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A Thousand Faces Chapter 69

Updated: Mar 27

Actor Kingdom became a nationwide issue in just a few days, sparked by the new edition of the Celebrity Insight magazine. 

 

The biggest hit was taken by W Broadcasting Station. 

 

Starting with the news of the finals, rumors of broadcast manipulation began to circulate online on social media and community forums. 

 

[Think about it, guys. Why would Han Junwoo suddenly leave the shoot to film a movie? He's living in the dorms and all that.] 

 

[To be honest, it's too obvious they're trying to promote Kang Hyeok. It's clear Han Junwoo is the main focus, but they keep trying to create a competitive scenario... it's ridiculous.] 

 

[Anyway, it's clear as day they're desperately trying to stick to that narrative LOL.] 

 

[It's obvious they took a bribe from Daemyoung.] 

 

[The production team is famous for exploiting naive contestants to stir up controversies. I'm not watching their broadcasts anymore.] 

 

"Similar reactions are continuously being posted." 

 

During the production team's meeting, Yoo Sang-jun was reading comments that were pouring in real-time on community forums. 

 

The screen was filled with negative comments. However, the faces of the team members, including Yoo Sang-jun, gathered in the conference room were excited. 

 

Public opinion is easily swayed by negative news. 

 

In the anonymity of online spaces, people lash out and criticize individuals and groups. 

 

The broadcasting station had become the perfect target for public scrutiny. 

 

And the explosive spread of public opinion was bound to translate into viewership ratings for the Actor Kingdom. 

 

The important thing was that the broadcast had inadvertently become a national topic due to Junwoo. 

 

Everyone was curious about who Junwoo was and what he had done, repeatedly watching and rewatching the broadcast. 

 

The ratings were rising at an unbelievable rate. 

 

For the production team, this was an exceptionally good turn of events. 

 

"We've been hands-off since we reached our target ratings, but to reach this point... Once again, it seems we're riding on Han Junwoo's coattails," said Yoo Sang-jun with a smile. 

 

The other team members looked at each other with excited faces. 

 

"The ratings for this episode are going to be off the charts. We'll overshadow other broadcasting stations." 

 

Yoo Sang-jun continued to brief Park Jun-gil about the broadcasting station's discussions heating up the internet. But, 

 

"According to our current calculations, maybe next week... Team Leader? Are you listening?" 

 

"..." 

 

"Team Leader...?" 

 

"Huh? Oh, yeah. Keep going." 

 

Park Jun-gil's response was not like his usual self. 

 

He wasn't the type to be discouraged by negative comments about broadcast manipulation. There had been many such instances before. 

 

Normally, he would be the most excited person here. 

 

But today, Park Jun-gil seemed unusually downcast. 

 

'He's not someone to be easily shaken... is something personal bothering him?' 

 

Yoo Sangjun discretely glanced around and continued the briefing. 

 

"The achievements of Han Junwoo during the broadcast, which even we had forgotten, have been published in the magazine and..." 

 

"What? Repeat that." 

 

"...?" 

 

"What about Han Junwoo?" 

 

"Oh, if we find usable content from the unpublished footage, we might make a deal with the magazine company," 

 

"No, not that. I mean Han Junwoo. What achievements are you talking about?" 

 

Park Jun-gil showed some interest when Han Junwoo was mentioned. 

 

Yoo Sang-jun also spoke in an increasingly subdued voice. 

 

"Anyway, what should we... do?" 

 

"Do what?" 

 

"Well, the ratings aside, we should discuss how to deal with these rumors." 

 

Park Jun-gil pressed his lips together and stared blankly into space. It was unclear whether he was worried, reflecting, or just exhausted. 

 

"...I don't know either." 

 

Normally, the meeting would be led by Park Jun-gil. 

 

Feeling that things couldn't continue this way, Yoo Sang-jun, more vocally than usual, began to fill the meeting room with his voice. An awkward atmosphere lingered. The content of the meeting felt somewhat detached. 

 

Then, an inexplicable silence fell for a moment. 

 

Park Jun-Gil, who had been staring blankly at the wall, suddenly said, 

 

"These days, nothing seems to be interesting anymore, does it?" 

