The Mid-Autumn Festival holidays was the golden period for domestic movies at the box office. It was also the most competitive period for all blockbuster movies. If a movie had a strong marketing strategy, then the rest of the films would pale in comparison, and flop at the box office.
The Legendary Chronicles of Tanhai’s success was within expectations. However, they did not think that it would be so successful that even a small supporting cast would even gain some fame from starring in the movie.
As for the leads and the key supporting cast, opportunities were abound, as their popularity soared.
As the movie had an ambiguous ending, discussions between the fans of the female lead and fans of Fairy Qingyan surged. If Sun Yuhan and Ning Xi weren’t good friends in reality, the flames of the battle would probably have affected them.
Li Yu was Sun Yuhan’s loyal fan. In order to support her idol at the box office, she had intentionally brought her good friend to the cinema to purchase tickets for The Legendary Chronicles of Tanhai.
She had entered the theatre before the movie started. The cinema was already packed to the brim. She placed the ticket stub in her bag, then waited for the screening to begin.
The moment the movie started, her attention was drawn to the big screen. When Fairy Qingyan floated down from the skies, she heard muffled exclamations from the audience around her.
Yes, beautiful was the right word. She couldn’t help but be moved by the scene, and as the movie progressed, and the scene of Fairy Qingyan dancing in the White Jade Palace appeared, she felt that she was in love with this character.
When she saw Fairy Qingyan pull out her jade hairpin and forge it into a sword to help the mortal world battle the evil forces, she was suddenly reminded of what Director Qian had said during the premiere. He mentioned that Ning Xi had often hidden at a corner to practice her swordplay so that the battle scenes would flow better, making it more exciting and entertaining.
The battle scenes were truly exhilarating. The director did not simply ask the actors to make a few poses, then rely on special effects and lighting to portray the scenes. Instead, they were asked to act out the battle scenes, and even the moves were tailored to their characters, each exuding a different flavour.
The female antagonist from the demonic tribe used vicious weapons, and her moves carried a demonic air. On the other hand, Fairy Qingyan’s swordplay was alluring, and each move and action carried with it a sense of righteousness and enchantment.
After the female antagonist was defeated by Fairy Qingyan, any other traditional melodramatic plot would definitely include the following: the antagonist pleading for mercy, the lead protagonist sparing the antagonist’s life, then was ambushed by the antagonist.
However, the storyline for this movie was different. The female antagonist did plead for mercy, but Fairy Qingyan simply gave her a cold stare and replied, “If I let you off, then who will uphold justice for the innocent souls whose lives you took?”
After this line, Fairy Qingyan would not wait for a response from the female antagonist, but instead, dealt the finishing blow and ended the antagonist’s life. By the time the male and female leads arrived, the sword in her hand had once again transformed into a hairpin, which was used to bind her beautiful hair.
Li Yu was exceptionally satisfied by this scene. She had long been frustrated by plots where the protagonists were atrociously kind, which backfired on them. Such storylines made the protagonists appear especially stupid.
Hence, Fairy Qingyan’s method was truly invigorating.
Yet, a few moments later, Fairy Qingyan was arrested for intervening in the affairs of the mortal world. As the scenes of her immortality being removed, her soul dissipating, and the male lead’s arriving to only catch a last glimpse of her were played out, Li Yu felt defeated.
Fairy Qingyan did not rain curses on the decay of the immortal world, but she felt that Fairy Qingyan had looked at the rest of the immortals with helplessness and despair.
In the final scene of the movie, the male lead walked alone down a lively street. The crowd was cheerful, exhibiting a stark contrast to his lonely rear view.
Li Yu felt that she was on the verge of tears, but she didn’t know who she was crying for.
The ordinary folks who were unaware of all that had happened were still living their simple and happy lives; they did not know that the deities that they worshipped daily had long forsaken them. As for the reincarnated female lead, would she still remember the man that she had unconditionally loved?
The world was so vast; where should the lonely male lead head to next?
