Top Management

Chapter 218

TM Chapter 218

Chapter 218: Splendid or Shabby (3)

TL: emptycube / ED: Isleidir

“Chinese? Japanese? Korean? Do you have thoughts on becoming an actor?”

“She already is one. And she has an agent.”

How many times has it been?

The bearded agent gave me a dirty look. He seemed to have decided that any further discussion was unnecessary and simply handed Lee Songha his business card.

“If we can just discuss details alone…!”

“We can’t.”

“Where are you staying? Please give me your number!”

“I don’t want to.”

“Business card! Then just take my business card at least! Do you know Angela Mayweather? She worked with me in the past! If you want a shot at the red carpet, don’t waste your time with that small fish agent over there and call me!”

“Get lost.”

Lee Songha cut him off and dragged me over.

We only had a brief moment of silence after finally managing to brush off that leech-like agent.

“Do you have any plans tonight? Do you want me to take you to Matt Burkhart’s private party?”

“I have invitations to the Last Dance gala screening, do you want to come with me?”

“How about we go on a drive?”

I thought we could strut about with no one paying attention to us, but there was a miscalculation.

While there wasn’t anyone who recognized Lee Songha, there were plenty of people who recognized a beauty. In just an hour of going around, I was able to confirm that Lee Songha’s beauty was universal. All kinds of flies stuck around. Agents, guys trying to pick up girls, guys trying to pick up girls, and guys trying to pick up girls.

What kind of damn city was this?

I felt like the entire street could be called one big club.

A man driving a red Lamborghini looked our way and waved. He was a tick that had been following us for a while now. It didn’t matter if he was just looking or not, I couldn’t take it anymore. I grabbed Lee Songha’s shoulder and pulled her into a narrow alleyway between two buildings.

“Let’s go out after a little break.”

I didn’t get a reply. Instead, I heard her breathing quicken.

I glanced down. Because of the narrow space, Lee Songha’s eyelashes were looking down at my chin. They would touch if we moved. When I leaned against the broken stone wall, Lee Songha’s head followed like a magnet.

The tip of her tongue lightly licked her coral lips.

“… Do you have any other place you want to see?”


Lee Songha shoved her guidebook in her handbag.


“Let’s look around this place. This dark, secluded alley, I think it’s nice.”

“What are you going to see in this dark, secluded alley?”

I didn’t receive a reply. Lee Songha was staring up at me. Intently.

My mouth went dry. This time, I licked my lips. Maybe it was because we were in a different country, but the face in front of me looked especially unfamiliar to me. Ah. She had full makeup on for an interview during the day, so her makeup must have run a little while trying to pass through the crowds. Maybe that was why she gave off a more decadent aura, unlike her normal self. This was why all those flies hovered around her.

It wasn’t like we could erase her makeup here. Should I get her to wear her sunglasses?

While I was thinking about it, I felt a gaze following me.

“What are you looking at?”

“I’m sightseeing.”

Lee Songha’s eyes came up to my nose and curved.

At some point, what was full was surging. Like it would fall over at any moment.

We went into the narrow alleyways rather than the streets. While it wasn’t as fancy as the streets, I liked the more leisurely, lively atmosphere. Above all, no flies hovered around us anymore.

We stopped at an open-air café.

Two coffees and the assorted desserts Lee Songha ordered filled our table. There was an overwhelming smell of butter and chocolate. When I checked my phone, it seemed that Nam Joyoon and Kim Hyunsup were really going all out and sightseeing. They kept posting pictures in our group chat.

Most were pictures they wanted to show Nam Joyoon’s parents.

Lee Songha stared at those photos.

I glanced at the corner of the guidebook that stuck out from her handbag and said,

“Do you want to look around a few more places before we go back to the hotel? Maybe the beach?”

“Thinking about it, I think I’ve seen a ton of these in California.”

“Ah, you mentioned you stayed there for a while.”

She wasn’t the type to bring up her past.

I thought she would change the subject soon, but Lee Songha continued,

“My aunt and uncle live in California. Our family wasn’t in a great situation when I was young, and my aunt said that she would take care of one of us for a few years.”

“So you’re the only one who went in your family?”

Lee Songha nodded.

“My oldest sister wanted to go study abroad, but my aunt and uncle took me instead.”


“They said it was because I was the prettiest.”

I abruptly stopped drinking my coffee.

I suddenly recalled Lee Songha’s family. And the mood that didn’t give you a familial sense.