 

Yoo Sang-jun immediately turned his head. 

 

"...What? What do you mean?" 

 

"Just everything. All of it. Even this meeting right now." 

 

Park Jun-gil spoke as if he was unaware of his own words, his eyes unfocused. 

 

"I didn't realize it then. It was rather stressful. But now, I kind of understand. There was never a time more passionate than when Han Junwoo was stirring things up. Don't you think?" 

 

"..." 

 

The entire meeting room suddenly became solemn. 

 

The atmosphere, which had been filled with excited energy, subtly shifted. 

 

In fact, not a single person sitting here was unaware of what Park Jun-gil was talking about. 

 

They were all experiencing similar feelings. 

 

They had tried to believe it was just a feeling of emptiness because the broadcast had ended. But deep down, there was always a longing for the moments they had captured Junwoo. 

 

What surprised them was that Park Jun-gil, of all people, was the first to mention it. 

 

"Hey? Say something. Do you find the slight increase in ratings interesting?" 

 

"It's not about being interesting... It's just good for our broadcasting station..." 

 

And then, Park Jun-gil, whose focus suddenly returned, clamped his mouth shut. 

 

It seemed he had not been fully aware of what he had been saying just moments ago. 

 

After a moment of contemplation, Park Jun-gil changed the subject. 

 

"... Let's talk about the rest next time. I think I have something I need to do." 

 

And so, the meeting, which ended with Junwoo's mention, concluded ambiguously, yet again. 

 

*** 

 

The whole country was in an uproar. 

 

The impact was incomparable to when Junwoo's presence first emerged through the broadcast of Actor Kingdom. 

 

Now, Junwoo was at the center of Korea's attention. 

 

But Junwoo remained undisturbed, focusing on filming the movie as usual. 

 

The filming was entering its final stages. Junwoo was alone on the set, without any actors, holding a camera and filming something unknown. 

 

One of the staff members cautiously approached Jeon Gwang-in and asked, 

 

"Um... Director Jeon?" 

 

"?" 

 

"Don't you think we should at least talk to Director Han? It seems like he's so busy he doesn't know anything about the current situation." 

 

"What does he not know?" 

 

"The current situation. With Celebrity Insight and everything. The whole country is noisy about the director, but the person concerned doesn't know. Knowing this could surely be more beneficial for the movie." 

 

"Do you think knowing or not knowing is important?" 

 

"Yes...?" 

 

"Even after seeing that?" 

 

Jeon Gwang-in gestured towards Junwoo. 

 

The director's figure seemed to see nothing but the shoot. 

 

Junwoo was capturing various scenes around the set, which was empty of actors. 

 

He boldly kicked down the set that had just finished shooting, 

captured subjects up close and suddenly came over to where Shin Haksu was to capture the scenery. 

 

Still, he hadn't said a word. 

 

Shin Haksu cautiously moved the documentary camera he had set up, glancing at Junwoo, who had suddenly appeared beside him. 

 

Jeon Gwang-in's eyes shone with awe. Then, as if speaking to himself, he murmured, 

 

"...What day is it today." 

 

"Ah, it's June 19th." 

 

"..." 

 

Jeon Gwang-in let out an involuntary, hollow laugh. Vaguely, he remembered the detailed plans Han Junwoo had laid out when he first came to Fantasia Productions. 

 

The scene's introduction, the middle, the main, and the final shots are all divided into specific times and dates. It was precise. Not a single deviation. Everything was proceeding exactly as planned. Everything he said was true. 

 

Jeon Gwang-in's gaze shifted slightly. 

 

"From now on, any unnecessary interruptions in the director's work won't be tolerated. Pass that on to the other staff members too." 

 

"Ah," 

 

"Did you get that?" 

 

"Yes! Understood!" 

 

At that moment, Junwoo was about to move to the studio for sound work. 

 

"Moon Kangwoo, come here." 

 

Without even glancing at Moon Kangwoo, who was about a hundred meters away, Junwoo called him. And yet, 

 

"Yes, Director!" 

 

Somehow, hearing him, a beaming Moon Kangwoo started running from afar. 

 

Then, just as the door to the sound studio where they both entered closed with a click, 

 

"Is anyone there?" 

