Yoo Ah In “Ilgan Sports’ Drunk Talk” Interview Part 2: “My Honesty Always Caused Trouble”
Here is “Ilgan Sports’ Drunk Talk” Interview with Yoo Ah In Part 2, translated by our dear translator from Yoo Ah In International Fans Community. We added some translation notes [T/N] on the brackets, to help us all grasp his thought better.
(See Part 1 here)
Q. There has never been a controversy [negative critique] over your acting abilities. Not even once.
[T/N: the interview has turned into a chat here. Notice that the answer doesn’t correlate with the journalist’s remark. Yoo Ah In is just speaking freely here]
A. With JTBC’s show (Secret Love Affair), I pursued the role of Sun Jae. It was glamorous and new, and didn’t resemble anything I’ve done before. And usually after my works, I proceed to new projects, and I get whatever character I played previously erased from my mind. From that point on, I start embodying the newer character. This wasn’t the case with Sun Jae. Deep inside, and little by little, I became him. So I have lots of attachment to the great character of Lee Sun Jae.
Q. That’s the fruit of your hard work.
A. I don’t know how this would sound like, but when I act, I don’t study the script in advance. I study the script, mostly, on my way to the filming set. They wait enough for me so that I could have a moment to concentrate. In return, at this one moment, I try my hardest to be immersed into the character. I just write down, on the script, my analysis of the character, and I don’t study/research it. [T/N: he is being honest about not making extra efforts before acting his scene. He goes by his feelings, deals with it spontaneously]
Q. But other actors do lots and lots of analysis/research before they start their works.
A. Well to perform the role of Lee Bang Won, there’s no way to ask Lee Bang Won himself in order for me to know his real story. Unfortunately we can only read history books for references [T/N: in order to truly research the character of Bang Won, one needs to be able to talk to Bang Won himself in order to know the real history behind the character. Especially that history books are not to be blindly trusted]. Anyway, I needed to create a new character for Bang Won, since he has been played by many actors before. I was not the first to play him.
Q. Are you confident?
A. Not at all. I’m really not confident myself. I just can’t pretend that I could act according to people’s expectations or views [T/N: he just can’t pretend to be okay copying the previous interpretations of Lee Bang Won’s character]. Of course there are many moments in life when one must pretend to act lovely and nice [with people who disagree with his way of thinking], but how can I worry about the opinions of others when I’m trying to come up with a creative approach for the role? I believe that I should remain true to myself, right?
Q. You mean that you are always unshakable and unwavering when it comes to your beliefs?
A. Well I do hold back/recoil at times, but I’ve also become a person who looks at life with a jaundiced eye [guilty of having prejudice and being judgmental about things/issues]. Well, at least that’s what my friends say 🙂 Nevertheless, I will always jump into the world. Although I don’t watch music TV shows, I’ve started watching shows on politics, entertainment, culture, and arts. I’m trying my best not to miss on any important issues in those categories. [T/N: although he does have his prejudiced notions, he tries to break out of them, and he doesn’t want to have a limited knowledge on things]
Q. You are not self-conscious about your surroundings [you’re not uncomfortably nervous about what others might think of you].
A. I’m self-conscious. I do care about what others think, but not to the degree that I’d let that show on me. You know that actors do hide their loved ones [when they’re dating], right? And if they didn’t hide them, if they weren’t secretive, rumors [about their dating] start swirling, and they get photographed eventually. I myself try not to pay attention to these things. [T/N: he doesn’t let fears of rumors dictate how he lives]
Q. Despite the fact that you live your life so freely, you have never caused a stir or a public outrage.
A. But my extreme honesty has always caused trouble, right? (laughing) Well I occasionally go to clubs and drink there. I meet up easily with people, and I try not to see the ugly side of that. When people treat me comfortably and honestly, I also treat them well/be nice to them in return. Of course, there are people who stab in the back, but I find that all people are essentially kind and good-hearted.
Q. So you do know that your honesty is extreme?
A. Obviously, honesty has its own dangerous moments. As a result of this honesty, people were talking and gossiping about me, and I used to get carried away responding to the rumors and set the record straight [T/N: he used to get agitated by the rumors, respond angrily and declare that the rumors are untrue]. This is human nature, you know. I’ve debuted over 10 years ago, so I’ve changed a lot in that regard. Although there are times when one could benefit of some fake behavior in order to be liked by others, but that can’t be me. I want to be an actor who can look at himself and not be ashamed. [T/N: he can’t resort to faking a persona to please the public, he wants to remain true to himself. Otherwise, he won’t be able to feel comfortable with himself]
Q. That has always been your personality.
A. It has been 14 years for me in the entertainment industry. 14 years of learning, understanding, and training, right? I’ve fallen many times [I’ve stumbled through life many times], and I’ve gone through trial and error just as much [I’ve made many mistakes, and I’ve learned a lot from them in return].
Q. How can you describe those old days?
A. During my school years, wherever I went, I wasn’t good at speaking with others. I even couldn’t stand in front of the class, and whenever I was asked to rise from my seat to talk or give an answer, my voice used to go on “vibration mode”. I was that kinda kid. Until now, my voice shivers just the same. [T/N: his voice used to tremble when he spoke in class. He was a shy student. Even now, when he needs to speak at public events, his voice trembles due to nervousness]
Q. You have expressed your political opinion many times [on social media].
A. Well these days, not much really (laughing). The conservative and the progressive parties are not doing bad these days. And it’s important to live this life having a balance between conservatives and liberals, right?
