“The image is pretty good.” After all, he was a big director who had seen it all, so despite being quite satisfied with Tao Mu’s look he still acted noncommittal: “I heard Keping say that you have a stuntman background and know how to do martial arts. You can go talk to the stunt coordinator first, and when you audition later you will perform a set of moves.”
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Tao Mu nodded and went to the stunt coordinator.
The team of stunt coordinators and choreographers on “The Legend of Heroes” is Zhao Xin’s personal team. The chief stunt coordinator, Duan Yufeng, had been by his side since Zhao Xin filmed his first film, so he can be said to be an old partner. After seeing Tao Mu, he smiled and greeted: “I have seen your performance in “Purple Cloud”. It is indeed quite good. I hope you can maintain this state in “The Legend of Heroes.”
As he said so he handed over the Wuming’s weapon.
This green python pliable jian was specially created by the crew based on the description in “The Legend of Heroes.” The material was a resin material that imitated jade so the appearance was the crystal clear emerald green of high quslity jade. The sword body had carvings that were in the appearance of snake scales while the hilt was a snake tail ending in a fierce snake head. When wrapped around the arm the head and tail would connect. Under the sunlight the green luster sparkled and looked particularly beautiful.
The stunt coordinator first buckled the green python pliable jian on his arm and then drew it out skillfully and swung it a few times. He explained to Tao Mu: “Because it is a pliable jian, we designed the martial arts movements based on Taiji sword and the chain whip. By the way, do you know how to use the whip?”
Tao Mu: “Does the whip used by the elderly during morning exercise count?”
The stunt coordinator laughed: “I think so. As long as you can wave it.”
As he said so, he buckled the green python pliable jian on Tao Mu’s arm: “Try it out first to find the feeling.”
The emerald jade-like green python pliable jian was clasped on Tao Mu’s arm and settled there comfortably like a strangely styled accesory. It emphasized Tao Mu’s white skin and well-proportioned bones. Tao Mu placed his other hand on the hilt that was over his wrist and his slender fingers stroked it lightly. Instantly, the green python pliable jian snapped out. Tao Mu recalled the whip-playing action in the morning exercises with the old man Song in his previous life. With a flick of his wrist the pliable jian made a figure 8 spin in front of him.
The stunt coordinator’s eyes lit up and he chuckled cheerfully: “Interesting.”
After a pause, he said: “When the actual shooting is done, this action can get a close-up. It’s quite handsome.” The stunt coordinator glanced at Tao Mu’s hands——fair complexion, like beautifully carved jade, bones Well-proportioned with defined joints and slender, tapering fingers. There was no need to digitally enhance their appearance at all in the later stage. Just a simple wrist flick and those who understood performing in front of the lens would immediately be able to sense something.
This kind of mysterious and unexplainable feeling, in the language of their martial arts trade it would be described as establishimg an effect. But the key was that this effect was difficult for ecen professional martial artists with frequent shooting and experience, let alone a newcomer like Tao Mu who barely performed in front of the camera.
Sure enough this is a……God given talent!
Duan Yufeng’s heart jumped slightly, and he smiled, “That’s the exact feeling. Keep it going, you will definitely be popular after this movie.” The subtext of these words seemed as if Tao Mu had already passed the audition and had entered the filming stage.
Tao Mu smiled and said, “Thank you for your words.”
The stunt coordinator felt that his eyes were dazzled in that moment, and he couldnt help but sigh——this young man was simply to good-looking. Despite half of his face having been drawn over with hideous scars by the makeup artist, the smile just now lit up his face in such brilliance, as if even the sun shone brighter at that very moment.
This was a boy who had theatre written all over his body.
Tao Mu practiced with the stunt coordinator for an hour before he officially began auditioning.
Zhao Xin sat in front of the monitor and looked at Tao Mu who had already entered the set. The surrounding cameras had all been set up, and the lights and photo reflectors were in place. The actors and group performers who were temporarily without any scenes to shoot surrounded the set on the outside, wanting to see the excitement.
Zhao Xin didn’t bother to utter any nonsense, and said directly: “You can just perform the section that old Duan taught you just now. Be careful to not step out of the camera line.”
