Yan Sheng, a top super popular superstar in China, was the youngest Golden Crow Award best actor in the history of Chinese film, and was a superstar of film, television, and music. At the age of 20, he won the Golden Crow Award for Best Actor, at the age of 22, he won the Golden Lily Flower for his first TV series, and at the age of 25 he won the Golden Elephant Award and the Golden Chime Award for Best Actor at the same time with a mainstream movie. Practically overnight he had become the youngest grand slam award winning actor in China. In the next ten years, he would also successively win three international awards and become a recognized national treasure-level actor in the global film industry. He would also receive a lifetime achievement award from the Oscars on his thirty-fifth birthday. Then at the awards ceremony, he would announce his withdrawal from the entertainment industry and marriage to his same-sex partner Shen Yu.
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Ten years back in time, even if Yan Sheng had not yet become the godfather who dominated the global entertainment industry in later years, and was still unknown globally, he was still the top star most admired by most Chinese actors.
To tell a joke, basically in the last two years, every young actor liked to say that his idol was Yan Sheng when interviewed by the media.
Cheng Baodong thought that Tao Mu was also this type of person——at least Tao Mu’s characteristic of “being benevolent to others” that he had always shown fit this style of behavior. And he was indeed very similar to Yan Sheng in terms of his acting style. But he didn’t expect Tao Mu to have such a cold attitude after hearing Cheng Baodong’s question: “I don’t know him.”
Not long after Cheng Baodong and Wang Boyuan had contact with Tao Mu, they had gained a deep understanding of Tao Mu’s scheming personality. They knew that this person had always had good social skills and was excellent at covering up his emotions. In other words, no matter what Tao Mu felt in his heart, he had always done a good job of putting up a polite facade on the surface.
But in the face of Yan Sheng, a top superstar with “high utilization value”, Tao Mu’s reaction was not to pull some sort of connection with the other, but rather looked extremely indifferent——and even had a hint of impatience and hostility——
You must know that this kid could respectfully call the lighting technicians “lighting teacher” when facing them. At first, everyone was a little nervous, but after getting along for a long time everyone finally figured it out——the “teacher” that came from Tao Mu’s mouth was used in a wholesale manner, calling practically anyone he came across as “teacher”. It was a universal title, and there was absolutely no specific meaning to it.
Anyway, starting with Tao Mu, the use of the teacher title on the crew had become extremely rampant! However, when the subject became a well-known and proper “teacher” like Yan Sheng, Tao Mu did not try to make any connection.
There was something! There must be something here!
Cheng Baodong and Wang Boyuan looked at each other. Cheng Baodong wanted to ask a few more questions, but looking at Tao Mu’s expressionless face he didn’t dare to ask in the end.
This time, Cheng Baodong was finally sure that this kid did indeed have a temper! It was just his source of temper….was a bit confusing!
However, in any case, Tao Mu managed to win the recognition of most of the crew in “Faraway Jianghu” by virtue of his film emperor-level acting skills.
After the initial getting used to each other period, Tao Mu also realized the terrifying aspects of Cheng Baodong, the film set tyrant——
In order to keep up with the progress, “Faraway Jianghu” had been divided into two groups, A and B during filming. Cheng Baodong and the big celebrities of the crew were in the A group, which was responsible for shooting big action scenes and speaking scenes that needed to be polished. The assistant director and martial arts body doubles like Tao Mu all belonged to group B. The main task of group B was to shoot some mid-range and long-range action scenes as stand-ins.
Generally speaking, the shooting atmosphere of group B would be more relaxed. However, this relaxed category did not include Tao Mu. On the contrary, Tao Mu was tossed around because of this arrangement. For example, Tao Mu was often called to group A by Cheng Baodong when there was none of his scenes to shoot. After going to group A there was nothing much to do but squat behind Cheng Baodong and watch the monitor while listening to director Cheng explaining to other actors about their scenes. Fortunately, the shooting venues of group A and B were both in H Studio City, otherwise Tao Mu would really suffer from having to go back and forth.
