Teasandsea was an island that had formed naturally during the Period of Destruction. It was a small area, but the landscape was very beautiful and it was one of the top tourist destinations in the world. The only problem was that expenses here were high.
At Teasandsea, just by taking a stroll, one would get to see many famous people from the sporting world and film industry and other elites from every continent.
Here, if a certain celebrity was spotted, some people might express slight astonishment or perhaps calmly say, "Oh, isn't so and so?"
And that was all.
Aside from the celebrity factor, on Teasandsea island, there were three things that were especially famous, the three things that made up its name: tea, sand, and sea.
Tea leaves offered by hotels here were all produced locally. Inside the rooms, there were hourglasses that had an implicit classical charm to them. The sand used inside was native to the island and was a golden yellow that was more dazzling than sand from other places. The seascape was also beautiful.
Zuo Yu sat beside the window, enjoying life and sipping tea. Afterward, he poured some dog food into Curly Hair's bowl.
A short while later, Yan Biao returned from working out at the gym.
"I saw a number of stars in the gym. Our boss really isn't considered a big deal here," Yan Biao said.
Fang Zhao would not cause too much of a splash here with his status. Furthermore, people here on Teasandsea were already immune to celebrities. At most, if they came across their own idols, they would go over to chat or maybe take a photo. There wouldn't be any crazy fanatical actions. Besides, the police and security allocated here were sufficient, and this lightened the workload of bodyguards.
In the three days that they had been here, besides heading out to walk the dog, they hadn't needed to do anything else. Just as Zuo Yu had predicted, it really seemed like they were here just to walk the dog.
Every day, Fang Zhao would head out, but he would not bring along Zuo Yu or Yan Biao. The two of them did not complain either, because on the first day, Fang Zhao had really brought them along without saying much, just letting the two follow him.
Five hours later, they had lost him.
At first, Fang Zhao appeared as if he was just taking a stroll, but as though he had seen someone, in a flash, the two bodyguards had lost sight of him.
Now, if Fang Zhao did not bring them along, they were too ashamed to say anything. Walking the dog? So be it.
In the afternoon, Fang Zhao returned.
In the three days he had been here, he had been investigating Director Nova Roman's movements and trends as well as the director's recent emotional state.
Wang Tie's information even had the confirmed location of the hotel and the room number, so finding Nova Roman had been easy. Even if Wang Tie had only been able to confirm that Roman was on this island, Fang Zhao had his own ways of locating Roman.
In addition, regarding this matter, Wang Tie was especially proactive, as if he had been afraid that Fang Zhao would not be able to find who he was looking for. Every day, Wang Tie would send new information to Fang Zhao. The reason Wang Tie gave for his proactiveness was that he was a dedicated entertainment reporter. As for what the truth behind his motives was, Fang Zhao was well aware of that.
Fang Zhao told Zuo Yu and Yan Biao, "Tomorrow one of you will be following me out. We will be away for four days and three nights."
The moment an assignment was mentioned, the two perked up. However, only one person could go; it was still rather competitive.
"Where to?" Yan Biao asked. After clarifying the nature of the assignment, only then could they decide who was more suitable.
"Teaseasand's no. 9 cruise ship," Fang Zhao said.
"I'm familiar with cruises. I shall go," Zuo Yu offered without delay.
Yan Biao did not know as much about this as Zuo Yu. In the past, he had lived on an outpost at planet Baiji for too long, He wasn't familiar with cruise ships and the like. However, because he did not understand such things, he wanted to go even more!
"It's your turn to walk the dog tomorrow," Yan Biao reminded Zuo Yu.
"You can take over the duties first."
Noticing that Yan Biao and Zuo Yu could not come to terms, Fang Zhao said, "You guys have 10 seconds to decide."
Upon hearing the 10 seconds, they could not continue to argue. Zuo Yu looked Yan Biao in the eye and said, "Tiebreaker!"
The so-called "tiebreaker" was rock-paper-scissors, best of three. It appeared that these two had used this "tiebreaker" many times before.
The next morning, Fang Zhao brought the rock-paper-scissors victor Zuo Yu as they boarded Teasandsea Cruise Ship No. 9. Yan Biao stayed behind at the hotel. His responsibility was to walk the dog.
Fang Zhao decided to go on the cruise because he knew that Director Nova Roman would be on it. Also, Nova Roman would be auctioning off a beryl gemstone.
Fang Zhao had shown Director Roman's information to Zuo Yu. Zuo Yu also knew his own assignment. Fang Zhao did not need someone to follow beside him, but should Zuo Yu catch sight of Director Roman anywhere, he had to let Fang Zhao know immediately.
