[INTERVIEW Part 1] Yoo Ah In: “I’m Proud of Six Flying Dragons For Receiving Much Love Despite Lack Of Romance”

On March 23rd, Yoo Ah In held a press conference for “Six Flying Dragons” after wrapping up the drama. The press conference took place in the 4th floor of Seoul Museum, Hannam-dong, Seoul. Yoo Ah In answered all the questions from tens of media for 90 minutes non-stop. Since the press conference produced hundreds of interviews with Yoo Ah In, here we compile his long interviews. This is the first part of Yoo Ah In’s interview.

Translated by Admin M – Yoo Ah In International Fans Community

“Lee Bang Won shedding tears in Sonjukkyo Bridge scene was not written in the script” – Yoo Ah In

Actor Yoo Ah In (29 years old) spent his best year in 2015 with the films “Veteran” and “The Throne” (“Sado”) at the box office as the starting point of his heyday. He continued reaching a peak moment of his acting through SBS series “Six Flying Dragons”.

“I’m feeling 2% bittersweet and 98% cool after departing from Six Flying Dragons,” Yoo Ah In opened the interview. “Yesterday [the last day of filming] I felt relax and happy. Today I feel a punch in my gut. Is this how it feels leaving the work life? Although less than a year of work doesn’t compare to the day-to-day work, but as actors we worked everyday from dusk till dawn, acted the whole time. So when it’s all over, the feeling of emptiness is so real.”

In “Six Flying Dragons” Yoo Ah In took on the role of Lee Bang Won, the future King Taejong, Korea’s third King of Joseon. Lee Bang Won is a character who’s difficult to re-interpret. Not only because he is a famous historical figure, but also other outstanding actors; Yoo Dong Geun (Tears of The Dragon, 1996), Kim Yeong Cheol (Sejong The Great, 2008), and Baek Yoon Sik (Deep Rooted Tree, 2011), have acted as Lee Bang Won with their own interpretation as well. Yoo Ah In will inevitably be compared with them in terms of interpretation, but Yoo Ah In has created a Lee Bang Won of his own. It was the birth of one other Lee Bang Won.

Yoo Ah In said that he had a hard time finding out the best way to reinterpret the character who is familiar to many Koreans. Lee Bang Won, the fifth son of King Taejo, the founding father or the dynasty, defeated other princes to claim the throne. For decades, the story of Lee Bang Won ousting and assassinating princes and government officials to consolidate his power has been a staple for many TV historical series and novels in Korea. However, Yoo Ah In didn’t want Lee Bang Won to be viewed as an absolute villain.

“Yoo Dong Geun sunbae-nim has shaped a popular image of Lee Bang Won through ‘Tears of The Dragon’, therefore many people would have the preconceptions of Lee Bang Won; that he was a very strong, outspoken and a jagged monarch, and King Sejong’s father. But I wanted to show my own interpretation on Lee Bang Won to the viewers, that he was also a political person, and reflect his inner character. I know enough of the controversial Lee Bang Won, and I wanted to emphasize that we didn’t glorify his character but we wanted to convey the reason why he made such a choice. So, I tried to show this through my acting, and I’m very satisfied with the result.”

Yoo Ah In’s interpretation of Lee Bang Won is different from the previous image of cruel Lee Bang Won. Of course, “Six Flying Dragons” didn’t intend to make Lee Bang Won less cruel. He was “ruthless enough” to kill the Goryeo’s greatest Confucius scholar Jeong Mong Joo (actor Kim Hee Seong), his teacher Jeong Do Jeon (actor Kim Myung Min), and even his younger step-brother Lee Bang Seok. But here, Yoo Ah In’s performance drew Lee Bang Won as having an endless desire of power (which leads to endless slaughter) and yet a weak heart inside. The drama engulfed in fierce debates over pros and cons (“Team Bang Won” vs “Team Do Jeon”, “Kill Bang Won” vs “Forgive Bang Won”), because Yoo Ah In’s interpretation caused a lot of sympathy for Lee Bang Won.

“Lee Bang Won is known for his cold-blooded nature in history, but I wanted to give viewers a fresh perspective. I was trying to see it differently from another point of view. As the writers also gave a different angle in writing, I tried to do my best too. I tried to capture not only his power, steely heart, and cold-blooded monarch, but also his weaknesses, because Lee Bang Won must have a weakness too. I thought, he must have been fragile on the inside, in contrast to his invincibility on the outside. My focus in this drama was depicting Lee Bang Won’s youth period which was full of confusions, that even though he followed Jeong Do Jeon, his faith began to waver and he had doubts in him. I think this is not entirely different from the weakness, and I tried to learn about and express it.”