Tao Mu stood in the middle of the set in preparation. As soon as the script supervisor shouted action, his slender fingers immediately touched the wrist on where the ploable jian was wrapped around and a touch of emerald green flashed before everyone’s eyes. Tao Mu’s wrist rotated, and the green python pliable jian pulled off a light and elegant figure eight. Then Tao Mu followed the movement of the jian with a side somersault——a bit similar to the Exploring Sea movement in classical Chinese dance but with a bit less gentleness and a bit more power. The pliable jian in his hand instantly pierced forward and in that moment, the air seem to whip, the pliable jian dancing through the air.
Although there were no special effects, no wires, and no post-editing, in the eyes of everyone the Tao Mu on the set was as slender and light as a crane dancing in the wind, all of his movements were clean and decisive. Especially when he whipped the pliable jian and made a variety of side flips, somersaults and spinning movements in mid-air, he appeared as if he would rise up into the air and ride the wind currents like a real crane. The superior physical control, solid martial arts skills, and the martial arts movements carefully polished by Duan Yufeng blended together to create a stunning visual impact that everyone on the set could feel.
So at the end of the audition many people around the set couldn’t help applauding, causing Tao Mu to feel like he had just put on a street acrobatic show under the bridge.
The male lead of “The Legend of Heroes” also stood in the crowd, a mild expression on his face as he looked at Tao Mu. The actor who played the male number two chuckled amd turned his head, “Quite a show stealer. I remember that Zhao Keping is your Summer Star’s agent? To specially find such a fellow from outside to play the role of Wuming, don’t tell me it is to deliberately overshadow you?”
Anyone with a discerning eye could see how much attacking power Tao Mu’s intimidatingly handsome face had through the camera lens. What was more important was that this kid not only had a face, but his martial arts were also pleasing to the eye. Although he was a newcomer, the screen presence was also not bad. In addition, every time the role of Wuming appears, it was always an oppositional scene with the male protagonist. The actor who played the second male lead could determine without hesitation that if such a fellow was really chosen to play Wuming, then after the drama was broadcasted the influence it would have on the male protagonist might not be very good.
“As far as I know, Zhao Keping seems to be very optimistic about him. This kid has made it clear that he will not sign with any talent agency in these two years, but Zhao Keping still spent the effort to find him an audition opportunity. He hasn’t even signed him yet but already shows such favoritism and shielding. The way I see it, when Zhao Keping really has signed him then the position of Summer Star Entertainment’s next Yi Ge will have nothing to do with you.”
The first male lead casted a cold look at the second male lead: “You know quite a lot.”
The second male lead sneered: “Who let the entertainment industry be just this big. Things one want to know, things one don’t want to know, both will eventually reach the ear.”
“But having said that, no matter what I hear, I’m just speaking it casually. At best, I’m just a bystander watching a good show. But you are different.” The second male lead said, pointing his chin in Tao Mu’s direction: “The real talent will finally be discovered and rise above others.”
Ning Yuan, who played the lead actor, had on a dark expression as he left without saying a word.
On the other side, Zhao Xin was also quite satisfied with Tao Mu’s audition performance. After Tao Mu stopped to take a few breaths, he said straightforwardly: “Sign the contract and join the crew tomorrow morning.”
Tao Mu hesitated: “Tomorrow morning I will have a scene to shoot for in “Purple Cloud”.”
Zhao Xin frowned. No matter which director, he wouldn’t have a good impression of the actors who ga xi (TN: actors who film several movies/TV dramas at once). What was more, Tao Mu was just a martial arts stuntman before this——not even an actor.
Zhao Keping immediately explained: “He only has three days left of scenes in “Purple Cloud”. And it’s just one scene tomorrow morning.”
Zhao Xin gave his old classmate face and said: “Then come over after the filming. In any case, what you will be filming in “The Legend of Heroes” are also action scenes so there is no need to worry about whether or not you are ga xi.”
Tao Mu couldn’t tell whether Zhao Xin’s words had sarcasm or not in it. However, it was true that he did not have many speaking lines in “The Legend of Heroes”. Under Bai Xiaosheng’s pen, Wuming, the assassin, was reticent and expressionless to the extent he seemed to have facial paralysis. The number of lines he had could be counted on one hand and there were hardly any lines longer than four words. So there were no requirements in terms of acting.
Zhao Xin’s only request to Tao Mu was to not make any facial expressions in front of the camera. In any case, it was just a small supporting role that won’t exceed more than a few minutes so Zhao Xin didn’t bother to do a deep character analysis.
