Quality Check: Isalee
First Published on Chaleuria
On the set for Fang Chi’s office, Chen Cheng-Sen sat side by side with Zhang Zhun on the Freudian couch. As the director walked through the scene with Zhang Zhun, Chen Hsin leaned against the window, smoking and watching them with forlorn eyes. Zhang Zhun had not spoken a word with him since the episode at the KTV lounge. Xie Danyi, on the other hand, decided to extend her two-day stay by another week. At the moment, she was arguing with assistant director Zhou by the door.
“Why can’t I stay?” she asked, almost hysterical. “I just want to watch him at work.”
“This scene will be filmed with a closed set,” assistant director Zhou explained in resignation. “Apart from the actors, only key personnel like the director, myself, and a couple of members from the crew will be staying for the filming. Why don’t you take the time to go for a walk around the area?”
He promptly closed the door on her. As Xie Danyi’s face disappeared from sight, Zhang Zhun heaved a sigh of relief. The director gave him a pat on the shoulder and said, “I won’t stick my nose into your personal affairs, but don’t let them affect your work.”
Zhang Zhun nodded. The director began instructing the crew members to get into position. The cameras were on standby, elevated and skillfully set up at the sharp, tricky angles demanded by the director. Zhang Zhun’s outfit for the scene was beautifully put together: a British suit with a cinched waist, accessorized by crystal cufflinks and a jacquard tie. He stood waiting, with slicked-back hair and an understated agate stud in his ear. A runner came up to pass him a cigarette. After the cigarette was lit, the script supervisor announced, “Deep in the Act, scene 206, shot 2, take 1AB!”
“Action!” Chen Cheng-Sen called out and the red lights on the cameras flashed to life.
Zhang Zhun began smoking quietly. He let the moment of silence drag out for a while before turning to Chen Hsin with a taunting stare. “You won’t have sex with me, but you won’t let me have sex with other men either. Tell me, what exactly do you want to do?”
It was not a question. Chen Hsin’s frantic gaze flickered over the white walls as he pleaded, “Gao Zhun…”
Zhang Zhun began stalking towards him like a cat eyeing its prey, his exquisite features wreathed in smoke. He slid in close, leaving barely half a palm’s distance between them, and stared arrogantly upwards into Chen Hsin’s face. Then, slowly, he stood on tiptoe and tilted his head a little to press their lips together in a careless, tantalizing kiss. He let go of Chen Hsin’s lips briefly after licking and sucking a little, only to return, once again, with his tongue teasing at the line of Chen Hsin’s mouth. In accordance with the script’s demands, a certain seductive allure pervaded his every movement and expression.
Chen Hsin gazed at Zhang Zhun, unable to take his eyes off the sight before him. With eyes flashing at once with piercing coldness and burning passion, Zhang Zhun trailed his capricious lips downwards. He licked a path from Chen Hsin’s lips to his chin, and slid down his throat to latch onto his Adam’s apple as he undid the buttons on Chen Hsin’s shirt one by one. Slipping a hand under the shirt, he began to caress the hard body before him. His touch lingered at every dip in the muscled plane of the torso under his hand. His lips marked every stop with wet kisses against the skin. Then, wordlessly, Zhang Zhun held up his half-smoked cigarette to Chen Hsin’s lips in a silent invitation. The butt was moist and slightly flattened; its smoke stung Chen Hsin’s eyes. Although Chen Hsin considered resisting the temptation, he eventually gave in. Obediently, he closed his lips around the proffered stick.
Zhang Zhun continued. With great patience, he licked across the expanse of Chen Hsin’s chest before dipping lower to nibble at his abs and swirl his tongue teasingly in Chen Hsin’s navel. In no time at all, he was on his knees as his hands closed around the buckle of Chen Hsin’s belt. They ought to have practiced before filming began, Chen Hsin thought as he looked down, worried that Zhang Zhun might have trouble undoing it on his first attempt. But his concerns were unnecessary. With a single loud snap, Zhang Zhun smoothly unbuckled the belt and looked up to meet Chen Hsin’s eyes. Gazing intently at Chen Hsin, his lips curved upwards into a lewd, lopsided smirk as he undid Chen Hsin’s trousers in one fell swoop.
A camera drew in for a close-up shot of Zhang Zhun. Under the scrutiny of the lens, Zhang Zhun’s flushed eyelids quivered a little as he tugged down Chen Hsin’s underwear and pretended to reach in. Although it seemed on camera as if he had wrapped his hand around Chen Hsin’s flesh, in reality, he was simply mimicking the action. Chen Hsin was already hard. Barely inches away from his face, Chen Hsin’s erection strained against the thin fabric as it twitched slightly from side to side. Zhang Zhun closed his eyes and slowly parted his glistening lips, revealing the pink tip of his tongue. Then, assuming a meek and gentle air, he leaned in and licked.
Above him, Chen Hsin flung his head back on cue and let out a heavy moan for the other camera that had zoomed in on him. The strain from exertion showed convincingly in the bulging muscles and veins along his neck. On camera, they seemed to pulsate in time to Zhang Zhun’s obscene actions between his legs, tensing and flexing as Zhang Zhun pretended to suck and lick shamelessly at his meat. In reality, Zhang Zhun was merely bobbing his head in imitation of the sexual act. However, although he did not have to take Chen Hsin into his mouth, the negligible distance between them meant that he could not help but press his face against Chen Hsin’s bulge with every movement. Chen Hsin hardened uncontrollably as Zhang Zhun’s touch aroused him further and further. Puffing on the half-smoked cigarette with increasing anxiety, Chen Hsin ran his hand roughly through Zhang Zhun’s hair, kneading his scalp and the soft cartilage of his ear as broken curses spilled from his lips, “Damn… dammit!”