As for Fairy Qingyan, she had helped the mortals, but they didn’t know that she had lost her life in the process. There was no longer a Fairy Qingyan; but if she had known that the mortals continued to worship the very immortals who despised them, would she ever feel a tinge of regret?
Li Yu let out a long breath as she walked out of the cinema, and smiled at her good friend, whose eyes were red.
It was only after watching the movie that she felt that the online discussions about who the male lead liked was simply frivolous. That was not the focus of the movie; rather, it was about humanity and immortality.
She took out her phone and logged onto Weibo. When she found the actress portraying Fairy Qingyan, Ning Xi’s Weibo, she pressed the “follow” button.
Ning Xi’s popularity was off the charts.
The portrayal of Fairy Qingyan had captivated the audiences. Within a few days, her Weibo fans had hit more than ten million, and was still increasing.
The media also had nothing but good comments about her, and even referred to her as the most promising actress among the new generation of actors.
In reality, she had a bright future ahead of her. Jiuji Entertainment was willing to extensively promote her, and her performance in Director Qian’s movie had been outstanding. With her looks, her talent, and a reliable entertainment company, Ning Xi’s future was limitless. Even when other management agencies tried to poach her, they were not only willing to fork out the penalty for her breach of contract, they even promised her multiple developmental projects.
After Ning Xi rejected all the offers, she received notice that the production for Rolling Good Fortunes was about to begin.
When the director of Rolling Good Fortunes, Lin Shujie, had confirmed Ning Xi as the female lead, the producers were not agreeable as they felt that Ning Xi was not popular enough, and would not be able to help them at the box office. Even the male lead had dragged his feet at signing the agreement after finding out that Ning Xi was the female lead.
Yet, Ning Xi managed to make herself so popular from Director Qian’s movie that her popularity was even higher than many of her seniors in the industry. Hence, the producers did not have any further opinions, and quickly agreed to start on the production.
Lin Shujie was not a good-tempered person; when he saw that the male lead that he picked had numerous demands but appeared to drag his feet in signing the agreement, he invited another B-lister that he set his sights on for the role.
Initially, he was worried that Ning Xi’s popularity was not sufficient, hence he wanted to select a popular male lead, but now that Ning Xi’s popularity soared, his concerns were assuaged.
Regardless of whether the initial male actor had regretted his actions after seeing how Ning Xi’s popularity had grown, in Lin Shujie’s mind, this man belonged in his blacklist.
The new male lead that Lin Shujie selected was Gao Li. He was not particularly famous, and was not favoured by Feiyu Entertainment. Hence, when he knew that he had been picked as the male lead for Director Lin’s movie, he was overjoyed that he couldn’t sleep the night before.
The next morning, Gao Li had dark circles under his eyes when his manager picked him out. However, he was in good spirits, and the manager guessed that he must have been excited the entire night.
“You’re lucky that the previous male lead had snubbed the female lead that Director Lin chose because she wasn’t popular enough, and dragged the signing of the agreement.” He Tong passed the breakfast that he had bought over to Gao Li, and said, “Who knew that he was so adamant to keep the female lead that he rather changed the male lead instead, hence you were given the opportunity instead.”
“The focus of this show is more on the female lead, hence Director Lin would definitely favour her more.” Gao Li drank a sip of the soybean drink and laughed, “This is Director Lin’s show. I would have never dreamt that I could play the male lead in his movies.”
“If you knew who the previous male actor was, you probably wouldn’t have made that comment.” He Tong started the car. “The previous male lead was actually the award-winning actor Guo Ji.”
“Guo Ji?!” Gao Li almost choked on his drink. This was an A-list male actor, the most popular artiste under Xingyue Entertainment. No wonder he would dare to treat Director Lin in this manner.
He Tong looked at his astonished face and said, “The female lead for this production is the hottest actress nowadays, Ning Xi. She is the female actress that Jiuji spent loads on to promote. I heard that she has good relations with the President of Chang Enterprises and the heiress of the Bai family. Be careful not to offend her.”
