Director Lee Jun Ik praises Yoo Ah In in his latest interview + Reminiscing Song Kang Ho & Kim Hee Ae’s thoughts on him

On the 17th of July, Sport Seoul published a special interview with famous “popular culture” director Lee Jun Ik (Sado/The Throne, Dongju, The King and The Clown). Lee Jun Ik garnered a lot of praise since his films always deal with the daily life of people, the painful of the times, and the optimistic of life. In this interview, he talked about his fellow directors, his works and the actors who worked with him in the past, such as Lee Jun Ki, Kang Haneul, and Yoo Ah In.

We saw an instagram post for the female journalist who did the interview with Lee Jun Ik hereActual date of the interview is 3rd of July. But they just published it on July 17th. In her caption, she wrote a very general summary of his comments on Yoo Ah In. But in the published interview, his commentary is more detailed.

Now, here are Lee Jun Ik’s thoughts on Yoo Ah In in his recent interview~


The reporter asked, “I’m also curious about the energy of other actors: Yoo Ah In, Kang Haneul, and Park Jung Min”.

Lee Jun Ik answered, “Yoo Ah In definitely has an absolute value in relation to what he has to handle in acting. His standard of acting is extremely high [note: he means that unlike other actors who are pleased with whatever acting they can perform, Yoo Ah In doesn’t feel satisfied till he does his ultimate best. He has very high standards]. As a baseball example, Yoo Ah In’s ball is a fastball. Yoo Ah In’s acting flies at a speed of 170 km/h. That’s the straightforward way to describe it. And I am the catcher here. I have to watch the monitor and make sure that Yoo Ah In’s fast ball is well-received. The moment I receive that tremendous fastball and scream, ‘yes that’s just perfect!’, my hands have that proper burning/stinging sensation. Therefore doing Sado was very enjoyable. Song Kang Ho throwing a curveball, and Yoo Ah In throwing a fastball. It was too much fun and very electrifying/thrilling.”

He added, “I will also describe Kang Haneul and Park Jung Min in baseball terms. It was very strange with Kang Haneul. While his ball was flying, I could not see it well. However, surely, a strike occurs. And Park Jung Min threw the ball properly. With these two, although the ball is definitely well-received right in my hand, the feeling was different. It was very refreshing.”

[Baseball terminology:

  • Fastball: It’s simply a type of pitch that results from a pitcher throwing the baseball as hard and as fast as possible. For years, the best baseball pitchers in the major leagues strived to reach the 100 miles per hour (mph) mark for a fastball. 
  • A breaking ball/curveball: is a pitch that does not travel straight as it approaches the batter; it will have sideways or downward motion on it, sometimes both. A breaking ball is more difficult than a straight pitch for a catcher to receive as breaking pitches sometimes hit the ground (whether intentionally, or not) before making it to the plate. A curveball does not curve side to side; it drops as it reaches the strike zone. And blocking a breaking ball requires thought and preparation by the catcher. The pitcher then, must have confidence in the catcher, and the catcher in himself, to block any ball in the dirt; if there are runners on base, they will likely advance if the ball gets away from the catcher. 
  • A strike in baseball results when a batter swings at and misses a pitch, does not swing at a pitch in the strike zone or hits a foul ball that is not caught.]


Interestingly (or coincidentally), in the old interviews for Song Kang Ho during the promotion of Sado in 2015, Song Kang Ho also praised Yoo Ah In with similar baseball term as Lee Jun Ik just did 😀 Let’s find out what he said:

In the interview with Sports Q, September 2015, Song Kang Ho talked about Yoo Ah In,

When I saw the movie ‘Wandeugi’ (Punch), I felt that the trouble in his face was so good. The actor’s face should have a variety of feelings, but this friend showed so many emotions and characters [in Wandeugi]. I found that very charming. With this work [Sado], even though there were scenes that could be sufficiently expressed using techniques [acting techniques], he was very alert and acted while being faithful to his raw emotions and honest feelings. Any actor during filming becomes obsessed with the temptation to lean on techniques*. However, it was really impressive to see this friend always entrusting himself to his honest emotions, even if they were rough or not refined [raw]. It was astonishing, and it made me feel so proud. Consequently, it was Yoo Ah In, not me, who said the straightforward and harsh lines in the movie. 