In addition, because Tao Mu showed a good knowledge of the functions of the various departments of the crew during the audition, it also made everyone aware of Tao Mu’s ambitious aspirations. In addition to filming, Cheng Baodong also talked about some set scheduling and personnel disputes with Tao Mu, including all kinds of troubles that the director and the producer and investors must deal with while also carrying out a power struggle with each other.
——Although everyone was from Beijing, Cheng Baodong was different from Tao Mu who had no father or mother and no background. Director Cheng grew up in the villa compound when he was young. Even though his parents didn’t make much contributions, they were born loyal and raised up in the proper way. Cheng Baodong also had relatively good luck, his career had been going smoothly since he first started it. He had made several box office and critically acclaimed masterpieces one after another. Naturally, he was put on a pedestal and treated with respect by the investors and actors around him. This more and more fed into Cheng Baodong’s prideful personality——it would even be considered an understatement to say that he was arrogant and domineering.
Therefore, those thoughts and experiences that he lectured Tao Mu with, Tao Mu only listened to out of politeness. If he really did follow suit, then he would basically single handedly push himself into ruin.
Cheng Baodong saw Tao Mu’s disagreement and he suddenly felt aggrieved by “having his kind intentions being disregarded”: “I say, you are particularly boring, do you know? If I have your acting skills and your face then whoever dares to sneer at me, I will definitely be tough with them!”
Tao Mu looked at Cheng Baodong very calmly and wondered politely: “What director Cheng means is that I should be tough with you now?”
Cheng Baodong stopped talking. After a long while, he waved his hand angrily: “Go! Go! Go!”
Tao Mu was already immune to Cheng Baodong’s personality; that was an example of “only the state officials are allowed to set fires and the people are not allowed to light the candles” (TN: holding double standards). Hearing this, he just calmly stood up from the stool and slowly took a detour to the restroom. Looking at the other, Cheng Baodong felt extremely vexed. He was beginning to feel that Tao Mu was no longer the Tao Mu who was a “docile pushover” when he first joined the group.
Sure enough, when the time had passed long enough the truth would be revealed! Sure enough, the scheming ran deep!
Cheng Baodong turned his head and glared at Wang Boyuan: “Isn’t what I said right?”
Wang Boyuan touched his nose and selectively analyzed: “I don’t think it’s a big deal. You speak so badly, and yet Tao Mu didn’t get angry. He just asked about your suggestion politely.”
Cheng Baodong had a mouthful of old blood stuck in his throat and the corner of his eyes swept across the monitor where, for the 108th time, the female N lead had forgotten her lines and been NG-ed but was still shamelessly laughing. Instantly, he shouted angrily: “What are you doing! What are you doing! How can you forget your lines when we’re filming! How many times have you NG-ed over and over again with just those few lines? Why can’t you memorize the lines in advance? Does film not cost money! Do you have f**king Alzheimer’s and old age amnesia? Can you act! If you can’t act then get out of here! Don’t think that you having investor backing means that I won’t dare to yell at you!”
The young girl in the center of the set was caught off guard by the rabies infected director Cheng and bursted into tears from the scolding!
Just a week after Tao Mu entered the crew, and seeing that Tao Mu and the crew were familiarized with each other more and more, Cheng Baodong finally decided to move the highlight of this movie to the front of the schedule for shooting.
“…..Our scene today is Chang Feng going deep into the enemy camp to rescue the princess. Tao Mu, you have to pay attention to your position, make sure your face is not captured by the camera.” Director Cheng told Tao Mu and said to Wang Boyuan who was standing by: “Is your waist okay?”
Wang Boyuan was clutching his waist, grimacing without any regard for his image. He had accidentally strained his waist when he was filming the horse riding scene yesterday and couldn’t make much movement. However, there were a lot of close-ups in today’s scene that required him: “I will try my best.”
