Chapter 113. Loud Cheers (8)
“You’re here, Director.”
“Oh yeah~! Nice to see you!”
Woo Jae-Hoon’s footsteps were full of vigor as he stepped into the office of Newdon, a film distribution and investment company.
The audience count for Summer in My 20s had gone past 3.5 million. He was so proud about it that he even recently started saying that he had built two buildings on each of his shoulders.
“Hello, Director.” Park Do-Joon stood up awkwardly to greet the older man while he was reading a book. Park Do-Joon’s hairstyle had changed to a two-block cut after the movie.
“What book is that?” Woo Jae-Hoon asked as he sat on the sofa across from Park Do-Joon. “Oscar’s Dungeon? A fantasy?”
“It’s by Writer Ha Jae-Gun. His original pen name was Poongchun-Yoo, and he started out writing martial arts and fantasy genre s.”
“Let me borrow the volume one for a while if you have it right now.”
Woo Jae-Hoon took the book and opened chapter one. The martial arts genre was fine, but he wasn’t the type to easily go for fantasy genres. However, it was different if the story was written by Ha Jae-Gun.
“Hm, it’s quite interesting.”
“Please make fantasy stories like this into a movie.”
“Where are we? In Hollywood? Why don’t you invest in it, and I’ll make you something.”
Woo Jae-Hoon stopped reading after five minutes and closed the book.
“Lend me this book, I’ll read it at home.”
“You should just buy it at the bookstore,” Park Do-Joon grumbled and handed Woo Jae-Hoon volume two of the .
Woo Jae-Hoon accepted the book before finally getting to the point.
“Mysterium sent in another proposal.”
“What proposal is it?”
“Ha Jae-Gun’s next . The scenario is half-done, and they said that they would release the first, so they’re working on the right now. Here.”
Park Do-Joon accepted the set of papers from Woo Jae-Hoon.
The cover page was labeled Gangster’s Sea (Working Title). It consisted of the half-completed scenario and a film treatment of the story’s latter half.
“Seeing how they started sending proposals, they must be quite confident in this as well,” Woo Jae-Hoon said indifferently.
Park Do-Joon started reading the scenario seriously and looked up after a while.
“I’ve finished reading it.”
“What do you think?”
“It’s interesting. The main character Cho Kang-Jae is quite charming.”
Woo Jae-Hoon nodded in agreement, seemingly having expected this answer from Park Do-Joon and replied, “I’m looking to schedule a meeting with them.”
“Who else? Myung-Suk and Ha Jae-Gun, of course.”
Park Do-Joon raised an eyebrow with a slight frown.
Woo Jae-Hoon observed the latter’s expression. He sounded boastful as he said, “Well, like Summer in My 20s, Ha Jae-Gun’s writing is worth using, isn’t it? Plus, OongSung will continue financing the films, so even if this doesn’t sell over a million copies, it could still hit a few hundred thousand copies. Don’t you think so?”
Woo Jae-Hoon pulled out a stick of cigarette and put it into his mouth.
The frown on Park Do-Joon’s face did not go away.
‘Will Ha Jae-Gun accept it?’
It wasn’t Woo Jae-Hoon’s first time disparaging Ha Jae-Gun’s personality and skills in front of Park Do-Joon. He had even scratched the tip of the iceberg, saying that Ha Jae-Gun’s original work was quite problematic in the broadcast interview.
“Director, do you hate Ha Jae-Gun?”
“Of course, I hate him. The young ink slinger only gained some popularity, so how dare he glare and act arrogant—” Woo Jae-Hoon caught himself. He took a few more puffs of his cigarette before letting out a huge cloud of smoke.
“Anyway, work is work. There haven’t been any other scenarios that managed to catch my eye, so why don’t I work with his scenario rather than wait?”
Woo Jae-Hoon couldn’t stay truthful to himself.
To be honest, Woo Jae-Hoon was on the losing end. Ha Jae-Gun’s work was undeniably good, and he secretly admitted that it was thanks to the popularity of the original that his movie was still considered a success.
Moreover, if Ha Jae-Gun’s next were to be adapted into a movie again, the investors would swarm in like bees, opening their wallets up to finance the production.
Woo Jae-Hoon had barely made a comeback with Summer in My 20s, so he wanted to ride on Ha Jae-Gun’s bus to cement his comeback with the next movie.
“Do-Joon, do your best at the meeting, and let’s make it big once more.”
“Yeah. I thought that you would fit the male lead, Cho Kang-Jae, quite well. He’s in his late twenties, so you’re quite similar in terms of age. It feels like Ha Jae-Gun created that character with you in mind.”
Park Do-Joon looked down at the script again, unable to reply.
In fact, Park Do-Joon was getting drawn to the character—Cho Kang-Jae. He wanted to play the role of a young gangster who was being tormented by both his parents’ hospital bills as well as the daughter of his rival gang boss. He also had faith in the story’s level of completion since Ha Jae-Gun wrote it.
