The photograph of the cast and crew of "Beauties" just before they left the planet created a lot of buzz on the internet, but discussions were mainly from Yanzhou's side. Even if people from other continents saw it, they were not particularly bothered. As the majority of cast and crew members weren't celebrities they were familiar with, after the initial excitement, they lost interest rather quickly.
After Silver Wing's official announcement, there was no follow-up. No matter how much fans asked, Silver Wing's public relations department maintained their silence.
At the same time, the crew of "Beauties" that were being discussed were en route to planet Wai via transport ship.
As there were no passenger spaceships that took the route from Earth to Wai, the crew could only travel on the transport ships that delivered military supplies to foreign planets. There were many rules and regulations on these sorts of ships, and walking about freely on the transport was prohibited. There were also no entertainment facilities, and all one could see after leaving their own room was the icy-cold glares of gun-toting soldiers, as though they were criminals. Even if they were a really popular celebrity, in the eyes of these soldiers, that celebrity was no different from anybody else.
Having heard that Silver Wing's big boss had also ridden on this sort of transport ship previously, the crew felt more at ease. If even the big boss had to go through this, then people like them shouldn't expect too much. Otherwise, they might be beaten to death by the soldiers without ever getting justice.
Since Huo Yi wanted to look after the people coming over, he got his men to specially install a guest area on board the ships so passengers could have a place to reside and engage in activities. There were bedrooms, dining halls, and a small lounge allowing for guests to gather and chat.
At this moment, in the guest area, a few leads of "Beauties" were gathered and trying to guess the motive behind this trip.
Finding out they would be heading to planet Wai for filming had come as a surprise, and the crew were all at a loss. Although they had been all smiles in the photograph showing them heading off to the spaceport, they had all still been muddled beneath their happy facades. The crew had no idea why they'd had to sign a confidentiality agreement when they were just filming an imperial court drama or why they needed to travel all the way to planet Wai. There had also been not much information from the higher-ups. All they had been told was this: "everything will be revealed in time."
Silver Wing list actor Wen Shengyi joked, "Don't tell me we are being shipped off to be sold?"
As list film stars contracted to the company, they were not as restricted compared to other smaller celebrities and could speak more freely as long as they did not go overboard.
A Silver Wing list actress who was not yet 30, Ju Taohe, joined in the fun. "Let's say we are really being sold. Silver Wing's film department would suffer heavy losses just from our cast's value."
"Only a few people know about this, but a while back, the big boss went to planet Wai. Most likely, Silver Wing has something deployed there, maybe a sealed film studio or something. In any case, it's something that will not hurt us," Silver Wing list actress Vicky said in an absent-minded way as she admired her freshly painted scarlet fingernails, her expression containing a certain captivating charm.
This was not her natural disposition. Recently, she had been getting into character for a role, and subconsciously, her words and actions were in the style of the character she was to play.
Silver Wing's list film star Maqiyaduo asked, "Teacher He, can't you reveal just a little more? There isn't anybody else here; our lips are sealed." She was in her early twenties, and her voice exuded the air of exuberant youthfulness. She had begun acting at a young age as a child star. Having gotten famous early on, she was the youngest among the four listers here. However, while she might be the youngest, her ability was in no way lacking. Regardless of how she was normally, when it came to acting, she was a total monster.
The company's four immensely popular listers looked toward a man seated at the side who had yet to utter a single word. That man was also the only S-rank film star among the cast and was one of Yanzhou's top superstars: He Lisi. He Lisi was older than the rest of them. He was 40-plus, and with his current status, his relationship with Silver Wing was more complicated, more like that of cooperative partners than employer and employee.
He Lisi was not a solemn person. Catching the four others glancing over, he laughed. "Actually, I do not know much either. Duan Qianji has probably set up a film studio on planet Wai. All we have to do is go over there and do our job conscientiously. However... from what I know, the reason Director Duan chose planet Wai for filming has something to do with Fang Zhao."
The four of them were astonished.
"The gamer composer from our company's virtual projects department?"
"I heard that fella is really impressive. He played a large role in the virtual projects and gaming department's rise in fortunes last year.
Wen Shengyi was a gaming fan and knew slightly more when it came to this. "He is 'Battle of the Century's' global number one on the leaderboards; how can he not be impressive?!"
"Isn't he also undergoing military service on planet Baiji?"
