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The Greatest Showman – Chapter 62

Chapter 62 – Marvel Opportunity

When Roy Lockley arrived at Pioneer Village, it was already a quarter past eight in the evening, which was the peak time for dinner. Three groups of people were waiting for tables at the entrance, which surprised Roy. However, after inquiring, he found out that Renly had actually reserved a spot for him in advance, so he was able to skip the line and go straight into the bar.

After he found his seat, the waitress warmly said, “Please wait here for a moment, Renly will be here soon.”

Sure enough, in a short while, Renly walked briskly over and politely greeted him, “Good evening, Mr. Lockley.” After the greeting, he handed him the menu and said, “It’s a busy time now, so if you haven’t had dinner yet, please take your time and enjoy it. I’ll come back when this rush hour ends, is that alright with you?”

Roy was a bit stunned as he looked at Renly in his deep blue printed shirt, with the shirt sleeves casually rolled up and the black tie stuffed into the gap between the third and fourth buttons to make it easier to work. His neat appearance had a unique charm, making Roy really taken aback by this scene. However, he still reflexively nodded, and then Renly quickly introduced the menu, leaving Roy to make his decision, and then left.

After their two short interactions, Roy thought he was psychologically prepared for Renly’s casual and free-spirited attitude, but at this moment, he still felt a strong sense of absurdity.

As an agent, he personally went to find an actor and inform him of an audition invitation, but the other party was…doing a waiter’s job diligently. Is this professionalism? Or unprofessionalism? Roy felt a bit confused. Over the past few years, he had handled thousands of actors, but Renly is really one of a kind.

Thinking of this, Roy couldn’t help but laugh.

“Sorry for keeping you waiting.” Renly walked over with a steady pace and sat down in front of Roy.

Although in a hurry, his gait and breathing were not disordered, and the connotation and cultivation displayed in his gestures and movements were truly extraordinary. If Roy’s impression of Renly was still a bit vague before, it was now gradually becoming clear.

“No problem. The performance tonight was very exciting.” The clock on the wall showed that it had just passed ten o’clock, and the waiting time had indeed exceeded expectations, but Roy did not lie. This was his first real moment of relaxation in two months. “I heard you occasionally perform on stage as well?”

Usually, Roy didn’t like chatting with actors, as he preferred sticking to business and being efficient. But Renly was different. Every brief conversation they had always left him with some gain.

“I occasionally do some cameo appearances,” Renly looked back towards the stage. Tonight’s performance was done by an independent folk band, using unique instruments such as African drums, sand hammers, and saxophones to express the free-spirited and unrestrained feelings of folk music, which ended up being quite special. “I don’t know about you, but music always calms me down and helps me focus,” Renly looked back at Roy again, smiling. “I mean, besides sleeping.”

Roy laughed and then said, “I feel the same way as you do. But I thought you were the type who liked classical music.”

“Oh, my God, it seems like I need to change my image. Do I usually give people the impression of being so old-fashioned?” Renly’s teasing words made Roy laugh again.

Roy shrugged, “Although I haven’t done an in-depth study on accents, a pure London accent like yours is definitely not a problem.” Moreover, Renly’s manners between gestures and movements were deeply ingrained habits that can indicate a person’s background.

Taking accents as an example, picky and arrogant British people not only distinguish between London accents and other regional accents, but even distinguish between East London accents and West London accents. Those small details of wording and intonation often become the first basis for British people to judge a person’s family background the moment they open their mouth.

“It seems that changing to a New York accent should be my top priority,” Renly shook his head solemnly, his serious look making Roy unable to hold back his laughter.

“Your Texas accent is quite convincing though,” Roy evaluated honestly.

“But it is not as popular in New York,” Renly raised his eyebrows. Generally, in North America, people in both the East and West Coast discriminate against those in the middle, and those in the North discriminate against those in the South. Self-proclaimed cultural people in New York are undoubtedly the leader in this category, they are comparable to Londoners.

“Haha, that’s a fact,” Roy nodded affirmatively. “Aren’t you curious about what kind of work this invitation is for?” Roy originally intended to continue chatting, but his professional instincts couldn’t help but pop up.

“Oh, right,” It suddenly dawned on Renly, “So, what’s this invitation for exactly? I was really curious about it this afternoon.”

Looking at Renly’s calm appearance, Roy didn’t feel frustrated, but rather found it interesting. He was even more looking forward to what Renly’s reaction would be when he heard about the invitation for this project. “‘Thor’, an invitation from Marvel Studios and Paramount Pictures. They hope you can audition for the role of the main character, Thor.”

