion.

Renly followed Stewart to the door, where Stewart showed Renly the entire advance track, as well as where the camera positions were located, and how far and near the entire framing was. Not content with just words, Renly got on the bike himself, rehearsed it, and after gaining assurance, he asked in detail about the location of Eugene and the other actors in comparison – the gardener will be busy working on the lawn, his mother will come out after him to call him back to dinner, they will all be in the frame, being told the details, Renly continued asking very trivial questions.

Stewart patiently answered all the questions before finally giving David a “ready” signal, at which point the entire crew had been waiting for about five minutes.

Instead of rushing, David gave Renly enough time, and once Renly continued with the filming, David knew his patience has paid off.

Eugene ran out of the house, quickly picked up the bicycle placed on the lawn, jumped on it, and pedaled hard on the rocky road, but because of his emotional state, his movements seemed a little clumsy, and his hands could not calm down, the bicycle swayed and swayed, but those focused eyes did not waver, with an unshakable determination and resolve to move forward.

Once, then twice, the pedal was pressed hard.

The bumpiness of the stone road let Eugene’s anger be stuck in his chest, and he was unable to vent it all out, that re-tensioned shoulders were not the slightest bit strong and great, but instead gave away a hint of anxiety and vulnerability, the front of the bike wriggled quickly a few times, and Eugene almost fell off, allowing the mother who chased him out to have her heart surge to his heart all at once, “Little Gin, dinner is ready! ”

Gritting his teeth, his feet pedaled again for another round, with the bike finally avoiding the danger of falling, and then getting smooth again, while going faster and faster, Eugene’s whole body seemed to fly, his jacket fluttering gently in the gale, the short, slightly curly golden-brown hair being blown completely apart under the sun, flying unruly and stubbornly with a reckless disregard, even the sunlight could not stop at the tips of his hair.

“Deacon, don’t follow.”

Eugene raised his voice and shouted to his faithful old buddy who had caught up with him, and the sunlight spilled into those narrow eyes, swirling gently, but burning so hot that it slightly stung. And then, Eugene rushed into a fierce wind, and disappeared in a flash, leaving only the corner of a jacket slowly disappearing under the emerald, green shade.

“Genius!” This was the only thought in David’s mind, it was just a bicycle ride, but Renly showed the inner turmoil and angst of Eugene to the fullest, it seemed that even the bicycle, the sheepdog and the mother became part of his performance, all the elements were part of the puzzle of his performance, playing an important role in that seemingly unremarked but deep-rooted performance, presenting a painting that was beyond imagination!

As a director, David had in his head the entire image of the scene in 3D, and he knew that this performance was flawless and faultless. Not because of the script, not because of the camera, but because of one single person, that was born to be an actor.

“Cut!” David finally could not hold back, clenching his fists and standing straight up, then viciously slamming them toward the air, venting his inner excitement.

Such a start, such a beginning, such a departure, really could not be more beautiful, no one could ask for more. No one!


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