Chapter 4 — The Enthusiastic Literary Director
Ning Xi spent the entire summer filming, waiting for all her scenes to be shot. By the time the crew had wrapped up the rest of the movie, it was already early autumn.
After exiting the film city and boarding a plane back to the capital, Ning Xi finally relaxed, feeling relieved. To hurriedly catch up with their schedule and wrap up on time, the crew hadn’t slept well for the last two weeks; and as the second female lead, she wasn’t exempted from the hard work.
Sometime after the plane took off, Ning Xi closed her eyes and went to sleep. She didn’t wake up until they experienced a little turbulence; it turned out that they were almost ready to land.
She raised her hand to look at her watch. It was about 3 o’clock in the afternoon. She massaged her forehead, feeling dizzy, leaning back against the seat.
Xiao Yang carefully pulled up Ning Xi’s blanket that had slid to her knees, and asked, “Sister Xi, are you feeling alright?”
“It’s nothing,” Ning Xi smiled. “I just haven’t slept well recently.”
Remembering the intense filming sessions in the recent days, Xiao Yang winced. Actors really didn’t have it easy.
Just as they came out of the airport, Ning Xi was met with a noisy scene and bumped into a fan. Ning Xi was almost knocked to the ground by the girl. She supported herself with one hand on the floor, but couldn’t see the girl who just passed by.
“Sorry, sorry!” The girl noticed that she accidentally bumped into someone. She apologised and paused clicking pictures of her favourite actors, bending down to help Ning Xi.
“Sister Xi!” Xiao Yang was alarmed. She put the luggage to the side and bent down to help Ning Xi up with the girl.
“It’s alright,” Ning Xi elegantly tucked a strand of her behind her ear and smiled at the girl.
The little girl stared at her blankly and came back to reality only a few seconds later. “You… where are you hurt? Let me take you to a doctor.”
“Don’t worry, I’m fine.” Ning Xi pointed to the front with her delicate finger. She smiled lightly and said, “Your favourite actor seems to be walking away.”
“What?!” The girl remembered that she was there to chase her idol and immediately ran to catch up with the crowd, apologising again to Ning Xi.
Waiting until the girl could no longer be seen, Ning Xi blew at the wound on her wrist, having no consciousness of her image. She made a sad face, saying, “No wonder I dreamt of a broken bowl last night.”
“What?” Xiao Yang asked dazedly. “How is that related?”
Ning Xi raised her eyebrows, “It’s a sign that I was going to be wrestled today.”
Xiao Yang nodded with uncertainty, “Oh.” She looked at Ning Xi and couldn’t help but think that this Sister Xi was a really gentle person, people would be so reluctant to hurt someone like her who looked so young and tender.
She looked towards the thick crowd and saw fans holding many banners saying things like, ‘Forever My Love’.
No wonder the situation was so out of control today. Because Chu Heng recently starred in a popular idol drama, he became wildly popular with the girls. These many people coming to see him here was not surprising.
Ning Xi’s heart was crumbling at that moment. She couldn’t wait to stretch and jump. But if she had to maintain her grace, beauty and dignity, how could she do such an inelegant thing?
So she held herself back.
In a nearby lounge, a man in a grey suit handed a cup of coffee to his friend. “The woman is so beautiful that one can’t bear to watch her fall.”
His friend put down the cup of coffee and looked up to glance out the window. He only saw a lively scene of a bunch of fangirls crowding near the entrance.
Seeing that his friend didn’t reply, the man didn’t mind. He just smiled and asked, “In a few days, we are hosting a party. You want to join us?”
The friend looked at the coffee cup and said calmly, “We’ll talk about it later.” He turned to look at the people bustling about, coming and going, and his eyes dulled.
Ning Xi returned to the apartment to rest for two days. When she went to the company after, Zhang Qingyun stuffed a script into her hands.
“What kind of a drama is this?” Ning Xi looked through the script and found that it was a modern-day urban drama and her character didn’t have much of a role in it. “The hero’s first girlfriend?”
Or was the first love already dead?
“There’s still time to progress. You’re not popular now. It’s good to practice your acting with some good characters to develop yourself in the future.” Zhang Qingyun explained. “Even though this movie is not such a big production, the male lead was recently very popular. The box office won’t be too bad.”
Ning Xi nodded. She understood clearly that for Zhang Qingyun to make such arrangements, it showed how much care he took in the development of her career.
Seeing Ning Xi agree, Zhang Qingyun was quite happy. He picked up his suit which was on the chair, “Let’s go, I’ll take you to meet the crew and the director.”
