Wuxiaworld > Superstars of Tomorrow > Chapter 292: Vote Results

Chapter 292: Vote Results

Chapter 292: Vote Results
Translator: Min_Lee Editor: Tennesh

The veteran artists sitting in the second row were also deep in discussion. Their focus was, as usual, on technique.

"I watched some footage of General Fang Zhao. This leader has unique speech patterns. Others might miss them, but we can spot them right away."

When most folks spoke, they put an emphasis on certain words—sometimes just one, sometimes several. They also paused to highlight certain points. Fang Zhao didn't speak extensively in the footage of the conference attended by many leaders, but he had his own style of speech, which included emphases and pauses. The veteran artists considered this Fang Zhao's signature style.

The first six candidates had tried to imitate that style in their performances. They had clearly studied the archive footage carefully, but they weren't quite there. They couldn't replicate Fang Zhao's speech pattern completely. Their deliveries were close approximations at best.

The veteran artists were impressed with the young actors' professionalism and attention to detail. "They actually all did very well. It's a tough call."

"If they'd had more time, they would have done an even better job. They would have resembled Fang Zhao even more."

"They don't have to be exact duplicates. Art is an embellishment of reality to begin with."

"OK, it's time for number 7. I gotta take a close look at this guy."

Roman sat in a corner, trying to gauge the audience's reactions.

A still photo of candidate number 7 appeared on the screen, followed shortly by footage of his audition.

It was the same scene that the previous six had acted out, the same lines.

A gray-haired old man sitting on the edge of the first row of the area assigned to the Committee of 100 didn't seem to be paying attention—his posture was relaxed, his eyelids drooping—but the moment candidate number 7 opened his mouth, the gray-haired old man's eyelids fluttered and he bolted upright. He gradually opened his eyes and glared at the screen.

As a veteran artist who had won countless awards, including the most prestigious honor in performing arts, the Galaxy World Medal, this old man was eminently qualified to sit in the first row.

True professionals paid attention to minutiae that the actors were prone to miss. They zoomed in on these finer points and isolated them for scrutiny and evaluation. This old man was no different. The moment he heard number 7's voice, he knew this one was different from the previous six candidates.

There were many professionals in the audience, so the old man wasn't the only one to catch on.

True, it was the same lines and the same scenes. There were only so many ways you could break the lines up and vary the rhythm. Candidate number 7 didn't handle his pauses, emphases, and long vowels any differently. The amazing thing was that they detected a form of musicality in his lines.

It was a completely unintentional yet mostly natural rhythm.

The casual rhythm was seamlessly incorporated into the character.

This was what distinguished him from the previous six candidates.

Even the nonprofessionals in the audience couldn't help but be captivated by every word in the delivery even though they couldn't explain the attraction.

The members of the audience secretly grumbled. Yet another strong candidate!

The most frustrating thing was that they had no clue who number 7 was.

He seemed familiar, but they couldn't identify him, which bugged the hell out of many viewers.

They looked at their colleagues probingly. Any luck?

All they got in response was confused headshakes.

"I'm absolutely positive I've never seen one of his movies before," an instructor from the Huangzhou Academy of Art said.

Every performer had his or her quirks, regardless of the role—something in their acting, their delivery, or other features that were easy to overlook. These made up their signature. But the veteran artists in the audience searched their memories in vain for an actor that matched the characteristics of candidate number 7.

"Where did Roman find this guy?"

Folks who were close to Roman went through a mental checklist of the world's top actors. No matches.

Other industry heavyweights in the audience looked equally confused. Clearly, none of them had recognized number 7 either.

"That's impossible. He seems so familiar. It's gotta be someone we know."

But after a mental review of all the TV series and movies they had seen, they still had no matches.

"This is bizarre."

Just the delivery of candidate number 7 distinguished him from the previous six candidates, which prompted many in the audience to direct their attention to the screen for a careful look.

Generally speaking, number 7 did indeed resemble the Fang Zhao as scripted in "Founding Era." He wasn't an exact replica of old photos of the real Fang Zhao, but at first glance, there was a striking resemblance.

"Considering this level of skill, has a retired colleague of ours decided to join the fun?" someone speculated.

If it were indeed a retired veteran artist, he would certainly be competent enough acting-wise, but could his body endure the rigors of the shoot? Could he cope with the fast pace of the shoot? Could he keep up? Was Roman willing to take the risk?

Someone caught a glimpse of Roman, who was standing in the corner, pursing his lips. The observer's heart went "thud."

Something was wrong.

Something was definitely problematic with number 7.

The observer knew Roman well from working with Roman for many years. He knew instantly from Roman's smile that there was more than met the eye.

How dare he play games with such an important project like "Founding Era?"

Let's see how he cleans up his mess.

The audition video kept playing on the screen.

Just like the six performers before him, number 7 stood up at the end of his extended monologue. He was oozing the ambition and the ruthlessness of a climber who had toiled for decades during the Period of Destruction.

Yet number 7's aura wasn't as in-your-face as the previous candidates'. He even looked calm. He spoke quickly, but it was the determination and killer instinct in his delivery that shook the audience much more strongly than all the previous candidates.

It was a very special feeling.

The military officials sitting in the third row felt it all the more acutely. It was just a video, but the seemingly innocuous face on the screen, the seemingly peaceful eyes projected the utmost fear. They felt their muscles tense despite being hardened by countless missions.

They took a deep breath and only exhaled slowly after a few seconds.

