Yoo Ah In “Ilgan Sports’ Drunk Talk” Interview Part 3: “I’m Thinking About Doing A Reality Show”
This is the last part of “Ilgan Sports’ Drunk Talk” Interview with Yoo Ah In [Part 3], 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 2 here)
Q. You really like to talk and you’re good with words. Do you read a lot of books?
A. I think that listening to others is by far more important than talking. It is important because during listening, you need to know how to filter what you have heard, and you also need to know how to partake at the conversation. Even if we don’t read books, the world is filled with other sources for knowledge. Many times, one would watch a TV drama, and end up having many life answers, and being able to live through lots of stories. If we saw these dramas and didn’t catch [missed on] the important points they raised, well, that would be a problem [we will miss the point and the life lessons these good dramas could provide]. Right now, reading one book has become so hard for me. I flip over from one page to another, but then, I have to think about the previous page for three hours straight. So it is even getting hard to go through pages. [T/N: Yoo Ah In is in fact an avid reader since his earliest years. He has always talked about his love for books. He means that reading has just become hard for him now. Due to how his mind gets engrossed with the pages he has just read, it becomes difficult for him to finish a single book. Going through pages takes an extremely long time for him]
Q. You have a lot on your mind.
A. I surely do. I know that some people might think that I’m pretending when I say that. [T/N: people might think that he’s only saying these things just to sound intellectual. The word Yoo Ah In used for ”pretending” is 허세. They call him “허세”; i.e. a person who pretends being intelligent and deep. They simply dismiss his intellect as fake]. Especially with how it is with people who read lots of books and graduate good Universities. You know those people can be strange. Besides, there are many movies that I don’t know of, and being an actor myself, that makes me feel so ashamed [T/N: he feels that he should increase his knowledge on movies, he has a lot to learn]. When movie buffs [experts on films and cinema] speak with me about movies, I feel so intimidated. I’m not capable of partaking in the conversation with them. [T/N/Fact: Yoo Ah In has been a well-read guy since forever. Since his debut, he has talked about his love for books. And although he loves reading, he also used to say that people shouldn’t adopt every thought they read in a book. He thinks that people should be aware and have their own thoughts, not let books shape their minds and beliefs. He reads fiction, non-fiction, poetry, philosophy, history, etc. As a result of his love for books, the way he writes/speaks could be described as different. He is very eloquent. He can express his thoughts quite easily. The vocabulary and structure he uses are different and could be difficult even for Koreans. His words and expressions have a literary feel to them. Even journalists think that they have to be well-prepared when they interview him. People who appreciate Yoo Ah In (that includes his fans of all ages, journalists, TV presenters, celebrities) admire this quality about Yoo Ah In. On the other hand, people who either dislike him, or simply find his words too difficult and complex to be understood, hate this intellectual side to him. With him talking about books and being unable to go from one page to another because of his jostling thoughts, readers might assume that he’s just trying too hard to sound smart and impressive. Especially with the stigma about books aficionados and elite universities graduates. People tend to think of some of them as pretentious. Apparently Yoo Ah In thinks the same 😀 He does believe that some of those people are actually weird and try-hard. He wants to convey that he’s just being honest. He’s not faking it, nor trying to impress others.]
Q. Go on. I’m all ears.
A. I want to talk about the mobile messenger gossip [T/N: the gossip people share via mobile apps such as kakaotalk and whatsApp. Recently in Korea, many tabloidish gossips have been created and shared via those apps. It’s the kind of gossip where lies and truths are all jumbled together, and many innocent people get slandered and hurt. Examples, sharing fake lists of actresses who work as escorts. Some even went too far listing the prices of those actresses. Many innocent names were thrown into this mess]. When I receive those messages, my heart really sinks. Although people feel disgusted with those slandering gossip, and would even exclaim in rage saying “what a load of nonsense!”, the truth of the matter is that those lies are always written and shared via those messenger mobile apps causing lots of misery and complications [to the slandered victims]. I want for people, who are going to read this interview, to know that I don’t agree with this behavior. [T/N: he doesn’t agree with taking people’s lives and reputation so lightly. He doesn’t agree with people irresponsibly sharing lies via these apps. These actions could ruin lives]