Lee Songha seemed fine after saying such disturbing words as she took a bit of the croissant. Then she looked happy because of how tasty it was. I shoved the questions that were surging up my throat back down. I felt like I would break that peaceful mood if I said anything.

I simply laughed with her.


“I want to see the Last Dance screening! We’ve come all the way to Cannes!”

“Give up. I bet the line waiting to buy tickets is huge.”

“Let’s take a picture with the poster! Take one so Mason Tucker’s face shows up really well!”

The street of films. I heard tourists taking pictures amongst the posters lined up like trees lining the street. Lee Songha and I looked at a familiar poster amidst the crowds.

Jungle City.{1}

In the poster meant for the overseas market didn’t have Lee Songha or Nam Joyoon’s face on it. Only their names were printed at the bottom. Maybe it was because Lee Songha was wearing sunglasses, but it was quiet now that there wasn’t anyone intently looking our way.

Though there was the occasional person who looked with interest.

“Jungle City. This is screening tomorrow. Let’s go watch this!”

“I’m not really feeling it.”

“Still, don’t you think we’ll be able to buy tickets for this one? We need to commemorate coming here by going inside a theater once! We don’t know when we’ll have another chance!”

So it was like that.

“Mason! It’s Mason!”


Screams and shouts erupted somewhere. Of course, it wasn’t that Mason Tucker and Megan Shannor leisurely arrived at La Croissette. Spectators gathered around an enormous screen on one side of the street.

It was a live video of the red-carpet event going on at the Palais des Festivals.

The screen had been showing the entrances of various VIP and celebrities from different industries, but now the central figures of today, Hollywood top stars, had arrived and were waving their hands.

The actual place must be so full of spectators and reporters, who arrived early, to the point that there was no room to actually walk, which was why people were probably watching the live feed here.

People’s reactions on screen were heated, and the reactions here were fanatical.

“What! What! They are shaking hands! They’re even giving out autographs!”

“I should have waited for a few hours there!”

Various languages could be heard from the commotion in front of the screen. Although I could somewhat understand English and Chinese, what they were all talking about was obvious. Half the words were the names of actors.

The screen continued to show the leads of Last Dance. The actors, who wore a tuxedo and dress, made cheerful and bold poses on the red carpet.

The screams of fans asking them to look their way, background music from Last Dance, and the shutter sounds of hundreds of photographers going off simultaneously blasted out the speakers.

I calmly stared at the screen.

When we first received invitations to the film festival, when we arrived at Nice Airport and looked at Lee Songha and Nam Joyoon’s hotel rooms, and when we held interviews with foreign reporters. Each time I thought that we were getting closer to that world.

I was a bit excited, thinking that the tips of our toes finally touched it, but that wasn’t the case.

We were still so far away.


I abruptly looked beside me. Lee Songha, who had been chattering on, was quiet.

Lee Songha had taken her sunglasses off and was staring at the screen while standing rigidly.

At the world overflowing with red carpet, cheers, and camera flashes.

“Oppa, I want to go there once.”

The Palais des Festivals filled with people was completely different from when it was empty. It was exactly that. It was a palace of dreams.

Glittering lights shined down, and loud sounds felt like they were squeezing my heart. A 30-meter long red carpet flowed down the tall stairs. The actors walking up the stairs grew distant.

Lee Songha stumbled towards the screen before she was pushed by a loud spectator.

“Songha, are you okay?”

“Yes! Yes, I’m fine.”

She nodded before getting on her tippy toes and stretching her neck up.

The distant red carpet, the cheering fans, the photographers wearing tuxedos and shooting pictures. She looked at the sight, a blend of all these elements. She had a strange look on her face. It seemed similar to when she was staring at a new snack that she had never eaten before.

And something…

I looked at Lee Songha, who was trying to get a good look, before going towards the control line.

While everyone related to the film was excited, Lee Songha, the lead, was strangely different. It was to the point where she seemed more interested in the sightseeing than attending the film festival, interviews, or the possibility of receiving an award.

To be honest, she was like this from the beginning.

Lee Songha had a tough time in Neptune due to her relatively weaker talent in singing and dancing, but when she found her talent in acting, she rejoiced and clung onto it. Like someone who found a foundation to stand on. Then she did her best in every drama and film she appeared in.

However, something felt lukewarm.

This was true even when I compared her to Nam Joyoon and other actors I had encountered. Although I couldn’t perfectly describe it, Lee Songha’s sights were not set beyond her limit and rather settled in at a lukewarm distance.