In fact, in the many years director Zhao had been filming, what he hated most was to add lines or scenes for supporting roles at every turn. In director Zhao’s opinion, the original works were already very classic. If you want to add additional lines and scenes at every turn, to use a dog’s tail as a substitute for sable fur then why not shoot a complete original (TN: idiom for a worthless sequel to a masterpiece) lest you get scolded when the film don’t come out well.
It was precisely because of this thinking that director Zhao’s films had always been known for respecting the original work, and thus were widely welcomed by authors and fans. Of course, there were also some people who thought that Zhao Xin was too textbook and the films he made were just average and lacked any breakthrough. In addition, too much compliance to the style of the original book meant he had no personal style of his own.
Probably having been questioned too many times, in the past two years, Zhao Xin had also begun to think about making an original film to prove himself. Moreover, director Zhao was quite ambitious. He didn’t plan to make a TV series this time, but wanted to show off on the big screen.
However, because it was an original script written by Zhao Xin himself as well as it having broken away from the familiar field of TV dramas, many investors were not optimistic about it. So despite having two years passed, Zhao Xin had yet to convince a reliable producer or bankroller. Not to mention a film distribution company.
This time, one of the reasons Zhao Xin signed Tao Mu into the crew was the hope that Zhao Keping could help him convince some investors. After all, Zhao Keping was a top talent agent in the country, and his connections and resources were much more generous than Zhao Xin.
No need to speak more. With the help of Zhao Keping, Tao Mu signed a contract with the crew of “The Legend of Heroes”. The remuneration was only 20,000 yuan, not as much as he got as a stand-in for Shen Yu in “Purple Cloud”. However, the assassin Wuming won’t make many appearances in “The Legend of Heroes” and add to the fact that this was his first screen role showing his face, it was not at all bad for Tao Mu, a pure newcomer who had no screen experience at all. Tao Mu also cherished this opportunity.
To appreciate Zhao Keping’s help, Tao Mu invited Zhao Keping to dinner after the audition, and directly divided 10,000 yuan for Zhao Keping at the dinner table.
Zhao Keping insisted on not accepting it so Tao Mu said with a smile: “Even for signed artists they must still divide their earnings with the company. You originally helped me find this audition opportunity. I can also tell that director Zhao didn’t make it difficult for me during the audition was allbon account of your face. This amount of money is certainly not much and it’s just to express my gratitude.”
Zhao Keping laughed and said, “Don’t be modest. Director Zhao used you because your performance was really good and your appearance fits the needs of the character. If you can’t win him over by yourself, it would be useless no matter what. If you want to thank me then let me sign you.”
Tao Mu also laughed: “If you can wait for me until my junior year, I’ll sign with you.”
Tao Mu really thought so. Although he was noncommittal about some of Zhao Keping’s methods, Zhao Keping was really a very powerful talent agent in terms of his work ability. And Summer Star Entertainment’s development status in the next ten years was also pretty good. In order to win over its artists, a few years later, it would launch a precedent for artists to open their own studios. Tao Mu felt that Zhao Keping was really suitable for him.
Zhao Keping smiled but remained silent. The situation in the entertainment industry was always changing. After two years, the dish might already be cold. He was not the kind of person who waited passively.
Tao Mu didn’t know what Zhao Keping was thinking. The news of his successful audition in “The Legend of Heroes” had spread and the martial arts stuntmen as well as the entire staff of “Purple Cloud” rushed over to congratulate him. Gou Rixin’s gang heckled and shouted for Tao Mu to treat them. Tao Mu was not stingy and when he stepped off work in the evening, he took a group of people to the barbecue stall opposite the studio city for supper. Fifty or so people ate more than 3,000 yuan worth of barbecue food. The 20,000 yuan that Tao Mu had just gotten was now left with only 7,000 after parting with 13,000 in a day.
Da Mao and Xiao Pang were both drunk and as they walked back to their rented house, they leaned heavily on Tao Mu while speaking of the future: “……I hope brother Mu will be a hit……become a big star……we’ll make a movie by ourselves……choose the heroine……”
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Tao Mu finally got the two drunk childhood friends into the bed. He took a bath and also persisted on writing in his diary of today’s events and future events before he went to bed.
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