[Note: “lean on techniques” means acting utilizing certain techniques, instead of utilizing real and deep emotions. They do that in order to avoid feeling drained after acting scenes that are extremely demanding, physically and emotionally]


Also in mydaily, September 2015, Song Kang Ho mentioned similar thing as well. He said,

An actor is tempted to approach with a technique when acting on a character. But Yoo Ah In is a person who let out his honest feeling, he is acting faithfully to his original feelings. When I saw it, Yoo Ah In is an actor who throws a fastball. As a senior, I think he is remarkable and surprising.


Reading Lee Jun Ik’s thought on Yoo Ah In in his recent interview, some DC fans brought back Kim Hee Ae’s interviews from the second press conference of “Secret Love Affair”, March 2014. Some of it we already read before, but some parts are new to us. Check them out~

Kim Hee Ae about Yoo Ah In in multiple interviews:

Looking at his outward appearance, Yoo Ah In is very cute. His eyes are really bright/clear. But he also has the rugged man charms. He plays the piano beautifully. From the audience’s perspective, Yoo Ah In looks cute and pretty, but as I act the scenes with him, he is a true actor. I even wonder if there ever was an actor like him. He’s a person with multiple charms.


It is so nice to have an actor with Yoo Ah In’s character. Yoo Ah In does not choose the comfortable road. He is a person who worries a lot as an actor. It’s really rare to see such an actor-like actor.

[Note: “actor-like actor” means a true actor/someone who chooses his roles and works with care, the way true actors are supposed to be like]


Many people know that so well. He’s really very actor-like. Ten, twenty years later, if he kept on agonizing and contemplating/reflecting on himself, and going his way as an actor, I really look forward to what he will be like then. If we look at foreign actors, there are many of them who get old, keep on performing, and take care of their appearances. I hope that this will be the case with Yoo Ah In. 

[Note: Kim Hee Ae talks of how many Hollywood top stars, unlike their Korean counterparts, manage to keep their stardom, maintain their desire to act and star in films, and take care of their good looks as they get older. She wishes that Yoo Ah In will be like those stars]


He looks so beautiful. He’s well-balanced. He acts so well. He’s just very actor-like. When I was in my twenties, I just felt that I was frantic (unable to think or judge properly). These days, young actors are all great, but I don’t know much about them. With Yoo Ah In, not only as an actor, but as a human being too, I suppose that he spends lots of his time all by himself.


I think that he’s a person who worries a lot, and who has strong sense of himself. And he’s just in his twenties. So I wonder how cool he will be when he’s in his thirties. When I was a twenty something, I thought that I was a fool. But Yoo Ah In is very smart. I think that he might become a representative of actors, and an opinion leader among the Korean people. I think that he should exert lots of effort [to be the leader that she expects him to be]. To do that, he must go through a lot of trial and error.


Awww at the part “representative of actors/opinion leader for Koreans”. Kim Hee Ae described him so well. She’s an amazing judge of character👍 

Hopefully we get to see director Lee Jun Ik, Song Kang Ho and Kim Hee Ae working together again with Yoo Ah In in the future 🙂


Translated & Notes by The Sassy Translator of YAI International Fans Community

© Yoo Ah In 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.

5 Responses to “Director Lee Jun Ik praises Yoo Ah In in his latest interview + Reminiscing Song Kang Ho & Kim Hee Ae’s thoughts on him”
  1. Mari says:

    So proud of YAI for getting these 3 respected and awesome sunbaes’ praises ❤

  2. Sakura says:

    He should play the King.

    I mean he should play the King, period, in historical dramas.

    I mean he is the King of period dramas.

  3. Pina Pipino says:

    No surprise about the director’s comments; as a fan who’s repeatedly watching YAI’s historical as well as contemporary characters performed with passion, it’s easy to realize that he puts his all on each performance.

  4. Gear says:

    Yoo Ah In is a very passionate method actor ❤

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