Fang Zhao did not watch Zuo Yu closely after boarding the cruise. Zuo Yu could actually go crazy and have fun; there were far too many entertainment activities on board. However, Zuo Yu felt that he needed to be dedicated to his work. He understood all the different places on cruise ships and arranged a search plan. He also told Fang Zhao, proving that he wouldn't use this as a pretext to enjoy himself.
As for why Fang Zhao was looking for Director Roman, Zuo Yu did not ask. All he needed to do was carry out the search.
Golden sandy beaches gradually got farther away. Ahead lay an azure-blue expanse of ocean. On deck, there were a number of excited tourists shouting.
Fang Zhao watched as the island became a speck in his vision as he pondered over where Roman had the highest possibility of being. Although he had received information that Roman would return to the auction, Fang Zhao felt that Roman might not necessarily show up. Roman's lot at the auction would definitely be his item, but Roman did not have to be present. Thus, Fang Zhao had brought along an extra person. He would let Zuo Yu roam around and inform him if Roman was spotted.
The cruise was huge, and the odds of encountering a specific person was low. If Roman was intentionally hiding himself, he would be practically impossible to find and they would have to track him only when they returned to the island. However, trying was always an option.
There were many other people who had the same intentions as Fang Zhao. Probably having also received news, they had assigned men to keep watch on the theater, casino, and various other places onboard the cruise. However, currently, no one had even gotten a glimpse of Director Roman.
At this time, in a certain high-level double suite on board Teasandsea Cruise Ship No. 9.
A white-haired man clad in inconspicuous pajamas who looked like an old man frowned as he browsed through some resources displayed on screens.
A middle-aged man in leisure clothing walked into the suite. " Arno 1 , I have just returned from the auction venue. There are at least 10 people trying to find you."
"Mmhm." The person staring fixedly at the screens had only replied with a slight grunt, his eyes remaining glued to the screens.
The one lazing on the sofa staring at the screens was indeed Director Nova Roman, who was being sought after by many film stars and reporters. Director Roman was only 99 this year, and according to the lifespans in the New Era, he couldn't be considered elderly. Furthermore, he loved to exercise and looked fit and full of vigor. However, in order to avoid being sighted, Roman had made himself look a lot older. This way, he would not be easily recognized by others. For this trip, he had changed his hairstyle and even dyed it white.
Only people who knew him well would call him Arno, and because of the current circumstances, the names "Nova" and "Roman" were sensitive. Thus, these friends of his called him Arno.
The one who entered looked at the information on the screens inquisitively and asked Roman, "Are these the few newly recommended actors? How many important roles have yet to be decided? Hey, who is this little fella?"
Numerous screens all displayed different people. Some were images, while others were photographs, but the screen that caught his attention was showing the image of a very young person. The people displayed on the other screens seemed more mature and older. There were even two who seemed of a similar age to Roman.
Roman eyed the screen the other party was pointing at. "That is Fang Zhao."
"Fang Zhao? I remember that the historical character you spent the most time researching during this period has that same name."
"That's right, exact same first and last name."
What Roman had spent most of his time researching was the role of "Fang Zhao." Although this person had not been a great general of the Founding Era, in actual history, he had left behind a legacy that did not lose to any of the great generals.
According to actual history, he actually had much greater presence than Wu Yan, but for the film project "Founding Era," surely much of Yanzhou's stories would be told from Wu Yan's point of view. After all, Wu Yan was a great general of the Founding Era.
Fang Zhao's deeds had mostly been leading the recovery of lost territory, but Wu Yan's capabilities and contributions could not be doubted either. Wu Yan was someone Fang Zhao had trusted and had ultimately taken over the burden of reclaiming their homeland.
When Roman had gone through the historical resources for the first time, he had felt pity.
In history, this person "Fang Zhao" had really been too unlucky. His life had been too short!
Even though the character "Fang Zhao" did not have a leading role in this film project, he had an important supporting role, especially for the story of Yanzhou, and could not be neglected.
When hearing Roman mention this, the other person suddenly recalled something. "Back when there was the online survey, didn't a lot of people vote for him? The one about 'let Fang Zhao play the role of Fang Zhao'?"
"Yes, that's him."
"Then just let him try it out." The other person had just spoken when he saw Roman appear to begin pondering something, so he quickly changed his tune. "Hey, don't take it for real, I was just joking. We can't be sloppy with this project. Everything will be fine as long as you follow your own criteria. Don't listen to me."
