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A Thousand Faces Chapter 60

Updated: Mar 14

"National Treasure, a performer who communicates through acting alone." 


It took Moon Kangwoo a long time to earn that title. 


His passion for movies was immense. Movies were everything in his life. 


That's why he had to fight fiercely. He needed to view his work not just as an actor but from a directorial perspective, to broaden his understanding of the craft and protect his conviction as a performer. 


The only easy part in getting to where he was, was the natural acting talent he was born with. 


Making a movie isn't something that can be done with just one person's thoughts and decisions. 


Everyone involved in the movie needed to harmonize. 


Moon Kangwoo had fought and witnessed endless battles. 


People walking off sets, clashes between directors, actors, writers, and other staff, pushing and shoving. 


Tearing scenes apart, rewriting, colliding, reconciling. He had abandoned quite a few projects in the end. 


The process of making a movie was akin to a war. He believed that was a necessary process. 


"People contributing to a movie must understand and collaborate with one heart. That's how good works are born," he had said in an interview. 


So, how could he not be skeptical about what that kid could properly achieve? 


He acknowledged and even admired the child's innate, genius talent for movies. That's why he couldn't let go of his greed. But making decisions alone throughout the filming period and directing all those people seemed impossible. Even veteran directors with decades of experience couldn't easily do such tasks. 


He didn't think an inexperienced child, surrounded by the scrutiny of the entire nation, could handle those responsibilities. If he couldn't let go of this movie, he thought he might have to step in. But, 




Moon Kangwoo took a few steps back. 


He had been idly watching Junwoo from a distance, increasingly mesmerized by the young director's actions. 


"Three here, five in area B, nine in area C, check the list on that side." 


The commanding presence emanating from that young child seemed to dominate the entire set. 


"It's different from what we discussed. Place the order again." 


With calm but firm instructions, 


"This will overlap the tracking path. No, take the opposite side." 


Adjusting every detail meticulously. 


Directing a crew of more than ten people with a single gesture. 




As Junwoo pushed a large window in a certain direction, fake glass shards flew in all directions, 


Different structures were pushed in, separating time and space. 


Junwoo checked and finely adjusted the boundaries as if he had become the camera himself. 


And as everything clicked into place, the spatial points of the script that had been incomprehensible were being precisely realized one by one. It was an unbelievable sight. 


"Is the next thing ready? You know we need to finish this side by the morning, right?" 


"Yes, it's coming in right now!" 


Under the child's direction, industry professionals were sweating and moving busily. 


As the set took shape, the director's intentions began to gradually reveal themselves. 


The meticulous and precisely engineered direction, how he calculated everything in his mind, was beyond comprehension. 


The shooting angles and techniques, the perspectives, and distances, minute differences were changing the locations. 


Minor points that Moon Kangwoo couldn't grasp from the script. He felt awe as he saw them being resolved one by one in the blink of an eye. 


Even without persuasive words, the child was confidently asserting,  

"You'll understand when you see it," showing everything through actions alone on the set. 


The child had the power to lead all the staff with his sheer will for the work, making them follow without even knowing why. 


It wasn't to imprint a sense of responsibility on people for taking on everything alone at a young age. It was possible because he was driven purely by the determination for the quality of the movie. 


And then, 


"Kangwoo, you're here again today?" 




Suddenly, Jin Do-ryeon approached him from the side. Other actors were already there, too. 


Moon Kangwoo nodded. His thoughts weren't his alone. 


Everyone felt the same way. 


"Without even looking at a blueprint, he's doing this intuitively..." 


As he muttered to himself, "Already, I can see some of the scenes." 




"This is actually possible." 


Moon Kangwoo turned his head to the side. 


Jin Do-ryeon was chuckling in disbelief, her gaze fixed on Junwoo in the distance. 


Then, as if a thought suddenly struck her, Jin Do-ryeon tilted her head. 


"But why did we come here again?" 


And they kept coming to the set every day. 


No one asked why. Why were actors, whose presence wasn't necessarily required, visiting the set daily just to watch? 


It was the staff who were perplexed. The shooting hadn't even properly started yet. They couldn't comprehend why top-tier, highly-paid actors were visiting an unfinished set every day. 


Over the days of observing, something new settled within them. 


They realized that the child had more than just a natural talent for movies; he had a passion that surpassed it. 


His unwavering demeanor, even when directing the set through the night, was astonishing. It was a wonder he didn't collapse from exhaustion. 


Even the weary staff, worn out from fatigue, were energized by the young director's dedication, pushing themselves to work harder. 


Every gesture and command from Junwoo stirred the staff into action. 