 

"Is this Director Han's filming set?" 

 

Quite in a timely manner, familiar faces began to appear one after another on the filming set. 

 

The unannounced visitors to the set were well-known figures in the industry. 

 

The word was already out in the industry circles. Knowing that any attempt to schedule a meeting via phone or other means would only be met with rejection, those anxious people had come unannounced. 

 

"We came to meet Director Han Junwoo briefly." 

 

"Now's not a good time. It's difficult if you come unannounced like this." 

 

The first was Yoo Deokhwan, a director renowned for commercial mainstream movies. 

 

"Surely you must know who I am. Just give me five minutes. I just want to inquire briefly about a movie appearance, so please spare some time." 

 

One after another, more people peered out from behind, proposing advertisements or interviews. 

 

Jeon Gwang-in tried to keep a smile, but his expression was far from happy. This was a sheer act of disrespect. 

 

He glanced stealthily towards the studio. Cold sweat broke out. 

 

"I just told you it's difficult." 

 

"Why are you, who aren't even Director Han's manager, insisting it's impossible? Let me speak directly to him. Just tell me where he is." 

 

"The director is busy right now. Why are you doing this? Why are you coming here during filming... Please leave now." 

 

Jin Do-ryeon also joined in. Seeing his troubled face, the waiting actors and staff members began to gather by his side one by one. 

 

A tense standoff suddenly unfolded in the middle of the set. 

 

Shin Haksu, in the back, turned the camera's direction to capture the scene. 

 

*** 

 

Inside the audio studio, intense sound work was underway. 

 

In front of Moon Kangwoo was a box filled to the brim with sand. 

The sand had an odd color, somewhere between purple and gray. 

 

Where he had sourced such a thing was beyond guessing. 

 

But Moon Kangwoo didn't ask. 

 

"What should I do, Director?" 

 

"Sift that three times." 

 

"Three times. Yes." 

 

"The feel of the sound varies depending on the particles." 

 

"I'll do that." 

 

Moon Kangwoo quietly began sifting the sand through a sieve laid beside him. 

 

During that time, Junwoo, who was checking the mixing equipment, put on headphones and brought the sifted sandbox to the microphone. He then said, 

 

"Don't even breathe from now on. If you can't do that, step outside for a while." 

 

Instead of responding, Moon Kangwoo just nodded. 

 

Even if it meant fainting from holding his breath, he couldn't miss the opportunity to witness this moment with his own eyes. 

 

Junwoo plunged his hand into the sandbox, and as he lifted his hand, a rustling sound sifted through his intertwined fingers. 

 

At the same time, Junwoo turned his gaze to the screen. 

 

It was a scene of Jin Do-ryeon's hair fluttering. 

 

Although he wasn't sure, it seemed like he was trying to represent the sound of wind. 

 

Then, moving to a completely different scene, Junwoo carefully began stepping on the sand. 

 

Moon Kangwoo, not understanding the purpose, closed his eyes and concentrated on the sound. 

 

Next was Moon Kangwoo's turn. 

 

"Get close to the microphone and hold your breath." 

 

"Just hold it? Or make a sound while holding?" 

 

"Just hold it." 

 

"Yes, Director." 

 

Moon Kangwoo, without further questions, obediently brought his face close to the microphone. 

 

Junwoo, wearing headphones, gently raised his right hand and then closed his eyes. 

 

What exactly was being done and for what purpose remained incomprehensible, but Moon Kangwoo knew that having doubts was meaningless. His attitude had naturally solidified to accept this. 

 

Unaware of what was happening outside, the two in the studio were in a completely different world. 

 

As usual, the director's face was calm, not in a hurry. But Moon Kangwoo knew. 

 

He knew how sensitive Junwoo was at the moment. 

 

As it was sound work, even the slightest disturbance in the studio's atmosphere was so perceptible that Junwoo had heightened all his senses. 

 

Moon Kangwoo barely breathed next to him. Fearing that even the sound of his eyeballs moving or his eyelids blinking might be captured and that his director could hear even that, he stood like a statue next to Junwoo, except when Junwoo ordered something. 

 

Then, a very cautious and barely audible knock was heard. 

