Dog Song smiled smugly. “That’s right. I’ve watched decades of television. Hehe. I think of acting in a movie even in my dreams. I never expected to have my wish fulfilled. Haha… Look, this costume was handed out by the film crew. It was rather dirty when they handed it out. But after washing it, I dried it on the stove. How does it look? Do I look handsome? Do I have the bearing of a soldier? I’m telling you. I was born in the wrong era. If I were born in ancient times, I’d have been the hero of the century!”
Dog Song posed in a heroic fashion.
“Dog Song, cut the bragging? Hero? You would be a thief like Shi Qian from Water Margin if you were born in ancient times.” Wang Yougui slapped Dog Song’s hat, sending it flying.
Dog Song hurriedly picked up the hat and blew the dust of it. He grinned. “That’s because Water Margin is filled with good men. They are godly men who descended to the mortal world!”
“Enough, quickly gather. If you keep bragging, the film crew might fire you!”
Dog Song turned his head and indeed, everyone had begun gathering. After bidding Fangzheng farewell, he ran over to join in the buzz.
Fangzheng looked at the scene and smiled. “Everyone seems to be in high spirits.”
“Definitely. All of us watch television. Who wouldn’t be happy to suddenly be able to act in a film? Besides, it’s not yet full spring. Everyone is free. We might as well earn some money from acting instead of gossiping, bullshitting, bragging or playing mahjong. Everyone is willing to do it…” Wang Yougui chuckled. Although the film crew had only come to their village for a few days, they did and bought most things needed in the village itself, benefiting the villagers. Perhaps the money was not that much but having some income made them happy. Especially the acting, the actors were each paid a hundred yuan. It was quite a sizable sum in such a village. He had made an election promise of making the villagers rich and now, he had finally taken the first step on that arduous path. The very thought of it brought him joy.
Fangzheng smiled. “That’s true. This Penniless Monk grew curious from seeing everyone this happy. What are you filming?”
“Just watch. As long as it’s kept secret and not leaked out, there shouldn’t be a problem,” said Wang Yougui.
Fangzheng’s interest was piqued as he made Lone Wolf watch the monastery and Monkey sweep the tree leaves. He then followed the crowd’s bustle.
While everyone was happy, someone sat there with a headache.
Director Yu felt somewhat helpless when he saw the bunch of actors lacking the qualities of one. He could not help it. There was the sudden decision of adding a suicidal corp to the film. And since there were not enough actors, he could only request the villagers’ help.
With this thought in mind, Director Yu stood at a high spot and spoke with a loudspeaker, “Everyone, please quiet down. In a while, someone will tell you how to act. It will be explained from person to person, details will be provided. Everyone, please cooperate as we work hard to do it in a single take. Got it?”
“Got it!” The villagers were excited. They wished to accomplish the filming in one take, letting the professional actors know that they as villagers could act too.
However, Director Yu held no hopes of that happening. One take? It was difficult even for professional actors. He had only said those words to cheer everyone on. He was afraid they would end up crying from having to repeat the takes over and over again.
With that said, Director Yu jumped off his spot and got everyone to prepare.
At that moment, Lin Dongshi walked over. He had a long face to begin with but now, it was even longer. “Director, something happened.”
“What happened?” Director Yu frowned. They were about to begin filming but something had happened?
“The veteran that is meant to act the reverend suddenly had a cerebral infarction. he can’t come. And from the looks of it, we need to get someone else,” said Lin Dongshi.
“Get someone else now? How?! Although there are many people wishing to join the lineup, you have to understand what day it is today! It’s the day we begin filming! The investors are already here and are we going to tell them we aren’t filming?” Director Yu nearly roared his question.
“Why don’t we get someone to stand in?” said Lin Dongshi bitterly. Why was he the one to be blamed for such an incident? Who could’ve known that the veteran would suddenly fall ill?
“Stand in? Who do we get to stand in? You? With that long face of yours, the acting will be ruined instantly! The busier we are, the worse it gets… Go contact all the people that did pretty well on the screen test. Whoever makes it today by noon will be accepted!” said Director Yu.
“Director, I have already made the phone calls. All of them are far away. They can’t even make it here in time by plane,” said Lin Dongshi.
“This can’t be done and that can’t be done… How do you want me to get an accomplished monk at this moment… Accomplished… Hey! Why do we need to find one!? Isn’t there one under our noses!?” Director Yu smacked himself in the forehead and suddenly came to a realization.
Lin Dongshi turned to look at One Finger Monastery as his eyes lit up instantly. He asked, “Will Venerable Fangzheng be agreeable to it?”
“Just ask him. Besides, this is for acting and it’s a movie that gives off positive vibes. It’s a good thing,” said Director Yu.
Lin Dongshi nodded and went to seek Fangzheng.
Lin Dongshi easily found Fangzheng. He saw the shiny bald head among the crowd with a glance. There was no other way about it. Fangzheng was truly too conspicuous. He was dressed in white and he had a radiant glow to him. He could not be hidden no matter where he went. Lin Dongshi ran over and asked, “Venerable Fangzheng, are you interested in the filming?”
“This Penniless Monk is indeed a little curious. Patron, is there something you need? This Penniless Monk will leave if watching is not allowed.” Fangzheng had no habit of breaking the rules of others.
“No, no. You are an accomplished monk. It’s our honor that you wish to watch.” Lin Dongshi tried to be extra polite since he had a request.
Fangzheng shook his head. “This Penniless Monk is just an ordinary monk. How can he considered an accomplished monk? If we are talking about accomplished monks, Hongyan Monastery’s Zen Master Hongyan and Baiyun Monastery’s Zen Master Hongyan are considered accomplished monks.”
“Venerable Fangzheng, there’s no need to be humble. Let’s get down to business. We have a scene that is extremely important. It is to have an accomplished monk do the funeral rites of dead soldiers. However, the actor that was supposed to act as the accomplished monk was suddenly hospitalized. Do you think…” Lin Dongshi looked earnestly at Fangzheng. His expression reminded Fangzheng of Lone Wolf looking at the Crystal Rice in his bowl.
Before Fangzheng said a word, Wang Yougui exclaimed, “You are requesting Fangzheng to act as the accomplished monk?”
Fangzheng was given a fright as well. He shook his head, “Patron, This Penniless Monk doesn’t know how to act. It will only add to your troubles if it’s not done well. This Penniless Monk feels that you can temporarily not film. You can start filming when a suitable replacement is found.”
Lin Dongshi nodded. “That was what I wish I could do. But there are key characters coming today, especially the investors. They wish to see this first scene. If they come and filming isn’t carried out, the investors might become angry and pull their investment. Venerable Fangzheng. Please, we need your aid.”
Lin Dongshi had actually lied. The film was a blockbuster so be it Director Yu Guangze’s name or Li Xueying’s pull, many investors wished to invest in the film. But sometimes, face was more important than money. It would be for the best if Fangzheng could really resolve their problems. Of course, if Fangzheng really refused, they couldn’t do a thing. To ensure quality, they could temporarily put their face aside. ‘This is truly a last ditch effort…’ But this was something Lin Dongshi would rather not mention.