[ITW] Cine 21 interview with Yoo Ah In, Nov. 2010

 

A REVOLUTIONARY BOY

Drama <Sungkyunkwan Scandal’s> Yoo Ah In

A good actor’s face has the power to stop time. Very rarely, if the gods allow it, they seem to turn back the hands of time (not only because they are so good-looking). Recently, actor Yoo Ah In did just that through his portrayal of defiant Guh-roh Moon Jaeshin in the drama <Sungkyunkwan Scandal>. Those who became adults had just barely captured and nailed shut the box of their pure blue [T/N: young] dreams when they were loudly shaken awake. The mirage of an utterly young boy who wouldn’t have been noticed if he had brushed by the girls he couldn’t even talk to while walking in the street floats before the eyes of the girls, now women, who sigh with regret. The time that Yoo Ah In has been longingly stirring up may indeed by the idea of youth we never had the chance to enjoy.

In the entertainment business, most stars naturally act out roles representing youth, but it is rare to find the icon who fills the screen with the ‘light of a meadow’ [T/N: a metaphor used to refer to his deeply natural and three-dimensional acting] that truly feels expressive of what it means to be young today; a light that cannot be created simply by storytelling and machinery. Yoo Ah In has arrived at the spot once occupied by Jung Woo Sung and Ryu Seung Bum. Moreover, Yoo Ah In, who is a child of the generation for whom self-expression and living are synonymous, is an unprecedented type of young star who communicates through Twitter and Cyworld with the world that swarms his life. When fans who gather at filming locations press their camera shutters, he takes pictures of them through his car window and uploads them online, and when reporters take out tape recorders, this actor says, “It’s unfair. I want to record and use it, too!” The 21st century actor Yoo Ah In who insists, “I’m a netizen, too” doesn’t allow his fans to unilaterally project their desires on him or imagine what he’s like. He doesn’t give off the image of someone you can fill with whatever content you want [T/N: i.e. project your desires onto him, as many fans do to celebrities]; he is hard at work communicating his thoughts and emotions. He says [to his fans], “Your star is this kind of person; if we can, let’s go together and do our best.”

In a reality in which two-way [mutual] communication networks can simultaneously become fast-tracks to misinterpretation and misunderstanding, this is a precarious game. Yet his first film, <Boys of Tomorrow>, makes one wonder, superstitiously, whether the endless blending of life and acting might become Yoo Ah In’s destiny. The characters in the movie call Jongdae (Yoo Ah In) “my dream” without much explanation, and become fixated on the young boy, each in their own way. Rather than telling one story, the movie has the peculiar structure of first being centered on the existence of a young boy named Jongdae, and then branching out into different directions around him. Then 20-year-old Yoo Ah In wasn’t so much ‘acting’ as he was bowing with his entire body [T/N: introducing himself] toward the world called ‘movies’ that was to become his future. I’m planning on throwing myself at you; shall we give it a try? 7-year [veteran] actor Yoo Ah In said that he thinks about the roles he’s played—the boys Ah In, Jongdae, Yongtae, Kibum, Heuksan—and wonders what they might be doing, and where, if they continued to live today. If this kid [T/N: referring to the characters YAI has played] had grown up in a different environment for just a few years, might not he have become that [kind of] kid. Indeed, these incomplete life stories he has gathered are also representative of his own twenty-five years. “[Because] I don’t like to think that I’ve spent my life playing out the identities of strangers.” [T/N: Yoo Ah In is saying that he doesn’t think of the characters he’s played as separate strangers. Their lives continue; they were created from within him, and in a way, they are still a part of him. To think of them as strangers who have nothing to do with him would be too awful, because he has given so much of himself to them. Thank you to InK for explaining this point! If I have misinterpreted your words, please do let me know and I will edit this space again.^^]