As Wang Boyuan was speaking, the corner of his eye swept over Tao Mu who was standing on the side. He stretched his arm and hooked it over Tao Mu’s shoulders: “The effect of the medicinal alcohol you gave me is quite good. I didn’t dare to move since I was injured yesterday. But today I can even walk around.”
Tao Mu curved a corner of his mouth: “It was also given to me by other martial arts brothers.”
“Da Gou?” Wang Boyuan scratched his chin: “Speaking of which, that you can join the crew was because he introduced you. But Da Gou is not brotherly enough! He only gave you such a good thing and not me?” At any rate, their friendship was one built on doing overtime and eating vendor food together.
Tao Mu didn’t know how to respond to that.
Wang Boyuan chuckled and muttered to Tao Mu: “Tell me again how you turn your fan. I feel that I did not look as good as when you did it. You fellow, you aren’t hiding your techniques, are you?”
“No.” Tao Mu turned his eyes to Wang Boyuan’s wrist, and said straightforwardly: “Your wrist is too stiff and you have no flexibility. It will naturally be inferior when you make the movements. I suggest you practice yoga in your free time.”
Wang Boyuan: “…..”
Wang Boyuan reached out and rubbed at Tao Mu’s hair piece: “It’s not cute to tell the truth.”
The stylist next to him screeched in shock: “Brother Yuan, don’t touch Xiao Mu’s hair piece, it’s crooked now ahhhhhhh——”
Cheng Baodong, who was explaining the scene to the heroine, turned around and glared at Wang Boyuan: “Can you be still for a moment?”
Wang Boyuan rubbed his nose aggrievedly, and reached out to straighten Tao Mu’s hair piece. However, it was of no use and the stylist pulled Tao Mu aside with a cold face to redo it again.
The young girl who played the female N lead in the movie came over: “Tao Mu, you seem to know director Cheng and brother Yuan very well. I often listen to brother Yuan and director Cheng discussing your scenes during breaks, saying that your performance in front of the camera is very good.”
The young girl originally thought that her words would definitely arouse Tao Mu’s curiosity. But Tao Mu just smiled: “Director Cheng and brother Yuan are very good and especially like to help the newcomers. The teachers in the crew are also the same so I have benefited a lot.”
Tao Mu’s way of speaking had always been airtight without any weakness to be caught. He believed it would be better to be verbose than to leave out one person.
The young girl smiled, her eyes glued to Tao Mu’s face that was so strikingly handsome after putting on makeup: “I also think director Cheng and brother Yuan are very good to us. Especially brother Yuan, who is a big A-list celebrity but is so down to earth. And he often invites everyone for drinks and meals. Unlike sister Ning, who always stays in the RV when she has no scenes. It is very difficult to see her.”
Tao Mu’s expression became weird for a while, but after thinking about it he decided to mind his own business.
But the young girl didn’t notice anything wrong with her words. She continued to ask Tao Mu, “I heard that you were also admitted to Beijing Film? Then you are in the same school as director Cheng and brother Yuan? You are so handsome, so good at acting, and you are so valued by director Cheng. I think you will definitely have the opportunity to formally cooperate with them in the future.”
Tao Mu was dragged by the stylist who was still redoing his hair piece and did not dare to move his upper body. Hearing these words he just smiled: “Then I thank you for your lucky words.”
In the hot summer season the heat was nearly unbearable. Tao Mu was wearing a thick ancient costume and a hair piece so sweat began to bead on his forehead very soon. The young girl took out a silk handkerchief from her sleeve and said enthusiastically: “Your sweat is almost dripping into your eyes. Let me wipe it off for you.”
Tao Mu tilted his head and avoided the young girl’s silk handkerchief in time.
The stylist standing behind Tao Mu looked at the young girl with a half-smile, and reached out to pat Tao Mu’s head: “Don’t move.”
The young girl looked at Tao Mu with an aggrieved expression. Tao Mu turned a blind eye.