Q. You’re right on people who send this stuff.
A. I’ve actually asked them about it [T/N: he has asked those people, who enjoy the life of gossip mongering, about their behavior. He wanted them to explain themselves, he wanted to understand them] (laughing). Although I find these actions [sharing rumors via mobile apps] astonishing, shocking, and depressing, I don’t know why people shed light on this gossip. I’m curious to know the reason. Why do people have the habit of doing what they shouldn’t do at all?! Now I don’t care for what people [people in general] say in front of me, I’m curious to know what they whisper behind my back. I certainly want them to show me what they actually think of me. I’m asking them to show me their concealed horrible behavior. The type of behavior that could even turn out really ugly at times. [T/N: those gossip mongering people tend to act respectful in public, and behave the opposite way behind closed doors. Yoo Ah In wants them to reveal their ugly truth to him]
Q. And when you ask those people [who enjoy sharing gossip] around you, do you get an honest response out of them?
A. Those people, who love to spread gossip, have actually been raised with so much kindness and protection from their families. They are over thirty years old, yet so spoiled. They can’t even do basic things, like transferring money from their bank account to another. And I do understand that side of their lives [T/N: he can understand why they are acting this way, why they can rejoice over mindless gossip, and have fun spreading them around. They have been spoiled rotten by their parents. Their parents have never corrected their behavior. So they have grown up to be irresponsible, selfish, and unaware of the dangers their gossip mongering could bring upon those targeted by the vicious lies]. I think that I should have talked about this issue in my speech at the end of year awards ceremony [SBS Drama Awards 2015]. I should have said that I wish those overprotected green youngsters wouldn’t transform into monsters later on. I find it interesting that the public think of this type of behavior as natural and acceptable, yet they consider me strange [T/N: he’s alluding to how some of the netizens found him and his speech, at SBS Drama Awards 2015, weird]. I’m really puzzled. I just don’t know what’s right and what’s wrong anymore. I just know that I should live my life with a sober mind. [T/N: judging by how people don’t react against online bullying and gossip mongering and how they get outraged by the silliest things instead, the world has become confusing to him. It is rather puzzling when right and wrong get all twisted. And as a result, he feels that he has to live his life with a careful wide-awake attitude. He thinks that people can’t be completely trusted]
Q. When you see now your past SNS writings, how do you feel about them?
A. Of course there are stuff that I find embarrassing now. Things that make me ask myself “why did I write like that?”. I wrote stuff that were all wrong. Stuff that I want to delete. But there are not many of these SNS statements. And although I can delete them, I won’t.
Q. Why don’t you delete them?
A. I once wrote an essay on how perfect that age is. I was a young guy who knew nothing at that time. Although my ideas did change, when I see some of my earlier writings now, I do feel uncomfortable reading them. But I see no need to delete them. If I was that type of person [who deletes his past writings/tweets because he’s embarrassed about them now], I will be simply looking for an easy way out. I try to live my life without searching for an easy exit to my troubles. [T/N: he prefers owning up to his past mistakes, and learning from them]
Q. By any chance, do you have any complaints regarding your appearance/looks?
A. As you must already know, I’m not a good looking guy. I’m not an icon for good looks. I’m rather ambiguous/unclear looking [T/N: he means, with him, people can’t tell whether he’s handsome or actually homely looking. People can be undecided on his looks, because he can be both. People could think of him as handsome, while others could find him lacking in the looks department]. I’m not trying to be modest by calling myself ugly. That [the fact of him being ambiguous looking] even came up during my street casting and debut. Being unfortunate when it comes to looks can’t be helped. It’s just the reality of things. And it wouldn’t be great to contend/compete in the industry relying on my face, right? [T/N: he wouldn’t feel great if he landed roles because of his good looks, not acting chops]. If we look at it [good looks for actors] in this light, we might find it very appealing to be born with good looks. But looking at it from a different angle, it might not be fascinating at all. I do take good care of my skin, but not on a weekly basis though. [T/N: Since he says that appearances and good looks can’t be helped or controlled. It’s something people are born with. So although he can’t control having good looks, he can at least control having a good skin]
Q. When you act, your face gets optimized [when you act, your face becomes better looking /becomes handsome].
A. I think so. They say that faces that are able to act several characters are the ones most memorable. I think that for an actor: knowing how to smile beautifully, and how to smile coldly are by far more important than looking good. [T/N: he thinks that for an actor, being able to act out a wide range of nuanced feelings is more important than just looking good on the screen]
Q. Do you watch/control your weight?
A. When I debuted, I weighed 56kg. Throughout my career, my weight hasn’t changed drastically. Last year, during “Veteran” time [he means the “Veteran” promotional time], my body bulked up a bit. So when I look at my body at that time, I do have a sense of satisfaction with my appearance. Right now, I weigh 70kg, and I want to bulk up more. I also do exercise three or four times a week.
