September-October Interviews & Photos Part III: Explore The Candid Yoo Ah In
Yup yup yup~~ we’re back with interviews with Yoo Ah In Part III! And of course it’s a compilation of his best interviews during these past two months for we can’t translate helluva articles one by one, mind you! You may check again Interview Part I and Part II, and admire his beautiful pictures before hitting this new session out~ ^_^
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Self-conscious actor Yoo Ah In
In today’s entertainment industry, stars from young generation have their own image. Compare with the previous generation, they try to discern and establish a new classification in expressing their desire and emotions, and they embrace pop culture created by the commercial industry as well. The trend of self-expression in young generation on the one hand and the pop culture trend on the other hand generates different rules that sometimes collide.
Most unparalleled artists today are mature stars riding on pop culture as their fashion. In the middle of this situation, it’s uncommon to find a young star having his kind of self-consciousness and staying firm on his own. Yoo Ah In is among these young stars who’s got a distinctive self-consciousness about his own existence.
At one point of interviews, Yoo Ah In explains how his attribute as an actor takes over his life completely.
“Actor Yoo Ah In and the entity named Uhm Hong Sik (his real name) have been my every day’s life that exists independently out and within me. But unexpectedly, Yoo Ah In the actor coops the large areas of the human vessel and beat Uhm Hong Sik. Now Yoo Ah In the actor has become the dominant name.”
“When I want to work on something, I normally talk to myself, ‘I can do this work, I want it to work out,’ and then question, ‘whose one (entity) is calling?’, and the border [between Uhm Hong Sik and Yoo Ah In] just gets blurred.”
What are your criteria when you pick a project?
“I pick a project based on my life as an actor and as a natural person,” answers Yoo Ah In.
This spontaneous response to the obvious question is a very rare case to find from the 20-something stars. Yoo Ah In’s late teens and early twenties life resemble characters that he played all this time.
“The past is now an irreversible beauty. We learn to appreciate life when we look back and admire the good old days”
How was it like when you dropped out of high school, left home and lived alone in Seoul for the first time?
He recalls, “The loneliness feeling, tears in eyes, nerve-wrecked. In the end, the worried evaporated and I tried to heal with positivity. It was a stormy pain and desperate time that stirred me mad. The world didn’t give a favorable answer to my questions, I lived alone and was poor since sixteen and didn’t hold a dime. It was a period of my life that powerful enough to cover my whole lifetime. I thought it was my last day. Poverty to the cores. I guess money is what makes people desperate the most.
But still, the past is now an irreversible beauty. We learn to appreciate life when we look back and admire the good old days, and then we turn around and are glad for being allowed to have the freedom of fortune and to be able to pay tax. Haha.”
What came first in your mind when you dropped out of high school?
“At that time I just wanted to become a famous celebrity,” Yoo Ah In responds with candid remarks.
He gained the celebrity status right when he played his first piece of a teen drama ‘Banolim’ (Sharp) in 2003. However he left school for the filming reason.
Yoo Ah In admitted he hated school and didn’t want teacher to tell him what to do. At young age, he didn’t like hanging out with friends and he already had his own political views. He met the casting director in Seoul and wondered,’ Why am I here?’ After the castings he was scheduled to star in a few roles for TV screen.
“When I hopped on the train home, I felt that I lived again and that life was actually fun. That moment my heart said I wanted to be an actor and stand in front of the camera again,” says Yoo Ah In.
You’ve been living independently since early teen. How is your relationship with your mother?
“We are close to each other. We’re on the phone a few times a week. No matter what it takes in this world, “Mom” seems to be present as always, like my shade.”
Your mother must be so proud of your achievement now.
“I don’t know about it (laughs). I’m not sure if she’s following [my activities] because she’s too busy nurturing my baby nephew.” [note: This interview happened before his birthday. His mother came to Tough as Iron movie stage greetings on his birthday]
“Rather than becoming the number one actor, I wish to be the only one.”
A twenty-seven ambitious young actor, Yoo Ah In is just like a tough nut to crack. Whether his words are right or wrong, it’s undeniable that Yoo Ah In has a very strong vision and articulate glossary which is a rare virtue and makes him stands out among his peers.
Where did you get all this knowledge from?
