This was the general gist of the story. The script only had a small extracted scene. As a scout, Hua Mulan and her comrade-in-arms probed the Helan Mountains and ended up encountering refugees that were attempting to run to the south from the north but they were being pursued by the Rouran tribe. In order to facilitate the retreat of the villagers, Hua Mulan fought valiantly in battle with the soldiers. The Rouran tribesmen fought the soldiers to a mutually destructive outcome. The heavily injured Hua Mulan fainted.
A monk who lived in a nearby monastery heard the battle cries and rushed over. After hearing the villagers recount the situation, he felt touched. When he came to the battlefield, he was too late. Everyone was dead. He looked at the corpses strewn on the ground and felt dreary and depressed. He recited funeral rite sutras and at the same time, interred the corpses. He eventually realized that Hua Mulan was alive and brought her back to the monastery for treatment.
The story was short and today’s main scene was that of the corpse-strewn land. It was the process of him approaching the soldiers to inter them. There were was almost nothing for him to say.
After Fangzheng finished reading, he heaved a sigh of relief. He finally had a general understanding of the story. At the same time, he knew what he had to do. He could still act in such a simple plot. If he really had dialog, he would be in anguish. He would have no idea how to act.
This was also because Fangzheng did not know acting. The scene appeared simple but the tragedy contained within it was no trifling matter. To bemoan the times and pity people while sending the dead off in pain was the difficult thing about bringing the role of the accomplished monk to life. If not, Yu Guanze would not have sought out a veteran. He had only used Fangzheng because he was out of options…
There was the advantage of ignorance. Fangzheng was relaxed and not nervous at all. He chuckled as he watched everything happen before him.
At that moment, the props team brought him a tattered Kasaya and a wooden fish. Fangzheng struck it. Although the sound was not right, it could barely be used. As for the tattered Kasaya, Fangzheng wore it directly over the White Lunar Monk Robe. There was still a strange smell from the clothes but Fangzheng could only put up with it. He chuckled as he played with the Buddha beads he received.
Zhao Hongxiang and Hu Xiao saw this scene as they shook their heads once again. Despite it being a critical moment, Fangzheng was still not thinking or trying to understand the film. He even ran around to watch the bustle. He was hopeless!
The morning quickly passed. The villagers finally understood what they had to do under the director’s instructions. They were exhausted but remained excited.
Yu Guanze was impressed by the villagers. If they were typical veteran extras, they would have long since taken it easy. Although the villagers voiced their tiredness, they would become serious and solemn once the rehearsals began.
With everything set, Yu Guanze gathered them and yelled out, “Everyone, take your spots. Let’s do one take. I want to see the effect!”
With each person taking their spot, the lights and audio were ready.
The extras stood ready as the actors acting as villagers prepared to run. The actors acting as soldiers prepared to die. The actors acting as Rouran soldiers hid far away, prepared to charge forward at anytime.
At that moment, with a loud exclamation, everyone turned subconsciously towards the voice. They saw a woman with a man’s hairstyle. Li Xueying had appeared in soldier armor.
Fangzheng looked over curiously. He wanted to know the difference between a star and an ordinary person. When he looked, he was taken aback.
Just a look and Fangzheng felt that he had seen another person. She looked like a recruit that knew nothing. She was a girl with a heart filled with fear and anxiousness. She did not know what lay ahead of her but still gritted her teeth. She was a frail yet powerful woman. Just a look made the name flash in Fangzheng’s mindHua Mulan!
If Hua Mulan story was true then she would have looked the same!
Fangzheng was impressed. It was no wonder she had such accomplishments. Her acting technique was impressive. Although one knew it was fake, one could not help think of her as the real deal.
Li Xueying walked into the crowd as the other supporting actors quickly got into character. The atmosphere changed like a chain reaction. Even the villagers who did not know how to act seemed to be situated in a different space at that instant. A bout of patriotism lit up in them…
“Director…” Old Tao was just about to say a word.
Yu Guanze stared at him, gesturing for him to shut up. Everyone turned tense because the filming was about to commence!
With Yu Guanze announcing it in a hushed tone, the entire scene began filming.
A distance away, Wang Yougui asked perplexed, “Don’t directors shout ‘action’ in English? When did it become Chinese?”
“Director Yu has always been like that. In his words, If a Chinese is filming in China, why should he use English? Is it simply posturing or is it a form of denying one’s roots?” explained a crew member who had nothing to do.
Wang Yougui was stunned. Following that, he gave Yu Guanze a big thumbs-up. He liked what he heard!
Fangzheng heard it too. He looked upon Yu Guanze in a different light. He was completely different from how he was described on the Internet. From the looks of it, not everything on the Internet was true. Interaction revealed the actual truth.
With Yu Guanze’s command, the filming began. Li Xueying immersed everyone into the scene the moment she spoke.
Fangzheng was no exception. Perhaps it had to do with him having to appear soon but he watched intently. This was his character. Either he did it well or he did not. And if he did, he would do it well, unless it was truly beyond him. Now, his perceptivity was no longer the same as before. Just a cursory look and Fangzheng understood the underlying skill. Gradually, he immersed himself in it.
After the Rouran army appeared, the soldiers drew their battle sabers. “Brothers, we swore when we came. We would rather die in combat than be slaves of a fallen country! Behind us is our home and our loved ones. Protecting them is our duty. Men, charge!”
The supporting actors echoed as a group of people other than the captain charged forward with sabers drawn. They clashed with the Rouran army in a massive battle. Li Xueying charged into battle with her comrades. Although she was a little afraid, with her hands shaking slightly, she did not shrink back. She cooperated with her comrades in both offense and defense. She did so in an orderly manner and killed many people. Seeing her comrades collapse one after another, Hua Mulan underwent a change in temperament. She went from fear to anger.
When she saw veteran soldiers who usually bullied a rookie soldier like her protecting her and dying on her behalf, she felt zeal course through her body as she let out a heart-wrenching war cry and charged forward.
When the captain took a strike for her, he said before dying in front of her, “Now, you will succeed me, officially becoming…”
The meaning was conveyed even before he finished his words. At that instant, Li Xueying was not only shouldering the responsibility of the battle. She also shouldered the responsibility of the reputation of the scouting team. With a loud cry, she rushed the final three enemies, risking her life in a suicidal move!
Upon seeing this, Fangzheng was astounded! He even forgot that it was a film. All he thought of was the world’s background. He saw the smoke, metal and blood. He saw proof of how women were in no way inferior to men. A frail woman had grown in the short battle. He saw the entire process of her dying in combat for honor and her wish to protect.
Almost subconsciously, Fangzheng took a stride forward. His eyes changed with his footsteps. He did not treat it as a film and had forgotten that it was a film. He only knew that the heroic souls could not die without a burial in the wilderness!
“What happened? The director hasn’t called for his appearance and he has already stepped forward!” exclaimed the distant Hu Xiao.