Yoo Ah In is [still] in the process of becoming [himself]. Watching him confront his potential talents and [future] career as an actor will be even more beautiful to see than what he has already achieved. I once read an article in which <Boys of Tomorrow> director Noh Dong Seok said, “Yoo Ah In was looking at me. [Subject missing] was nervous.” [T/N: Because the Korean language often relies on implied, not explicit, subjects to create sentences, sentences like the above can become ambiguous. Here, it isn’t clear whether Director Noh is saying he, Director Noh, was nervous, or whether he meant Yoo Ah In was nervous, and the reporter exploits this ambiguity to make her point. Thank you so much to InK for explaining this nuance.] Though it is impossible to confirm to whom the subject was meant to refer in this quote, I [can’t help but] believe that the nervous party [was not Yoo Ah In] but rather the director. It isn’t because he’s good-looking or has the power of popularity. The nervousness Yoo Ah In evokes [in others] derives from his overwhelming honesty, and this young man who boldly believes that life can be made into another kind of art is one who gives mediocre adults the chills.

His body, which is so skinny it seems that if you turn away for one moment it will turn into a shadow, has until now moved and lived as if it doesn’t want to leave a trace. But once he started talking, the thoughts in his head came out in an overflowing torrent, and his limbs like winter trees stripped of leaves began to fidget. Min Kyu Dong, director of <Antique Bakery>, said this. “When I’m with Ah In and then we part, and he turns and looks back or goes farther away from me, for some reason I end up staring after his receding figure for a long time. The time doesn’t end sharply; it stretches out with a dot, dot, dot like an ellipsis.” I can understand what he meant. Meeting with this actor, filled to bursting with life, left with me a strange sensation of pain, as if my flesh had been cut with a thin blade. The drop of blood that slowly welled up in that place glowed red and beautiful.

Q. Many people suddenly came to know you through your debut project <Banolim>, and you experienced what it’s like to have a large, anonymous group of people pour their love toward you. And six years later, you’re experiencing a similar phenomenon in the aftermath of <Sungkyunkwan Scandal>. The situation is similar, but it must feel different.

YAI: During <Banolim>, I had no idea what was happening to me, and I didn’t know how to deal with it, so [the popularity] didn’t feel like it was mine. Now, I can handle it [better]. After <Banolim>, I [remember] thinking that I must not falter and collapse under the situation I was thrust into, and that I had to firmly take a step forward and wait. [What’s happened because of] <Sungkyunkwan Scandal> is something I’ve prepared for and waited for, [so to that extent] I think of it as something I’ve made myself.

Q. It seems to me that there are two main reasons you wanted the role of Guh-roh Moon Jaeshin in <Sungkyunkwan Scandal>. First, you judged that it was a character that would have broad public appeal, and secondly, he was such a typical character that you would ironically actually have greater room to interpret [the character and make it your own]. Isn’t it true that you haven’t ever played a character as typical as Guh-roh?

YAI: The synopsis actually [described Guh-roh as] ‘Chosun Dynasty’s beastly man.’ (Laughter from everyone) There are many ‘beastly men’ with good bodies–why, of all people, did this role come to me? I found that interesting. But in the planning phase [of the drama], the director who had cast me was replaced with current director Kim Won Seok. From the perspective of regarding typicality [of character] as important, he probably thought, “Why was this kid cast?” After the first [script] reading, I saw his uneasy expression and told him, “I don’t want to talk about the voice, rhythm, or facial expression that Guh-roh will have, yet. More than that, I want to talk about the kind of heart the boy Moon Jaeshin has. Then the expressions and rhythm will come out naturally.” When the tougher actors were passed over for Guh-roh and my thin, weak self was given the role, there must have been a fateful kind of reason for it. [T/N: What YAI means is that although the writer and director wanted Guh-roh to fit the image of the stereotypical beastly man, there must have been a fateful reason the role was given to him. It’s as if Yoo Ah In was the only one who could have played Guh-roh, because he redefined his identity and made him into someone more meaningful than just a stereotypical beastly character. Infinite thanks to InK, again, for her clear and thorough explanation!]