“I don’t read a lot of books, rather, I surf the internet, watch documentaries and read news/newspapers a lot. I got the source of information from traveling too. However, the important point is not the amount of knowledge you get, rather, how you filter it. Always take the knowledge with a grain of salt in your own language. Now the problem is some people in their mid-20s got caught in a framework, so that they filter and take inside what they got from the outside based on that framework to materialize the knowledge.”
What is your aspiration as an actor?
“I wish to present myself as a good actor in our new generation [of actors], in the other hand, I wish to be more as a human who can speak the value of one person namely Uhm Hong Sik. I wish to write more articles, earn more money, and also l would like to hang out with more creative artist friends.”
“I have a desire and hope that the presence of subcultures/non-mainstream who’s been the outsider come into existence in the middle of the mainstream system to prove themselves. I wish to be an entertainer who, not only has commercial success, but at the same time recognized as an actor with my own values.”
Don’t you have a goal to be a number one actor?
“I don’t feel like vying to be number one, because it means you’re merely competing in this numeric circle, rather than becoming a competitive actor of yourself. When you’re trying to be number one, that means you battle with another people to win the first spot and your choice is only stays between number one or two. So, rather than becoming the number one actor, I wish to be the only one.”
Assertive but not aggressive
Actor Yoo Ah In is assertive but not aggressive. Although he used to be the icon of aggressive teens, currently his ability to express what he really wants to the public is not “aggression” but “courage.”
Kang Chul, a role Yoo Ah In was given in his recently released movie “Tough As Iron” (Directed by An Kwon Tae), is similar to the actor’s real life image.
Kang Chul is an aggressive yet honest person. To borrow Yoo Ah In’s expression, Kang Chul is nicer than any ordinary person. He makes money the honest way and takes care of his mother the honest way, but couldn’t help but become aggressive in this though world.
Yoo Ah In says, “Kang Chul isn’t an aggressive person. He only has the amount of aggression that comes from the tough world. He is the nicest kid. I think it’d be really hard to live as nice and diligently as him, in the worst-case scenario. It takes courage to do what others don’t. You get ‘Kkang’ only when you’re desperate.”
He recalls the tough times when shooting Tough As Iron (Kangchuli), “Once I thought to myself ‘why the hell am I doing this?’” His shoulder got injured while shooting the fight scene and suffered a couple of months.
“When I fought with Kim Seung Oh in ice storage room, I had to retake the scene where I fell to the floor several times. I just realized that my shoulder got injured when I went home,“ he laughs.
At the same time he considers it as, “One of the attractions working as an actor. It got me thinking that workout [exercises] is not that hard [compare to his incident at work],” he laughs again.
Because of his wound Yoo Ah In had a hard time while filming the action scene in the ice storage room. It was supposed to take 30 minutes for the actual filming but eventually lasted to one hour longer.
He says, “It was so cold that even my sweat was freezing (laughs). We shot the scene for 3 days in a row and it was really tough. And then there was a situation that we could not prevent~ a large part of the action scene [in the ice storage room] got edited/cut short to only less than 5 minutes long in the movie.”
“I have to know the boundaries when I’m being conceited and too proud of myself. I don’t feel like popularity to be my achievement even in the bottom of my life”
It’s been 10 years since your début in 2003 drama ‘Banolim’. Do you have any changes of mindset?
“I feel a lot more sense of duty. Ten years of acting seems like ages. Haven’t you changed camp yet? Haha [note: he thinks some fans might have left him as time went by]. Having experienced a lot of things [for the past 10 years], I have to be more cautious. I have to know the boundaries when I’m being conceited and too proud of myself. I have to know if I go over the limit being thoughtless when treating other people. Be more alert and happy enough to live with other people, either they speak ill of me or being nice to me.”
He goes on, “The more you’re getting popular, the more you tend to be arrogant and feel yourself high enough to poke fun at people who are looking at this as a natural thing. And you feel you should cut the flowing spontaneity to be a more ‘natural’ person in their eyes. People move towards stars. Although it is something unnatural to me, I might have to live [adjust life] that way,” he explains the transition of his mindset.
“When I was a kid I wanted to look mature, but now I wish I were a kid,” he ponders. “The reaction against this aging trend has been happening a lot these days. So I came up with an idea to put my ‘Bar Bar Bar’ dance picture on twitter,” he burst to a big laugh.
Yoo Ah In has been a long wanderer. We’re wondering, are you happy now?
“Before, I never thought that a tremendously happiness is something that we can create by ourselves. Now I realized that the best time for me to meet up with best friends is right at this moment. I was lonely because I forgot to cherish every moment when I was in it,” he says unperturbed.
