Yoo Ah In “Ilgan Sports’ Drunk Talk” Interview Part I: “I realized being praiseworthy is meaningful”
Finally, the newest interview from our Master Sik in this month of July! 😀
Yoo Ah In had an exclusive interview with Ilgan Sports’ “Drunk Talk” segment on July 1st, 2016. The interview, including the photoshoot, took place in his creative studio; Studio Concrete, over some wine and lunch/dinner. (And he posed with his trophy from Baeksang too 🙂 So cute!). Since it was a very long interview, it’s divided into 3 parts.
Here are the translations by our dear translator in the Yoo Ah In International Fans Community. We added some translation notes [T/N] on the brackets, to help us all grasp his thought better. Now let’s start with part 1~
His words flow beautifully. His very deep, sincere and careful thoughts when he speaks out just engage people and pull them in. Yoo Ah In is a poised person indeed.
“Honest”, “bravado”, “likes and dislikes” used to represent Yoo Ah In’s words. Being honest and straight forward are Yoo Ah In’s specialty. His carefree remark can be misinterpreted as being rude in Korea’s entertainment world. Although his profession is an actor who performs before the public, he is also touted as an upright youth icon. When he notices social issues, he will speak up and share his thoughts on social media. “It’s just my opinion, but I’m responsible for what I write. Since a public figure has a certain influence, I’m trying to write cautiously. Everyone can agree and disagree with my opinion, yet still some people take it offensively. There’s a term for that: ‘프로불편러'”. [T/N: ‘proboolpeyoner’; a person who is always very serious, doesn’t have any sense of humor, has extremely conservative ethnic view and makes strong objections about other’s opinion with serious manner]
In the Baeksang Arts Awards, Yoo Ah In won best acting award in the TV sector for the 50-episode series Six Flying Dragons. Yoo Ah In, “My acceptance speech has always been a problem. Actually I didn’t remember what I said on the stage, and when I came down the stage I was like, ‘did I make a fool of myself up there?’. Then the acceptance speech became the topic, there were pros and cons. Although it’s all about award-winning speech, I’d rather show who I really am [share my thoughts] than giving a cold and heavy acceptance speech, but not everyone can accept that.”
It’s been 13 years since his début as a boyish face chasing Okrim [Go Ara] in Banolim (Sharp), now he has become an astonishing grown up man. “The number of acting years that I have is not important, because we have a lot of older generations. [The most important is] I have changed a lot in order to adapt to this [showbiz] world. My personality has changed a lot, and I also took a lot of detours. Now I came to a conclusion, ‘just smile and take it easy’. It will cost a lot of energy if you only focus on negative things. If you don’t want to be that way, you should change.”
Yoo Ah In has done a lot of interviews for his dramas and movies, and surprisingly, he always showed different expressions in each of them. From the interviews about Secret Love Affair as Lee Seon Jae to Veteran as Jo Tae Oh, when you watch [his interviews] on TV, he magically shows many different looks. “How can you comprehend a person in a one-hour one on one interview?,” he asked. After talking for more than 3 hours and emptying a bottle of wine, he got up from his seat and said, “This was too long, right? Must be too long to publish [the interview] in one article. You’d better divide it into a series.” 😀
Q. First, a formal question. How much can you drink?
A. I get easily drunk. I’m not trying to hide any info [I’m not lying]. I’m a light drinker, and my face turns red really quickly when I’m drunk. And when I’m dead drunk, I just keep on drinking.
Q. Do you have any particular drinking habit?
A. Usually, I become really talkative (laughing). But I’m not gonna tell you [not gonna expose my drinking habits]. I don’t have a particular drinking habit, but whenever I drink alcohol, I lose 2~3㎏ the following day.
Q. At the Baeksang Arts Awards, you won best actor for the TV category. Were you expecting that?
A. I wasn’t expecting that. But honestly, I seriously wanted to win it. I wanted to win for my role on Six Flying Dragons. Doing a 50-episode historical drama was not easy. I don’t mean that I wanted to win as a compensation [for the effort on this lengthy drama]. I just want to point out the efforts poured into the drama. As a result, the award had a unique significance to me.
Q. You were nominated in both categories, movie and TV. Which one did you wish for?
A. Honestly speaking? I might sound greedy, but I wanted to win them both (laughing). Regarding what I said earlier about Six Flying Dragons, I just wanted to point out something in particular [the efforts exerted a lengthy drama]. Winning any of these two categories would have meant a lot to me.
Q. Last year, you were the top winner at several award ceremonies.
A. Before that time, I used to look at awards as winners being recognized by the people, rather than being satisfied or content with themselves [T/N: he used to think or had a preconception about awards: those who win awards only enjoy the acknowledgment by others, and that awards don’t necessarily bring the winners any satisfaction with their own abilities and talents]. I made that rationalization myself, and used to live by it. Later on, I realized that I liked it when someone claps for me, or when I hear compliments from others [T/N: he realized that being acknowledged by people feels really good, and the way he perceives awards has totally changed]. Even though receiving an award might not mean being incredibly successful, I realized that being praiseworthy/admirable is really meaningful. It felt really good. I don’t necessarily mean that people should put so much importance or let their nerves get worked up over winning an award. Because having the recognition of the public and the critics needs some time in order to be received.
