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A Thousand Faces Chapter 43

Updated: Feb 20

Upon hearing the news that Junwoo was packing his bags at the dormitory, Yoo Sang-jun had to rush over. 


Actor Kingdom 4th Round One-Act Play Team Mission. 


The outcome for Junwoo's team was unprecedented. 


They couldn't just overlook the mishap during the mid-term evaluation stage performance. 


Instead, the final result was that only Shin Dami, who played a major role and showed quick thinking to keep the performance going, and Junwoo, who created a high-quality one-act play, would advance to the next round. 


The participants at the scene were tripping over Junwoo, exclaiming, "Where have you ever seen something like this?" They soon had to shut their mouths. 


It was after seeing the video of Junwoo displayed on the screen. 


However, Shin Dami called Junwoo out separately that evening. 


"I'm on my way after announcing my voluntary withdrawal. I wanted to say goodbye to you, Junwoo, one last time." 


Shin Dami's face looked relieved. 


Voluntary withdrawal? Junwoo was a bit perplexed. 


"Why?" he asked. 


"Anyway, it's true that my sudden actions messed up the stage. I thought I'd feel burdened if I went on alone like this." 


Junwoo nodded in understanding. 


"It would've been a waste to just kill time here anyway." 




"Go out and do something. Not among those kids, but with real actors, working on real projects." 


It was a casual remark, but not untrue. Considering Shin Dami's talent and the support she had behind her, it was a sensible decision. 


She wouldn't take long to shed her newbie image and soar as a renowned actress. 


Feeling acknowledged, Shin Dami was momentarily overwhelmed. 


"Thank you. If it weren't for you, Junwoo, I couldn't have had this experience. Let's definitely meet again later." 


With those words, Shin Dami left the broadcasting station without any regrets. 




As the official airing of the program approached, the production team became busier than ever before. 


While the participants practiced for the next round, the footage that had been filmed so far was scheduled to be aired. 

In the production company's conference room, staff members and stakeholders, including Park Jun-gil and Yoo Sang-jun, as well as various PDs, producers, and writers, gathered together. 


"With only a week left until the broadcast, the buzz is overflowing everywhere, probably because it's so close." 


"The expectations are enormous, more than we anticipated. Right now, photos and information of the participants, even their pasts, are circulating in various communities and on SNS. The broadcast hasn't even started yet, but online, people are already conducting their own popularity polls." 


"That's inevitable. Especially since participants who already had a strong fan base suddenly disappeared from the public eye after the broadcast announcement." 


"The reaction exploded after the trailer was released. Particularly, Kang Hyeok's appearance, though it was only about 7 seconds, elicited an explosive response, even more than other well-known participants." 


At that, Park Jun-gil looked intrigued. 


"Oh? Did people already know him?" 


"No, it seems the mention of Daemyoung Group played a big role." 


"People are only talking about his looks, saying he's more handsome than a celebrity." 


"We're already receiving sponsorship inquiries from various places. Especially from fashion brands and beverage companies. We've even finalized a contract with the 'BlueFizz' brand." 


As Kang Hyeok kept being mentioned, Park Jun-gil's lips curved into a smile. 


"Then, has the advertisement shoot finished?" 


"Yes. It's planned to be released simultaneously with the broadcast." 


"That quick? Chairman Kang sure is ambitious." 




When someone mentioned Chairman Kang, Park Jun-gil's face instantly turned pale. 


He had been trying to forget about the things that had spiraled out of control. 


And fittingly, at this moment of Park Jun-gil's anxiety, Yoo Sang-jun began to bring up the most critical matter. 


"With all this commotion already... the moment Han Junwoo appears, everything will turn upside down. Is that really okay?" 


"Wouldn't that be better? It would mean more attention." 


"That's not the issue. Even if we're set for a hit, at this point, we need to capture the public's trust as well. Especially concerning that kid." 


Yoo Sang-jun was thinking about the video Junwoo had created for the current mission. 