Gao Zhun is skillful in his ministrations and sucks Fang Chi off with practiced ease. Simultaneously consumed with pleasure and jealousy, Fang Chi grills Gao Zhun about his flagrant promiscuity.
“How many?” Chen Hsin’s hand fisted in Zhang Zhun’s hair and forced Zhang Zhun to look up at him. His eyes were bloodshot as he asked through gritted teeth, “How many men have you sucked off?”
Zhang Zhun did not have to think much. “Seven,” he replied, flippant in his response.
Chen Hsin yanked Zhang Zhun to his feet, crushing his body against his own. Chen Hsin wanted to yell at him, but all he could do was to lose himself in devouring those lips with all the sincerity of a clumsy lover. In his arms, Zhang Zhun began to moan softly, each suggestive note an irresistible provocation to Chen Hsin’s senses. Chen Hsin tore at his collar. When the fabric refused to give way, he tried again. Harder. This time, the crystal stud at Zhang Zhun’s collar promptly broke in two and bounced onto the floor. Zhang Zhun let out a lazy laugh. With a note of amusement in his voice, he sighed. “There goes ninety grand, Hong Kong dollars…”
The cost of the collar stud caught Chen Hsin by surprise. Taking advantage of Chen Hsin’s momentary hesitation, Zhang Zhun reached up for him. Snaking his arms around Chen Hsin’s shoulders, Zhang Zhun leaned in and breathed a husky whisper into Chen Hsin’s ear, “F*** me!”
This was a line that had raised some concerns amongst the team prior to filming. Zhou Zheng was worried that the line may not make the cut at the censorship board. After some discussion between the director and Zhang Zhun, it was decided that the line would be delivered as a whisper, and would not be subtitled during post-production. They would only cover it up with an amended dub if the censors were still able to pick out the line during the review process.
Chen Hsin felt his chest seize at the sound of those two words. They were all it took to send him reeling in confusion, no longer able to distinguish what was real and what was not. He stared recklessly at Zhang Zhun, his eyes filled with true emotion untouched by artifice.
“Perfect take!” the director called out, marking the end of the take. He could barely contain his excitement as his lit a cigar for himself. “Zhang Zhun’s performance was on point. Keep up the mood! Everybody take five!”
The crew began wandering off for the break, leaving Chen Hsin and Zhang Zhun on set. Chen Hsin stood frozen for a while, struggling to get his wits about him. When he finally broke character, Zhang Zhun pulled away and took a few steps backward, putting a guarded distance between them. Chen Hsin gazed at him, tracing his features with his eyes. Mustering all his courage, Chen Hsin began to mutter, “I was drunk that day…”
Zhang Zhun glanced at him. He did not reply, but neither did he move further away.
“I don’t know what came over me either. Maybe I saw you as Gao Zhun, and thought I was Fang Chi…”
With a sigh, Zhang Zhun strode up to him. He grabbed Chen Hsin’s hand and held it up to his eyes for a closer look. “Give this a rinse,” he remarked without much emotion. Chen Hsin followed his line of vision and saw the gash on his blood-stained palm. It seemed that he had cut himself on the collar stud.
“You need to draw the line between acting and reality,” Zhang Zhun added with tactful subtlety.
Sweeping his eyes across the line of Zhang Zhun’s temple and the light pink dusting his eye sockets, Chen Hsin felt the urge to say something in response. Before he could speak up, however, Chen Cheng-Sen returned to his seat and started barking out his orders, “Actors on standby!”
After a brief glance at each other, Chen Hsin and Zhang Zhun began stripping. In accordance with Chen Cheng-Sen’s demands, the scene would be filmed entirely in the nude. No underwear or tape for the actors. In the director’s words, he wanted real flesh on flesh action for the scene. Central to this scene was the crimson Freudian couch that stood at the back of the room. Although it served a largely decorative function in the film, it was the single most important prop in scene 206.
Chen Hsin was ready a step ahead of Zhang Zhun. He lay down on the couch and a camera closed in to focus on him. After he had settled, Zhang Zhun climbed onto the couch as well, with his back towards Chen Hsin, and positioned himself above Chen Hsin’s crotch. Chen Hsin watched as the pert mounds of Zhang Zhun’s ass hovered above his swollen member. At the thought of Zhang Zhun lowering himself onto him in a moment’s time – naked flesh against naked flesh – Chen Hsin’s breath caught in his throat. Chen Hsin felt his hackles raise uncontrollably at the sight of the body before him; even as his own body screamed in desperation for Zhang Zhun, he was filled with fear at the prospect of losing his mind like a fool at the merest touch from Zhang Zhun’s flesh.
Time dragged out as the director tested out several angles with the other camera. He eventually decided on a POV shot from Fang Chi’s perspective. After the camera moved into position, focusing on Zhang Zhun’s back, the script supervisor finally announced, “Deep in the Act, scene 206, shot 3AB, take 1!”