Yoo Ah In’s past directors talk about him

Yoo Ah In as Yongtae in Shim's Family. Taken from "세이더" at Naver.

Director Noh Dong Seok (Boys of Tomorrow, 2006)
“I decided to cast Yoo Ah In within five minutes of meeting him. I asked him what kind of person he thought Jongdae was. Unlike other actors, who passionately offered their lengthy analyses, he stared out the window for a long time and suddenly said, “He’s sad.” With that one phrase, I felt Jongdae.”

“I fell for Yoo Ah In at first sight. Of course, he also had good looks. But he had an extremely different feel from the other actors whom I had met during casting. Yoo Ah In was nervous when he met me. Before his identity as an actor, he possessed twenty years of his natural self as Yoo Ah In. In contrast to his noticeably good looks, he was filled with a furious energy. When I hear the word ‘youth,’ I think of Yoo Ah In. The true main character of this movie, I think, is [not Jongdae but] Yoo Ah In.”

Director Jung Yoon Cheol (Shim’s Family, 2007)
“Yoo Ah In had come to see me in the past to audition for <Marathon>, and after his recent performance as Yongtae I had his name marked down. He is an actor with enormous range who can play anything from a young child to a transformed maniacal character, and his face is not only good-looking but also portrays emotions so well that it makes me wonder if he won’t be Korea’s Odagiri Joe.”

Director Min Kyu Dong (Antique, 2008)
“On the one hand, Yoo Ah In was fearsomely experienced. He already knew exactly how to act with rhythm and harmony. He was a true expert. No matter how long his lines were, just one sentence could tell you how good his rhythm was. Most rookie actors wait around for their turn in the script and then get so nervous that they mess up their first lines and everything else completely falls apart, but Yoo Ah In got it done in one stroke of the knife. That’s why I purposefully gave him long sets of lines. He’s an actor whose talent is most evident in long takes and full shots.” (Screen, December 2008 issue)

Director Oh Dal Kyun (Sky and Sea, 2009)
“But I think Yoo Ah In is better than Yoo Seung Ho. Yoo Seung Ho was young in <Heart Is>, but Yoo Ah In was already fully an actor, so his level of understanding was higher and, more than anything else, he has a light in his eyes similar to James Dean.”

Director Kim Jung Kyu (Man Who Can’t Get Married, 2009)
Asked twice if there were any young actors for whom he had high expectations, Director Kim chose Yoo Ah In and Kim So Eun.
“Their acting skills are better than other actors their age…. Especially Yoo Ah In—-we did just one read-through of the script and I [remember thinking] he was extremely good.”

Thanks to 세이더 at Naver, who compiled these tear-jerking quotes on her website blog.naver.com/purpledoll3 and also provides the gorgeous photo at the beginning of this post. Translated by jaeshinah.

21 thoughts on “Yoo Ah In’s past directors talk about him

  1. “I fell for Yoo Ah In at first sight. Of course, he also had good looks. But he had an extremely different feel from the other actors…..” <— same here director….same here lol XD

  2. Yoo Ah-in auditioned for Marathon? Wouldn’t that be cool to see my two favorite actors working the screen together. The past is the past, but the future awaits. I hope it comes true. It happened him YAI and Song Joongki, so I hope it will happen between YAI and Cho Seungwoo. When that happens, expect sparks flying, people. No, more like fire. Or maybe sparks that causes fire.

  3. Ah-In ah… everything about you is just amazing. He is unlike other actors who act in search for fame. He is actually searching for himself among the roles he got. And he successfully found part of himself, as Eom Hong Shik in the disguise of Moon Jae Shin, in Sungkyunkwan Scandal.

  4. This:

    “He is an actor with enormous range who can play anything from a young child to a transformed maniacal character, and his face is not only good-looking but also portrays emotions so well that it makes me wonder if he won’t be Korea’s Odagiri Joe.”

    And this:

    “He already knew exactly how to act with rhythm and harmony.”

    Are exactly the things that make me fall for Ah In in the first place. It’s true I checked out his works after I know him from SKKS, but his characters in Boys of Tomorrow and Strongest Chil-woo are the ones that really impressed me. As Dongjae, Ah in showed a remarkable versatility: one minute he’s like a kid joking around than the next his lonely gaze can break your heart. In SKKS I believe that’s the reason why so many people are infected with the Gulo virus too.

