The military recruitment promotion drama with Tao Mu as the protagonist had a very simple and crude tentative name, directly called “Soldier Elite”. After naming the drama, Tao Mu began to prepare for the audition. There were two scopes for auditions, one was for the entertainment industry, and the other was for the military art troupe. Tao Mu vaguely remembered that when he watched similar military dramas in his previous life, a large number of actors who performed brilliantly were selected from the art troupes. Although Tao Mu couldn’t remember the names and specific art troupes of those actors, Tao Mu still remembered those faces. Therefore, during the audition, Tao Mu paid special attention to the photos, and if there were familiar ones, he would choose them directly.
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But what Tao Mu didn’t expect was that after the news of the “Soldier Elite” audition spread, there were actually many Yan Film and Shanghai Theatre Academy students who came to audition. The latter was understandable, but wasn’t Yan Film also preparing a drama about Qing dynasty history recently? Yan Film’s students did not audition for their own production crew, but went to “Soldiers Elite” to audition instead. This made Tao Mu feel incredulous.
What was even more surprising was that among the Yan Film students who came to audition, there was actually Gu Yuzhang——Yan Sheng left China to spread his career in the US in his previous life, and after focusing on Hollywood, Yan Film began to support Gu Yuzhang in his place. And Gu Yuzhang lived up to expectations, in just a few years, he had gone from a recently debuted rookie to an A-list star. At the peak of popularity, he even surpassed Yan Sheng faintly. It was a pity that he didn’t have the halo of the male protagonist. When Yan Sheng returned to the domestic entertainment circle again and defended his box office legend, Gu Yuzhang’s upward momentum was immediately suppressed. Later, because of his low emotional intelligence, his popularity plummeted.
The reason why Tao Mu had a deep impression of Gu Yuzhang was because after Yan Sheng announced his marriage at the Oscars, he knew that his homosexual image was likely to affect his development in front of the screen. So Yan Sheng began to switch to behind the scenes. And Gu Yuzhang was the first artist Yan Sheng signed to his film and television company. Shen Yu also threw jealous tantrums with Yan Sheng several times because of this. It was not until the two officially announced their marriage that they anger turned into joy.
After Gu Yuzhang performed his audition according to the requirements of the crew, Tao Mu couldn’t help but ask curiously, “Why did you come to audition for “Soldier Elite”?”
“Because I am optimistic about Mr. Tao’s production ability.” Gu Yuzhang said calmly.
Tao Mu nodded and continued to ask, “I mean, Yan Film is also preparing for a TV series. As a student of Yan Film, instead of auditioning for your own school’s drama, you came to “Soldier Elite” to audition. Can I ask why?”
“Yan Film has many senior brothers and sisters. And they are all well-known big stars in the circle. I am just a freshman who has just entered college. There won’t be much difference with or without me in the crew. It is also impossible for the school to value a newcomer who has never acted before.” Gu Yuzhang explained bluntly: “But “Soldier Elite” is different. I have noticed the casting requirements of “Soldier Elite”. In addition to Mr. Tao, the male protagonist, there are many veteran actors who were from the original cast of “The Great Wall of Flesh and Blood”. As for the recruits who joined the army at the same time as the male protagonist, most of them are regular people with no acting experience. So I deduced that to increase the sense of immersion, Mr. Tao definitely want to choose some fresh faces to play the roles.”
Gu Yuzhang had never acted before, but he felt that his acting talent was okay. So he came to audition rashly, just wanting to take a chance.
When Tao Mu heard Gu Yuzhang’s words, he thought to himself that it was no wonder that this kid was so bullied by antis in the previous life. This way of speaking was simply full of holes just inviting a good smearing. However, this kid’s talent and acting skills were not bad. Otherwise, he wouldn’t have acted in his first film in the previous life and became an instant hit.
Tao Mu thought for a while, then said: “If you pass the audition, you will have to follow the crew into the army to experience life for three months. After that, there will be secluded filming for nearly three months. That is to say, a total of six months of filming time, can you take it?”
Gu Yuzhang nodded: “No problem. My family owns a boxing gym. I have been learning martial arts from my dad since I was a child. I can endure hardships.”
In Gu Yuzhang’s view, when these actors go to the army for training, at most it was the level of college military training. Gu Yuzhang felt that college military training was not even as hard as his usual boxing training!
Seeing that Gu Yuzhang was so sure, Tao Mu didn’t ask any more questions. He waved his hand and said, “Go back and wait for the notice.”
Overseeing the audition with Tao Mu also included representatives from the military, the production crew and two teachers from Beijing Film. After Gu Yuzhang went out, Beijing Film’s teacher said with appreciation, “He’s a good seedling.”
Another said with emotion: “It’s just that his temper is too upright and straightforward. His character is not suitable for this circle.”
“If just as a pure professional actor or actor in stage plays then he’ll be alright.” Unfortunately, none of the students who applied for Yan Film were aiming to act in plays.
Tao Mu put a check mark on Gu Yuzhang’s resume and said with a smile: “Each person has their own personal fate. If he encounters a good management team and carefully packaged his character as an honest and simple old cadre, maybe he might be even more likeable.”
As soon as these words fell, the other examiners sitting in the room were instantly dumbfounded: What do you mean by honest and simple old cadre?
Tao Mu smiled and did not speak but continued to call the next one.
