September-October Interviews & Photos Part II: Yoo Ah In That One Percent Actor
AINyeong SIKseekers~ Here we are again continuing Yoo Ah In’s Interview Part I ^^ Once again, since he’s got SO many interviews and there are too many articles during September-October, we only select his best interviews and compile them in several parts. So now here’s Part II.
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YOUNG AND HOT
“Rather than romantic, Yoo Ah In is better classified as the ‘bad guy,’ very masculine.” – Kim Seung Oh
“It may be improper remarks, but I think I’m not that handsome,” Yoo Ah In smiles. He said the same thing before on MBC Section TV interview, he says it again now with a little elaboration, “Objectively speaking, I might look better because I can make myself look trendy and fashionable. Stars, especially women, seem have to keep up the everlasting beauty and endless charm. But eventually, I don’t know…To me it [keeping up the beauty] seems taking too much effort. I’ll have to work hard for that.”
When I met Yoo Ah In, he was sporting simple clothes, holding a 2G cracked-screen smartphone and wearing a pair of old shoes. His life looks busy enough to pay attention on this triviality. However, Yoo Ah In actually paid attention on one thing and said, “Those shoes are really my thing”.
“It’s a pretty old pair of shoes but still look good no matter how long I wear it. They persuade me to wear the new shoes with sandpaper to scuff up the bottom [T/N: to help prevent slipperiness on the surfaces], but I feel like I don’t have to wear the new pair yet.”
Speaking of attractiveness, one of many factors of Yoo Ah In’s appeal to public is his fashion style. “Style is very important. My clothes, besides my face, are another way to express myself. My fashion philosophy? I simply dress up according to my mood, to what I want to show at that time. I really hate a style [wearing clothes] that makes me feel like someone else even though my own style isn’t perfect either. Sometimes I came across my past pictures and I was like, ‘Why did I dress up like that?’” (Laughs)
It seems that Yoo Ah In plays a big role in raising common sense of actors his generation. As the representative of actors at their 20s, he draws a realistic sense of duty and yet still enjoys this role and his life.
“The fact is right now in our generation’s world, we have a wishful dream of tomorrow while maintaining ourselves to live with people looking down on us, which is hard to do. At 20s we use the word ‘utopia’. As an actor we try as much as possible to look really comfortable. In fact, there is a lot of anger, more hardships, more push out to act, and more wish for youthful appearance.”
Yoo Ah In conjures up “hot” and “youth” icon in his generation. An epic meeting happens in Kangchuli (Tough as Iron) when the ‘youth’ Yoo Ah In meets the “liable” old generation Kim Hae Sook.
“Tough as Iron” portrays the story of Kang Chul (Yoo Ah In), who gets thrown into dangerous situations while trying to come up with money for his mother’s medical bills. “I tried to faithfully portray the ‘Busan man,’ synonymous with ‘charismatic man.’ I brought out all of the ‘Busan man’ that I had in me,” Yoo Ah In said about the role at the Korea New Network (KNN) Plaza on October 5, when all the casts met with fans who came to the Busan International Film Festival (BIFF). “I think Tough As Iron is the answer to ‘masculinity’,” said Yoo Ah In.
His fellow cast members added some comments about Yoo Ah In. Kim Hae Sook, who plays his mother in the upcoming movie, said, “You can’t measure his charm and character in points or numbers,” and Kim Sung Oh, the antagonist of the film, commented, “Rather than romantic, Yoo Ah In is better classified as the ‘bad guy,’ very masculine.”
REBEL WITH A CAUSE
“I don’t regret about my decision [to drop out high school]. And if I had to go back, I’d be willing to suffer again at that tender age.”
Kangchuli and Wandeugi, the main character in both movies, have the same color and something in common; peculiarly optimistic with good attitude. They’re part of actor Yoo Ah In’s personality.
Uhm Hong Sik (Yoo Ah In’s real name) has a good nature and power to inspire people. He dropped out in the first year of high school, ran away from home in Daegu to pursue acting in Seoul. He lived alone in this big city since early teen age and was desperately poor but always smiled, just like Kangchuli.