Q. The title “concept actor” has become attached to your name. [T/N: concept actor is a Korean term that describes actors with excellent acting chops, who could be totally different and unrecognizable from role to another. It describes actors who immerse themselves into the characters they play. It might be the Korean term for method acting. It is meant as praise for the actor’s superior acting skills. But at the same time, this term can be misused and thrown randomly and easily by Korean journalists/directors. Sometimes they use this term as an exaggerated compliment when they want to butter up a mediocre actor/actress]
A. You know, this term is extremely dangerous. Unlike others [who might enjoy being labeled as such], I find this modifier a little bit wrong. Think of how much I’ll be cussed out by others just because of this “concept actor criterion”? I believe that the title has its pros and cons. [T/N: Yoo Ah In doesn’t agree with being labeled as” concept actor.” Maybe because he thinks he is unworthy of such a big title, or because it comes with big responsibilities and expectations, which could be worrisome for actors. He also worries that the title, being so big, could warrant him some hate from those who are not very fond of his acting style. To him, the label could be good and bad at the same time]
Q. It’s rather difficult for you to speak [you find it hard to express yourself accurately as you speak. [T/N: The journalist is alluding to the fact that Yoo Ah In is better at expressing himself in writing. It’s a well-known fact that Yoo Ah In is truly an excellent writer]
A. I know, right? When I speak, I need to adjust my tone [T/N: he has to be mindful of his tone and how respectful it is. He’s referring to the use of honorifics, informal and formal speech. How he should never make any blunder when it comes to those criteria. We think that he feels that being careful not to make a mistake, when he speaks in a public forum, could be stifling for his self-expression]. I also should be considerate and respectful to people’s feelings. And while people might look at writing and think of it as easy, in my case, it is not. Words, in my opinion, are not intended only to convey or communicate ideas to another party. Besides, it is difficult to be easily accepted and embraced as a writer. I tend to choose words that are the closest to my nature/essence. And when I write, I also tend to violate grammar, and my Daegu dialect sometimes does manifest. [T/N: for him, words are not just tools used to converse with others. There’s so much more to them than that. They are mediums for self-expression. He tends to choose vocabulary that truly expresses his character. Not words that people find more agreeable. He violates grammatical rules intentionally. He is a master at playing with grammar and vocabulary. That’s actually Yoo Ah In’s writing technique that gained him so much recognition from professional writers and fans alike]
Q. Do you have a flaw that needs to be fixed?
A. I have no concept of time [he is never punctual/never on time]. Although everyone in my team calculates time before scheduled events quite thoroughly [so that he could make it on time], I still tend to space out, waste time, and walk around in an aimless manner, and end up being late. Just a few days ago, I had an event to attend and I was so late that I got told off [he means his latest McCafe fan-signing event]. I think that I should come to my senses in regards to punctuality, since I’m getting older, especially that I must never cause harm to others [by being late]. I’m trying my hardest to be professional at work. So since I often get scolded about being late, I do feel that I need to get my act together [T/N: he thinks that he should act his age when it comes to being punctual to appointments and events. He thinks that the way he’s insensible about time is so childish and not acceptable, and he need to get himself organized and on time]
Q. You made a pledge to yourself, right [a pledge to be punctual]?
A. Well I don’t do well with pledges/promises. I tend to meet up with people [friends] spontaneously [without planning] a lot (laughing). Apart from work, I don’t schedule appointments with exact hours. I’m always like “let’s meet up at the time that works for us”.
Q. So if roles were reversed, and your friend was late, you do understand, right?
A. If we scheduled an appointment, and my friend was late, I’ll get angry. That’s why I told you that I don’t do appointments. If it was an appointment, I would tell my friend “I want to go on time, so that you don’t wait up on me”. Even during my school days, I used to be late a lot.
Q. Do you look up all the comments that people write about you?
A. I read a lot of comments. I feel that there is a genre of people called “댓글러”. Their profession is being “악플러”. [T/N: 댓글러 is an internet slang that means people who writes online comments below a post, a video, etc. 악플러/Akpuler is internet slang for evil comment-er. Explanation: 악플”(ak-peul) means a malicious/evil comment in Korean. The evil comment (Akpeul) is a compound word of “evil (악)” and the English word “reply” pronounced as ripeul (리플]. The term describes those who comments evilly]. They are not paid to do that, yet they gladly devote their energy to this act. Logging in [to websites like Naver and the like], and hitting the “publish” button is their job. That’s exactly what the word 악플러 stands for. And although they are people who write bad comments, why do I need to fight them?