“Lee Bang Won character was the most multi-dimensional role I have ever taken” – Yoo Ah In

Yoo Ah In brought a new task in “Six Flying Dragon”. It was a 50 episodes long acting where he had to show the changes and layers of Lee bang Won effectively. Yoo Ah In focused on how Lee Bang Won’s personality changes as his drew closer and closer to gaining power. He did a great job as he accomplished the task better than anyone else. In his first encounter with Lee Seong Gye (actor Cheon Ho Jin) where he stole the stamp, and the last one where the sword was drawn to his neck, he was truly a different character in all aspects as well as personality and behavior.

“To show people how this person changed in a span of 50 episodes was the biggest homework to me. I wanted to show the transformation process and the development both inside and outside. It gave me a long-span of acting to show his transformations; from the voice, gestures, intonation, and his facial expressions according to his age, later by lowering voice to show this change. I don’t think that one will grow up as he gets older. I have interpreted a lot of growing roles, and not because of one’s getting older one gets mature, but it has something to do with the cognitive and society system. How can we guarantee if we go along the time we will be able to grow up? Rather than growing up, the change in Lee Bang Won is the change in that person’s noble quality and humanity. As the ‘worms’ grew inside, I tried to express the subtle changes of Lee Bang Won when his humanity collapsed. I don’t know whether I did well or not (laughs).”

Yoo Ah In has played Jo Tae Oh in “Veteran” and Crown Prince Sado in “The Throne” continuously within one year, but Lee Bang Won got his most affection by far. While Lee Bang Won was gradually growing apart from Jeong Do Jeon (Kim Myung Min), Yoo Ah In felt his own development too.

“I always said that my all-time favorite character was Lee Seon Jae from Secret Love Affair. But at the moment, my favorite character is Lee Bang Won. Last year my favorite was Prince Sado, but it has changed. Maybe because I grew attached to Lee Bang Won since I played as him for a long time. I put a lot of time to study the role and the interpretation of Lee Bang Won, and I felt something new while I was acting as Lee Bang Won. There was a feeling of the character’s development in the scene, and it was refreshing. To capture and recognize ‘this man has changed’ as part of the perception, I was able to show the essence of acting. As he grew, I grew up too.”

Yoo Ah In added, “Lee Bang Won character was the most multi-dimensional role I have ever taken. I tried to create a chain of the most diverse aspects that could represent a very multi-dimensional character.”

Yoo Ah In had his own interpretation in the murder of Jeong Mong Ju and Jeong Do Jeon scenes. While Lee Bang Won used Jo Young Gyu’s hands to kill Jeong Mong Ju, he raised his own sword by himself to kill Jeong Do Jeon. We can see when he was about to kill Jeong Mong Ju in Sonjukkyo Bridge, Lee Bang Won shed the tears. Apparently, Lee Bang Won’s tears was Yoo Ah In’s own interpretation.

“Lee Bang Won was born with many privileges as the son of General Lee Seong Gye, so it was a given that he had numerous advantages and choices by birth. But that man killed Jeong Mong Ju at a younger age than me. According to the script, Lee Bang Won was at the crossroads where he had no choice but to murder Jeong Mong Ju to keep his plan going, because Jeong Mong Ju refused to betray his loyalty to the Goryeo Dynasty. The script didn’t require the tears, but at that time I shed tears. I never thought that Lee Bang Won is a man with a villainous personality, but he had no choice but to kill someone to survive. In the case of politics it was ‘had to kill or be killed’ situation. He, a prince, was born that way, to keep someone closer to himself or to ditch someone by killing, just to survive. His heart must be heavy and confused. So, why not showing his inner weakness? That’s my understanding. But when we killed Jeong Do Jeon, the situation was calmer and cold. Of course there was some confusion, but at that time he knew he had to do that by his own hand and bear it alone.”

“I’m an ambitious person as an actor, but I’m seeking a new way to fulfill my desire, by sharing what I have with others,” – Yoo Ah In

To Yoo Ah In, the most difficult part in filming “Six Flying Dragons” was waking up in the morning. “The most difficult part in the shooting was getting up early in the morning. I know it’s funny, but it’s the hardest part for me. Getting up early in the morning for school is already hard, getting up early in the morning for work is the hardest.”

In “Six Flying Dragons” Yoo Ah In made a surprisingly best acting duel with Kim Myung Min. Yoo Ah In told us that he and Kim Myung Min were very compatible to each other.

