Novel Translation

The Greatest Showman – Chapter 70

Chapter 70 – A good opportunity appeared.

It’s actually “The Amazing Spider-Man”! This is definitely a project that exceeded expectations.

What surprised Renly was not “The Amazing Spider-Man” itself, but the fact that Sony Pictures had openly announced such a prestigious production and opened it up for all actors to participate. This is undoubtedly news that will cause a sensation in Hollywood, no wonder Lisa was so secretive earlier.

As we all know, the release of “Spider-Man” in 2002 had a groundbreaking significance. It was not only the first film in history to surpass 100 million in its opening weekend, but it also revived the vitality of comic book adaptations, ushering in a new era of blockbusters—the strong emergence of the Marvel Cinematic Universe.

In the past few years, the “Spider-Man” trilogy has created numerous envy-inducing records. It can definitely be considered one of the most successful film series of the 21st century. It can be said that the current “Spider-Man” is the only superhero in the market whose brand value can be compared to the Superman and Batman. It even has a hidden lead in appeal among the younger generation.

After the successful conclusion of “Spider-Man 3” in 2007, Sony Pictures never gave up on further development of the series. With the rise of “Iron Man,” the plan for “Spider-Man 4” naturally came up. However, the director of the movies, Sam Raimi, believed that it had lost its vitality and needed to be rebooted instead of continuing with sequels.

And so, we got “The Amaizing Spider-Man.”

Generally, big projects with an investment of over 100 million become highly anticipated arenas for interest battles, with all resources firmly held by the five major talent agencies. Only a small group of people, just like with “Thor,” can access these projects. The exchange of interests and the use of connections are the key factors determining the cast lineup.

But now, Sony Pictures has generously announced “The Amaizing Spider-Man” project, and they’re still searching for the male and female leads!

It’s not an exaggeration to say that “The Amaizing Spider-Man” project is enough to attract any young actor for an audition. With an investment of 230 million, the success of the previous films, Sony Pictures’ strong support, and the attention of the masses… all of these are enough to make this project the center of attention and attract a continuous stream of young actors.

Compared to that, the entire scale of “Thor” has been reduced by one level, both in terms of investment and the project itself. It’s simply incomparable. Not to mention Lisa, even those top-tier agents who have seen the world will inevitably flock to it.

Renly couldn’t help but admit that Sony Pictures’ promotional strategy is indeed impressive. The news of casting auditions for the male lead in “The Amazing Spider-Man” is bound to attract the attention of major media outlets, marking the first shot in the movie’s publicity campaign.

As for the final casting, it is likely to come from among the newcomers in the hands of those top-tier agents. For example, Andrew Garfield, was the one that had the last laugh in his former life. Sony Pictures gained plenty of attention and profits, achieving all their goals and establishing an unbeatable position.

However, Renly rejected “Thor” and naturally has no interest in “The Amazing Spider-Man” either.

Firstly, both movies were essentially the same, with not much difference. If Renly were to choose a superhero himself, he would be most interested in Deadpool from the “X-Men” series, Star-Lord from “Guardians of the Galaxy,” and Ant-Man from “Ant-Man.” These unique and unconventional superheroes with their distinct styles were the most intriguing to him, just like Captain Jack Sparrow in “Pirates of the Caribbean.”

Secondly, “Amazing Spider-Man” ended up as a completely disappointment. Sony Pictures was too eager to reboot the franchise, resulting in unclear positioning and main storyline. The box office returns were also unsatisfactory. Although they didn’t suffer losses, they only managed to produce two films in the planned trilogy before Sony Pictures voluntarily halted the project, starting anew with a younger high school actor for a fresh and youthful “Spider-Man” series.

Therefore, by giving up on “Thor,” Renly had no reason to choose “The Amazing Spider-Man.”

Thinking of this, Renly couldn’t help but feel a sense of absurdity. He is currently a rookie with nothing to his name, yet here he was being picky and critical. Not to mention whether he was willing to play “Thor” or “The Amazing Spider-Man,” in fact, “Thor” had merely given him an audition opportunity, and even if he participated, it didn’t guarantee he will be selected. In his current situation, he is the one waiting to be chosen, not the one with the power to choose.

Renly pursed his lips and couldn’t help but smile. This was fine. They didn’t think highly of him, and he didn’t think highly of them either.

Shifting his gaze away from “The Amazing Spider-Man,” Renly continued carefully scanning the rest of the bulletin board.

