INT. BACKSTAGE AX-KOREA, SEOUL
Silhouettes of four GUYS standing in front of makeup mirrors, tended to by outlines of ASSISTANTS. The room is pitch black beyond the light-lined mirrors.
One by one, the assistants disperse and the guys turn to the right, features still in shadow.
EXT. AX-KOREA - DAY
A few thousand excited fans crowd a line that wraps the building, holding posters, signs, and memorabilia emblazoned with logos for "Angels & Demons".
INT. AX-KOREA AUDITORIUM - MOMENTS LATER
The audience stares at the dark stage, cameras at the ready. The house lights TURN OFF, and the audience SCREAMS. A logo bearing the words "Angels & Demons" lights up a massive screen at the back.
A center stage SPOTLIGHT reveals the boy band: JAEGI (22, dark and quiet), WOOJIN (21, the wild one), HYUNSIK (20, soft and sweet), and SEOJOON (21, timelessly handsome).
MUSIC starts, a hopping dance track with a booming bass. The boys move seamlessly into choreography.
Italics indicate lyrics, rapping unless otherwise noted.
The audience goes WILD, SCREAMING and WAVING.
My dream girl!
Their choreography is pristine, the outfits are coordinated and over the top with sparkling jackets. The boys have perfect skin and hair and bodies.
Gimme all you got
Thousands of glow sticks shoot up throughout the sea of arms and posters.
A long table sits in front of a queue of hundreds of tittering girls. On each side of the table sits 4 chairs. The AUDIENCE huddles together tight, staring at large double doors across the auditorium.
When the doors burst open, the boys strut out. The throng of women SCREAMS and pulses forward.
I'm gonna puke!
The boys are pros, excited by the excitement. They wave, blow kisses. They are dressed informally, but exude an Otherness. Approachable yet inhuman. Casual perfection.
The boys sit, Jaegi in the first chair. The girls ready themselves to approach, and the K-pop fanmeet begins.
(leaning to Jaegi)
Jaegi, how many numbers you think we'll get?
Less than the "what's your ideal girl?" questions, but more than good snack gifts.
The first GIRL sits in the seat opposite Jaegi and hands him an ALBUM to sign.
Jaegi! I saw your debut!
I love you all so much, I just-- I love you so much.
How'd you feel about the shift between our first and second EP?
She giggles and looks around.
Thanks for coming out, we appreciate everything you do.
She giggles again, gives a high five, and moves to Hyunsik.
The next GIRL is chubby and unsmiling. She looks very uncomfortable as she hands Jaegi a small BALL.
Should I sign it?
It's for you. A stress ball.
Oh cool! I've needed one.
The girl gives a curt nod and stares at Jaegi. He forces an awkward smile at her.
I think you could get away from gimmicks, fluff.
In the interview last year, you talked about the uphill climb, and I think you could say more.
Before Jaegi can respond, the girl gets up and moves on, and a PRETTY GIRL fan sits in front of him, holding a folder. He clears his throat and adjusts his focus.
Hi, nice to meet you. I'm Jaegi.
She giggles and pulls a sticky note from her folder. He looks expectant - hot girl number already?
The note reads: "Jaegi, What's your ideal girlfriend like?"
Jaegi thinks about this as he grabs a pen. At the bottom of the note, he writes: "Someone who cooks bulgogi ramen."
The girl takes the note, reads it, looks puzzled. Her mouth opens, but the NEXT GIRL in line is already nudging her out of the way.
Jaegi salutes a wave before turning to the next girl.
Hey. Nice to meet you.
He takes a subtle, deep breath and smiles yet another charming smile.
EXT. HONGDAE STREETS - EARLY MORNING
Dozens of PEOPLE shuffle around the subway station. They are all in thick coats, many with cough masks and hats.
One GUY keeps his head low as he cuts across the street toward a tall building with several offices.
EXT. HONGDAE ALLEY - CONTINUOUS
Next to the tall office building is an alley with several back doors. Trash bags pad empty stoops down the way.
From around the corner, the guy turns in and presses buttons on the nearest door's keypad.
INT. DINGY RECORDING STUDIO - MOMENTS LATER
One small room with a second-hand office DESK stacked with used but cared for MIXERS, SPEAKERS, and a small KEYBOARD and a swivel CHAIR with cigarette burns.
Intense, gritty, dark HIP HOP spews from the speakers, genre-bending beats with experimental noise rock, expertly mixed.
The guy from the alley stands in the corner rapping into a MIC, stained mineral wool stapled thick to the walls. He still has his coat and hat on.
A life of climbing uphill
Drink until you get your fill
Chilled ambrosia has a bitter taste
This displaced journey such a waste
As he raps, the faintest cloud of breath puffs out of him.
Seeing him straight on, it's Jaegi, looking like an alternate universe version of himself — no makeup, hair a mess under the hat, face contorted into a scowl.
Turn to see someone else in my place
Not me, not me, but he has my face
He plays the recording back on the computer. As it plays, he nods. The track is both raw and complex, the intrinsic result of a man born to make music.
His phone BUZZES. Jaegi SIGHS, cuts off the music, grabs his phone and a flash drive from the computer, and stomps out the door, pulling his hood up as the door closes.
Devin Overman is a screenwriter, author, and freelance writer. Her first screenplay, Immaculate, advanced at the Austin Film Festival in 2015, where she went on to consult in 2016 and 2017. Her newest project, Falling Into the Sound (Korean title: 음에 천천히 떨어지다), has been optioned by Little Studio Films in association with Nite Lite Pictures. She’s been interviewed and quoted by MTV on the cross-over between music and literature.