The young girl didn’t give up and continued to talk: “Can you teach me how to act? I may have graduated from Shanghai Film but actually, it’s the first time I have acted and I don’t know anything. I’m especially worried about my bad acting and delaying the filming schedule.”
Tao Mu smiled humbly: “I also don’t know how to act. Although I was admitted to Beijing Film, I haven’t reported there yet——”
Before he could finish his words someone interrupted with a laugh and said, “That’s right! Tao Mu hasn’t reported to the school yet. How can he know how to teach little girls how to act? Why don’t I teach you instead!”
Everyone turned their heads and saw Da Mao, Xiao Pang, Shen Yu, Ye Yao, Wan Meihong, Mu Huating, and their assistants standing far behind. What surprised Tao Mu most was that the “big nephew” who replaced him on the crew of “The Legend of Heroes” was also there.
How did this group of people get together?
Seeing Tao Mu looking over, Ye Yao crossed her arms, raised her chin and snorted, looking at Tao Mu and the young girl in front of him with a fake smile. In a sarcastic tone she said: “You really attract little girls everywhere you go!”
Tao Mu asked with surprise: “Why are you guys here?”
“Didn’t I say that I will come to visit you on set!” Shen Yu said with a grin. He also complained: “I call you and you never answer, I send text messages to you, and you never reply. You also pretend not to see when I add you on Weibo. Do you really think that after you have taken me off the blacklist and then give me the silent treatment I won’t continue to bother you?”
Tao Mu sat there feeling extremely exasperated and didn’t even want to give Shen Yu even half a glance.
The “big nephew” also complained: “Didn’t you say you will teach me to be cool? I have waited for you for so long and you haven’t contacted me so I can only come and find you.”
Tao Mu felt even more exasperated: “I really don’t have time.” He didn’t expect that “big nephew” would actually take his casual polite remarks seriously.
After a pause, Tao Mu asked “big nephew”: “Coming here to visit my set so randomly, don’t you need to film?”
The “big nephew” snorted very arrogantly: “The crew is invested by my family. I shoot when I want to, and I am not afraid if I don’t. Anyway, I am not the only one in the crew. Aren’t there others to film except for me? “
“Furthermore. Before you left, didn’t you sell all the videos you made to Zhao Xin? It just so happens that Zhao Xin doesn’t believe me, so let him edit and cut the videos himself, and I can just casually do some poses later!”
The “big nephew” said this very righteously, and everyone present could only look at each other and pity Zhao Xin, the director who was willing to throw his morals for investment.
Ye Yao squinted at “big nephew” and pretended to complain as well: “Speaking of which, we originally planned to go to the set of “The Legend of Heroes” to find you. But when we arrived, we heard people say that your role was stolen so we found you here.”
The “big nephew” who was directly responsible touched his nose and finally felt a little guilty: “I didn’t know Tao Mu before taking the role.”
And for fear of what Ye Yao would say, he looked at Tao Mu pitifully: “When will you teach me to be cool?”
Tao Mu had a headache.
Ye Yao still did not let it drop, looking at “big nephew” indignantly: “Anyway, your crew “The Legend of Heroes” is too much. If it weren’t for you going back on your words, Tao Mu would not change from a proper role to a stand-in for others.”
Truly, picking the kettle that was not boiling! (TN: expression that indicates that someone is saying or doing something that shouldn’t be mentioned in front of others, or that someone is bringing up a sensitive subject) This was the film set of “Faraway Jianghu”!
Shen Yu frowned and looked at Ye Yao, then at Tao Mu and changed the subject with a smile: “Tao Mu, you look handsome in this costume. Why don’t we take a picture?”
Wan Meihong, who was preparing to sow discord, could only shut up patiently when she saw this. She glanced helplessly at Shen Yu.
Shen Yu didn’t pay attention to Wan Meihong’s feelings at all. His whole heart was on Tao Mu. For fear that Tao Mu would not agree with him to take the photo, before Tao Mu could even speak he had already moved to Tao Mu’s side with his mobile phone, and began to snap selfies. Tao Mu was held in place by the stylist and dared not move. He could only warn with exasperation: “Don’t post it on Weibo.”