Actually, Renly really enjoys browsing the notice board of the Actors Union because he can always find countless pieces of information on this small board. He refers to his memories from his previous life to find the right opportunities. Not only are there big projects like “The Amazing Spider-Man,” “Super 8,” and “Rise of the Planet of the Apes,” but there are also many independent films that he has never even heard of before. This is a side of Hollywood that is not known to the general public.

In fact, Hollywood only releases less than 600 films in theaters every year. Taking the example of the year 2009, there were only 521 films released in theaters, previewed, screened, or premiered throughout the entire year. Additionally, there are art theaters in North America and Europe that specifically show niche and obscure art films. However, running art theaters is very challenging, and the number of screenings is extremely limited. Each year, only around 100 films can secure a screening opportunity.

So, what about other film projects? Every year, there are over 2,000 registered film projects, if not more. Among them, more than half of the works cannot be released in theaters. They either go directly to DVD distribution, choose to be uploaded on the internet, or end up gathering dust in a corner.

This is the true face of Hollywood. The glamour under the spotlight is only the tip of the iceberg, while darkness occupies a much broader world.

Now, Renly is standing in the midst of this dark world, groping his way forward. “The Pacific” is just a faint candlelight, and there is still a long road ahead for him if he wants to illuminate the whole world.

Without the filtering and selection done by the agent, Renly was searching through the sea of opportunities in the union, trying to find the right projects, which is not an easy task. Even though Renly has the advantage of being reborn, the notice board in front of him is still overwhelming, making his eyes sore. What about the actors who don’t have this advantage? That’s why Lisa couldn’t help but suggest that Renly should seize the opportunity of “The Pacific” and find a suitable agent to quickly kickstart his career.

As he reached the last corner of the notice board, the vast amount of information slipped away like gravel through the cracks. It was another day of fruitless searching. Renly pursed his lips slightly. Every time at this moment, he would question whether his persistence was in vain. If he had accepted Andy Rogers’ contract offer, if he had accepted the audition invitation for “Thor,” if…

Wait a minute.

Renly’s pupils contracted as his gaze fell on the white chalk words in the corner.

The so-called white chalk words were for the most common type of work in the Actor’s Union: uncertain investment costs, usually independent productions with a budget likely below one million US dollars; uncertain investment companies, typically unregistered companies without official information, possibly newly established small capital ventures or projects funded through independent fundraising, possibly small foreign companies; uncertain actor salaries, generally not too high, even for the main role, a salary of a hundred thousand dollars would be unlikely; uncertain filming duration, ranging from one week to one year is possible…

To give a simple example, a recent graduate from a film academy who won a scholarship of one hundred thousand US dollars from a foundation wants to shoot a film based on their own script and direct it. They successfully went through official channels, submitted their registration information, passed the official audit of the American Actor’s Union, and could then submit formal actor hiring information.

This kind of information is what white chalk words represent.

Such works often attract the attention of inexperienced actors or those at the lower ranks. If luck isn’t on their side, they might end up filming a super lousy movie, but at least they can receive a few thousand dollars as compensation, pay their rent, and claim, “I’m an actor who has appeared on screen”; if luck is on their side, they might shoot a decent work and perhaps even attend the Sundance Film Festival*. Regardless of the feedback, it’s a qualitative leap for a newcomer.

Compared to projects like “The Amazing Spider-Man” that are distant and unattainable, projects written with white chalk appear much more approachable and friendly.

Of course, white chalk projects are a gamble. Most of the time, the actors don’t even get to see the script; they can only hear a basic concept and have no way to judge the quality of the work, so they can only brace themselves and go for it.

This kind of gamble is even more thrilling than a Russian roulette. Unless they are desperate, most actors are reluctant to do it. Otherwise, like Penny in “The Big Bang Theory,” if they star in a terribly explicit movie, it becomes a lifelong stain they can never erase.

However, when Renly saw this row of white chalk words, his adrenaline began to surge continuously, and the suppressed excitement echoed in his lungs, as if boiling water was reaching its boiling point. Large bubbles started to emerge from the surface, ready to burst at any moment. His slightly constricted pupils slowly bloomed, and the light deep within his eyes grew brighter and brighter.

Renly knew that the project he had been desperately searching for had finally appeared! Not because this work will attract widespread attention like “Thor,” not because this work will be created with the help of the Steven Spielberg and Tom Hanks like “The Pacific,” and not because this work will sweep the awards ceremony at the end of the year. It was because this work will fulfill his dream, the dream of becoming a true actor!

Those white chalk words boldly spelled out: “Buried.”


*The Sundance Film Festival is an annual film festival organized by the Sundance Institute. It is the largest independent film festival in the United States.

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