“My relationship with Kim Myung Min sunbae-nim in the drama is complicated. At the beginning, Lee Bang Won greatly admired Jeong Do Jeon and looked up to him as a role model, but later they became political opponents within 50 episodes. So, I wanted to show where the points of change gradually took place, and Kim Myung Min was very understanding. Cheon Ho Jin sunbae-nim helped me a lot too. The PD told me not to lose the momentum, as I really admire them both naturally. In the first half of the drama, Lee Bang Won was still relatively weak, he idolized Jeong Do Jeon, until one day, a powerful striking moment became a deviated point of his maturity and he vigorously faced everything alone. I didn’t share a lot of conversation [about acting] with Kim Myung Min, but I felt comfortable working with him. We joked a lot and he liked to pull some pranks in the filming location. So we spent the shooting time happily.”

Though Yoo Ah In successfully depicted Lee Bang Won, it could also cause a controversy and confusion, because the public’s perception were used to the existing Lee Bang Won created by the other previous dramas.

“The difficulty in the re-interpretation of Lee Bang Won lies in the fact that he is a person with a fixed image in the people’s eyes; a strong character. We had to show subtle differences in this preconceived image because he is a well-known historical figure. My intention was to show a different impression of Lee Bang Won. But audience is very sensitive to the historical aspect and they see different interpretation negatively, so the new interpretation might or might not be accepted. However, without creating any differences, viewers might confuse ‘Six Flying Dragons’ with the other ‘Lee Bang Won’ TV series. Therefore, to make it different, we were all about ‘how to convey the characters’. Some might say that we attempt to distort the history or glorify the figures from what we learn in school, and some people split into fight between Team Jeong Do Jeon and Team Lee Bang Won. So, in conveying my character I was carefully dealing with the people’s reaction too.”

Lee Bang Won is a character who wanted to change the world and eventually changed the world. We know that actor Yoo Ah In is also very concerned about social issues, and he encourages the 20-something people to participate in the presidential elections.

“Lee Bang Won at first was strong-willed and faithful, but soon his pursuit for power changed him into an ambitious person. This reminds me of politicians these days. Their moves are based on a will to win in the election. But many people hold disdain for their political decisions,” he said.

“I think we should care about politics, though nowadays we are increasingly turning to individuality, but politics is very important for personal well-being. We should get involved in politics to stand for our vision. I think politics must be treated as an option. Whether or not participating in politics is just as important as choosing what kind of university one wants to enter, what kind of career choice one wants to go for, and so on. Although we cannot say that our life changes immediately, but everyone has the right to decide on how we want to live and what kind of world we want to live in. So, be sure to vote. This is the ‘spirit of the age’ [zeitgeist]. To participate in the elections is to give us our first right, and it’s very important. ”

Another thing that Yoo Ah In realized was that Lee Bang Won’s ambition has similarities to his aspirations as an actor. “I’m an ambitious person as an actor, but I’m seeking a new way to fulfill my desire, by sharing what I have with others,” he said. His priority of values is “a person” [people-oriented], and he is very serious about it.

“Becoming the number one seems to be people’s first priority rather than a good person to others. I think giving a good influence to others is the most important thing for the 20-something people, because the 20s is the biggest theme and the greatest value of life. The most important part of growing up is the human itself.”

“I feel a great sense of accomplishment by starring in this drama, which garnered so much love despite lacking in romance.” – Yoo Ah In

Yoo Ah In obtained the highest popularity last year, and his luck continues into this year. From the evil Jo Tae Oh in “Veteran” to the gradually madness Prince Sado in “The Throne”, taking these roles were not easy. But picking them both was a successful decision, and he is proud of his work selections. He has yet to enlist in the army, which means Yoo Ah In will be away from the public view for some time. But when he comes back, we are very curious on what kind of surprise he will bring to us.

“I want to raise my acting bar. It may take a lot of time, but I would like to create my own unique world. I feel a great sense of accomplishment by starring in this drama, which garnered so much love and earned more than 20% ratings [AGB Seoul] despite lacking in romance. I’m so proud of it. Last year I was given the greatest gift, so I know that I was in the right track, though it’s not only on my own credit. I couldn’t ask for more of those lucky moments to come by my side. I’m very grateful for all the things I have.”

Yoo Ah In had been running without a pause for a very long time. So, now he is taking a break. When we asked about his next plan and getting ready for the military service, he said, “I’m taking a break for the first time in a while. I’m going to have fun drinking with my friends. I also plan to vacation on Jeju Island. I won’t be doing any projects during my break. There are times to wait.”

As for the military service, he did not feel the need to hype about it, and the date is yet to be determined. One thing for sure, he will leave for active duty in his most brilliant period. “I think it’s better to leave in happy times. I will follow the legal procedure, I’m going to do what they tell me to do,” referring to the draft. “I feel embarrassed, because I have worked since young and just about to enter the army when I turn 30, so it’s kind of late. There’s nothing confirmed in terms of my enlistment. All I can say is that I’m waiting and I will leave for the army quietly”.