In the long history of film development, comic book adaptations can be divided into three eras. The first era came before 1978, comic book adaptations had almost no market. Marvel and DC, the two major comic book companies, were struggling in this niche market.

The second era was from 1978 to 2008. In 1978, Christopher Reeve’s portrayal of “Superman” ignited the market, and DC Comics dominated the film market for twenty years. In 2002, “Spider-Man” was born, and together with “X-Men”, made Marvel caught up. However, during that period, comic book adaptations were like Duan Yu’s Six Meridian Sword, sometimes working, sometimes not.

The third era came after 2008, with the emergence of “Iron Man” as the starting point, comic book adaptations have truly become a new type of movies, even becoming the cornerstone of the film market. Any film company cannot underestimate the business opportunities coming behind comic books, thus opening a new era.

Just last month, “Iron Man 2” was released in North America, with an excellent result of $128 million during its opening weekend, ranking fifth in box office history. The cumulative box office revenue for four weeks has also reached $275 million, almost reaching the $300 million threshold. It can be said that the wave of comic book adaptations has reached a new height.

Under such circumstances, “Thor” was put on the filming schedule, and it is not an exaggeration to say that it has attracted widespread attention.

“Thor?” Renly’s first reaction was to be stunned, not because of the huge investment in this movie, but because Thor’s on-screen image was completely different from Eugene’s in “The Pacific”. If it was the invitation for the Ang Lee’s version of “Hulk”, one could argue that Ang Lee wanted to show a strong contrast between Bruce Banner before and after transforming, so he selected Renly for the audition. But Thor? From the casting point of view, Renly could not understand the connection.

“Hanks has praised your potential at least three times during private gatherings. Your performance in ‘The Pacific’ was also convincing enough. Honestly, many film companies now think you could be the next Brad Pitt,” Roy explained simply, making Renly suddenly come to understanding.

Yet when he heard the last sentence, Renly couldn’t help but laugh. Brad Pitt.

Of course, when Brad first entered the industry, his performances in works such as “Legends of the Fall”, “12 Monkeys”, “Se7en”, and “Fight Club” did indeed win him a lot of praise, but Brad was never an actor known for his acting skills.

If they defined Renly in this way, then he really isn’t lucky. “I’m not very interested in comic book adaptations,” Renly replied.

Roy stared at him in disbelief. He had guessed that Renly would respond in different ways, including of course by “refusing,” but he never expected Renly to refuse the proposal so decisively and without any hesitation. This…this is simply unbelievable. Roy felt that his heart couldn’t take it, so he picked up a beer, took a big sip, and then another. He needed to calm down.

“Do you know how huge the investment for this project is, Renly?” Roy believed that Renly may be a pure newcomer who didn’t yet understand the industry’s internal situation, so that is why he refused it so decisively.

In Hollywood’s casting process, there is an unwritten rule: to become the lead actor in a top production, whether male or female, one must gain a certain amount of experience. Although people always see Hollywood fairy tales of overnight fame, such as Megan Fox in “Transformers” or Joe Alwyn in “Billy Lynn’s Long Halftime Walk”, these situations are really rare.

Most of the time, actors need a certain foundation to establish themselves, mostly through unknown small productions, using their own performances as bargaining chips, and through the skillful hands of top agents, impressing those top-notch producers. Work experience, exceptional performances, and top-notch agents are all essential. It takes at least two to three years for a little-known actor to become the leading actor in a top-notch production.

When Francis Parker saw Renly’s performance in “The Pacific”, he called Tom Hanks, and said he could push Renly to the forefront in three years. This timeframe was not just him making stuff-up, but a true portrayal of real life.

At present, Renly has only appeared in one TV drama, and even without the backing of an agent, he has entered the casting phase of top-notch films – although this is just an audition invitation, it means that Renly can talk face-to-face with those top-notch producers. Regardless of whether the audition is successful or not, this could also be the turning point for Renly’s next work.

For example, the next time a major production appears, even if he doesn’t have a top agent to help manage his career, Renly’s name will appear on the desks of those famous producers. This situation is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity, a truly rare opportunity that others may not get even if they work hard for three years, and it is now right in front of Renly.

But Renly actually refused it! Even Roy, who is usually calm, was on the verge of dislocating his jaw at this moment.

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