Q. Aren’t you hurt [because of the malicious comments you receive]?
A. Because I’m a celebrity, I should be able to take cuss words/negative comments [I should have a thick skin when it comes to bad words thrown at me]. Of course I hear the negative noises. But it’s not like actors are judged by those few negative words. Those [malicious] words are only a portion of people’s comments [they don’t represent the feelings nor the opinions of the whole nation]. I think that actors don’t need to be caught up into such things. [T/N: he thinks that actors should ignore the malicious comments. They shouldn’t waste their time commenting or defending themselves. They shouldn’t fret over the little negativity they receive, since it only represents a small portion of the public opinion. According to Part 2 of the interview, Yoo Ah In used to be agitated and hurt over rumors in his early years. He used to speak up and declare the rumors as untrue. But later on, he learned not to sweat the little things. He learned that he doesn’t need to acknowledge the hate or lies with a response]
Q. You often wear puzzling outfits [weird outfits that are hard to comprehend].
A. Actually 90% of the outfits that caused a debate [among netizens] are picked by me. Although the public think that the stylists are the only ones who decide what the actors’ wear, what the actors actually choose matters greatly. Sometimes I do wear weird outfits. I’m meticulous when it comes to clothes. I hate wearing basic suits. I hate outfits that are stereotypical of what an actor should wear. Generally, when actors are dressed in a distinct unusual style, I hear reactions like “his coordi must be his anti”. But in my case, I am the anti, bwahaha 😀
Q. Nonetheless, I know that you do have a stylist.
A. At events that require an ordinary look, I’m the one who picks the clothes. [T/N: by ordinary he means outfits that are normally worn in real life, such as: fan signings, movies premieres, boutiques openings, fashion events, etc. Whatever he wears to those events, it is him who picks the outfits]. But when I’m filming for a pictorial or an advertisement, the stylist brings the clothes that fit the concept. At situations like these, when we stick to the experts, the job gets done, and we come out with a rather better styling. Besides, almost all of the clothes I wear in these photoshoots/filming sessions are mine. I prefer not to wear sponsored wardrobe [T/N: he wears his own clothes nearly in all of the pictorials/adverts he films. Obviously he has a stance against wearing sponsored clothes]. My stylist right now has been working with me for 10 years. We have been working together for this long.
Q. Do you ever think of turning your attention to TV variety programs?
A. Yes, but not the scripted planned variety shows. Actually right now, I’m thinking about doing a reality.
Q. Even though it might not be a good idea? [T/N: the grammatical structure the journalist has used here denotes feeling worried about the outcome. Obviously he’s hinting at the controversy that “Launch My Life” has caused for Yoo Ah In]
A. I was criticized a lot [because of “Launch My Life”]. People asked then: “what’s the matter with his personality?” [T/N: the directors of that show admitted recently to having manipulated the editing of “Launch My Life”. They admitted during an interview that they wanted to create a bad boy cold image for Yoo Ah In]. Still I do think that the manipulative devilish editing was necessary. Thanks to that editing [and the negative responses I received as a result], now I know what type of characters people want on these TV shows. I got to know what type of words people hope to hear. Now I know, with unscripted shows, what situations the viewers want to see. If you wanted the show to be fun, you have to completely accept those requirements. That, however, doesn’t mean that these shows should have lots of fictional lines. I’m certainly going to do it soon. [T/N: he wants his show to be entertaining, but without resorting to fake staged lines]
Q. So you do have a plan for it?
A. Well I’ve thought about uploading the videos [of the reality show] directly to a website and make it available free of charge. I want to see what if a three hour interview, like this one, was to be televised. If it was shown unedited and raw, I think that the viewers will be able to know me better.
Q. How would you like to live in the future? [do you have any wishes for the future regarding your life?]
A. I do have everything right now. Faking being tough and smart. Being rude. Being miserable. Feeling insignificant. Being selfish. Wanting to bother people. I have many feelings of this sort. Of course, I do have the opposite of these things too. [T/N: by saying “I do have everything”, he means that he has it all, the horrible feelings and thoughts, and the exact opposite of them. He has the good and the bad]. I want to live a little and have fun. I want to contribute. I want to create something. I want to complete works. It could be a clothing item. It could be a painting/sketch. I should become a person who can express/articulate himself through various mediums. [END]
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