Q. Unlike typical rebellious kids who get into fights, Jaeshin’s movements aren’t sharp and angled; rather, he moves in a slow swagger. He’s a character for whom posture is more important than action.

YAI: He’s a kid who’s body is completely loose. I thought that real beasts would be like that. Nowadays, you see too many pet beasts. Beastly men who have been made to look pretty. Guh-roh is not like a puppy that was raised lovingly at home, but rather an abandoned dog that’s been thrown away on the streets. That’s why he’s as sharp as a knife when he needs to be, but the rest of the time he’s a beast without any strength in his body [T/N: that is, his muscles are relaxed].

A RESULT I HAVE PREPARED AND WAITED FOR, ONE I’VE MADE MYSELF

Q. Another stereotype of rebellious young men characters is that their eyes are either filled with fierce heat or sincere pleading, but Jaeshin was different. He slightly lowered his gaze and quietly looked on through his bangs or eyelashes. You could say that hiding his eyes only made one notice them more.

YAI: It’s something I had wanted to show for a long time, but it wasn’t until I met [the character of] Jaeshin that I was able to show that kind of expression in my eyes. That expression isn’t conscious of anything, and isn’t asking for anything, but you have to show that in your eyes in front of the camera, right? But [the challenge is that] you can’t be expressionless before the camera, either….

Q. Do you still feel uncomfortable acting in front of the camera?

YAI: It’s not that I still feel that way; I’m a kid who from the beginning never felt uncomfortable in front of the camera. But after <Boys of Tomorrow>, and as time passed, I became more and more uncomfortable. These days, I’m at the point where I see the camera, the lighting, and each and every staff member [while filming]. Still, when I act in something like a drama now, where everything is finely divided and shot [separately], the continuity [of the character and plot] remains in my head. What it means is that I’ve become much smarter. But to be honest, I don’t want to become smarter. Although it’s a bit of a grand statement, I thought that the moment I became conscious of [all] that, I would be crossing a river of no return. So in my next project I think I will have to experiment to see if I can return to that state of being unaware of anything [while acting].

Q. The lighting and cinematography in <Sungkyunkwan Scandal> probably contributed to drawing the viewers’ attention to your eyes. There were many shots that focused mostly on the actor’s faces, and the lighting brightened and emphasized the eyes to the point of being almost fetishistic.

YAI: Guh-roh especially had an exceptional number of extreme close-up shots that cut off at the forehead. [The director also told me], ‘Your shots are very tight so don’t move around too much.’ I can understand this, but I also think that fundamentally, under the objective of allowing the actor to emote wholly and naturally, the technology should be able to support [him]. Indeed, it’s a modern evil that humans are enslaved by technology. Puahaha.

Q. When I observed the way the camera follows the entire flow of Jongdae’s staggering around and running in the movie <Boys of Tomorrow>, you were able to naturally hold your own in long shots, and I thought to myself that it was a rare quality to see in a rookie actor. So I was curious as to your opinion, as an actor, about <Sungkyunkwan Scandal’s> filming style of closed and sharply cut scenes.

YAI: If I experienced the hardships of the drama system during <Strongest Chilwoo>, then this time I was much more aware of the constraints [of the system] and I was determined to find a way to get through it. It’s similar to developing muscles you’re not used to using. So I’m afraid that when I really and truly have to move like a human, I won’t be able to because my muscles are too developed. It’s only when you keep in mind that it isn’t always the right choice to act the way they ask of you on set that you keep from developing useless muscles. [T/N: That is, if YAI becomes too accustomed to the artificial environment of the filming set, he might end up losing the sense of true acting that is conveying emotions freely and genuinely, as if unaware of the filming set. Thanks, of course, goes to InK for this explanation as well=)] In any case, <Sungkyunkwan Scandal> was an important project [for me] if only because I was able to portray what I had wanted to portray. At every moment, I always think that I may never have another chance to show [myself through acting].