He Lisi shrugged. "I am not too sure either. When I was discussing terms with Director Duan's secretary, I heard her mention this. No concrete reasons were given, but the matter of filming on planet Wai definitely had something to do with Fang Zhao. From what I know, Director Duan started planning for this series a few years ago, but it had not been brought to fruition. Filming had originally been slated to start this year, and the set was going to be at a certain coastal city. The set was already halfway constructed, but there was a change in plans at the last moment.
"Fang Zhao... We do not know much about the virtual projects or gaming department. Normally, everyone has their own tasks and assignments, so I have never run into him in the company. However, I do know a someone who has come into contact before." He Lisi looked toward the pantry and raised his voice and shouted, "Little Ji, Ji Polun!"
Ji Polun had just woken up from a nap. He had headed into the pantry to make himself a cup of tea and had been returning to his room to read the script. As he was returning back to his room, he had walked past the lounge and thrown over a curious glance when he had seen the few very successful film stars seated there. He swore that he had only looked over because he had been curious—he'd had no other intentions.
Suddenly hearing someone there shout out his name, Ji Polun shuddered. If the cup had not been covered with a lid, most of the tea would have splashed out.
The moment he saw that it was a first-tier senior who had shouted his name, Ji Polun scurried over and nervously said, "Greetings, my seniors!"
Even though there were people younger than him among the four, comparing their statuses, Ji Polun was considered second-tier and felt it was best to call them seniors.
Although he had already risen to a B-grade contract with the company and had seen a round of popularity from the previous year's idol drama, he was still considered second-tier in Yanzhou. However, this was already consider doing very well.
He had managed to snag a supporting role in "Beauties," playing a eunuch that was always beside the emperor.
When others in the company had read up on what a "eunuch" from the Old Era was like, many people had been unwilling to take up the role, as they were afraid it would destroy their image. At the start, Ji Polun had also been hesitant, but he had made his decision quickly and snatched up the chance. Luckily, his reaction had been quick. If he had been any slower and others had returned to their senses, he might not have gotten this role at all.
First-rate Yanzhou actor He Lisi was playing the role of the emperor. He might not have such a large influence on a global scale, but when it came to Yanzhou, he was indeed a well-known superstar.
Ji Polun did not have many scenes in the series, but they were not too few either. Even if some of his scenes ended up being deleted during postproduction, Ji Polun felt that this was still worth it. He could learn a lot just by being at the side of a first-rate superstar.
Ji Polun might be narcissistic, but he also knew how to reflect on his own shortcomings. Back when he had helped out at the virtual projects department, he had learned a bit from Fang Zhao.
Noticing Ji Polun being all jittery, He Lisi put on a warm smile and pointed to a sofa at the side. "Don't stand, take a seat."
"Aye!" Ji Polun could not act normally in front of these people and sat himself down nervously like he was a student under the gaze of a strict teacher.
"Didn't you work with the virtual projects department before? Do you know Fang Zhao?" He Lisi asked.
Ji Polun replied honestly, "Fang Zhao? I know him, but we aren't considered really close. I am more familiar with the others in the virtual projects department. I occasionally dropped by, but I rarely ran into Fang Zhao."
"What sort of person is Fang Zhao?" Wen Shengyi inquired.
Ji Polun could only think of this description: "A rather... remarkable person."
Maqiyaduo was curious about something. "There are rumors online that say Fang Zhao and the big boss are relatives. Is that true?"
"That's not true!" Ji Polun hurriedly replied. "Fang Zhao and the big boss have no such blood relations! All those online conjections are rubbish!
Before, there had been people online that had said Fang Zhao was an illegitimate son of Duan Qianji's. Some people had even guessed that the two had some shameful relationship. However, Ji Polun frequently went down to the virtual projects department and knew the truth. Fang Zhao and Duan Qianji had no such relationship whatsoever. All that was just gossip and guesses that had been made up anyhow.
"That, I believe," He Lisi said. "Fang Zhao's contract is different from any other at the company. "Furthermore, from what I know, Fang Zhao had a hand in Duan Qianji's husband being able to head to the Baiji military district. From this, we can see Fang Zhao's capability."
This Fang Zhao person was indeed remarkable. Everyone present thought to themselves that if they got the chance to meet Fang Zhao, they would have to interact more with him.
As they were rather curious about Fang Zhao, over the next few days, Ji Polun was frequently called over to rehearse lines together with these big-name stars. The other lesser celebrities in the cast were all envious when they saw this.