Gao Li nodded. He had watched The Legendary Chronicles of Tanhai. Ning Xi’s performance had been outstanding, and hence it was logical that her popularity would explode.
When the two men arrived at the set, Gao Li first went to greet the director. The female lead had yet to arrive, the rest of the crew was preparing the offerings table needed for the rituals to kickstart the production , and the reporters had yet to arrive.
“After the prayers are completed, Ning Xi and you will start filming the first scene.” Lin Shujie called Gao Li over to the front, then pointed at the script. “We’ll be filming this later.”
“Sure, Director Lin.”
Gao Li turned his head and looked. A black vehicle stopped outside the set, and a young lady dressed in a simple outfit walked over in their direction. A man in a suit accompanied her, and he exuded an air of nobility.
“Brother Tong, Ning Xi’s manager is so good looking?” Gao Li whispered to He Tong, “Even the most looking male celebrities don’t look as good as him.”
He Tong nudged him. “Be careful of your words.”
This man looked so impressive, he probably was not Ning Xi’s manager.
“Hi Director Lin”, Ning Xi hastened her footsteps and walked to Lin Shujie. She appeared very humble, and did not act pompously because of her recent popularity.
Gao Li and He Tong did not recognize Chang Shi Gui, but Lin Shujie did. Seeing that Chang Shi Gui had sent Ning Xi to the set, he started to guess their relationship. However, he continued to smile and said warmly, “Ning Xi, take a break first, when the media has arrived, then we’ll begin the ceremony.”
After speaking to Ning Xi, Lin Shujie then turned to Chang Shi Gui and said, “Hi, Mr Chang.”
“Hi.” Chang Shi Gui nodded slightly. “I was just giving my friend a lift along the way. The crew should be busy, I’ll leave you to it.”
He then turned to Ning Xi and said, “Call me if there’s anything you need.”
“Alright, you should hurry back to work, don’t be late!” Ning Xi waved at him.
“Uhn.” Chang Shi Gui smiled. “A friend is treating me to dinner tonight. Will you be able to join me?”
Ning Xi raised her head and looked at him, knowing that he wanted to show her off to his friends. She blinked innocently and said, “You can pick me up later.”
“Alright.” Chang Shi Gui laughed, as if he had gained a huge favour.
“My President Chang, you need to get going, otherwise you’ll really be late.” Ning Xi gestured for him to go. “See you tonight.”
“See you tonight.” Chang Shi Gui maintained his smile, then got into his car.
After Chang Shi Gui left, Ning Xi turned around and saw a handsome youth standing nearby. She smiled and said, “Hello, Teacher Gao.”
“H..Hi,” Gao Li smiled sheepishly. “Director Lin said that we will be filming together in the first scene later, please guide me along.”
“I’ll probably need your guidance instead.” Ning Xi said humbly, “I’ve seen your movie Blind River, your acting was truly riveting.”
“Really?” Gao Li smiled shyly. Blind River was an arthouse film that he shot two years ago. As the movie did not gain much attention after it premiered, it was taken down very quickly. He would have never expected Ning Xi to have watched it before.
To an actor, the best compliment would be for a role that he had portrayed before. In the span of a few minutes, Gao Li’s impression of Ning Xi became even more favourable.
Very quickly, they started addressing each other by their names.
Lin Shujie saw the cordial atmosphere between the two leads and nodded his head satisfactorily. If the male and female leads were at loggerheads, then the flavour of the movie won’t be right.
At nine o’clock, Ning Xi and Gao Li were in their costumes, fully made-up. Under the flashes of the camera, they queued up to offer their prayers, and the ritual began.
 There are some superstitions and traditions in Chinese film productions. One such practice is the inclusion of a prayer ritual at the start of the filming. They will choose an auspicious day and time, and then set up an offerings table to pray that filming can be carried out smoothly. See here for some pictures of such events.