[INTERVIEW] 10 Million Actor Yoo Ah In: “I’m Happy And Worried At The Same Time”
Osen Interview September 8, 2015
[Reporter Jeong Jun Hwa]
Translated by Furbabe
Osen | This is “Yoo Ah In’s Golden Age”
Actor Yoo Ah In “mauls” the big screen with his charm. Growing up from the TV series Banolim (Sharp) on his début days, he sprang to become the Chungmuro‘s dazzling star and is spreading his light. Through the movie Veteran, his name is written in the history book of 10 million actors. And through The Throne (Sado), he is giving a high concentration on portraying a three-dimensional character Sado, to prove his acting skill once again.
Acting opposite the prominent group of senior actors, his presence gives particularly a profound impression. Acting alongside famous actors such as Hwang Jung Min, Song Kang Ho, Kim Hee Ae, and Kim Yoon Seok, he showed no boneless. All these actors who have acted with him, mentioned his name with “thumbs up”.
Though he admits that his rebellious attitude has winded down, Yoo Ah In’s “stubbornness of acting” is unshakable. But he is not a mere fool. He’s been acting for over 13 years and neatly put one brick upon another at a time to build an appropriate filmography.
On behalf of the young generation, I met the irreplaceable Chungmuro actor Yoo Ah In.
Thanks to Veteran, you became one of the “10 million actors”. How do you feel about it?
I’m very happy. It’s like winning a lottery, it’s like a happiness that comes with a lot of worries.
What kind of worries?
I’m afraid that I become arrogant. I think I’m really lucky to secure such a score. I’m afraid of the thought, ‘that’s my thing’. I’m afraid I will be so proud of it, so I feel I should be more careful. On the last interview, I said, “I wish I can be a reliable actor”. Now it seems that I’m becoming one a little, and everyone seems to like me more. I should do better to pay it back, that’s why it feels that I have such a burden.
This box office smash-hit boosted your self-confidence too, right?
Veteran is a highly entertaining well-made commercial film which gave me a lot of confidence. In the case of The Throne, I think the film itself brings a very strong color, and it will be easy to distinguish between the good and bad review from the journalists’ first impression. I’m more nervous to read the press reviews on The Throne than I was Veteran. Fortunately, I’m relieved that many of you wrote good things about it. The Throne truly gives people the ‘this is a good movie’ feeling.
What elements in The Throne that give everyone a good feeling?
Because of the familiarity and banality of the story, such as the obvious laid-out-on-the-table storytelling, though it seems to become a double-edged sword. You may think that the story of Prince Sado will be very traditionally told. The structure of the film is connected in parallel with the content, in order to not confuse people with the [traditional] aspects. Such elements could be good factors to create a good movie.
Did you have to study first in order to play Crown Prince Sado?
I have seen and read Crown Prince Sado documentaries and books, even had a chance to see similar cartoon network before. I think many people are very interested in the story of Prince Sado. A lot of people do various analysis and interpretations on Prince Sado, like, he was not a mere crazy idealist. I personally think he is not an absolute evil and not an absolute perfect character either.
Are you satisfied with your way of expressing the Crown Prince Sado?
I don’t know about my acting skill, but I feel very satisfied, especially because the film’s structure is very simple. It’s typical and specific due to the characters that should be played in the film. Since this film is a historical feature, there’s not much intervention to the characters. At the time, I thought the most important was how to manifest the Crown Prince Sado from ‘Yoo Ah In’. It was my goal. And I feel very satisfied with this part.
They said you like a tragedy [tragic story]. How does that impact your casting choice?
When I chose Veteran, I didn’t think it was a tragedy. My first role in the movie was a tragic boy [note: Boys of Tomorrow 2007], and since then I like playing a tragedy. Though I am full of youthful spirit side in me, there is a dark and depressed young actor side that only myself know. It’s not easy for the young actors to stand up with honesty, because oftentimes they should act like a flower. I think the so-called youth is a period of tragedy trying to unleash the power in the body. It’s the period when the heart isn’t able to fully release this kind of energy. There was a time when I felt that way.
What is your reason for choosing The Throne?
“Lee Joon Ik”, “Sado”. Just these two words already gave me the feeling, and after reading the script I found it even more interesting. It has interesting character which people will relish and be invested to it. That’s why I would like to be part of it. The director told me that he wrote the script while having my name in his mind. I appreciate it very much.
