Chapter 80 – Mental Bias.
Rodrigo looked at Ryan in front of him, dressed in a smart suit, full of energy, and with a smile on his face. His demeanor was impeccable.
However, in Rodrigo’s mind, he couldn’t help but recall the way Renly was dressed today. For the audition, Renly’s attire was undoubtedly inappropriate—a shirt paired with jeans, too casual and giving the impression of a…foreman for a transportation team. But it was precisely this casualness that successfully outlined the image of Paul Conroy. Clearly, Renly came prepared.
“I thought you would call in advance, and I didn’t expect you to come to New York in person.” Rodrigo gathered his scattered thoughts and prepared himself. Ryan was not only his first choice but he had been since he first saw the script for “Buried.” He had to gather his spirits and make the most of this opportunity.
Ryan had also regained his composure by now and showed a proper smile. “Because I couldn’t sit still in Los Angeles waiting. I needed to meet you immediately, have a face-to-face conversation, and understand your vision.” Ryan’s tone was cheerful and excited. “My God, it’s truly a brilliant script, and I absolutely love it! So, I decided to give you a surprise. Ta-da!”
It must be admitted that Rodrigo was somewhat surprised and delighted. To have an actor he had longed for express such positive enthusiasm was a joy for Rodrigo. He didn’t even know where to put his hands in his happiness. “It’s an honor if you like it. I’m truly grateful.” Rodrigo wiped the sweat from his palms.
Ryan looked around and noticed that the crowd of onlookers hadn’t diminished but seemed to have increased. Although everyone pretended to be busy with their own affairs and didn’t gather around, sporadic glances kept drifting their way, and the buzzing noise continued to linger in their ears.
“I wonder if we can find a quieter place to have a more in-depth conversation,” Ryan withdrew his gaze and looked at Rodrigo, revealing a big smile. “I still have some parts of the script and the entire project that I don’t quite understand. I hope we can further discuss it through communication.”
Rodrigo could sense Ryan’s superiority—Ryan didn’t mean it, but the fact remained. Rodrigo had pleaded with Ryan to star in “Buried,” and now Ryan, who is now a second tier actor, has the capital to look down on him. Moreover, Ryan had bypassed his agent and come directly to New York, which showed enough regard for Rodrigo.
The reasoning was crystal clear, but Rodrigo couldn’t help but think of Renly once again. Renly didn’t mind the noisy environment of the youth hostel and nothing was able to disturb him during his performance. Renly understood the intentions of the script and even offered his own insights…
“It’s quiet enough here. They are all very friendly fellows and won’t come over to disturb us.” Rodrigo’s excited emotions slowly settled down. After the excitement of their first meeting, rationality gradually returned to his body.
Rodrigo knows that Ryan’s appearance here meant that the possibility of their cooperation has risen rapidly, but it didn’t mean that the cooperation had been achieved. Ryan still needed to further understand the situation. On the other hand, he believed that Ryan was the best choice to play Paul, but that was only because of his own conception of the main character. The true strength of Ryan still needed to be further evaluated.
Rodrigo is Spanish and he doesn’t have any advantages in the United States. He is not a master like Pedro Almodóvar who is renowned worldwide. He is just a newcomer. “Buried” is crucial for him and it could very well be the stepping stone to open the doors of Hollywood for him. Therefore, he hoped more than anyone else that this work would meet his expected standards and achieve success.
Rodrigo took the initiative to sit down, and Ryan hesitated for a moment before sitting down in the same position where Renly had just been. Scarlett patted Ryan’s chest and whispered, “I won’t disturb your audition. I will go outside and get some fresh air, and will come back later.” During the audition process, actors need absolute focus. This is not a social occasion for dining with producers, so Scarlett chose to temporarily step aside and give Ryan the space to freely perform.
Ryan smiled and patted Scarlett’s hand back, whispering, “It won’t take long.”
“Good luck.” Scarlett stood up, then smiled brightly at Rodrigo. “Director, I won’t disturb your conversation with the gentlemen. I hope everything goes smoothly.”
Rodrigo nodded politely, although Ryan’s words “It won’t take long” touched a sensitive nerve. What did that mean? Did it mean he wasn’t being taken seriously? Or did Ryan think this project wasn’t worth taking too much time for? Or did Ryan think everything was already settled? However, in the face of Scarlett’s smile, Rodrigo collected himself, nodded with a smile, and watched Scarlett’s graceful figure leave the lobby.
Rodrigo’s gaze once again fell on Ryan, revealing a humble and radiant smile. “Ryan, which part of the script left the deepest impression on you? If you don’t mind, you can perform it immediately and after that lets communicate about it in a professional language.” Rodrigo could see Ryan’s muscles tense slightly, but his words continued without any pause. “I know this project is a serious test for actors, and that’s why I immediately thought of you. So, what do you think about the script and the role?”