“Hmm? Do-Joon. What do you think? Forget about dramas and do one more movie with me.” Woo Jae-Hoon couldn’t wait any longer and urged him.
Honestly, he was anxious. Newdon definitely wasn’t the only one that received the proposal. Woo Jae-Hoon had to get this project in his hands before the other companies beat him to it.
“Can you persuade him?” Park Do-Joon asked in a serious voice. He looked up and continued. “I think Ha Jae-Gun’s quite prideful as well.”
“Well, he’s still a greenhorn.”
“There’s no way he would have missed that broadcast interview.”
“Fuck, I asked them to edit that out. That damn journalist spewed nonsense to make me all emotional. Anyway, I’ll deal with that personally and keep myself in check, so you don’t have to worry about that.”
Woo Jae-Hoon took out another stick of cigarette.
Park Do-Joon sighed in frustration.magic
He was worried even if they managed to come to a compromise. Above all, he was the most worried about the director, and he couldn’t help but think of himself as pathetic, as he couldn’t reject the man because of the gratitude he owed him.
“Wow, how many inches is this? Eighty inches? This is crazy!” Lee Yeon-Woo exclaimed as he stared at the huge TV sitting in the middle of the living room. He had come to visit Ha Jae-Gun’s new house after the move.
“Wow, look at the home theater. This is totally a cinema on its own!”
Lee Yeon-Woo paced around the house excitedly. New home appliances decorated the interior at the right spots. The European-style interior looked more refined and great now that the appliances were here.
"He must have spent a huge amount of money on the interior. Oh? Is he planning to make something in the basement?"
Lee Yeon-Woo saw mountains of construction materials piled up in the basement.
It was so tough to find even a flat ground to step on that Lee Yeon-Woo had to walk out after only a few moments in the basement.
Just then, Ha Jae-Gun had just come out of the shower, towel-drying his wet hair.
"Hyung, is something still under construction for the basement?"
"Yeah? Since I'm going to fix the entire garden, I might as well turn the basement into a lounge since my friends and family will be dropping by as well."
"Lounge? What are you installing in there?"
"I've got plans to install a bar, a second-hand billiards table, a soccer table, a pinball game machine, and a dart game machine for now.
”Ah, I'm going to add some arcade games, too, the ones that you have to use tokens to play. I love those classic games, you see."
Lee Yeon-Woo’s jaws dropped, and he soon raised both of his thumbs at Ha Jae-Gun. “Hyung, I think I can live in your basement for the rest of my life! Hyung, how good are you at billiards? Argh, I’m going crazy!”
Ha Jae-Gun grinned as Lee Yeon-Woo bubbled over in excitement.
Ha Jae-Gun felt safe since a full security system had been installed with the help of a third-party vendor. Every issue with the house had been resolved, and there were only a few construction projects left.
“I don’t think I can go to the office for the next few days. I’ll have to stay home to work because of the construction projects,” Ha Jae-Gun said.
“Okay, hyung. Since I’m here today, can I work here with you?”
“Sure. Let’s go up.”
Ha Jae-Gun brought Lee Yeon-Woo up to the study on the second floor.
A pair of antique double doors were left wide open. The study’s interior—as well as Rika standing in the middle of the study—appeared in front of them. The empty bookshelves were now filled with books.
“Wow, hyung. You’ve added so many books, how many books are here?” Lee Yeon-Woo exclaimed in amazement.
“I’m not sure. Probably over five thousand.”
“Have you read all of them?”
“I just bought them, so how can I possibly read them all so quickly? I’ll just have to start reading them from now on.”
However, Ha Jae-Gun had already read over five hundred of those books.
He couldn’t sleep last night, so he decided to do some reading with the brown horn-rimmed glasses. He took an hour to read twenty books, but he didn’t mind it because reading was an important part of a writer’s life.
Ha Jae-Gun and Lee Yeon-Woo sat next to each other with their laptops on the long table placed next to the bookshelves. Rika curled by the window while on guard duty and was staring at the garden downstairs.
A call from Oh Myung-Suk came in.
Out of consideration for Lee Yeon-Woo, Ha Jae-Gun took his phone and left the study.
— Hello, Mr. Ha. How is the writing going along?
“It’s going along swimmingly.”
— That’s a relief. I’ve called to inform you that I’ve received a few interview requests from a few newspapers. Navin as well as Dawoom reached out for an interview request as well. I was wondering if it would be good to accept interviews from a couple of them since we’re about to release the next .
“I’ll go along with your decision, editor-in-chief.”
— Okay, I’ll go ahead with Navin, then. There’s one other thing. I’ve sent out the proposals for the movie adaptation, and Director Woo Jae-Hoon was the first to respond.