"Ji Polun is really crafty. I have no idea what methods he pulled to ride on their coattails!" someone jealously exclaimed.
But Ji Polun also knew that being called over to rehearse together was just an excuse. They just wanted to find out more about Fang Zhao.
When the transport ship arrived on planet Wai, the cast and crew members were ferried over to the film studio complex by flying transport.
Disembarking from the flying transport, the cast and crew were stunned.
In front of them was a palace that stretched out as far as their eyes could see. Majestic and imposing, it seemed to have centuries worth of history and culture ingrained within it. Everyone stood frozen in place, their mouths and eyes wide open. If it were possible, the entire place would have been littered with their eyeballs.
Mocking words with a glacial tone dragged everyone's attention away from the palace. "Tsk, how ignorant!"
Everyone's attention turned to a person dressed in black with ghastly makeup and was wearing two sharp prosthetic teeth. He was disdainfully looking over the party that had just arrived.
He had probably just came out from the place, and had a few bodyguards and assistants with him. Due to the thick makeup, his appearance was indistinguishable, and nobody could recognize who he was. However, this person who dared to ridicule these few first-rate celebrities was probably not be an actor from Yanzhou.
Watching the other person's arrogant back as he walked away, all the cast and crew had the same thought: Who does this f*cker think he is!?
But in no time, their attention returned to the place before their eyes.
"What the f*ck!"
"This, this, this..."
"Is this real? It isn't some projection or virtual thing, right?"
"Let me touch... It is real! It's all real! It really exists!!"
"I heard that back on our Yanzhou mainland, this was the sort of place ancient emperors resided in!"
"I feel that my new villa is nothing but a chicken coop compared to this," He Lisi lamented.
Pillars made out of white jade, ash-colored brick roads, scarlet platforms on the ramparts, yellow ceramic roof tiles, vermilion walls...
The ancient construct before them was a myriad of colors. It was both dignified and dazzling!
The party followed instructions from the receptionist and walked in the direction pointed out to them. The more they saw, the more their hearts fluttered. For people of the New Era, viewing these ancient sights was a rather great battering and shock to their senses.
Strolling through the dusty-grey brick roads one step at a time, they felt as if they had traveled back in time several millennia. Especially He Lisi, who was playing the role of emperor. At this moment, he was so excited that both his hands were trembling. This was something he had never experienced before in all his years of acting. No other film set had ever given him this sort of feeling.
Only those born within would know the aura of an imperial family!
Only they would know absolute authority and glory!
This was the glittering gem spoken about in ancient culture and seen in art as in the information provided.
The few leads had actually been given a lot of material and images about palaces, with the purpose of helping them assimilate better into their roles. Originally, it had been assumed that they were headed to planet Wai for sealed filming to avoid harassment from the paparazzi, but never had they expected such a pleasant surprise upon arrival. As these film stars walked on and on, they fell into character!
When the director noticed the mannerisms of those few actors and actresses changing, he did not let anyone go over and disturb them.
"I don't know if anyone noticed, but just now, before we entered the palace gates, there was a stone tablet beside the gates that was inscribed with the name of the design team," a cameraman muttered quietly.
"Eh? Why didn't I notice? Are there any photos?" someone beside him asked.
"I have them!"
The cameraman selected the photograph he had taken just before they had entered the palace gates and enlarged the part with the stone tablet.
On it were close to 100 names of designers and architects, probably arranged in order of importance. The first few people were renowned experts in the fields of history, archaeology, engineering, architecture, and a few others. Anyone not in the know could just search for their names on the internet and there would be lots of related information. Some of the accomplishments on record were enough to dazzle the reader.
But people among the cast and crew had not expected to see a name among the front twenty that would surprise them.
"Why is he everywhere?"
"Is he the same Fang Zhao as the one we know?"
"It is highly probable that it is him. I heard that Fang Zhao's history is really good and that he is even a member of the advisory panel for 'Battle of the Century' that Fiery Bird consults with."
"That means to say that the reason we came to film here might really have been because of Fang Zhao?"
"If that is the case, we really have to thank him!" the director exclaimed.
Compared to film sets of ancient constructs, this sort of experience was something that many people in the industry had never come across before.
"It really is a large project!"
See, till now, which company had ever done what Silver Wing wanted to achieve: filming such a large and extravagant period drama!