Ryan felt choked for a moment. Shouldn’t he be the one taking the initiative? Shouldn’t he be the one controlling the pace? Why… something seemed off?
Scarlett left the lobby of the youth hostel, and in front of the door is a small courtyard. The space is not large, even smaller than half a basketball court, but it had two Sycamore trees planted in it. The dense tree shade almost covered the entire yard, and sparse sunlight seeped through the mottled leaves, casting a brownish soil with various types of plants. Large patches of ivy climbed up the walls, and the scent of the recent rain lingered beneath her nostrils as refreshing moisture bloomed amidst the continuous green.
Within a heartbeat, Scarlett saw the man who had introduced himself as Renly Hall. He stood at the entrance as if standing in front of a window, gazing at another world. The casual and untidy plaid shirt wrapped around his broad shoulders, and in the backlight, she could see the profile of his face—calm like water, refined and clear, yet bursting with a momentary brilliance.
“Do you need a lighter?” Scarlett stopped by the man’s side, standing at a similar angle, gazing outward, attempting to appreciate the view that had captured the man’s attention. The undulating and uneven roads of Amsterdam Avenue extended quietly in her line of sight.
Her hoarse voice was not as weary as a smoker’s voice, but rather, like the touch of a cat’s paw, short and sharp nails gently caressed his palm, carrying a hint of sensuality. Without turning his head, he could tell it was Scarlett.
“Hmm?” Renly raised his voice slightly, seemingly puzzled by Scarlett’s opening line.
Scarlett pursed her lips and rolled her eyes directly, using a disdainful gaze as her response. “You should know that the only reason many people hold cigarettes in their mouths is to smoke them. If you want to pretend to have a noble character, you can choose a pipe or at least a cigar.”
Renly lowered his head and looked at the cigarette hanging from his mouth, making him laugh helplessly. It was just a little habit from his previous life.
He used to be a heavy smoker. His regular and ordinary life left him with almost no breathing space. During his university years, he smoked one and a half packs a day, and even if he wanted to quit, he couldn’t. Moreover, he didn’t want to quit. Under the heavy pressure of life, smoking was his only pastime. He didn’t play games, he didn’t participate in sports, his alcohol tolerance was not good, so cigarettes ended up being his only support. If he didn’t even smoke cigarettes, he didn’t know how long he could hold on.
Later, he had a car accident and was hospitalized. Not to mention that the hospital did not allow smoking, even if they did, he couldn’t smoke. He was forced to quit smoking against his will. Compared to being paralyzed, the pain and torment of quitting smoking seemed trivial. Quitting smoking was much easier than he had imagined.
After being reborn, he could smoke again, but he no longer had a need to. It wasn’t because he had seen too many cases in the hospital in his previous life where smoking had costed lives, but because after experiencing death, nicotine was no longer important to him.
Holding a cigarette was more like a habit, a habit of thinking, a habit of reminiscing, a habit of the body. It helped him concentrate, helped him engage in deep thinking. He always carried a pack of cigarettes with him, but he hadn’t lit one in a long, long time.
“How do you know this isn’t marijuana? The reason I haven’t lit it is because I don’t want to attract the attention of the police officer on the corner.” Renly lightly smiled instead of getting angry, took down the cigarette, and put it back in the pack.
Scarlett’s gaze fell on Renly’s fingers, long and tough, like bamboo joints. The simple movement seemed like a work of art, making people unable to look away. Scarlett carefully examined the cigarette, “So, is it marijuana?”
“Do you want to take a puff?” Renly didn’t deny it, but instead said, taking hold of the cigarette pack with his right hand, and using his index finger to flip the top corner of the pack gently, “I thought you needed to stay awake today. You know, Ryan is auditioning, and you are his strongest support.”
“His career doesn’t need…” Scarlett began to speak casually, but before she finished her sentence, she realized it and revealed a playful smile, “I thought you are competitors. Ryan’s failure should be something you’d enjoy.”
Renly shrugged, nodding with a smile. “True,” he calmly admitted to Scarlett’s words, which caught her off guard and made her laugh, “I won’t argue because as a competitor, I don’t have many chips in my hand. It’s not easy to turn things around with the hand I have.”
“A true poker player knows how to bluff.” Scarlett’s eyes flickered with a hint of a smile, seemingly joking.
Renly raised an eyebrow slightly. “So, guess whether I’m bluffing or holding the winning hand right now?”
T/N – Dun, dun, new chapter is here and we again saw how witty can our boy Renly be. Btw, do you think he will get a role?
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