It seems like 10ASIA loves our Ah In a lot. Before the recent lengthy interview, the paper had written a beautiful piece about Yoo Ah In’s acting career and unique personality. Credits go to the translator, ancientkingdom unnie. I edited the English translation with the help of jaeshinah, but without understanding the original piece, I find the task quite difficult. Please don’t hesitate to point out if I misinterpret anything.
And just a note: today is an important day for ancientkingdom unnie and she is very NERVOUS (yet she still doesn’t forget to finish up this article for us!). Please give her a lot of cheers and goodluck wishes!!!
Nephew: You will be a good boy?
-Boys of Tomorrow
The greatest physicist who found the theory of relativity. Ah-in is the name mixed with the German word “Ein” and the physicist “Einstein”, and it is his stage name after his debut into the entertainment world. His real name is Hong Shik. He was a student of an art high school when he was casted in front of the school gate. To prepare for a career in entertainment, he left his hometown, Dae Gu (It’s a city of Korea) for Seoul. He thought “The school system didn’t fit me,” and “It will be great to be an entertainer,” so he wanted to be an entertainer. Most of all, he was not able to feel contented with just “drawing,” because he had a “great desire to express himself”.
After quitting school, he sometimes cried watching groups of peers in school uniform. He wants to miss nothing during his lifetime anymore because of this experience. He spent his late teens and early twenties acting in dramas and movies instead of studying in school. Casually, Ah-in uses his real name because he doesn’t care whatever he is called by others.
The actress who co-starred with him in KBS Banolim. Ah-In played the role of boyfriend to Ko Ah-Ra. He thought “I just have to add one more thing- shooting drama -to my normal life.”, but Banolim led him to a different direction from what he originally thought. He had 150,000 members in his fan club, the filming was operated by perfectly planned schedule, so he was too busy to find time to breath.
At first, he was happy to hear the cheering of his fans. Then suddenly, his personality and behavior became twisted and he was not sure what he really wanted. He once said, “I hate that people recognize me.” He even thought about quitting (acting). While he went through this kind of confusion, he realized, “a kid who starts acting living as an entertainer needs the time to organize his or her own thoughts and thinks by his or her own self regardless of what is right or wrong”. In Banolim, he majored in art, smiled brightly and purely, but he was just a teenage boy who pretended to smoke to attract his girlfriend’s attention. Perhaps, what he needed at that time was not the popularity of a star, but the attention from someone who could listen to his teenage troubles as the way they were. Puberty-teenagers go through this period, showing their most inner worries in front of the greatest number of people.
The director of the 2006 movie Boys of Tomorrow. Yoo Ah-in played the main character. Before filming Banolim, he was only a would-be actor who had a blind yearning, which was “the hope that everyone watches me glitter (as if?) when someone beams the light on me.” Yoo Ah-in decided to become someone who pursued the work few people wanted to do. “Break through and take your shell off!” he was once told by Ro Dong-Seok. The director wanted him to act freely instead of being aware of his own performance as in Banolim, and then Yoo Ah-In realized that to act was to be absorbed in the character directly rather than to perform with skills. (I think they’re talking about “natural” acting vs. acting). Jong-Dae, Ah-In’s character in the movie, is helpless against the whole world, but, at the same time, he wants to be strong, so he wants to have a gun. Yoo Ah-In (naturally) expressed this distorted youth with his gloomy and feeble stares, before he planned to act in a certain way. It was the moment the actor and the character met each other for the presentation of youth- just like Ah-In said; ” The world is more horrible than the ghost.” From Boys of Tomorrow, You Ah-In started to act “to absorb the character into himself rather than to change himself (for the character), because the character comes from within himself.”
The director who cast Yoo Ah-In for Shim’s Family. In Boys of Tomorrow, Ah-in wanted to tell “the story of his own.” However, through Shim’s Family, he learned how to work with other people. Cheon Ho-jin (actor who played Father) smashed his head from time to time while teaching him how to act (I think this implies intimacy, not domestic violence!). And as he worked with his co-actors, Yoo Ah-In had a “bright side popping up to mind” experience. He could broaden his acting in this environment. Jong-dae of Boys of Tomorrow, who ran into a difficult adolescence with every fiber of his body, was a perfect role for him because he could express his own concerns in their raw form through Jong-Dae. On the other hand, Yong-Dae of Shim’s Family was a high school boy who thought he had some birth secret and believed he had been a king in the past life because he was too normal and worthless. Instead of portraying Yong-Dae as a rebellious teenager to mirror his own self, Ah-In made him a childish and geeky boy. So he found a point of compromise between the unusual setting and the tone of reality. It was the moment he could step forward to being a professional actor: to find compromise between “acting as himself in reality and beyond the reality.”