"...We can't afford a repeat of what happened last time." 


In fact, three years ago, a similar acting audition program had failed miserably. 


'SuperActor' started ambitiously as the first acting audition show, but it crashed and burned due to excessive production, losing all its investment. It was a painful past for W Broadcasting Station. 


There was a significant authenticity controversy because participants in a reality show were obviously reciting pre-arranged scripts, which undermined the show's credibility. 


"That's why there's one concern – the public might not believe that Junwoo made that video all by himself." 


"Right. Considering his age and the fact that he's a country boy with no formal training, that was the concept." 


"It's not just a concept." 




"Anyway. We find it hard to believe, so... Even if we add CCTV footage, it's obvious people will claim it's manipulated. Or if we go overboard, it could be seen as taking the public for fools." 


Click, tap. 


Park Jun-gil, who had been quietly listening and tapping his fingers on the table, stopped his movements. 


"If we hear directly from the kid about how he managed it, the story changes." 


The production team members nodded as if they had found a solution. 


"This could turn out to be a great story." 


Park Jun-gil smiled slyly. 


The plan was to add a segment featuring a conversation between one of the judges and Junwoo. 


And that role was taken up by Jo Sungrae. 


It was originally intended for the film director Gu Daewon, but Jo Sungrae volunteered. 


Having seen the video created by Junwoo with his own eyes, Jo Sungrae finally understood everything. 


Regarding why Junwoo gave up his role in the fourth round, 

It was really all about the integrity of the work; nothing else mattered. 


The video was perfect because it saved Shin Dami. 


If Junwoo had appeared even once, Shin Dami's presence as the main character would have been overshadowed. 


Knowing that he wouldn't have made the same choice, Jo Sungrae recognized it as a decision beyond his prediction. 


He wanted to have a proper conversation with the kid this time. 

Park Jun-gil addressed Jo Sungrae, 


"Just guide the conversation well. We need convincing answers for everything Han Junwoo has done so far. Of course, I trust that you'll handle it well..." 


Jo Sungrae furrowed his brow for a moment. 


"Regardless of how the interview goes, it's certain that the kid will advance to the next round, right?" 




In an empty practice room. 


Jo Sungrae and Junwoo sat on chairs facing each other. 


A few cameras were set up around them. 


"Let's take a moment to talk about the fourth mission. Did you hear why we've set up this meeting?" 


"Yes, I've heard." 


"The production team is curious too, so just imagine there are no cameras and answer honestly. Just as it is." 


Junwoo scrutinized Jo Sungrae, who held no script in his hands. 


Junwoo seemed to have an idea of what he would be asked. 


Jo Sungrae's eyes were filled with curiosity and tension. 


"Then what about those? Aren't they filming for the broadcast?" 


Junwoo pointed to the installed cameras. 


Seeing Junwoo conscious of the cameras, Jo Sungrae suddenly looked visibly irritated. 


Frankly, he wanted to get rid of all these annoying things, broadcast or not. 


"...I would just like you to focus on answering honestly. If a difficult situation arises, I will ask for it separately. Please do me this favor."




Junwoo made a face that showed something was not sitting right with him. 


Two scenarios popped into his mind. He briefly calculated which would take less time. 


"Okay, I'll do that." 


Pleased with the affirmative response, Jo Sungrae mentally organized his questions. 


These were things he was genuinely curious about beyond the broadcast. His heart was racing. 


He briefly adjusted the camera and then returned to his seat. 


The first question was about the fourth mission, as requested by Park Jun-gil. 


"...I watched the video. It's the first time a participant has done the editing themselves, so there's a lot to say, but setting that aside. The quality was unbelievably high. How long did it take to complete the script and the storyboard? Considering it was your first time doing such a task, the editing alone must have taken a while." 


Junwoo tilted his head slightly. 


"I didn't do any editing." 


"...None at all?" 


"And the project was completed before I even put it into the script. I made the storyboard for the judging criteria, and the script was for the team members to see." 