 

Thud, the sound stopped. Junwoo ceased what he was doing and froze. 

 

Moon Kangwoo sensed something ominous. At the same time, anger started to boil within him. 

 

Creak, the door opened a crack, and Jeon Gwang-in timidly peeked his face in. 

 

"People have come looking for the director and want to speak with him..." 

 

"..." 

 

"There are more people than expected, not ordinary ones. I wasn't sure if I could just send them away, so I came to check if..." 

 

Junwoo continued what he was doing as if ignoring Jeon Gwang-in's interruption. He didn't even turn towards the door. But Moon Kangwoo could feel it. The slight furrow between Junwoo's brows and the tension in his working hand. The intensity of the sound being produced was increasing. 

 

Moon Kangwoo coldly whispered to Jeon Gwang-in. 

 

"...Are you kidding right now, Director?" 

 

Junwoo, continuing his work, barely audibly sighed. 

 

"…!" 

 

Jeon Gwang-in's pupils shook violently. 

 

"... I'm sorry. I'll handle it, so don't worry." 

 

Jeon Gwang-in, who closed the studio door, couldn't remove his hand from the doorknob for a while. He was frozen. 

 

'What have I just done?' 

 

He regretted his last words. His fists clenched involuntarily. He couldn't forget Junwoo's faint sigh. He was certain he was now in Han Director's bad books. That alone was unbearable. Whether he was angry at himself or angry because of them, he couldn't tell, but uncontrollable irritation and rage boiled within him. 

 

"Everyone, leave." 

 

Jeon Gwang-in turned to the visitors and spoke coldly and decisively. 

 

"Leave now." 

 

"Really, the way I've been treated since a while ago... Haha. Unbelievable." 

 

Jeon Gwang-in's face hardened. 

 

"Do you think your abundant time and his time are the same? Just wait. Wait until the director wants to meet. Whenever that will be, I don't know." 

 

"…Alright then, we'll wait. Whatever the time, even if it's dawn or morning, we'll wait until today's filming is over." 

 

"…You don't seem to grasp the situation. Why wouldn't the director show his face?" 

 

Jeon Gwang-in closed his eyes in frustration. 

 

"I understand you're blinded by greed. But if you make a mistake now and get on the director's bad side, he won't want to work with you again. Don't you understand yet? Do you think you know Director Han better than I do?" 

 

For the first time, Jeon Gwang-in raised his voice. 

 

Everyone jolted at his outburst. 

 

"..." 

 

"No…" 

 

Then, they began to look around, gauging the situation. It wasn't because of Jeon Gwang-in. 

 

"He won't work with me again?" 

 

They quickly racked their brains. With such a reaction, they instinctively felt that now wasn't the right time to be pushy. 

 

They probably shouldn't make any sudden moves until the shooting was over. 

 

It seemed everyone had the same thought, as no one persisted further. 

 

"Then... at least please accept this for now." 

 

The one in the lead, Yoo Deokhwan, extended his business card. 

 

Jeon Gwang-in, with a frown, snatched the business card briskly. 

 

Seeing this, employees from advertising agencies and magazine representatives hurriedly rummaged through their wallets. 

 

"That's enough. Since you seem to understand, please leave now." 

 

"We would appreciate it if you could pass it on when you have time. We will wait as long as it takes. Just give us a call…" 

 

Those who couldn't let go lingered near the set for two hours, but Junwoo never showed his face during that time. 

 

*** 

 

In the early hours of the morning, after the shooting was over, on the way back, 

 

Junwoo stopped in the vicinity of an alley. 

 

"Damn it…" 

 

Under the streetlamp, a familiar face was visible. 

 

Silently pacing in place was Park Jun-gil. 

 

Junwoo tilted his head. 

 

The atmosphere was distinctly different from what he knew. 

 

And then, when Park Jun-gil lifted his head and noticed Junwoo, 

"Ah, Junwoo." 

 

"Have you been waiting for me?" 

 

"Yes. It's just that…" 

 

Hesitating for a moment, Park Jun-gil, with a voice more subdued than before, seemed to make up his mind. 

 

"It's not about anything else. I know you're busy, but please hear me out for a moment." 

 



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