Q. During your Baeksang accepting speech, you made the remark “stars don’t take 50-episode dramas”. [T/N: within the speech, he was talking about making the choice to join Six Flying Dragons. He said he was discouraged to take the series. He said that he was told that “A-list stars are not supposed to take such lengthy drama”. We presume people who told him so think that lengthy dramas cheapen the image of A-list stars/movie stars]
A. I didn’t mean to seem arrogant when I said that. But some people do divide actors and works into classes/ranks. In fact, let me tell you, that’s a very sensitive subject [T/N: the suffix he used with the Korean word for “sensitive” denotes feeling upset or angry. He obviously feels upset over the fact that actors and works are divided by the industry into ranks, rather than being judged by the quality of the art]. And if they didn’t say that, they would say “this young actor shouldn’t take a 50-episode drama”. My sunbaenims always tell me that during my earlier career, “one might not be working on a big project/stage, but from where you stand at that point in life, this project/stage should feel like the best and biggest project ever.” [T/N: his sunbaes encourage him to take roles in works that might not be big or popular. They tell him to use his mental power to visualize those works or roles as the biggest and most popular. We assume they mean that he will grow as an actor by having this positive mentality]. I know that actors younger than me have the tendencies to avoid long period dramas. Instead, they want to do trendy dramas [T/N: trendy drama means dramas that are focused on contemporary issues that young Koreans face everyday, such as love, family problems, and other social issues.The screenwriting and casting in these dramas target a younger demographic. Themes include school, kpop culture, and stories adapted from comic books and novels]. What I meant by my speech is to challenge my young colleagues to have such experiences [lengthy period works] as a growth medium.
Q. Will you do a 50-episode historical drama again?
A. Well after saying that…. I don’t think I can do it (laughing). It was really hard. Especially with a work titled Six Flying Dragons, boasting six characters. For that reason [having six leads], I thought that it was going to be easy [T/N: with six leads, he assumed that would be less stress on him]. But I realized that it was all work and no rest. It wasn’t easy at all. During filming, I even had thoughts of sneaking away. Right now, I think of it as an experience that one should try once in life.
Q. Is it hard because it is historical? Or because of its length?
A. It’s hard to decide which reason. Historical dramas have their individual unique characteristics, but the thing is I can only sleep in my own bed. Although we mostly filmed at Mungyeong, I had to always go back home and sleep there. I’ve only slept 3 or 4 times at the filming area. It was physically strenuous to me and all of the staff. [T/N: it takes 2-hour ride from Mungyeong to Seoul, and the filming took place during the extreme winter condition]
Q. Your acceptance speech is always a hot topic.
A. Yeah. However, I really don’t know why! I say my speech, and when I come down the stage, I ask people around me, “did I make a fool of myself up there?”. Actually I don’t remember what I say on the stage. Although I’ve been acting for over 10 years, I still shake and tremble when I’m up there. In fact, right now, I’m shaking just the same [for being interviewed]. Even during the stage greetings [movies promotional tours at cinema theaters], I pretend to be calm and all smiles when in fact I’m trembling on the inside.
Q. Do you watch the videos of your speeches again?
A. Of course I do. And man, I do talk a lot!
Q. You spoke for over 5 minutes.
A. Last time, as I sat down after the speech, Song Joong Ki hyung told me, “ahh why did you make it long like that?!”. I asked him, “was it dull? Was it boring?,” and he told me that it was still fun [despite the length].
Q. Is there an award that you covet?
A. Actually, I’d like to receive a popularity award. Popularity awards and I are not friends (laughing). I’m not a good looking man to win such an award, still I wish that I’d receive it one day. [T/N: popularity awards are won by online/sms votes. Winners of these awards are mostly popular hallyu stars by the voting power of their fans abroad, not necessarily/not always the most popular stars in Korea. Sometimes they are even given randomly, causing some sort of controversies at times]
Q. Song Joong Ki is a colleague and a rival to you.
A. Descendants of the Sun was greatly loved for the characters alone. And it is still loved. That could be said about any work for Joongki hyung. I feel so amazed when I see him pull off roles that I’m so incapable of.
Q. Last year, your movies and drama were all super successful.
A. It was really amazing. I might look confident [because they were all box office hits], but I’m absolutely not at all. With every work I ask myself, ‘can I do well this time?’. I have big concerns like that. So when the work turns out really well and successful, when I experience that, it feels so wonderful/fascinating. I always want to have moments like these [T/N: by “these moments” he means the excitement of worrying about his works before they are released, then being happily surprised at their positive outcome, like with Veteran and Sado].
Q. That must have created a heavy burden on you, in regards to your next projects.
A. I’m mainly looking at movies right now. I’m reviewing works which should be filmed at the end of the year, since I have a free time at the moment. No matter how rationally I proceed given my situation, there will be people who will ask: “why hasn’t he enlisted in the army yet?”. I do want to wait till I receive the enlistment notice without filming anything at all. But should I be swayed by peoples words and waste time given to me? So, I’m carefully considering/looking at some works right now. [T/N: he wishes to take up works, since he hasn’t been sent the enlistment notice, and he does have time. But he does care what the public would say about him, because the they would have strong feelings against him taking works during this time in particular, since this is time for him to enlist]
Q. Do you regret not enlisting earlier?
A. Since I made my debut as a teenager, I’ve been working nonstop. Years went by so fast, and I missed the perfect time to enlist. So I do regret that. And I’m not proud about it. People who enlist later in life say that a lot [that they feel regretful/wish they enlisted when they were younger].
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