Chapter 3 — Good Times
Zhou Zhengchuan had seen many types of beautiful women – pure, spicy, fiery, all kinds.
He was astonished not because Ning Xi was more beautiful than other actresses he had seen, but because she was exactly how he had envisioned her character in his mind.
As a dedicated actor, each time he went in front of the camera, he regarded himself as the character which he was portraying. He would also have vague ideas and would attempt to sketch out the other characters in the scene so that he could understand his character’s situation better.
He had envisioned that Jin Youyan would have beautiful, black hair, fair skin and beautiful features; her gestures needed to be extravagant and full of the arrogance of a young miss of a wealthy family. Everyone in front of her would be below her one or two points.
The second female lead was a very important character in this movie. When he learned that this character was going to be played by his new junior sister, he felt it was quite regrettable. It was unfortunate that such a good character was going to be ruined by a newcomer.
Now, Zhou Zhengchuan felt his cheeks burning as he felt like he had been slapped by Ning Xi in the face. Fortunately, he was a good actor and he hadn’t let others see this gaffe of his.
“Brother Zhou.” Ning Xi first politely greeted Zhou Zhengchuan.
“Don’t be nervous when we’re filming the next scene.” Zhou Zhengchuan gently smiled at Ning Xi. Worried that she would be too nervous to act, he deliberately joked with her for a couple of minutes.
Zhu Jiafei, who was sitting under a shade reading her script, laughed and said to her assistant, “I’ve heard that Brother Zhou cared very much for the younger generation. Only today do I know that it’s not an empty rumour.”
The assistant fanned the actress and whispered hurriedly, “When Teacher Zhou answered the phone this morning, his expression wasn’t very good.”
Zhu Jiafei paled and quickly said in a low voice, “Don’t say such words from now on. If this spreads outside, I won’t be responsible.”
Regardless of how Zhou Zhengchuan answered the call earlier that day, regardless of how his expression was, it did not matter to her. She wasn’t going to bother about it. If words were leaked out that Zhou Zhengchuan was dissatisfied with the second female lead, and if the source of the rumour turned out to be her, would she still have any face left?
Zhou Zhengchuan and the second female lead were signed to the same company. Even if their relationship was bad, they wouldn’t tear face. Later, they would only hate her, an outsider, for being a rumour-monger.
Seeing that Zhu Jiafei’s expression was not good, the assistant shut up, afraid of speaking nonsense. She fanned faster for Zhu Jiafei, waiting for the filming to begin.
“Don’t be nervous. Just take a deep breath.” Before beginning the scene, Zhou Zhengchuan encouraged Ning Xi, attempting to comfort her.
Ning Xi smiled in return, then took a deep breath. She sat down at the table.
In fact, the director was even more nervous. He was afraid that Jiuji Entertainment had given him a newbie who couldn’t act and would ruin his movie. When he saw that the two actors were ready, he raised his hands, drawing everyone’s attention, “One, two, three, action!”
The main plot of the story revolved around the actor. Superficially, the actor was a rich and wealthy son who loved to goof off. But, in reality, he was an important member of a party which engaged in many strategic and brave struggles against foreigners.
In the movie, there were going to be a lot of breathtaking and intense visuals and pictures. The story was interlinked in all its subplots. As long as the rhythm and pace were controlled well, it was sure to gather a large audience.
Jin Youyan, the character played by Ning Xi was an important figure in the drama because her father was an official of a new political faction, an influential group which would betray the country by colluding with the foreigners.
In the second half of the story, Jin Youyan’s father would secretly join the faction to which the male lead belonged, and because it involved too many confidential matters, wouldn’t tell his family about it. In the climax, Jin Youyan would understand her father’s choice. In order to cover for him, the male lead and the other members of the faction, Jin Youyan not only would lose an arm but also ruin her appearance. She would eventually go abroad until the end when she would return to her country along with the other men and women.
Zhou Zhengchuan and Ning Xi were now going to shoot the scene where Jin Youyan would show that she liked the male lead, but he would be completely ignorant of this and the two of them would then leave the stage.
“Who provoked Young Master Chen into becoming so angry?” Jin Youyan sat at the table. She waved at the waiter, then gestured towards Chen Shaosheng. “Give this gentleman a cup of coffee without sugar, thanks.”
“Miss Jin?” Chen Shaosheng seemed to just notice Jin Youyan. With his hands in his pockets, his lips curved into a smile and he sat down opposite her, “What a pleasure to let such a beautiful woman buy me a drink.”
“It’s alright, this lady is willing to pay for someone like the young master.” Saying that, she scanned Chen Shaosheng from his hair till his chest, and then gently stirred her coffee with a silver spoon.
“Second camera, close-up to her hand. The third camera, pay attention to her side profile.” Director Chen gave out commands from one place and continued to stare at the screen.
