[INTERVIEWS] Yoo Ah In: “Pianist Lee Seon Jae Makes the Happiest Spring in My Life”
Yoo Ah In at Secret Love Affair second press conference, March 24. Credit: naver
JTBC Cable drama Secret Love Affair grows popularity rapidly day by day in Korea, with the latest episode airing on Tuesday reached 4.06% in viewerships, peaked to 6.2% during the broadcast, and took over the position of a national TV KBS2 drama The Full Sun. [Note: 1% viewership in cable network is equal to 5% ratings in national network]. According to JTBC, the 25th March episode (episode 4) broke the highest ratings records in JTBC’s drama history. Secret Love Affair became #1 drama on its slot and #2 program among all general cable programs.
Upon the positive responds from the viewers, Yoo Ah In and all casts of Secret Love Affair sent the thank you messages to fans on the 18th March, followed by the second press conference on the 24th.
In the thank you message Yoo Ah In wrote, “Thank you for your love and warm supports. Living as Lee Seon Jae the pianist makes the happiest days of Spring in my life. I will keep doing my best. Please continue watching his character grows.”
At the 24th March press conference, Yoo Ah In spoke about how he may have disappointed fans in his last few dramas. But he is not disappointing them in Secret Love Affair. He also spoke about the malicious comments related to the military service issue that’s all been buried now by the compliments.
Just recently, famous Korean pianist Park Jong Hoon gives special compliment to Yoo Ah In’s acting playing piano too by saying, “I was really surprised by his acting of playing piano. He demonstrated very details of the movements with emotional expression of the movements. I could not believe it”.
Yoo Ah In started by saying, “I keep going back to the perspective of the viewers. Rather than thinking about how well I can do, I think about how closer I can approach the audiences. I think about what the viewers would like to see from actor Yoo Ah In and what kind of drama they would like to see. In that sense, Secret Love Affair is a satisfactory drama. I can’t put down my previous dramas, but I thought, ‘What I’ve been waiting for is finally here.’” He added, “I think this drama might allow the viewers think, ‘Yoo Ah In has that kind of charm?’ or ‘He’s not just pretentious.'”
Yoo Ah In also shared his previous burden by saying, “I’ve been quenching my thirst for acting. I received a lot of attention for my roles in KBS2TV’s Sungkyungkwan Scandal and the film Punch (Wandeugi), but since then I haven’t quite lived up to expectation. My fans and I have been sad, as my previous dramas weren’t so successful. That’s when I met Secret Love Affair. I decided that it was the drama I wanted to do before I enlist in the army. The dark times I went through questioning my career are paying off in my performance. I believe that because I had those [difficult] moments, I am who I am now and I am able to be a part of Secret Love Affair.”
And the torment he felt about his career choices have come in handy. His character Lee Sun Jae is a tormented young man. Gifted with an unusual ability to play the piano, his life circumstances prevent him from realizing his dream. Yoo Ah In said that he tried channeling the artistic side of him through Lee Seon Jae, rather than playing as a believable pianist by fingering the black and white keys correctly.
The musical prodigy is so delighted at having his talent recognized by the arts administrator Oh Hye Won, played by Kim Hee Ae, that he falls in love with her. She’s 20 years older than he is and married. His passion for music and for her upsets her well-ordered but empty life. The drama is full of highly dramatic romantic scenes, such as the two characters passionately playing piano together. So far, the characters have only exchanged a kiss and she pinched his cheek. That pinch has become a trending topic.
The netizens reaction have been very positive. Fans anticipate the romantic scenes as the drama heats up and the mismatched lovers become entangled in their affair. “Their love scenes will be as amazing as the censors let them be, which I hope is really amazing,’ said one netizen.
Yoo Ah In said, “I’ve been struggling with many negative comments related to the military service issue recently, but they have been going away. I learned that an actor has to communicate through acting. I wish that Secret Love Affair will be the drama I would be best known for. And I think it is becoming that way.”
When asked about the ending of the drama, Yoo Ah In said, “I don’t think much about the ending of the drama. I think the end of the love does not always have to be marriage. Personally, I wish Hye Won will unveil herself and become a free spirit, and Sun Jae will experience the society through love”.
When a reporter asked Yoo Ah In to complement Kim Hee Ae, he answered, “At first she was a senior actress who was so cool and whom I wanted to be like, but as time went by, I realized how personal she is. But she is also very professional, and very cool.”
Meanwhile on the same occasion, Kim Hee Ae shared her thought on Secret Love Affair, “Because of the title of the drama, a lot of people think of the physical affair, but that’s not all this drama is about. “Secret Love Affair is a literary piece. I wonder how there could be lines like these of in the script. There are lines that just touch you. It’s a piece that is unforgettable in drama history and for viewers as well, I guarantee.”
She added, “Secret Love Affair is telling me the beauty of classic music for a newbie like me. I kept watching the piano scene over and over again. Surprisingly, I never watch the dramas I have been in more than once. And that is because I have to monitor how it came out. But this time, I felt so content with the role and that particular scene that I kept watching the scene.”
“I liked classical music very much ever since I was young. I listen to classic music often when I drive. I don’t know a lot of the titles of the music, but classical music is good to hear in my ears. Yesterday, Yoo Ah In’s new piano piece came out and I really enjoyed listening to it. My mother is in her 70s and asked me what that song was called. She asked for a list. I think this drama will be a reason for a lot of people to fall in love with classical music,” she said.
Yoo Ah In added, “I wanted to convey classic music to people who were so far and it’s a good way for viewers to get in.”
When a reporter asked Kim Hee Ae to complement Yoo Ah In, she said, “I have a lot of things to complement him for. Yoo Ah In is cute but also have the charms of a man. Especially when he plays the piano. From the audience’s perspective, Yoo Ah In looks cute and pretty. But as I act the scenes with him, he is a true actor. I even wonder if there ever was an actor like him.”
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Photos: Naver & JTBC