His current look was that of the male protagonist in “Faraway Jianghu”. The crew hadn’t released the final film stills yet, and Tao Mu couldn’t leak the main actor’s image first.
Shen Yu nodded with a grin. He looked at Tao Mu’s expressionless face in the photo, and whined with dissatisfaction: “You could at least smile.”
“I don’t want to smile.” Tao Mu had a sullen face, thinking in his heart that he couldn’t even cry when he looked at the other!
Shen Yu also didn’t mind. Sitting next to Tao Mu with a smile he motioned to the assistant to hand everyone food.
Wan Meihong finally found a chance and said to Tao Mu with a smile: “How are things recently?”
“It’s okay.” Tao Mu also smiled: “The gathering of big celebrities in the crew really satisfies my desire to take photos with the celebrities and get autographs. Moreover, the director, senior brother and sister Ning are all very good and taught me a lot of acting skills.”
Wan Meihong looked at Tao Mu with a half-smile. It was quite rare to say such perfunctory flattery so sincerely but Tao Mu managed it. Sure enough, he was a born actor.
“We have heard about you in “The Legend of Heroes”. To be honest, Zhao Keping and Summer Star Entertainment did not do right by you. If you change to our Qin Dynasty, this kind of thing will never happen. We at Qin Dynasty Entertainment cherish our talents very much. It will never be willing to let a genius like you suffer such a grievance.”
Wan Meihong praised Tao Mu with words “talent” and “genius” in one sentence. If she said anymore it was likely she would be able to raise Tao Mu out of the global village and put him directly shoulder to shoulder with the sun.
Tao Mu could not help but be impressed at this kind of ability to create opportunities for awkward conversation without ever missing a chance.
Fortunately, in addition to Wan Meihong, there was also a “big nephew” who was also stubbornly trying to make small talk: “I am unaware whether we at Summer Star Entertainment value talents or not. But I can guarantee that if Tao Mu is willing to sign with Summer Star Entertainment, I will persuade my uncle to support him.” So long as Tao Mu could teach him all kinds of tricks to be cool!
As “big nephew” said this he suddenly turned to Tao Mu: “At that time whatever role you want to play just tell me directly. As long as it is a project invested by Summer Star, you can pick whatever you like.”
Wan Meihong’s heart jumped. She never would have thought that her pitch hadn’t even started yet, but already an interloper had jumped out.
“This gentleman…..” Wan Meihong looked at the “big nephew” and asked politely: “What is your name?”
The “big nephew” raised his chin and looked at Wan Meihong with his nostrils, and sneered: “Long Aotian!” (TN: Chinese equivalent to Mary Sue/Gary Stu)
All the people were speechless.
Tao Mu sighed softly, suddenly feeling a little tired.
Not wanting to be named in front of Wan Meihong, “Long Aotian” classmate continued to pester Tao Mu: “When can you teach me to be cool? I told you that my role is almost finished.”
Tao Mu continued to have a headache: “I really don’t have time. How about this. I will be able to finish this film in less than ten days. When I finish filming, before I return to Beijing, I can find some time to teach you how to do it, okay?”
“Long Aotian” suddenly asked: “When will you return to Beijing?”
“I am going to book a ticket for August 24.”
“Long Aotian” made a decisive decision: “Then wait until you return to Beijing. It just so happens that I am going back to Beijing too, and the two of us just happened to be on the way.”
Tao Mu: “…..”
Tao Mu struggled weakly: “Not necessarily. I don’t think we’ll be on the same flight.” With the acting skills of “big nephew”, Tao Mu felt that when he returned to Beijing, the “big nephew” might not even be able to finish filming his scenes yet.
“We will.” Long Aotian vowed: “Just tell me your itinerary. I will arrange the rest.”
You arrange a fart!