    What’s more striking is the rhythm of his acting. I have taken a theater class for fun in highschool so I kinda know how important rhythm is in acting. That’s why this scene of Ah In in Strongest Chil-woo is just a blast:

    In Boys of Tomorrow, he also has a scene that can’t receive more praise from me in term of rhythm: when Dong-jae cries and yells in his brother’s arms after he loses his money.

    But I think Yoo Ah In is better than Yoo Seung Ho. Yoo Seung Ho was young in , but Yoo Ah In was already fully an actor, so his level of understanding was higher and, more than anything else, he has a light in his eyes similar to James Dean.”

    It’s so interesting the director compares Ah Ina and Yoo Seung Ho, because I also think Yoo Seung Ho is a very promising young actor. Watching Flame of Ambition right now and YSH’s acting shines so brightly with the more veteran actors. I have so much faith in Korean cinema nowadays as long as they have these young actors around!

    One thing in common in the directors’ praise for Ah In is he’s pretty experienced and pro in the business: they seem to be very pleased that Ain often nailed it in just a few shoots! Of course our boy received the Director Cut’s award for a reason!

    Korea’s Odagiri Joe and Korea’s Jame Dean? Hell yeah I’m looking forward to a day when he furthers his career to that level! I’ll be there to give him the crown.

    Thanks so much jaeshinah for this post. It totally makes me proud!

    • I think Yoo Seungho is in a different league. Either that or he’s still labeled with child actor. He is only 17, after all. I’ve never watched YSH in a movie before so not quite sure. YSH has a long way to go, but he has a lot of potentials. He just sucks you in.

      But I agree that YAI is very awesome at acting. He was like born with it. You can’t learn stuff he emanates in acting school. I’m not familiar with Odagiri Joe or James Dean but after I googled, they’re pretty cool people. YAI is following suit!

  5. Oh yeah just an update that Ah In didn’t win in the Soompi street team contest this time. He came second, close to Jay Park though 😦 Well the hongbeokseo needs more power in order to beat the Jay walkers!

  6. Thanks for this post. It helps reassure (the non film critic) me that what I felt about YAI as an actor is right! I’m DEFINITELY looking forward to seeing more of his work. I’m very curious about how deep & dynamic this chameleon of an actor can really take himself to through various different types of role.

    Thanks again for this post! ^^

  7. Why I am not surprise at all. Prior to this positive write ups/commentaries from previous directors it serves as a confirmation how good YAi was. I first saw him in SKKS and in HWCM and that’s enough for me to swoon over his acting prowess cause if he ain’t that good then we won’t be smitten by Moon Jaeshin virus that goes pandemic . But I nearly squeee upon reading not only I but as well as the indie director would acknowledge YAi resembles Odagiri. ^^whooot! hooot!

  8. Whoah, these are really heavy praises!! Thanks a lot for posting these!

    I think he’s one of those people who is just a natural born actor. I remember seeing him for the first time in Antique and I just felt like acting came effortlessly for him. He could have easily overdone his character, who was so hot tempered, but he played it with enough beats and subtlety that his character instantly felt 3 dimensional.

  9. “He’s sad…” —;;
    Why are you alway sad, YAI..? ㅜㅜ
    At next time, you’ll be happier than anyone… I really hope so…

  10. I am so glad that someone has the same feeling with me! Yes, I saw the similarities in James Dean and YAI, the loneliness in their eyes. And I just finished watching Strongest Chil Woo, YAI’s acting was excellent, he overshone the other main characters.

  11. thanks for sharing… :X :* :O
    -“I decided to cast Yoo Ah In within five minutes of meeting him”
    -“Yoo Ah In was fearsomely experienced. He already knew exactly how to act with rhythm and harmony. He was a true expert”
    -“He is an actor with enormous range who can play anything from a young child to a transformed maniacal character, and his face is not only good-looking but also portrays emotions so well that it makes me wonder if he won’t be Korea’s Odagiri Joe.”
    -“he has a light in his eyes similar to James Dean.”
    YAI #1! I felt really proud of him! love him even more when I know he was great before then kakaka LOL!!!!

  12. Why does every word that come out YAI mouth actually kill me, when he comment “He’s sad.”About his charter Jongdae in BoT. I can imagen how he stared out the window for a long time and suddenly said that word.His word really stab my heart 1000 time, but still I want to hear it more. crazy aren’t it. Not fall just his look but his words.Salute to you YAI. Just kill me softly with your words…

  13. ~ Brilliance complement from all Directors… Bless them.
    ~ Ain’s enthusiasm and creative thinking generated by his pure inner showing his best acting ability with touching and sincerity…. Bless Yu Ain…
    Thank you all….

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