The tender, white wrist was wearing a dark pearl bracelet and it appeared to glitter under the lens, creating a beautiful scene.
“It has been more than a year since we last met. Young Master Chen is becoming more and more handsome.” Jin Youyan put down her silver spoon and looked at Chen Shaosheng, smiling. Her eyes contained a warmth which she wasn’t even aware of.
When Zhou Zhengchuan saw this look, his heart pounded, skipping a beat. He couldn’t help but think that this Chen Shaosheng must have been blind to not see that this excellent girl liked him.
Fortunately, it had been many years since he debuted; he was not affected by this feeling in front of the camera and the scene was successfully completed.
When the scene was filmed, the director was very relieved. Even the staff felt that it was quite fortunate that this newbie was reliable. They didn’t have to worry about her dragging them down and affecting the progress of the filming.
After two more days of shooting, Director Chen told Zhou Zhengchuan while casually talking, “The talent signed by your company is worth nurturing.”
Zhou Zhengchuan smiled: “I heard that the company signed her from abroad and the higher-ups value her very much.”
Director Chen knew that this was his reminder to him. He smiled, “If there is potential among newcomers, who won’t appreciate them?”
They both smiled, no longer continuing the topic.
After finishing a scene, Ning Xi sat on the make-up chair. It was very hot outside and the make-up would easily come off. So after filming every scene, she had to reapply the makeup to look good for the camera.
“It’s very lively in the hotel nearby. I heard that a rich second-generation young master was getting engaged.” Xiao Yang, her assistant came holding a bowl of cold bean soup, her tone quite envious. “You pick any one car parked outside, it’s enough for me to struggle a lifetime to pay for it.”
Ning Xi took a sip of the soup. She then smiled and raised Xiao Yang’s chin with a finger. “Which luxury car is worth a lifetime of our Xiao Yang’s struggle?”
At being teased by such a beauty, Xiao Yang suddenly felt hot in the face; her heart sped up. Oh my god, she was a girl, she was attracted to men!
Seeing her assistant’s flustered look, Ning Xi laughed. “If you are so curious, go and see. Anyway, there’s nothing for you to do here.”
Xiao Yang hesitated, then shook her head. “Brother Zhang said that I can not be away from my work.”
“It doesn’t matter, I am letting you go. He won’t deduct anything from your salary.” Ning Xi turned a page of her script. “As long as you don’t forget the time.”
“Then I’ll take a couple of photos and come back.” Xiao Yang’s eyes brightened and she stood up. “I won’t be gone for long.”
“Even your assistant went to watch the show?” Zhu Jiafei sat down on the chair next to Ning Xi, smiling helplessly.
“Sister Fei,” Ning Xi put down her script and gave Zhu Jiafei a friendly smile, “She is still young. It’s quite normal for her to go and participate in the fun.”
“How old are you?” Zhu Jiafei took out a small electric fan from the bag and gave it to Ning Xi, switching on her own fan. “Your acting is very good.”
“I’ve only filmed on small sets with few minor roles.” Ning Xi took the small fan with a thank you.
“Most people in the entertainment circles come up in such a manner, step by step.” Zhu Jiafei didn’t show any contempt for Ning Xi’s experience. “You’re still young; you’ll have a lot more chances later.” Unlike her, who was over thirty, playing similar roles. Sometimes, her mentality wouldn’t be good and she would have to rely on thick make-up to cover up her weaknesses.
Twenty-three years old, these were good times for the young.
The two people didn’t talk for long before Xiao Yang came back with her mobile phone. She came in front of Ning XI and said, “Sister Ning Xi, the couple is not only rich but they also look very good together. I just heard some members of the crew say that they were involved in entertainment.”
“Is that so?” Zhu Jiafei asked curiously.
“Yes,” Xiao Yang nodded with certainty. She found the couple’s picture in her phone’s photo album and handed it to Zhu Jiafei.
Zhu Jiafei looked at the photo. The man in the picture was wearing a three-piece suit and the woman wore a grand and gorgeous traditional Chinese dress, looking very outstanding.
“Isn’t this the young master of the Chen family? They finally held the engagement, the young lady of the Wei family could be considered a good match.” Zhu Jiafei said, recognising the couple, her tone quite indifferent.
She had seen many rich second generation youths playing around with small-time actresses and then turning to get married. The media would boast later that the bride was infatuated and the groom was lucky.
Hearing this, Ning Xi laughed, her eyes sweeping across the photo in Xiao Yang’s cell phone. Her gaze flowed like lingering spring water. “They’re a perfect match for each other, that’s good.”
“Yes, I wish them a hundred years together as a couple.” Zhu Jiafei said with a smile.
Ning Xi’s lips curved into a smile, hearing the words of Zhu Jiafei.