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A Thousand Faces Chapter 23

Updated: Jan 22

The W Broadcasting Station production team convened immediately in the office after the first broadcast filming. 


Park Jun-gil urgently summoned all the team members. 


'I was wrong. I never thought it would come to the point of stopping the broadcast.' 


Team members bustled into the conference room one by one, urged by Park Jun-gil to move quickly. 


It was an emergency meeting regarding the first broadcast participant. 


One of the team members raised an eyebrow as if he knew what was coming. 


Unfortunately, he had not seen the scene firsthand, so he was too dense to notice Park Jun-gil's serious expression. 


"I heard. Kang Hyeok messed everything up. If this keeps up, we'll be in trouble." 


"Shut up!" 


Park Jun-gil snapped as if that wasn't the important thing. 


The team member, looking bewildered, closed his mouth. 


What on earth happened to make him like this? I've never seen the team leader so sensitive. 


With his head in his hands, Park Jun-gil discussed countermeasures with Yoo Sang-jun, sitting across from him. 


"Just when we were getting started. If we make a mistake, the entire program's scenario could be messed up." 


"Once the broadcast goes out, it'll be too late. The focus will be on him, and I think... 


Park Jun-gil was afraid of Junwoo's existence. 


He thought he was the one holding the key. Actor Kingdom, produced in collaboration with various companies in Korea and overseas, is slowly cracking because of just one young kid. He could ruin his life if he doesn't do this job properly. 


"I have to do something before that." 


Park Jun-gil had never felt like this before and needed to figure out where to start. 


However, his instinct told him that he had to get rid of the child from Kang Hyeok's side as soon as possible. 


Kang Geonim was not the type to sit still if things went this way. Just then, Park Jun-gil suddenly looked up as if he had come up with a good idea. He turned to the team member who had been dense earlier. 


"You said that KOS is currently planning the drama by Lee Eun-young, right?" 


"Yes, sir. They say the production budget is huge because they will promote the rookies properly." 


"You, go ahead and schedule a meeting with them right away." 


"A meeting?" 


"Yeah. Go ahead and schedule it and leave one lead role open." 


"What? But I heard that the casting for the lead roles has already been finalized with the rookies from KOS." 


"It doesn't matter. He'll be going over there soon anyway. Tell the CEO that I'll meet him directly." 




The team member was confused, but he quickly left the conference room when Park Jun-gil told him to hurry up. 


Park Jun-gil went straight to KOS. 


The CEO of the top idol agency in Korea, Lee Jaewon, remembered that he had once coveted Jun-woo. 


After hearing a brief explanation, Lee Jaewon smiled and started to think quickly, as if he found it interesting. 


"I didn't think things would move this quickly. But I'm glad. This is good. I'll go myself this time." 


"No, Mr. Lee. We'll handle the contract issues for the participants, so please relax." 


"Oh, is that so?" 


Lee Jaewon sighed, sounding a bit disappointed. 


"The problem is that KOS has to come up with some conditions that will definitely change Mr. Joo's mind." 


"Don't worry about that. From what I hear, he probably won't be interested if you just bring up the idol thing right away. Since he'll be the first of the program participants to get a chance to be cast in a drama, he'll be interested if he's hungry for acting." 




Joo Theatre. 


Yoo Sang-jun returned to the place with a few of his team members. 


"How have you been, Mr. Joo? I'm PD Yoo Sang-jun. We met before, right?" 


Manshik stood at the entrance and scanned them all intensely. 


Armed with a stack of files, their faces were tense, but they tried not to show it. 


It was the end of the first episode shoot. 


Mansik smiled as if he could tell what they were thinking. 


"Please come in." 


Mansik expected that they had come with a purpose, so he made room for them. 


A few of Yoo Sang-jun's team members followed him into the theater. 


Yoo Sang-jun placed the stack of files on the table and acted like he was struggling with something. 


"Oh, this... where should I start?" 


"What is it this time?" 


"As you know, we're here to talk about one of the participants, Han Junwoo. It wasn't an easy decision for us, but…" 


Yoo Sang-jun glanced at the stack of files on the table and answered without changing his expression. 


"You must have been in a hurry. You came all the way here in the morning without even calling." 