Q. Lately, we’ve been hearing of many issues in our country on a daily basis.
A. Some time ago, I’ve heard that the employees at a certain company were told that they are not allowed to drive foreign cars [as a rule]. I can’t understand the logic behind that. For cars lovers who save their hard earned money to collect and buy their favorite car, why is it a crime for them to drive this particular car to work? [T/N: mainstream Koreans think of foreign imported cars as an extravagant luxury. They are discouraged to buy foreign cars. Many of them think that the act of purchasing imported cars as unpatriotic and harmful to the booming Korean auto industry. Many of them wouldn’t buy them due to the huge tax audits that come with buying an imported car. South Korea’s road tax is based on engine size, which hits foreign cars harder given their generally large engine displacement. So in reality, only affluent people in Korea would be able to afford such a luxury. The average Korean will need to save his money to buy the car of his dreams. This stance on foreign cars is even more pronounced at many of South Korea’s largest companies -the point Yoo Ah In refers to- or chaebol, which have traditionally leaned on their tens of thousands of employees to buy only products made by the group or its affiliates]
Q. So in contrast, if you, Yoo Ah In, were the chairman of that company, will you allow your interns to drive their foreign cars to their first day at work?
A. Regardless of the fact that those kids get called “pretentious” or “trying to be cool”, I should be fine with them driving those cars in front of me. Because these rules are just spoken words [T/N: the chairmen can always take them back, and make the lives of their employees much easier]. Those born with silver spoons in their mouths [T/N: he means the chairmen] are just like that, you know. I wonder why?! Those who are born privileged are just like that, let’s face it [T/N: in this instance, they don’t care about their employees and their rights to drive the car of their choosing]. They want to control how this “silver” [from the term ‘silver spoon’] is used. They are worried that we will use this spoon to eat their share of wealth. [T/N: they want to dictate how commoners use their money. They don’t like to see people getting better financially, because that would make them their equals]. It’s like those privileged powerful people are saying “who the hell are you to drive a foreign car?!”. They [rich people/chaebols] should know that they are able to live honorably weathering all types of obstacles in life thanks to their parents.
Q. Your mentality is way more flexible than I expected.
A. Well, in order to see beauty, one should look at things in a positive light too. Nowadays, I’ve learned about “the professionally uncomfortable” rhetoric. [T/N: professionally uncomfortable people is a Korean internet slang. The expression in Korean is 프로불편러, 프로=pro/professional, and 불편러=uncomfortable. The term describes the netizens who use the comments sections under all types of articles to voice their extremely negative opinions. They claim that they are social justice warriors/religion warriors/warriors against indecency etc, when in fact they are nothing more than self-righteous internet bullies, who use the internet to spew negativity, slander, or pass their own judgment on others. Their opinions on celebrities, politicians, and even non-celebrities could be described as misogynistic, racist, and sometimes stupid. The term came about because these uncomfortable internet faux warriors used to start their comments by the phrase “am I the only one who feels uncomfortable by this”. The phrase served as an intro to their “uncomfortable” judgmental tirades. The term was coined to poke fun at those negative “uncomfortable” folks. Their discomforting triggers could range from a serious political topic to a photo of a female celebrity donning a so-called revealing outfit]. Those folks, without even checking these various issues, are already uncomfortable by nature. [T/N: they are already negative, judgmental, and easily “discomforted” without even knowing about the current varied topics of the country]. So why do they look at these topics on purpose?! So that they could complain and scream their so-called discomfort?
Q. Listening to what you have just said, I now believe that you have virtue and goodness thanks to your parents [you have been raised well]
A. That’s true [I owe it all to them]. Thanks to my parents, my high school expensive fees were always paid. And when I moved to seoul, they always sent me a monthly allowance which was enough to cover my life expenses. But when I turned 20 years old, I refused to get any help from them.
Q. What about now? Given your status and success, how did you give back to them?
A. I don’t send a monthly allowance. I sent them a credit card. And a couple of years ago, I got them an apartment. [T/N: Yoo Ah In is being modest and not braggy here. He didn’t disclose much about what he gave back to his family. In fact, according to media reports, in 2013, he bought his family 4 houses in Daegu, not just one apartment. According to the same sources, he gifted them lots of luxurious cars too]
Q. Do you have any ambitions?
A. Although I’m not a donation angel by any means [T/N: usually Korean stars who donate a lot are touted as “donations angels”], but I do have a few ambitions. I always ponder about ways to divide my earnings and share them with others. I might not live a splendid life [not be as rich as other stars], but I will always lend a hand to those who need help. I’m a person who could afford having three meals plus a late night snack on a daily basis. I can eat this much and still have extra money. So I believe that I should split the remainder money with others. Others might think of this as a bad idea, but I don’t think of my acquired earnings as an exclusive property of mine. [T/N: he thinks that his earnings should be shared with others, he should not be living lavishly and giving too little for charities]
| Part 3 |
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