This struck Moon Kangwoo profoundly. 


For days, they watched every scene on the set. The charged atmosphere and the unfolding cinematic universe on the set, all orchestrated by the young genius director. 


To the actors, this process felt like watching a movie. 


Even though it was just the preliminary work before the actual shooting, it was more than awe-inspiring. 


And as the setup of the shooting site neared completion, the actors felt the last traces of their doubts about Junwoo being swept away. 


Moon Kangwoo acknowledged it. 


He realized that his thoughts, from one to ten, were all wrong. 


Movies were his life and his world. 


At the pinnacle of his career, he thought he had nothing more to achieve or aspire for. 


But he realized he had been arrogant. 


It seemed it was all right to view the world a bit differently. 


Beyond his greed for achievements and accomplishments, a more intense emotion surged through him. 


He felt he could stick with this movie to the end if it meant working under such a child. 


During a brief break on the set, Moon Kangwoo approached Junwoo, who was still standing somewhere on the set. 


Just as he was about to call out to Junwoo, 




A voice came from behind. 


Moon Kangwoo turned his head and his body flinched for a moment. 


Jin Do-ryeon, Nam Juwan, Choi Cheolsu, Lee Younglan. All the other actors had gathered behind him. 


It was the first time someone had addressed Junwoo that way. 

Junwoo turned around. 


"Do you need any help from us?" 


"We're all in the same team. Give us something to do. It's boring just watching." 


Moon Kangwoo realized. It wasn't just him; the gazes of all the actors watching Junwoo had changed. 




At the Actor Kingdom studio, shooting was in full swing. 


The semifinal mission had ended, and only two contestants were left, waiting for the final stage. 


As the last shooting approached, the top ten contestants were asked about their feelings so far. 


Nine contestants lined up on the studio stage. 


Each had a designated spot assigned by the production team. They adjusted their positions according to the stickers placed at the edge of the stage. 


The picture showed Kang Hyeok's spot next to him empty. The production team briefly halted the camera and gestured. 


"Please stand closer together." 


Following this, Yoo Tae-yang moved closer to Kang Hyeok's side. The other contestants next to him also subtly shifted their positions. 


No one questioned or expressed any discontent as if it were the most natural thing in the world. 


Kang Hyeok swallowed an unbearable frustration inside him. 


"In the semifinals, you showed an unbelievable immersion in the role of 'Kim Hyunsoo', which seemed beyond your years. What was your mindset…" 


The production team's question continued. 


Kang Hyeok responded confidently and smoothly. 


"The 'perfect son' title inevitably brings up your family background. Have you ever thought about your father's support playing a role in gaining popularity?" 


The production team asked, and Kang Hyeok seemed to ponder a potentially sensitive question for a moment. 


"Hmm. Maybe it's my father who's benefiting from me. I'm getting mentioned in broadcasts like this, after all." 


Laughter erupted on the set at Kang Hyeok's wit. 


A peaceful and enjoyable shooting environment. Yet, an awkward air lingered. 


Everyone knew why. The most crucial person who should have been there was missing, and the broadcast proceeded without him. 


It was a strange sight as nobody mentioned that name. 


For some time, Han Junwoo had stopped attending the set unless it was for essential rehearsals or mission-related footage. It was as if he was saying, 'Do whatever with the rest. I don't care.' 


It was absurd. The fact that there was no mention of his frequent absences in this shooting environment was definitely not normal. 


Next, the production team started asking Kang Hyeok about the final stage. 


"You're aware of the immense expectations for Actor Kingdom right now?" 


"Yes, I'm aware." 


"The audience is expecting an incredible performance in the finals. From your attitude so far, it seems like you're more focused on the stage itself rather than winning." 


"...That's right. I think there's nothing more important than delivering a good performance." 


"What are your plans if you win and receive the prize money? Everyone is curious about your future plans." 


"Ah, well, obviously…" 


Kang Hyeok felt something odd about the questions directed at him. 


It felt like the questions prepared for the real protagonist were being directed at him instead. 


Then, the production team put down their script and asked Kang Hyeok directly. 


"Oh, you seem confident about winning. The finals feature a collaborative stage. Would you care to share your aspirations and your mindset regarding your competition?" 


Kang Hyeok unintentionally furrowed his brows. That guy wasn't even here. What was all this about? But he had to compose himself. The cameras were rolling. He couldn't afford to look bad here. 


Kang Hyeok clenched his fist out of the camera's view. 


"Of course. Regardless of the outcome, I'll ensure a spectacular stage. Please look forward to it until the very end." 


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