“I told to myself ‘I’ll stay’. It was like wailing that I wouldn’t die despite being undeniably short of money. Then I realized it was hard to stand only by the breadth of the artistic sensitivity. I guess it was a vain attempt to wrap the “Tough Youth” up. Haha..”
Yoo Ah In managed to graduate from high school and enter the college (now attending Dankook University) with GED test. However he lost the experience of high school days. While the others regret losing those memories, Yoo Ah In says he has no regrets about it.
“I have enough compensation for that. I played a lot and I got pleasant indulgence (laughs). To be honest I don’t know how important that time, or how critical that period was. If I had to go back to the past and choose again, my choice would have been the same. I don’t regret about my decision [to drop out high school]. And if I had to go back, I’d been willing to suffer again at that tender age. I’d wanted to experience those amazing feelings again, like the first time I got a job or such things, because it felt so good (laughs)”.
OPTIMISTIC AND OUTSPOKEN
“I won’t be getting stuck in a cave and live by condemning the backlash, being on the shackles.”
“I’m a very optimistic person. I’m not a positive fool, but a positive wise towards life,” says Yoo Ah In. His outspoken criticism and constructive perspective in looking at the world without hesitation is also part of his personality. His writings on twitter seem to be his way of self-expression.
“I just want to write intrinsically in the hope that my writings will empower the mind. But sometimes the essence of the facts that I write get people so work up. I got the blame and I got the cheers.” (Laughs)
While Hollywood celebrities have a freedom to speech [including political speech], Korea hasn’t come to that liberty yet. But Yoo Ah In has been sharing his political views ever since he started writing on twitter.
For example, he tweeted about the general election around October~November 2012, “It doesn’t matter who you are, what matters is your participation [in the general election]. I’m grateful that I belong to this generation, and I’m proud of my generation.”
He tells his grounds about sharing his political views, “Doesn’t politics impact most people’s life closely? In fact, people talk about politics as much as they do about showbiz news. Politics is not a separate discipline in our life, especially with professional issue, I think. I just don’t feel like restraining my role as only appear in the ads and make money. An actor is a profession more famous compares with other professions, and even more familiar to people compares with politicians. Therefore, I think we need to exert social influence [to people]. We can’t live in a blind faith. We should encourage our society to have not homogeneous but rather more diverse opinions.”
Yoo Ah In is unstoppable in a matter of conveying thoughts through SNS (social network service). Some celebrities embroiled in controversies because of their statements on twitter, so that some people said ‘SNS is waste of life’. But Yoo Ah In shakes his head. “It’s a small thing to do during countless hours invested for a short moment of shame, just like when I talk to you.”
“I’ll keep going [continue doing it]. You can also make mistakes, you could be wrong, but so do all people. I know people who did wrong, made mistakes, try to take me down, and I know the value of the word ‘celebrity’ -someone who sometimes gets praises and sometimes tackles the abuse imposed by article he/she chews~ I got to understand the phenomenon. But I don’t think I’ll give in. I have my own individual desire and greed. I won’t be getting stuck in a cave and live by condemning the backlash, being on the shackles. The problem is not on SNS. I think SNS is worthwhile as long as you’re not playing without thinking.”
THAT ONE PERCENT ACTOR
“I want to present myself as a better package, I want to be loved as the whole package and yet reduce the amount of exaggeration in the packaging.”
Yoo Ah In said that rather than playing the king, as he did in the SBS drama, “Jang Ok Jung, Lives in Love,” he would prefer to continue playing roles representative of the lower class. “While I have played the king before in TV drama, I have often played more ordinary roles in movies.” In the 2011 film “Punch” (Wandeugi), Yoo Ah In plays a high-school student from a poor household, and in the new “Tough as Iron” film, he plays a son who must do whatever it takes to scrape together money for his mother’s illness.