Jo Sungrae was taken aback. 


"If you're asking about the time it took to transfer it on paper, the storyboard took about an hour, and the lines for each character took about thirty minutes each." 


He used the term 'transfer.' That meant he had already completed everything in his head, including characters, dialogues, and editing. Recalling the first round of the main competition when he performed solo, Jo Sungrae remembered that Junwoo hadn't used a separate script. An involuntary sound of realization escaped from Jo Sungrae's throat. 


"So, you're saying it was a picture you had planned from before. But even so, to complete all that at such an unbelievable speed," 




"Yes. You had a work you wanted to create even before the program started, right?" 


Junwoo furrowed his brow. 


"That can't be right. I needed to see the actors and location before anything could come out in the video." 


Jo Sungrae was puzzled by this response. 


"So, are you saying you crafted the drama to fit the actors and the characteristics of the location?" 


"It's not so much crafting to fit, but more like when I see the elements, they naturally combine themselves. Including what the audience will see." 


"...How? I would like to know the details of that process." 


The presence of the set-up cameras began to fade into the background. 


"Well, I guess..." 


"So you mean to say that once you see the actors and the location, every scene from start to finish comes to mind? Even the narrative and dialogue just come to you automatically?" 


Junwoo furrowed his brow. 


"It's hard to explain." 


"Try anyway." 


"You might not understand." 


"It's okay, go ahead and explain." 


Junwoo paused for a moment to gather his thoughts. It was the first time he was trying to verbalize his instinctive intuition. 


"It's not quite like seeing or hearing. It's not like I think it up. It's just there." 


Jo Sungrae blinked in confusion. 


"Just there? What do you mean by 'there'?" 


"I don't know either. It's like commands, spells, or maybe another personality. The range seems to keep expanding. Each time, my mind gets lost in it, so I haven't been able to sort it out yet." 


What does he mean? The more he listened, the more confusing it became. 


Even as he spoke, Junwoo's face looked a bit bewildered. 


"...So when you act, a different personality comes out. Is that what you're saying?" 


"Everything. The script, direction, filming, editing, all of it." 




"I told you. It's hard to explain." 


The excitement that had been palpable earlier faded, and as time passed, Jo Sungrae's expression became more serious. This wasn't the kind of answer he had expected or anticipated. 


"When I consider the people who will watch it, it narrows down to some extent." 


"...By 'people who will watch it,' do you mean the judges?" 


Jo Sungrae wondered if Junwoo had understood the judges' preferences and tailored his performance to receive favorable evaluations. While he was momentarily impressed by this thought, 


"Including them, yes. But as far as I know, including me, 154 people have seen that video. When it gets released, roughly... around a hundred million will see it." 


Junwoo seemed to give up on explaining further. 


"...You mean you tailored it considering each one of them?" 




"How can you know that?" 


"I just know. I've never been wrong about it, so I'm confident." 


Jo Sungrae's wrinkled face contorted with confusion. Was this a lie, a boast, some kind of supernatural ability, or was Junwoo just spouting nonsense because he found this conversation bothersome? Each answer seemed beyond the realm of common sense, leaving him feeling dizzy. 


Jo Sungrae, looking dazed, wore a foolish expression. With a face that seemed lost about what to ask next, he just stared into space, his mouth twitching. 


He had braced himself to some extent. But the talent he had envisioned might be nothing compared to what he was hearing. Suddenly, he felt a heavy weight pressing down on his shoulders. The very existence of this young man in front of him seemed frighteningly profound. 


In this very moment, who knew what incomprehensible things were happening inside that mind? 


If this scene of Jo Sungrae's bafflement were to be broadcasted as it was, it could tarnish his esteemed reputation. 


And as if anticipating all this, Junwoo sat there, just as composed as when he first entered the practice room, without a hint of difference. 


Then, the sound of the camera whirring to life was heard. 


Junwoo glanced swiftly at the camera. 


"Now, let's shoot again for the broadcast." 

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