Q. I had thought that Guh-roh had [a good amount of] lines, but when I watched [the drama] again, I realized that there were actually many scenes where he didn’t have any lines. There were many times where the meaning [of the scene] was contained in Guh-roh’s silent reactions to Yoonhee.

YAI: I was sad that very important and emotional speeches had to be shortened to just a few lines because of the noisiness of the set. Because of that, it turned out that there were many long scenes without even one line. Every single one of the scenes showing the reactions of [students] just standing there during the Analects of Confucius class, or during the tests administered by the king, were shot in long takes. Everyone had a hard time, but those were the only long scenes I had, so I had fun.

Q. Jaeshin is a kid whose range of vision and understanding can be differentiated [from the other students]. Whether he climbs a tree and looks down from above or lies down on the ground, he is able to broadly see what others can’t. But it was interesting that there were almost no scenes where he directly tells other people what he sees.

YAI: That’s one of the deeper reasons I wanted to play Jaeshin. That kid, even when he climbs [a tree], he doesn’t go to a tree in the mountains, but climbs one in front of the lecture hall, and when he lies down it isn’t in a field but on the veranda of Central Room 2, right? Though he does everything he can to be far and high away because he can’t stick his foot fully in the inside, he’s a kid for whom the effort to remove himself [completely] from those limits and separate himself actually becomes meaningless. That’s also how I am as an actor.

Q. The timbre of your voice is thin and shakes easily. They’re both historical dramas, but there was a difference between the way you vocalized as Heuksan versus Jaeshin. Starting from the drama <The Man Who Can’t Marry>, the way you use your voice seems to have changed greatly.

YAI: Heuksan’s voice came from here (places hand on neck) and was a trapped sound, whereas Jaeshin’s voice came from a lower place. People say that people with high registers are usually good at singing, but that isn’t true. The strength to broaden the range of my voice and properly use it to act and play around [with different ways of vocalization]—-what I mean is, rather than showing off my voice, my voice should be an instrument I can freely use to express myself—-I think that’s important. Vocalization is the [area of acting] I’m most lacking in, so when I watch movies, I naturally hear the range of an actor’s tone and what kind of register they use at one point in the movie. If in <Strongest Chilwoo> I was only intent on following the character [T/N: i.e. immersing himself in the character of Heuksan], in <Sungkyunkwan Scandal> I felt that if only my vocalization was prepared I could have yelled my head off, but it wasn’t ready and I couldn’t go forward with big strides. I felt extremely regretful because of that. Everyone says I did well, but (in an undertone) that’s not good acting, is it? While I was recording for the DVD commentary today, I thought, “That’s what people were complimenting?” and I wanted to hide. Vocalization is a big problem I have to overcome. It’s difficult to talk about one’s own shortcomings, but if I know it, and other people know it, then that will be a reason to change, won’t it? So I would like this shortcoming to stick out obviously rather than being hidden away.

Q. Similarly, there are areas that are basic fundamentals for an actor. Have you ever thought about taking [acting] classes?

YAI: Well, during <Boys of Tomorrow>, I had less technical skill than I do now, but all the sounds came and went naturally. That’s why I want to know whether vocalization is actually related to technique, or if it’s something that happens at the moment I let go of myself.

THE LONELINESS I FELT UNTIL MY EARLY TWENTIES BECAME MY ROOTS

Q. You wrote on your mini-hompy that on your coming-of-age day in the year you turned twenty, you spilled tears [T/N: Coming-of-age day is on the third Monday of every May, and in Korea represents the day that everyone who turns twenty years old in that year becomes an adult].

YAI: Looking back, I think it’s cute I had moments like that. The feeling of wanting to make that kind of drawing and stick myself inside it. Like I was the star of a movie or something. Keuhaha. Even though it wouldn’t be a very good movie.

Q. You decided to become a celebrity and left your arts high school in the middle of 10th grade and came up to Seoul by yourself and became independent. It’s not common that 17-year-olds have those kinds of experiences. [T/N: Counting in Korean age, 17 is the normal age of 10th graders–it’s equivalent to 15 or 16 in ‘regular,’ non-Korean age]. How did you process/cope with that experience?