“Rather than high, upper-class roles in the top 1%, I’d rather take on roles that represent the lower 1%. I’d rather play the role of a young man living in shantytown than a chaebol son. I’d rather represent that which is closer to reality,” says Yoo Ah In.
Despite the fact that he would fit in any trendy movies that will make female audience drool on as far as his fashion icon and image goes, picking a traditional story like that of ‘Kangchuli’ doesn’t seem normal.
“That’s right. You’re saying that I match the trendy young man. I think I’d go well with refreshing romantic comedy that tickles you with ‘ppuing ppuing’, and I can pull these things off well, you know (laughs). But such a thing has been clichéd. I’d rather show distinctiveness in an actor, giving a fresh breeze [in any projects]. I have a responsibility and commitment to do so. I’m also obsessed about ‘Kangchuli’. People asked, ‘Why did you select a stereotypical piece like this?’ More than what anyone thinks, I think ‘Kangchuli’ is a fresh role.”
He elaborates what kind of actor he wants people to see him by saying,
“I’m showing a 100% of myself, I want to look more beautiful than I have been, I want to look better than you know. I want to present myself as a better package, I want to be loved as the whole package and yet cut the amount of exaggeration in the packaging. I like to act with and even spit the word ‘integrity’, which is an important issue for me to attain. I like to narrow down the insignificant things too. That’s my way of life, and also my way of thinking.”
“Yoo Ah In is a very polite mellow little fellow.” – Kim Hae Sook
In one interview on TV, Kim Hae Suk calls Yoo Ah In a ‘very polite mellow little fellow’. “Yoo Ah In is a very delicate and warm gentleman. He is a complex young man. He reads book a lot, he writes a lot, he thinks a lot, and he does charities [social works] a lot. He’s a very polite mellow little fellow,” says Kim Hae Sook.
When asked if he wants to act in a melodrama, Yoo Ah In says that there is a melodramatic feel with actress Jung Yoo Mi in ‘Tough as Iron’ (Kangchuli). He also comments that he would be on the lookout for a melodrama.
“I’ve imagined what it would be like to play mellow with Jung Yumi,” he says. Yoo Ah In reunited with Jung Yumi in ‘Tough as Iron’ six years after their first meet in ‘Shim’s Family (Skeleton in the Closet)’. In ‘Kangchuli’ Yoo Ah In and Jung Yumi become love birds and have some mellow scenes. When asked if he feels satisfied about it, he playfully answers, “no”, which raises laughter. [He indicates that he wants more than that of the mellow showing in the movie]
“During the filming, I already had a picture in my head playing mellow with Yumi in a movie. I’d like to welcome her to be a couple again in a melodrama.” Yoo Ah In adds that if he does do a melodrama, the intensity of it will be “as high as any else.”
How did it feel like doing the kiss scene with Jung Yumi? He confesses it was a little awkward. “Although we both are professional actors, we felt a bit awkward first because we’re close friends,” he laughs.
GROWS OLD WITH FANS
“They’re probably going to grow old with me, being the strong partners in life.”
Many actors have their worries about getting into the 2 years military mandatory service. They’re afraid that their existence and fame will be diminished after discharging from the army and that they become too old to be considered as handsome anymore. But Yoo Ah In doesn’t worry about these things at all.
“I’m not afraid of such things. There’s a bandwagon of fans who love me now and will love me then as well, given that I have quite close friendship with them, which is very essential. I grew up with them and we’ve been through the ups and downs together. Even if I make a mistake or fail, their existence will never change [they’re still and will be here with Yoo Ah In]. Of course, they’re not in a large number (laughs). They’re probably going to grow old with me, being the strong partners in life.”
Once again, Yoo Ah In makes an improper remarks about his face, “Instead of worrying about my face -since I don’t consider myself as a good-looking actor- I guess I should worry more about the fashion style that will fit my face post military service (laughs)”.
Yoo Ah In, you and your improper remark strike again!
© Yoo Ah In Sikseekland
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