All auditions for “Soldier Elite” were held for a week. It was just more than half a month before the Lingxiao Awards ceremony. Tao Mu, who had already taken leave from Beijing Film, brought the writing team of “Soldier Elite” and all the actors who passed the audition into the army to experience life.
In order to facilitate the filming, the troops the crew entered happened to be the troops that would be the ones they would often be filming in the future. The higher-ups had already notified the soldiers before the crew entered, and directly announced that all the crew members would train with them for three months, during which time they would be living with the soldiers. When the official shooting arrived, many soldiers would also appear in front of the camera together. If there were individual soldiers who perform well, they may even become special actors.
People from the military publicity department specially emphasized that this was a recruitment promotion drama. The troops were required to try their best to cooperate with the filming of the crew. At the same time, it was also necessary to ensure that all training was never leaked, and all actors were required to at least meet the standard and quality requirements of ordinary soldiers. And this condition was also proposed by Tao Mu himself. He had always been one to either try his best either do it or not to do it at all.
And this conscription promotion drama was also related to the reputation of Tao Mu’s film and television company, and it was even related to the big film that the military would cooperate with Beijing Film to produce a year later. Tao Mu’s ambition was to win and not to lose.
But what Tao Mu didn’t expect was that the entire crew would get involved in a conflict with the soldiers on the first day they entered the army.
When the leader of the troops came over, Tao Mu was in the conference room, discussing with the screenwriter team about the material. Tao Mu had already drawn up the plot outline when he met with the military representative. But the details still need to be filled in slowly. In order to reflect the style of the army more realistically, Tao Mu decided to have the screenwriter team immerse deep amongst the soldiers to draw on plot materials. To put it more simply and crudely, it was to interview the soldiers and officers at all levels who have been in the army for a different number of years, and ask them what these soldiers think was “the most awesome thing about being a soldier”. Then combined with the feel good genre and face slap routines, these things would then be added when writing the plot.
But they had barely started discussing when the troop leader came over. With an embarrassed face, he told Tao Mu that the actors brought by the crew got into a confrontation with the soldiers. When Tao Mu heard this, his first reaction was that there were squeamish actors who didn’t listen to the command and wanted special treatment but then the troop leader quickly explained the situation. It turned out that after the cast members were stationed in the troops, according to the regulations, they had to be broken up and inserted into each squad. Almost like an audit student, they would train alongside the soldiers of their squad. Because there were indicators, the assessment results of these actors would also be linked to the squad overall results.
Most of the soldiers have never seen the filming of TV dramas, and they have not been in contact with actors in the entertainment industry, so they felt that this was quite a novel experience. Moreover, it was a task assigned by the above, and it was also linked to the recruitment promotion next year, so they were quite willing to cooperate. But there were also a small group of soldiers who were not happy. They felt that this group of actors were just here to grandstand. How could an actor stand the hard work of being a soldier. If they couldn’t keep up with the training, it would also drag down the grades of the squad. Most of the soldiers have a sense of collective honor, and they couldn’t help complaining a word or two because they were worried that their squad or even their company would be dragged down.
Under normal circumstances, those who could be an actor, putting aside acting skills, one must have a little intelligence when dealing with people. Otherwise, there was no way to survive in this circle where all words and deeds were magnified by the camera. But there were also newborn calves who were not afraid of tigers. Such as Gu Yuzhang.
He was very unconvinced that this group of soldiers questioned that they would definitely not be able to keep up with the training, and they would definitely drag down the company’s grade. He even more disliked that the soldiers called them out for grandstanding, insulting them to be soft eggs, not real men (soldier: I didn’t say that).
Then, Gu Yuzhang, who was young and unwilling to bow his head, challenged the soldier! He requested the soldier to do various exercises with him. If he lost, he would not say a word, even if he was exhausted, he would grit his teeth and keep up with the training. And also be responsible for washing the dirty laundry of the soldiers. If he won, the soldiers must apologize to them.
This very dramatic challenge was immediately supported by both sides. But the key was that the soldier challenged by Gu Yuzhang was the elite soldier selected by the company for three consecutive years. The troops leader praised Gu Yuzhang, a young man with great courage and daring, but of course he did not believe that Gu Yuzhang could defeat the elite soldier. He was worried that Gu Yuzhang, who had never undergone systematic training, would be exhausted badly, so he hurried over to find Tao Mu, the person in charge of the crew and let Tao Mu stop Gu Yuzhang. And also considerately expressed that Gu Yuzhang was not a soldier, and there was no chance of winning against the elite soldier, so there was no need to wash clothes for the elite soldier.
Hearing these words, Tao Mu was a bit speechless. But the screenwriters of the screenwriting team were suddenly excited: “This is a good plot entry point. Who is this Gu Yuzhang? The young man knows how to add scenes for himself!”
Tao Mu sighed and hurriedly followed the troops leader to the training ground. Putting aside adding scenes or not, if he didn’t rush over to stop Gu Yuzhang, it was estimated that this rash fool could really abuse himself to the point of being half-crippled.
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At that time, the news that the cast of “Soldier Elite” abused and maimed the actors would really make headlines. How could they still shoot this conscription promotion drama then?
Tao Mu couldn’t understand Gu Yuzhang’s brain circuit! On the first day of entering the army, he dared to challenge the real life elite soldier, why didn’t he just take a rocket to the sky!
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