"Oh, haha. We have a full schedule in the afternoon. And our team leader is usually quick to make decisions." 


"I'm not free all day either." 


"I'm sorry. I'll call you first next time." 


"Next time?" 


Yoo Sang-jun raised his eyebrows instead of answering. He spread out the documents in front of Mansik and pushed them forward. 


"I think we'll be seeing each other a lot in the future, Mr. Joo." 


Yoo Sang-jun began to talk about the contract in earnest. 


"I apologize for what happened last time. We were so eager to cast the boy that we didn't even properly assess his talent. You were right, Mr. Joo. Han Junwoo is an incredible prodigy." 


A prodigy? Mansik frowned silently. 


"So this time, we've brought something real that will satisfy both you, Mr. Joo, and the boy." 


Yoo Sang-jun pointed to the top of the contract. 


"Do you know KOS? It's the top talent agency in South Korea, run by CEO Lee Jaewon. They're about to start filming a new project. Honestly, there's no reason not to do this. It's an opportunity for the kid to rise to the ranks of actors, and with KOS and writer Lee Eun-young working together, the project will surely be a hit." 


Mansik read the contract without any sign of worry as if he had never even considered such a useless concern. 


Yoo Sang-jun continued. 


"Even if he appeared on TV, it would be ridiculous for him to get the lead role without any experience. I'm sure you know that, Mr. Joo." 


"Yes, it wouldn't work." 


"I'm glad we agree." 


"No, that's not what I meant. I meant that it's ridiculous to give that boy this project." 




Yoo Sang-jun frowned, momentarily taken aback. 


"I guess you don't understand. If you sign with KOS, you'll be successful overnight. Junwoo is still young, so he could also take the route of becoming an idol first to build a fan base and then enter the acting industry. You know, that's a common route to quick success in this industry." 


Mansik laughed. The man's words were obviously a roundabout way of saying that he should make his boy into an idol. 


Mansik was amused by the fact that they still didn't know Junwoo's level and were just offering him opportunities on a whim. 


"But the prize for winning that program is a lead role in a film by Gu Daewon, isn't it? That seems like a more surefire way to succeed. So why do we have to shoot a drama?" 


"Oh, that's..." 


"Or are you afraid? Afraid that that kid might actually win?" 


"What are you talking about?" 


At the piercing words, Yoo Sang-jun started to stammer. 


"If you don't sign the contract now, you'll be at a disadvantage. In fact, the goal of Actor's Kingdom is not the program itself. It's a program designed to scout stars in advance. In the process, the CEO of KOS has already taken a liking to Junwoo." 




Mansik continues to read the contract with a displeased look on his face. 


"As you can see from the contract, we'll take on all the responsibility. Junwoo just needs to focus on acting, and we'll handle everything else. We'll provide all the training and management support for the participants, and we'll also handle all future casting…" 


"I was just about to ask about that clause." 


Mansik's eyes fell on a particular section of the contract. 


"The talent shall participate in appearances and other activities under the management and advice of the company. The items regarding appearance fees, advertising revenue, and other income shall be specified in a separate contract. That means you're taking all rights and profits related to Junwoo." 


Yoo Sang-jun looked unconcerned. 


"That clause applies to everyone who is affiliated with the company, not just Junwoo." 


"The professional acting, dance, singing, and other necessary education and training curriculum. I don't think it's necessary for him… It would just take up his time." 


"That's on our end…" 


"Section 3, image and copyright management… None of these things seem to be helpful to him. In my opinion." 


Then, Mansik suddenly asked, as if he didn't understand anything, 

"Have you seen his performance?" 


He thought they were still unaware of Junwoo's talent, even though they were trying to recruit him. 


In the end, it was not up to Mansik to decide. But he was doing this because he was convinced that all the clauses in the contract would hinder Junwoo's activities. 


"But the fact that KOS is even involved means that there's been a lot of commotion…" 


I was disappointed with the terms they offered. Even the top agency in Korea has its limits. Of course, the company will run at the level of its artists. 


'NK was the same, and I wonder if there's even a company in this industry that can accommodate him…' 


Mansik had a hunch. There wouldn't be a place that would move just for Junwoo. 