YAI: (Thinks) No matter how hard it was, looking back, it was a time that needed to happen, and the difficult times that swept me away are already over, now…. (Thinks) For me–if I’m born with a bump on my chest, I’m not the kind of person who hates it so much I go crazy; I’m the kind of person who puts pretty clothes on the bump and does whatever I can to make that into an asset. A beautiful scar? That’s right, that kind of thing. I really hate it when artists say, “Pain is my fortune,” but it’s true that the loneliness I felt during my late teens and early twenties became the roots of my adult self.

Q. Are you different because you’re lonely? Or are you lonely because you’re different?

YAI: I’m lonely because I’m different.

Q. (A different question was asked, but Yoo Ah In keeps thinking of the former question.)

YAI: Still, I think I’m a more positive person than anybody else. People think of me as very negative, but isn’t even just the strength to keep living even while burdened with that negativity a powerful positivity? I’m someone who can’t have just an ordinary amount of positivity. Puahaha!

Q. If I look only at your face, it’s bright, but before you endured the time you just spoke about, you played the role of a boy whose heart will be broken in <Banolim>. From the first episode in which ‘Ah In oppa’ [T/N: the name of his character] appears, it’s obvious that Okrim (Go Ara)’s heart will only see him as a best friend [and nothing more].

YAI: After finishing <Banolim>, I thought about the fate of [the characters I play]. A character in a drama or movie has an already-determined fate that’s unconnected to the flow of [real] life. But to me, a course that’s determined from start to finish like that isn’t interesting. Although I knew how <Sungkyunkwan Scandal> would end, even in <Banolim> I wondered if Okrim might wind up with me in the end. (Laughter) But I saw about 80% of it coming. Like Jaeshin, Ah In oppa is an outsider [both] inside [and out], because he’s the only high school student among junior high students [Thank you to InK for fixing this translation^^].

Q. Whether you’re playing Guh-roh or <Strongest Chilwoo>’s Heuksan, and even including modern-day projects in which you have action and fighting scenes, the sight of you being hurt is much more spectacular than when you impressively injure others. Is this by chance, or do you personally pay attention to how to express those parts?

YAI: It’s not by chance. I haven’t yet released the urge to express through acting, “I’m sad, I’m a hurt kid.” I know it’s not sophisticated; it’s like wanting to take your depression medication in front of other people. Though there was a time when I went around trying to purposefully find only healthy parts to play, on a basic level it’s easier for me to act in pained or sad roles.

Q. If I were to give you my opinion, I would say that arrows fit you quite well. (Laughter) If you look at religious art, the Christian saint Sebastian, who is executed by being shot with arrows, is depicted as a very young and beautiful man.

YAI: Keuhaha. In <Strongest Chilwoo>, too, the scene where I was shot by an arrow and bled everywhere while saying my lines received a lot of positive reactions. I guess there’s an excitement to the appearance of a collapsed and bleeding man.

WRITING IS, TO ME, ANOTHER JOB [T/N: He doesn’t mean that it’s tedious; simply that he takes it seriously]

Q. Your name is frequently associated with the word ‘youth’ and you have also spoken of it often. Do you ever worry that this will cause ‘youth’ to become a meaningless word?

YAI: I think it’s the easiest way for people to describe the combination of my confusion, foolishness, and ambitions in one word. So I think of ‘youth’ as the word that was chosen because I couldn’t do a good job of explaining my whole self to the world.

Q. Your writings on your [Cyworld] mini-hompy have recently decreased, but you have until now consistently poured your energy into writing as much as you have your acting. One gets the feeling that you take care of your mind and spirit like other actors take care of their bodies.