Tao Mu nearly let out a stream of vulgar curses. After thinking about it, he still decided to ask according to polite social procedure: “What is your name anyway?”
“Long Aotian” looked at Tao Mu with a melancholy expression for a long while, and then complained in a melancholy tone: “We both already have this kind of relationship, yet you don’t even know what my name is!”
What relationship! Tao Mu was speechless. He was just about to say something when he saw “Long Aotian” standing up with chest puffed out and head raised high to report his identity: “Long Tianao.”
Tao Mu paused in a daze. He then saw “Long Tianao” classmate explode: “I really am called Long Tianao. Do you know Longkodo? That is our ancestor.”
Tao Mu was bewildered: “Isn’t Longkodo a surname?”
“In any case it is that Long!” Long Tianao explained impatiently: “Anyway, it’s decided. Let’s go back to Beijing together on the 24th.”
Wan Meihong watched on the side for a long time and couldn’t even edge in into the conversation, her whole person becoming restless: “Tao Mu, don’t be fooled by him. He is just a relative of Summer Star Entertainment’s major shareholder, and he can’t even talk about the daily operation and management of the company. If you really join Summer Star Entertainment, you will definitely be assigned to Zhao Keping. I know you must have been saddened by Zhao Keping’s shameful tricks this time. Ai, I must say that Zhao Keping was a right bastard. All the artists under him were played by him like this. Don’t look at how obedient and docile Mu Huating is right now. When he was first assigned to Zhao Keping, there was no shortage of——”
“I say, sister Hong,” Mu Huating said helplessly: “Just speak if you want to speak, but don’t use me as an example. I think brother Zhao is still very good to me.”
“You were abused by Zhao Keping to the extent you have Stockholm.” Wan Meihong did not hesitate to diagnose Mu Huating: “Did you forget how you yelled and cursed at Zhao Keping in front of the media?”
Mu Huating really couldn’t win with Wan Meihong, so he could only shut up.
Long Tianao was indignant: “Who are you looking down on? It’s no big deal, after Tao Mu joins the company, I will apply to be his agent. I want to see who dares to grab resources from me, xiaoye will slap him to death!” (TN: literally “little master”, an arrogant way of calling oneself same like the japanese “ore”)
This was practically a case of a wild fist killing the master (TN: someone who does things without any order or rules accidentally winning a fight). Wan Meihong argued with exasperation: “I wouldn’t put it that way——”
“Why can’t it be put that way? I want to say just that! I won’t just say it, I will even do it!” Long Tianao said, grabbing Tao Mu’s sleeve: “You tell me, do you believe me?”
Tao Mu’s headache continued to increase.
Just when it devolved into a fierce argument, Da Mao and Xiao Pang also siddled over to Tao Mu, hinting at him that they had something to say.
Tao Mu wanted to avoid Wan Meihong and Long Tianao. On the way, he found an excuse to drag his two childhood friends into the corner.
“What’s the matter.”
Da Mao and Xiao Pang were flushed with excitement: “Brother Mu, the stocks we bought in the past few days have gone up extremely sharply, practically reaching their daily limit almost every day. The stock market is crazy. Many people are following along and buying. The way I see it, we should invest some more money.”
When the two said this, they couldn’t help but complain: “I really don’t understand. The market is so good, why do you have to force us to withdraw the principal——”
Before they could finish speaking, they saw Wang Boyuan waving from afar.
Tao Mu frowned and interrupted the two: “We’ll talk about it later.”
After finishing talking, Tao Mu walked towards Wang Boyuan’s direction: “Senior brother?”
Wang Boyuan, who had been hanging out in the crew the whole time, pointed to the crowd of people who came to visit the set, and asked with a smile: “Xiao Mu, your friends are visiting the set?”
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Cheng Baodong, who was sitting in the director’s chair, also craned his neck and glanced at Shen Yu and the others. He looked piercingly at Long Tianao a few times and snorted in a sarcastic manner: “You really aren’t picky with your friends!”
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