Director of Antique Bakery. He said, “I want to record the youth sparkling and burning like a flame” when he casted Yoo Ah-In. For the first time in his acting career, Yoo Ah-In analyzed the film script with his co-actors, and they got friendly over a drink. The young man who “used to be fascinated with something different about myself” started being concerned about “a role I have to play for the twenty three years of age.” Ki-Bum was very different from his past roles, because while Ki-Bum had a critical eye-injury, and had to quit boxing, he wanted to live positively in everything; so Ki-Bum was a very different character from his past roles. However, Ah-In portrayed Ki-Bum as a kid, who could overcome his fear because he was just an immature kid, by acting in a little bit high mood for every aspects (of Kibum) instead of making him a mature boy who silently overcame (endured) his sufferings. In KBS Drama The Man Who Can’t Marry, his character seems mature and economically capable but he is just a kid in his romantic life. He thinks like a grown-up in one (professional) world but remains childish in the other (romantic) world. That was Yoo Ah-In’s boyish youth-Yoo Ah In who considered the words “act manipulatively” as the evidence of (his) gradual adjusting to the world.
His co-star in KBS Strongest Chil-Woo. Yoo Ah-In played a swordman suffering from a will-less destiny-the nemesis of Eric’s character Chil-woo. Although this was a key supporting role, much as important as a main character, the filming memory was unpleasant to him. He was an actor who wanted to absorb in the character, but in a historical drama, sometimes he had to make his acting technical for the dramatic effects; that was uneasy for him. So was the communication (with others) while analyzing his character. It is true that he got on top of this issue if he became a professional actor. However, to the person who said “The only thing I can do is acting” and wanted to express “someone totally same with me,” the performance can be his unfinished school years and his diary (I’m not quite clear of this part). He had faith; It is an art to express his thought. He talked about writing, “I am not sure if extensive reading is really necessary because I mimic the writer’s writing style when I read books.” That will be his homework to embrace and harmonize the world of his own acting-a world in which he cherish his acting as he says, “Acting is my life itself”-a world of the professional actor which requires him to perform regardless of whether he doesn’t want or not. (Here it’s something like: whether he thinks he fits the role naturally or not, he still can do the role as a pro)
Actor and the film producer of Sky and Ocean, which Yoo Ah-In starred in last year. Ah-In expressed that Joo Ho-Sung had gone beyond his duty, taking over the the director’s jobs etc….during the shooting of this film. There are different opinions regarding this accusation: “It was a courageous comment,” or “It was an indiscriminate attitude to a big senior.” In those days, he said “[his] tear is a wound of our time (that reminds us to) reflect on our conducts and heal it together” on his twitter. This comment seems to “be interfering,” like he said. However, as acting is a form of self-expression, his characters and himself can be bound together by the key word “Youth.”
Like acting, expressing his thoughts in writing can be a way to self-express and he wants to use “the right to speak and the influence which [he has]” to the right way. Of course, you can see this as “showing off.” However, from his debut till now, he has enlarged his own world on the common denominator of youths, those who have awareness and grow. In years to come, things will be re-examined and he may be criticized. However, that (his speaking up) is better than doing nothing or concerning only for one’s own stability (and faking ignorance).
His character in Sungkyunkwan Scandal. Gul-ro concerns about his present time like Jong-Dae in Boys of Tomorrow, is a warm-hearted person to the girl he loves just as Ah-In in Banolim, and expresses his thoughts straightforwardly just as Ki-Bum in Antique Bakery. Also, in matters of love, he seems like a boy, but about the problems of the world, just as Ah-In himself, Gul-ro doesn’t beat around the bush, shooting Hongbeokseo (the Red Messenger)). Playing this character in SKKS, Yoo Ah In consolidates the many facets of youth that his characters have experienced. Gul-ro has a fresh romantic storyline like many youths, but at the same time, he carries adults’ agonies about the political situations that drives youth out of the world. When the two aspects/faces/worlds converge, the youths grow up emotionally and socially, so they’re precarious but beautiful. And this is the greatest virtue in SKKS. Becoming Gul-ro, Yoo Ah-In uses every moment to put the whole feeling of the drama into the youth he expresses. His twitter address is “seeksik.” (Which means) Um Hong-Sik who seek knowledge bravely. Sometimes, during the process there will be failure and he will be misunderstood. However, that is just youth. The process to seek the answer is more meaningful than the answer itself.