YAI: In the past, I probably would have said that writing was a way to take care of myself as a human and was one of the basic elements of being an actor, but now I consider writing as another job [T/N: He means he takes it seriously as a job or occupation, rather than doing it just for fun or as a hobby]. I don’t write so I can act well or to make my fans happy; writing is another job–[the only difference] is that in acting, I’m a professional because I’m paid for it, whereas in writing, I’m an amateur because I don’t receive money.

Q. Do you think that expression is meaningless if no one reads it or sees it?

YAI: It depends on what purpose that expression is for. For example, if you’re a performer or entertainer, there’s a nuance [to your performance] that makes the audience or listener the subject [T/N: as opposed to the performer]. In Twitter, conversation is the main goal, whereas my mini-hompy is first and foremost a space for me to express myself, even if I’m cursed out for being a crazy bastard and nobody understands me. But if I act, and [the audience] can’t understand what kind of acting I’m doing, then that’s a problem. Nowadays, [social] media like blogs, mini-hompys, Twitter, etc. have increased, so I’m able to match the different identities I have within myself to each social medium, which makes things easier. Though I’m sure there are people who really pretend/show off [T/N: that is, act like they’re cooler than they really are], why do people call the desire to become a better and more admirable person showing off? Isn’t it similar to dressing up in [nice] clothes when you go out? As long as it’s not packaging without any substance underneath, then packaging is something we need. Otherwise acting, writing–all of that just becomes showing off.

Q. It seems like everyone these days is uncertain how public or private Twitter is. For example, there are some people who suspiciously ask why someone would go out of their way to have a public Twitter conversation with someone about something they could have discussed through text messages. Business between only person A and B can be interrupted by person C, who sticks himself in the conversation and extends it….

YAI: What you’re saying is why would you show your conversation to other people, but what I want to ask is, is it so necessary to avoid showing that? Isn’t society formed when our lives collide with another person’s, and then by accident yet another’s?

Q. When I read your writing, I repeatedly get the image of some liquid substance inside of you that you then release through body fluids or vomiting. I see your urge to throw up the debris inside of you, even if you have to stick a finger down your throat to do it, and return to a clean and clear state. In real life, do you actually vomit often?

YAI: When I drink. You could say that the words I write on my mini-hompy are my way of vomiting through writing when I can’t throw up all the alcohol I drank the night before. To put it crudely, it’s taking a shit. I want to empty myself. My writing isn’t wisdom or enlightenment; I want it to give a feeling similar to that of standing in front of a painting in a museum. I think that even ‘writing as excretion’ has positive aspects. I become a passageway. On one side is the life I’ve picked up and swallowed, and on the other is the life I’ve spit out. If I take on the role of a passageway I can refine/purify well, then it’s not just something I’ve vomited up–I can make and put forth something new.

Q. How do you decide which writings to reveal publicly and which writings to keep private?

YAI: Indecency or shock value, hahaha! I don’t reveal writings that might prevent me from expanding into other areas of acting. Even if one says that writing and acting are different things, in the end they interact in ways one can’t see.

BECAUSE I’M ALSO AN ARTIST OF THE GENERAL PUBLIC, I SHOULD BE A CULTURAL LEADER

Q. Yoo Ah In-ssi, [you] aren’t someone whose existence is fixed around the general public or your fans. You seem like a star who thinks that depending on how you communicate [with your fans], people’s thoughts toward you may change [and that’s okay]. Once in a while, you reveal through your [Twitter and Cyworld] that you drink alcohol, or you express your opinion using curse words, or do other behaviors that are usually taboo for celebrities. It feels like you do this to get your fans to accept, “The star I like is this kind of person.”

YAI: I think of it as wanting to receive love because I rightly deserve it. I don’t want to one day suddenly receive more love than my accomplishments deserve, or to be someone who longs for and desires love so much he trembles from fear at the thought of losing it. To begin with, I don’t think the way to maintain the love one receives is to smile prettily and say, “I also love all of you;” rather, it’s to stay one step ahead. An actor is simultaneously a person who acts and a person with the most influence as a popular culture artist, no? Then, [actors] are supposed to lead culture [forward], but it’s frustrating that in reality, they only jump on the bandwagon of [trendy pop] culture. Though it may seem a bit dramatic, I think [actors] must focus on [improving] themselves and make a new style [for the general public].