“Hmm, I see…”
Ha Jae-Gun’s reply trailed off as the scene of Woo Jae-Hoon with a sly look on the TV surfaced in his mind.
— He seems to be keeping a low profile, and he had even mentioned the broadcast interview himself.
“What did he say about it?”
— He said that it was edited with malicious intent to reel in viewership ratings. He said that there were a lot of issues related to the contract for the original , but he had no intentions of disparaging your work.
Ha Jae-Gun squeezed the back of his stiff neck with his free hand.
There was a moment of silence until Oh Myung-Suk shattered it.
— What do you think, Mr. Ha?
“What about you, editor-in-chief?”
— I think it’s not a bad idea to arrange a meeting with Director Woo Jae-Hoon, regardless of the possible negotiation results. The movie was indeed a success, and the investors were happy with it despite the audience response.
“As expected,” Ha Jae-Gun answered and organized his thoughts.
If the meeting were held, they would most likely put the main focus on the scenario. The key issue this time would be if they would allow Ha Jae-Gun to write the scenario himself.
— It’s not that urgent, so please take your time, Mr. Ha.
“I understand. Thank you.”
Ha Jae-Gun ended the call and returned to his seat.
Lee Yeon-Woo had been unintentionally eavesdropping.
He turned around and asked, “What is it? It sounded like the editor-in-chief for Gangster’s Sea was the one talking to you just now.”
“Oh, well. He was just asking about my progress,” Ha Jae-Gun replied casually and reached for the keyboard. Ha Jae-Gun completely forgot Woo Jae-Hoon’s existence the moment he started writing.
“That arrogant punk!”
Woo Jae-Hoon slammed his huge fist on the desk.
“Consider?! That greenhorn of an ink slinger! Does he really think that I’m free?!”
Woo Jae-Hoon flung his arms in the air out of anger. His actions were a complete change from earlier when he was still on the phone talking and bowing down repeatedly like a servant to every Oh Myung-Suk’s words.
Park Do-Joon was rendered speechless by Woo Jae-Hoon’s performance.
“Are they already done talking with another director?” Woo Jae-Hoon mumbled, his eyes darting around.
Park Do-Joon yawned lightly and stood up.
“Where are you going?” the older man asked.
“I’m meeting Chae-Rin.”
“Hey, Park Do-Joon. Just ask her for a favor when you meet her later.”
“Ask her to give Ha Jae-Gun a call.”
Park Do-Joon stood there with a slightly stiff look.
“Are you asking me to grab a meeting with Ha Jae-Gun now?”
“Yeah. Why should OongSung be present at the meeting, anyway? This is between Ha Jae-Gun and me. If we want to untangle the knot, we’ll first have to meet in person. He’s acting up without knowing his place, so let’s have her call him out for a meeting. Perhaps over drinks or something. He might not agree if it were me, but it’s a different story if it’s someone else.”
“I don’t want to. Anyway, I’m leaving.”
“Hey, Do-Joon! Do-Joon! Stop right there!”
Woo Jae-Hoon leaped to his feet and stopped Park Do-Joon at the door.
“Have I failed you before? Can’t you just do this for me?”
“Ah, Director. It isn’t about that, but it just feels weird. Let’s just wait patiently for a few days.”
“I can’t wait patiently, you punk!” Woo Jae-Hoon was close to screaming at this point.
He picked up the phone on his desk. He revealed a servile smile before dialing Ha Jae-Gun’s number.
Ha Jae-Gun’s voice echoed from the phone.
Woo Jae-Hoon shoved the phone in Park Do-Joon’s hand and begged him while rubbing his hands together.
Park Do-Joon scoffed, but he still accepted the phone before saying, “Hello, Writer Ha. This is Park Do-Joon.”
— Ah, yes. Hello.
“How have you been?”
— I’ve been great. I enjoyed the movie. The movie shone thanks to your great acting.
“Thank you. It’s great to hear that from you.”
Their conversation came to a lull. Woo Jae-Hoon made a series of silent yells, prompting Park Do-Joon to continue with the conversation.
“I’d like to meet you if possible, Writer Ha.”
“Yes. Well… not as an actor but as a reader. I have a few things I’d like to discuss with you.”
— Ah, I remember that you posted about reading Oscar’s Dungeon on your Twitter before. Thank you so much.
“It’s nothing. I uploaded it because it was really interesting. So how about it? Let’s perhaps have dinner together.”
— It wouldn’t be polite of me to reject you one more time. When shall we meet then?
“How about this evening? I don’t have anything on my schedule tonight as well.”
— Sure. Where shall we meet? I don’t think we can meet anywhere in public, so please decide on the location.
The two agreed on a location, and Park Do-Joon ended the call. He was starting to feel more uncomfortable around Woo Jae-Hoon, who was singing cries of joy in front of him.