Roman shook his head. "I'm not saying that he won't do. Actually, at the start, I still thought well of him."
Back during the voting activity, when netizens had all been joking and many people had voted to "let Fang Zhao play the role of Fang Zhao," Roman had left a comment: "That's a good idea."
However, Roman loved to joke on the internet and had said many similar things, so from everyone's point of view, this had just been a joke from Roman.
Roman was normally very active online, but after he had accepted the lead director role for this project, he had not spoken much online. Thus, nobody knew what his opinions were currently.
"Think well of him? This youngster isn't an actor, right? I have never heard of him winning any awards," the other party said.
"Aside from that, his manner, personality, skill, and other aspects are satisfactory."
Regarding the historical figure "Fang Zhao," Roman had seen the script, read through historical resources, browsed through the character analysis, and viewed actual historical footage from the confidential archives. The more he had seen, the clearer and clearer the image in his head had become.
But maybe it was because he had watched Project Starlight's channel S5 and had seen many videos of that minor celebrity Fang Zhao, now, whether Roman's eyes were open or closed, the image he had in his mind concerning the historical figure "Fang Zhao" seemed to be gradually coinciding with the image of Project Starlight's channel S5's Fang Zhao.
For a historical figure, 1000 people would have 1000 different opinions. In Roman's head, gradually engraving itself in his mind was the image of that minor celebrity.
Because of this, Roman had sighed in a certain director's chat group. "My brain has surely been poisoned."
It was not known who had circulated this line, but it had caused lots of misunderstandings. This was also the reason there were many rumors in the outside world saying that Director Roman had been severely poisoned and was receiving treatment in a certain hospital. There were even some rumors that he was critically ill. Roman had also found out from the news that he was close to dying.
The other party swayed his wine glass and continued to study the person displayed on the screen that was clearly much younger than all the others. "In any case, there is no way you are really going to let him act."
Roman sighed lightly. "I have really thought about it before."
The other person's wrist trembled, and some wine spilled out. Casually wiping it up, he said, "You better be kidding! Has showbiz declined? Is there nobody that can act? How can you have this sort of notion?"
Roman shook his head but did not explain. Staying silent for a bit, he finally replied, "It's a pity that Fang Zhao is a little too young."
The actors of lead roles and important supporting roles were all older and had at least 20 to 30 years of acting experience. If there were any mistakes during filming, just pointing out the mistake would result in them rapidly remedying it.
But Fang Zhao was too young and wasn't from the industry. If he did not act well during filming or if he could not adapt to this series, much more time might be needed to remedy it. Furthermore, given his age, he might not be able to manage the latter half of his character's life in the film. If not for these, Roman really wanted to contact Fang Zhao to audition.
When he realized that Roman really did not seem to be joking, the other party hurriedly said, "Don't act hastily. You cannot randomly experiment with this project. If you pick the wrong actor, it might affect the quality of the entire film project. If that happens, even a globally acclaimed director like you might be dragged off the rostrum! Now is not the time if you really want to use a newcomer. If you are really unsatisfied, you can just create a virtual one, like a virtual idol. It's much more convenient."
The latter idea was rejected by Roman. "This sort of project that touches on the leaders of the Period of Destruction is too sensitive, and virtual idol methods cannot be used. Besides, when the project was rebooted, it was stipulated that virtual images were prohibited. Everything must be done by actual actors."
"Then you just have to take your pick slowly. I'm heading out for some fresh air first. Oh, right, will you be heading to the auction venue at night?"
A body double of a similar build would appear at the auction. This double had a side profile that looked like the actual Roman. Roman had simply decided not to attend. He had only used this cruise as a pretext to change his working environment.
The other party walked a few steps toward the door but turned back again. A little worried, he pointed at the screen with Fang Zhao's image and exclaimed, "You mustn't be impulsive! Don't go looking for this especially fresh youngster who isn't even in the industry to act! Many people worldwide are watching!"
Roman impatiently waved his hands to drive the other party out. "Got it, got it. I am just looking for some inspiration from this young fellow." He needed a peaceful environment to do some careful consideration.
After the room had become silent once again, Roman added in a few other screens and played out demo clips of those few actors that had not been filtered out.
These people acted very well, and they were all outstanding film stars. Roman did not have any qualms about their statuses, but when placed in the role of "Fang Zhao," Roman kept feeling that there was a little something missing, as if they did not fit the image of "Fang Zhao" he had in his heart.
Indeed, he had been too deeply poisoned by the image of channel S5!Actually Ah No, like a nickname of sorts. I'll be using Arno so it appears less confusing