The actor’s label, UAA, announced, “The exact enlistment date is not confirmed. We are waiting for it. Currently, he just finished filming for ‘Six Flying Dragons’ on the 21st and is planning to rest until his military enlistment date since he has been working nonstop for the past 7 months.” ***

© Yoo Ah In Sikseekland International Fans Community


※ Any copying, republication or redistribution of YOO AH IN SIKSEEKLAND’s content is expressly prohibited without prior consent of YOO AH IN SIKSEEKLAND. Copyright infringement is subject to criminal and civil penalties.

Source: starmt [1], starmt [2], xportsnews

17 Responses to “[INTERVIEW Part 1] Yoo Ah In: “I’m Proud of Six Flying Dragons For Receiving Much Love Despite Lack Of Romance””
  1. Mari says:

    He is acting with all his might and he is always sincere. We all can feel it. These things what make YOO stand out among others 👍 Thanks for the long trans, Furbabe & Admin M!

  2. Mei says:

    thanks so much YAIsikseeland for translating the news, patiently waiting for the next part. 😉

  3. Manguyen says:

    YAI is such a brilliant actor because he acts from the heart! His every performance in historical drama is epic whether you like the story or not. Yoo is the sexiest King/Prince/man ever in hanbok! So handsome! So charming! He’s just so beautiful to watch! The BEST!

    For us, international addicts, after discovering YAI, I started to read/watch/learn about YAI and South Korea! Can’t get enough of him!!!! 😘 His voice is also so sexy!!!! I watch a movie/drama because YAI in it. Other reasons are nonessential….what am I to do when YAI is in the army? 😭 But, I do admire the strict rule without exception (for army service) even for celebrity in South Korea….

    Thank you for always posting very thoroughly!!!!

  4. primie94 says:

    Have a nice break Master SIK…😎🏖..🍻….🎣
    Awesome!! waiting for the next…and… next part😅
    Thanks 👼🏻AdminM & 👼🏻Furbabe 🐾/xxx

  5. Yasuyo says:

    Many thanks for the posting. Master Sik’s very deep interpretation indeed made Lee Ban Won transform outside and inside. A lot of acing as a young, ambitious, cruel and weak prince truely pierced out hearts. SFD became another mile stone in his career. Cheers for this great actor!!

    • Furbabe says:

      I was worried in the middle of the drama, but it appeared to be groundless. This is one of his best works. YAI’s Lee Bang Won rocks! 😀

  6. Melissa Linda Bandiez says:

    If he will enter the military I will truly miss him, 2 years is quite long to wait for his comeback.. But I hope that when he comes back he will do An Jung Geun drama ( a patriotic man who kills the Japanese Prime MInister Ito HIrobumi for the liberation of Korea. Another inspiring historical drama.. Yoo ah In you are awesome!!!

  7. Laura says:

    Thank you so much for translating his interviews! He’s an amazing actor and SFD is one of the best dramas I’ve ever watched!

  8. Erratic says:

    I beg to disagree, Ah In-sshi. I don’t think Six Flying Dragons was lacking in the romance department. Lol. Such a gorgeous drama it was, and thank you for doing it.

    • Furbabe says:

      Haha..the drama has a very subtle, beautiful and unique romance, which is very rare to find in other dramas. I think Yoo Ah In felt there was not enough romance between Bang Won and Boon Yi because SFD focused on the political issues and BW’s transformation.

      I must admit I want moarr BW-BY scenes 😀 But still, I love the way this drama pictured their relationship till the end.

      • Erratic says:

        True. Case in point: the unorthodox love confession. Probably one of the most effective kdrama confessions I’ve seen, despite the lack of sentimentality. Or maybe because of it. Lol.

  9. Laura says:

    Aah I’m so gonna miss him and his interviews for the next 2 years! Such a joyful read!

  10. Christine Yang says:

    I am so comfortable and appreciated that he said ” I would like to raise my acting bar and create my own unique world” and he is seeking a new way to achieve his ambitious desire outcomes.

    • Furbabe says:

      Once he said he wanted to be a reliable and trusted actor. I think when we feel comfortable watching him pursuing his goals, it means he’s already a reliable actor for us, and we trust him that he will achieve his goals ^^

Check out what others are saying...
  1. […] This is Yoo Ah In’s “Six Flying Dragons” interview part 2. Go check interview part 1 here. […]

  2. […] people to vote in every election. And this year too, he encouraged young people to vote. In his “Six Flying Dragons” finale episode’s press conference/interview, Yoo Ah In said that voting is as important as college and career […]

  3. […] Se Kyung said, “Yoo Ah In oppa said (in his interview) that he felt 98% cool and 2% bittersweet after departing from ‘Six Flying Dragons’. He […]

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