His biggest worry these days is only one. “I feel that I’m stuck in aggressive reaction. I want to go on living while untying [the desire of fame]. I certainly don’t want to be affected [by celebrity status]. But lately, it was suddenly sprouted and covered me up as if I have something to prove about. It’s scared me. I see that being top stars means being inhuman. I don’t feel like popularity to be my achievement even in the bottom of my life,” he said.
He thinks about his words seriously for a second, and again they flew fluently. “I don’t want to be conquered by my occupation, rather, I want to extend the scope of being an actor,” he concludes.
Explore the charms and candid Yoo Ah In
Yoo Ah In confesses that he doesn’t like exercise or workout. Even when he played the role as King Sukjong he wittily wonders why the king had to fight his enemies literally while there was a knight besides him all the time. The interview session was full of laughter thanks to his candid remarks. The bright side of Yoo Ah In can be seen too in his character Hyun-kyu from the 2009 KBS drama ‘He Who Can’t Marry’.
“Oh! I like it [the character] so much. Less dramatic but more realistic figure in a romantic comedy isn’t he?” he enthuses.
So are you going to take another romantic comedy project again in the future?
He laughs, “I’ll try. I’m really considering it all the time. But you know, a really good romantic comedy is quite tough to come out in a year. So it’s not easy to choose.”
Yoo Ah In says he prefers doing contemporary movies that deal with modern issues rather than historical dramas. However, Jang Ok Jung to him has a different attraction. “I hate clichés, but surprisingly for ‘Jang Ok Jung’ I felt really good with this sageuk.”
“On the other hand, I’m stepping up my acting with contemporary dramas. Someday I’d like to try military operation role with the new interpretation in psychological approach. I’d like to play more in realistic dramas or movies as well.”
Since Yoo Ah In finished promoting ‘Tough as Iron’ he hasn’t decided the next project yet [note: he’s just confirmed the next movie ‘Veteran’].
So what exactly are you doing these days?
The answer comes along with a big laugh, “I go traveling, play and drink alcohol a lot (laughs). I’m just doing a regular life and exercise a bit. Since I’ve been working out for some time [for Tough As Iron], it just became a habit.”
Yoo Ah In became the topic of the town when he shows his amazing cooking skill in SBS ‘Running Man’.
How can you have this creative cooking talent that people like when you even live alone?
“Yes, I live alone. But I’m very fond of cooking. If I want to eat something, I can make a bowl of meal, not really decent, but tastes good (laughs). Usually, I add some more condiment to the cooking and keep rehashing till it fits my taste. I make toppokki with my mother’s recipe but I put more sugar, chili powder or red pepper on it.”
It’s not easy to cook for many people with different taste [just like in Running Man], is it?
“It’s not easy. But I have friends who come in to my house frequently and I cook for them. Sometimes I just make one-pot meals when I don’t have time for cooking.”
“Love instinctively. I like arguing couple [who speaks mind and discusses stuff], a hot and passionate love, and I try to keep that flame burning for a long-lasting time.”
When Yoo Ah In candidly said in front of the press [in Tough As Iron Press Premiere] that he had a feeling for Jung Yumi at the time of his early twenties, people perked up and they both became the hot topic.
How is your relationship with Jung Yumi, actually?
“Jung Yumi and I really got comfortable to each other; we are comforting friends one to another and we share stories. In response to a hot press, it caused much uneasiness to Yumi. I honestly don’t dwell on such things, and I don’t feel embarrassed about it. In fact, I see the fun side of it. But now learning her position and that some people out there may dislike my statement, I’m trying to be careful not to mention it again, and I’m sorry for telling [his feelings for Jung Yumi in front of the media],” he expresses his feelings sincerely.
With all the stories about his frankness and righteousness, comes out the question: How would his dating style be like?
Yoo Ah In confesses, “My dating is not the kind of gentleman style. I’m shameless and very frank about my feeling, just like Kang Chul. Kang Chul’s true love reflects a lot in me. I’m not the type of cool guy that hides my feeling to a person that I like. I’m willing to reveal [to public] if this person is the love of my life someday, but I want to do it right by getting her consent first.”
Can you tell us your love style?
“Love instinctively (laughs). I like arguing couple [who speaks mind and discusses stuff], a hot and passionate love, and I’ll try to keep that flame burning for a long-lasting time.”
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