You are at the point of doing well in your career. At the same time, you are ushered to enlist for the active duty right at your golden time. Will you not regret it?
Isn’t it very fortunate to enlist when all things are going well, so that we have something to be grateful for? The Throne is hitting the theaters, and I’ll be working for SBS TV Drama Six Flying Dragons, that’s six to seven months of work until March. After I’m done with all the works, I’ll be going to army.
Why were you so interested in taking on the role of Prince Sado?
This role is an opportunity, something that I had to play. The nature of this role is like that of a drama, with the up and down emotions. I wanted to play because it was a very large and dramatic role, and I could show a lot of things through it. Sado is specifically my dream role. I feel grateful that I could act as him.
What did you want to aim from playing as the Crown Prince Sado?
The keyword is ‘father’. I had a bad relationship with my father, just like many people did. Just like in the film, there was a competition between us. Another reason is it has such a philosophy episode. I dedicated Tough As Iron to my mother and wanted her to see that movie. I think The Throne is something that my father can relate to and feel after watching it. My relationship with my father now became much better. A few days ago he went to see Veteran and told me right away his score. [me: awwn!]
How was the collaboration with Song Kang Ho like?
I arrived 30 minutes late to the script reading session, and there were many seniors in this movie. At that time, they had to do the shouting part, so I thought, ‘Terrific. This gotta be good [for seniors] to shout angrily!’. And it seemed they yelled at me for real (laughs). There wouldn’t be anyone who would not be intimidated just by hearing Song Kang Ho’s name. I was intimidated in the beginning. But he laid out everything ahead, so other actors can act better.
How was the first shot?
The first shot was the “parliament hearing” scene, in fact it was not a scene that spark some flame. But as a younger actor, I compelled that I had to force myself to give some sparks to it. It’s because I thought that I had to create some ‘chemistry’ with Song Kang Ho sunbae-nim, so I did it with high spirit, because this had to be a scene where Yeongjo felt a big pressure. But I didn’t perform accurately and I exaggerated it.
Being shut in the rice bin must be a very hard scene to play!
Actually it was not a one-take scene. But every time I returned inside the bin to shoot that scene, the terror and pain that he felt were unpredictable, so I speculated about it while acting. The illusion of a centipede dying in vain came to life… although some scenes were edited out from the actual movie, but there were scenes where I had a dialogue with mosquitoes inside the bin, and the scene where he had to release the human nature [note: “toilet business”]. Thinking that man had to go through it all to the very last scenes, I thought Yeongjo was truly cruel.
At The Throne press preview, Director Lee Jun Ik said if the movie gather 5 million admissions at the box office it would be very good.
I think the film investors and distributors will think bigger. But numerically speaking, if the movie garners 5 million, I’ll be really grateful. I’m sincere about it.
How do you feel given the nickname “Korea’s James Dean”?
I like that nickname. I want to act like James Dean. But I guess there has never been one who can properly be such an image. I think the real youth icon is a person who is capable of voicing the face of youth. I want to do such works that represent the youth. Maybe you will say, ‘who are you to speak out?’. But I think that the actors should not only try to be a favorite star, he should be able to speak out about the current affairs too.
Netizens gave positive comments on Yoo Ah In’s military service plan. Here are what they said after reading this article:
1. [+3980 -128] Veteran is so good. He’ll do well in army.
2. [+3264 -139] Yoo Ah In is trending now. He is really impressive in Veteran. I’m also looking forward to The Throne.
3. [+2139 -117] Ah, so handsome! I hope he will move forward and higher! I support!
4. [+1921 -111] His so good acting deserves recognition!
5. [+1703 -175] I am the president of artbox company [Note: this is a famous catchphrase from Veteran]
6. [+328 -34] (**SPOILER**) In the Veteran last scene, he came handcuffed, hair down like a student. There is a boy and a man in his face. Simply violence-free. He interprets well.
7. [+286 -22] So, you must enlist. Although military service has destroyed some artists [career], you don’t have to drag it in good times. Bright future is waiting for you.
8. [+283 -32] Not only a star, his acting is very good, his actor image is very strong. The Throne will hit daebak too!
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Source: Osen, TV Report