The shooting of this movie, ‘My Heart Longs for You‘, had almost come to an end. The only scenes that were left were a few shots with the male lead’s first love. This movie was adapted from a very popular web novel, and the hero’s first love was rarely described in it. But from the few words of the hero, it could be understood that she was perfect for him, or she wouldn’t remain in his heart for so many years until he fell in love with the female lead
Before the shooting began, the crew was searching for a good actor for this role. But who knew that the male lead would suddenly become so popular? As the workload increased, they neglected this smaller role.
This kind of thing was very common in the entertainment industry. Because the actress was very beautiful and the crew did not want to make the situation too ugly, they came up with a friendly solution in the end.
Now that the film was nearly finished, and the director was ready to finish up the scenes, the male lead had to act with the role of the first love. Zhang Qingyun and the director could be considered friends. Knowing the situation in this production, he took Ning Xi’s portfolio and showed it to him. And so the role was given to her.
When Ning Xi arrived at the set, it began raining outside and the director asked the staff to quickly bring her into the dressing room. He then said, “The weather is a godsend! Let’s shoot those two scenes with the first love in the rain now!”
Ning Xi who was acting as the first love: “…”
As usual, with some magical makeup, Ning Xi instantly transformed from a 23-year-old woman to a 17-year-old girl. She looked at herself in the mirror – white skin, black, straight hair and couldn’t help but think why in every movie, the first love had to wear a white dress. Why couldn’t you be a little more creative, changing it to a red dress, or a black skirt or a patterned skirt?
Once she came out of the dressing room, the director approached her. “This scene is very important. Even though you don’t have any lines, but you have to communicate with your eyes, the way you smile and the way you run. You are a flower. You are the spring breeze. You are the most beautiful treasure in the world. Even the rain can not stop you from being charming. Do you understand what I’m saying?” The director said excitedly, “The way… the way… when any man sees you, he must remember the feeling of falling in love! Do you get it?”
Ning Xi opened her mouth, but before she could speak, the director waved his hands and interrupted her.
“It doesn’t matter if you don’t understand, shoot the scene a couple of times and you’ll get it.” The director looked at the sky and then at Ning Xi. “You’re lucky to shoot this scene without the rain machine; the water in that wouldn’t be all that clean.”
As if the rain in the capital was so pure and fresh. Ning Xi looked at the director’s excited, red eyes and remained silent.
After talking to Ning Xi about the scene, the director turned to find the male lead and chatted with him regarding the filming. The crew members began to move the props; the cameramen, the crew and Ning Xi, who had just joined them, all went towards the road.
“Don’t worry, this road has been blocked for filming, no vehicles will be disturbing us.” When Ning Xi walked towards the road, the director thoughtfully told her.
Holding her prop, an umbrella, Ning Xi approached the male lead, Chu Heng and politely greeted him.
Although Chu Heng was very popular now, he didn’t put on any airs. He politely spoke a few words with her and walked to the side to watch her act.
Movies were more demanding on the quality of the video; there were more cameras here than while shooting a TV series. So if anything went wrong in front of the camera, the mistake was magnified and became conspicuous.
The rain, an umbrella, the people.
It was a rainy evening and there were not many pedestrians on the streets. A girl with an umbrella wearing a white cotton skirt was walking with a sweet, unique smile on her face.
Her eyebrows were so beautiful that when she laughed, it was like a flower blooming, unforgettable.
As the lens zoomed into her, they could see the girls eyelashes. At that time, she stopped walking abruptly and hurriedly walked back two steps.
It turned out that there was car passing by and she was afraid of the muddy water soiling her white skirt.
The street became darker as the night crept in and the girl was like the brightest presence on the road. The male lead sitting on the bus noticed her from the window.
When the scene ended, a few more close-ups were taken, and the director was very satisfied with Ning Xi’s performance. “Yes, that’s right! That’s the feeling! The feeling of being a great temptation to men! That’s great! In the last scene when you die, remember, the scene must be beautiful! You should die beautifully!”
The corner of Ning Xi’s mouth twitched. She took a cotton towel that Zhang Qingyun gave her and wiped her hands on it.
“A section of the road in the front has been sealed. It looks like a film is being shot.” In a nearby car, the driver said to the boss. The secretary sitting next to the boss saw an empty road with a couple of cameras with a parked bus and the people around wearing clothes whose style was a decade old. He said, “It seems that we can’t take this road.”
“It’s alright,” The boss looked out of the window and saw an actress wearing a white skirt running onto the street when she ran into a car. She fell down and her hair fell on the muddy water on the ground. She looked very pitiful in that embarrassed state.
“Stop!” He suddenly shouted, and after the car stopped, he quickly got out and strode towards the shooting scene.
The secretary was shocked for a second, then he immediately took the umbrella and chased after him.