This bothered me like a bone in my throat.

But she seemed a little different right now. She seemed different.

If I could light a fire in Lee Songha’s heart right here…

I handed Lee Songha’s actor ID card to the event personnel, who was busy blocking the swarming spectators. I pointed to Lee Songha, whose gaze was fixed at one place, as I said,

“We have some business inside. Could we go in for a second? It’s not for the red carpet-!”

“You can’t enter this place with a t-shirt and running shoes.”

The event personnel waved me away in annoyance after glancing at the ID card.

This damn dress code.

We should have gone around in a dress and suit if I knew this would happen. Lee Songha seemed to have heard the event personnel as she turned her head towards me. I clicked my tongue and backed away from the line.

Let’s endure for a bit longer.

Since she’ll be standing on that red carpet tomorrow morning.


Lee Songha and Nam Joyoon wore the dress and suit the stylists had picked out for them and ascended the red carpet stairs. They were as charming as the actors last night, no, to my biased eyes, they were more charming than anyone.

Spectators cheered and photographers pressed their shutter buttons.

Lee Songha was almost hugging Director Oh Hyunkyung as she made a pose for the camera.

“I saw Mason Tucker and Megan Shannor’s red-carpet event yesterday…”

“I guess this is what they call ‘on a different level’. It’s a little deflating.”

The staff from the production company mumbled as they waited to enter the theater.

I pulled on my tight bowtie and looked at the sight in front of me.

I saw the spectators who came over before leaving after losing interest.

The photographers who took pictures as a formality before looking for other famous people.

Lee Songha made her best smile at the last remaining photographer. Nam Joyoon and Director Oh Hyunkyung were slightly taken aback before smiling and waving as well.

I stared at this.

I wanted to light a fire in Lee Songha’s heart with this opportunity.

But a fire lit in my heart before I could.


Korean press reporters who had ID cards hung around their necks were sitting at one side of the theater.

“Fortunately, most of the seats are taken. I was worried this red-carpet event would look sparse.”

“This is the case for red-carpet events that don’t have famous people.”

“Let’s not write articles that it was shabby or whatever and try to write them in a positive light. Then the mood at the press conference will be good. Something like ‘the theater was packed with international reporters and buyers’.”

The thousand or so seats were slowly being filled. It was empty compared to films that had 3,000 seats and had people standing to watch from the sides, but it was still a full house.

“Make sure to check how many times they clap or cheer during the screening. Also, get some feedback on the film from international reporters later too. And time how long they clapped after the official screening and publish headlines like ‘Heated Applause for 5 minutes’ or something.”

“They applaud out of manners though. We’re probably the only country that times the applause and writes articles about it.”

A middle-aged reporter clicked his tongue at the sudden complaint.

“If we don’t have that, then there’s nothing to write about! Also, our citizens are curious about it!”

“Do you think they’ll have a chance at winning the award?”

Someone cautiously asked. People murmured.

“People seem to think their chances are nil considering how top-notch their competitors are.”

“How did people react to City Jungle’s internal screening? Was the film any good?”

“From what I picked up, it seemed to be decent. The scenario is good.”

“Considering they were invited to Cannes, the film must be quite polished as well.”

“Well, there are films that have been bashed for degrading the quality of the film festival. There are also a lot of people who leave in the middle of the screening. Around fifty to sixty people just got up and left last time. The mood was utter crap.”

“In the end, an article about it exploded and made the film flop back home.”

The middle-aged man licked his lips and said,

“Anyways, we have to write that they have a chance of winning the reward until the award ceremony, so I hope the audience likes it. Our general manager had a fit about how we needed to get tons of newsworthy content because City Jungle is the most topical back home out of the films that were invited.”

“It’ll be great if they receive an award though. It’s been a long time since we’ve last received an award. For our film industry…”

“Don’t try to fool us. Isn’t it because you invested in City Jungle through their crowdfunding event?”

“Shh, it looks like they’re starting now.”

The audience’s chatter gradually died down.

The international reporters and buys, who didn’t seem particularly interested, turned their gazes towards the screen.

8:30 am. In the Debussy Theatre next to the main theater, Grand Theatre Lumiere, City Jungle’s press screening began.

It was a very quiet start.

{1} The Korean name of the film has ‘City’ before ‘Jungle’. The English name has ‘Jungle’ before ‘City’.

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