Suddenly, Mansik thought back to his time in the political world. He had cut off all ties with that world, but now he was considering reaching out to his old contacts. 


Mansik was gradually starting to think about taking action himself. 




Park Jun-gil slammed his chair back. 


"What?! You couldn't get the contract?" 


"...Well, they said to come back with some revisions." 


"Revisions? What is it? Just do it! 


"But the first condition was that it would start after the Actor Kingdom ended. They said they didn't want to create any disruptions in the middle of the filming." 


"Forget it, damn it. Have they gone mad after running a tiny little theater?" 




Park Jun-gil bit his nails. 


'We can't force him to drop out either. What should I do.' 


Jo Sungrae and Gu Daewon are already eyeing him. 


Park Jun-gil knew them well. They wouldn't just sit back. According to what he heard, Jo Sungrae had already gone to Gil Junho to learn more about him. 


"Just how good is he that everyone is making such a fuss?" 


Suddenly, Shin Han-jun, the casting director for Actor Kingdom, spoke to him. He was the one responsible for reviewing the contestants and determining their screen time whenever Park Jun-gil was in charge of an audition program. 


He had been working in the casting field for over 10 years, and he was an expert at assessing the level and potential of aspiring actors with just one glance. 


"I couldn't make it to the audition because I had other things to do. Who is he?" 


Park Jun-gil pulled Shin Han-jun aside, relieved. 


"Here, you see for yourself. See how far he can go." 


Park Jun-gil handed him a video that he had received from the editing team a while ago. It was a pre-screening video of Junwoo's impromptu performance. Next to Shin Han-jun, who was watching the video with a curious expression on his face, Park Jun-gil started to babble. 


"He definitely has the skills. I was surprised myself when I saw him in person. But he's now putting a dent in our program's script. Last time, he messed with another participant's script. And then Jo Sungrae saw it…" 




"What's wrong?" 


Shin Han-jun, who had been watching the video, stopped talking. His face, which had been full of curiosity just a moment ago, had turned serious. He muttered to himself as if in disbelief. 


"I've never seen anything like this before…" 


This was the same reaction that the judges had given, as reported by Yoo Sang-jun. He was saying the same thing as they were. 


"Team leader." 


"Is that so? How does he compare to Kang Hyuk?" 


"Now is not the time to worry about whether the program will be a success or not." 


He said in a suddenly serious tone. 


"What is he saying?" 


"Blocking him right now won't solve anything. Before it's too late, we need to get in touch with Chairman Kang Geonim as soon as possible… No, where is he right now?" 


Shin Han-jun's face was filled with worry. 


He had been working with him for several years. No matter how talented the contestants were, he was always able to assess their level with a cool head. But this was the first time he had seen such a strong reaction. 


Park Jun-gil finally realized it. The performance in the countryside by Gil Junho, the rumors circulating among the pre-screening officials, the suspension of the broadcast by Jo Sungrae and Gu Daewon, and the indifferent attitude of Representative Joo towards them. 


He felt like a fool for being complacent, thinking that nothing had happened yet. 


Han Junwoo. The appearance of that child was already shaking the Korean film industry. 




At that moment, Junwoo had left the accommodation provided by the broadcasting station to get some fresh air. 


As he was walking, someone coming from the opposite direction suddenly stopped before him. 


The boy who was staring intently at his face looked about the same age as Junwoo. 


Even though it was night, he was dressed in a well-dressed suit with a handsome face. He just stood there, but he had the air of a child from a well-to-do family. 


'I think I've seen him on TV before. Maybe he just looks similar.' 


As if trying to casually pass by without much attention, 




The boy stopped in front of him again. 


"You're handsome." 


What kind of face rating is this on a first meeting? 


The boy was still staring directly into Junwoo's eyes, who was standing there in bewilderment. He wasn't trying to pick a fight. It seemed like he had just blurted out what he had thought in the purest way possible. 


His demeanor and behavior gave a rough idea of what kind of background he came from. 




It didn't seem like he had any business to attend to, so Junwoo tried to walk past him again, but then the boy suddenly thrust his hand out in front of Junwoo's chest. 


"I'm Kang Hyeok."

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