"Such a strong killer vibe!"

The comment intrigued one of the veteran artists sitting in the first two rows. Killer vibe? So that's a killer vibe?

He hadn't felt the vibe as acutely. He wasn't from a military background, after all, but he had felt a sudden chill. It was a bizarre feeling and had prompted him to avert his gaze.

"I bet all the stripes on my shoulder that this guy definitely has blood on his hands!" the military official said.

"Not necessarily. He might be a graduate of the military arts academy. Word has it they've been training their people quite rigorously, possibly to the level of candidate number 7. The academy is run military style, after all, unlike other arts academies."

"How rigorous is their training, to have produced someone like this?"

"Hey, Old Tan, aren't you in charge of the arts academy? Is it someone from your school? What a good job you've done of keeping him under wraps."

Professor Tan wore a blank expression on his face. "Huh? Who are you talking about? I don't know this guy."

"Hahaha, don't deny it. I know you don't like openly lobbying for votes. We cast our votes independently. There's no lobbying involved at all, haha. This actor really did a good job."

Professor Tan started panicking. "I really don't know number 7! I did indeed recommend people for the role of Fang Zhao, but they were all rejected by Roman. He said they weren't artsy enough. What business does a Founding Era leader have being artsy?"

The mere mention of the matter made Prof. Tan furious.

Thirty percent artsy and 70 percent killer—Roman's stringent requirements were maddening.

Now came the action scene. Number 7 moved deftly, quickly, and powerfully. His punches were very forceful and realistic. There was no fakery involved.

This was true talent.

The real deal.

"Who is this? Who's number 7?" an old man in uniform couldn't help blurting out.

A member of the audience who didn't know the entertainment industry well asked a friend who was more familiar with the community, "Hey, Charlie, who was that?"

"I couldn't tell."

"Don't you know all the actors well? Someone in charge of censorship like yourself should know the actors well. How come you can't recognize him?"

"It's probably the makeup."

His friend was incredulous. "Really?"

Makeup didn't turn the actor into a replica of General Fang Zhao. You could still more or less tell who the actor was. It wasn't that the makeup artists were incompetent. In this particular project, the actors weren't allowed to resemble the real Fang Zhao exactly.

Even if their natural features were similar, the makeup artist was supposed to make clear the distinction between the actor and the real-life Fang Zhao. This was a stipulation from the descendants of the Founding Era heroes. People were self-contradictory—they wanted convincing imitations but not exact replicas.

Many folks thought number 7 looked familiar. Given his talent level and the fact that he had been given a slot, there was no doubt about number 7's ability. Bowing to conventional thinking, many folks thought the actor had to be a senior figure in the industry.

That led many to guess that this was a veteran artist.

One scene might not prove anything, but three strong performances in a row...

The Committee of 100 was dumbfounded. They didn't know what to say. Clearly, number 7 was a great fit, but they couldn't figure out who he was.

A fleeting thought flashed through someone's head, but it was quickly dismissed as ridiculous. The person kept on brainstorming about number 7's identity.

Number 7 caused quite the commotion, because no one knew who he was. But to avoid getting hung up on the issue, the audition videos for number 8 and number 9 were played immediately.

After the audition videos of all nine candidates were played, Roman got on stage again. He wore a knowing but also slightly stiff smile.

"These are the nine candidates. Voting will begin now. You have 10 minutes. Please get ready."

The chatter began again. Among the Committee of 100, some started lobbying, others started group discussions and fell into deep thought.

Ten minutes later.

Roman tried hard to control his nerves. "The vote results will now be announced. This vote will determine who will be cast as Fang Zhao. Please direct your attention to the screen."

A table tallying the votes that each of the nine candidates had gotten, in descending order, appeared on-screen.

Number 7: 21 votes

Number 9: 15 votes

Number 1: 12 votes

Number 2: 10 votes.

...

The winner had beaten the runner-up by six votes.

The total number of votes for number 7, the only candidate who had received more than 20 votes, wasn't that sizable, but it made for a commanding lead. It was an impressive feat, securing more than 20 votes amid such intense competition.

The audience had mixed feelings as they examined the results. Some went pale, others fell silent, and some went red—though it was unclear whether it was due to anger or excitement. Some faces looked ghastly, oozing disappointment. There were also some who showed no emotion. Who knows if they were actually calm or faking it.

As Roman studied the results on the screen, he could feel his heart skip a beat and the temperature of his blood rise. He could no longer suppress the pursing of his lips. What he would give to burst out in laughter. But he had to maintain his composure as director of the film and host of the meeting.

Roman struggled to contain his emotions. "Please double-check your votes."

It was standard procedure for members of the Committee of 100 to verify that they hadn't cast the wrong vote.

After the voters checked their votes, the computer system verified the results.

Roman smiled knowingly again. He could no longer hold back his amusement. "In that case, candidate number 7 will be cast as Fang Zhao."

Roman gestured, and the in-character photos of the nine candidates appeared on screen in three rows. However, the photos immediately flipped, revealing the mugshots of each actor and their personal information.

Apart from number 7, the youngest candidate was number 8, who was 59. The oldest was 81, which was considered middle age in the New Era.

Number 7 was an outlier.

His youthful face stood out among the middle-aged men.

Number 7's portrait showed him in uniform. It seemed like a military ID photo. Next to it was his personal information: Fang Zhao, Yanzhou native, 25.

The audience went dead silent.