Q. When you think of your fans, what kind of people do you think they are, specifically?

YAI: Outsiders who can’t mix with others, but people who [aren’t as fortunate] to have the advantages [T/N: i.e. benefits, convenience, etc. deriving from his status as a celebrity—thanks again to InK!] I enjoy. I think what they most want from me is a sense of empathy. I think the reaction against the mainstream is something that’s occurring socio-culturally, as well. I feel friendship toward my fans.

Q. Have you ever felt afraid that you might continue to live [only] as a minority actor? [Explanation from InK: A minority actor plays roles that aren’t from the mainstream. Yoo Ah In’s roles from the past, like Jongdae or Yongtae, were born or raised in socially difficult environments. In the US, for example, minority acting would represent racial minorities as well as sexual and religious minorities. Yoo Ah In has spent his career playing minority characters (street kids, outsiders, psychologically complex characters) despite his handsome good looks that would make it perfectly possible for him to play romantic heroes or anyone from he mainstream. Yoo Ah In knows that he’s a minority actor and purposefully chooses those roles, though he keeps the door open to majority/mainstream roles, as well.]

YAI: Yes. However, even if I remain a minority actor, there’s no rule saying I have to pick [only] minority projects. Haha. What I mean is, at the very least, my looks are compatible with the mainstream. The way [I] look can make things easier for [me]. Like how the girl who comes out in <500 Days of Summer> is favored by others in ways she doesn’t know [simply] because she’s pretty. I’m not an actor whose looks would prevent me from taking on a majority role; however, I have other deficiencies that have to be filled, so I think I can go back and forth between the mainstream and non-mainstream, or I can reveal some minority aspects within major [mainstream] projects.

Q. You’re soon turning twenty-five [T/N: in Korean age]–is there anything you’re nervous about?

YAI: When I’m twenty-five, I’d like it if my real self, my uniqueness, was known by not only myself [but by others, too]. To be honest (smiles) I wanted this to happen a bit sooner than twenty-five. Opinions about me are always preceded by the phrase “given his age.” Because instead of the opinion, ‘Oh, so that’s what he has’ when I’m twenty-five or thirty, being able to show that in my early 20s would have been more impressive. Haha. [T/N: YAI is saying that articles and opinions about him say, “given his age” he’s a good actor; he’s impressive; he’s excellent, etc. But he doesn’t want to be told he’s good “given his age.” He wants to receive in his early 20s the praise he will get as a ‘full,’ adult actor when he reaches age 25 or 30, without the precondition of “given his age.”]

Q. Have you now received what you’ve waited for?

YAI: Recently, people have been listening to my story seriously, which is both strange and something precious that I didn’t have before. It makes me wonder if they are truly looking at me coldly [T/N: objectively], or whether they’re being fooled by the words of someone without much of a career to speak of and packaging me as some rare and amazing kid [I’m not]. Ironically, it makes me suspicious as to whether I’m really somebody who has something special. I don’t have enough time to [think and] be objective [these days]. It’s not that I’m just tired and need time to rest; I need more time to purposefully turn around and reflect on things.

Written by Kim Hye Ree
Photographs by Song Hong Joo

Source: Cine 21, No. 780/11.23~11.30.2010
Part I | Part II

Translated by jaeshinah

Parts of this were quite difficult for me to interpret and translate. Though I’m ethnically Korean, my native language remains English. If any native speakers (I’m looking at you, InK & ancientkingdom^^) can tweak my translations to make them more accurate or point out mistranslated/misleading/inaccurate parts, I would be most grateful!
-jaeshinah

59 thoughts on “[ITW] Cine 21 interview with Yoo Ah In, Nov. 2010

  1. Hi~ Wow, can’t imagine that you’ve completed this article!!
    this one is my favorite interview of YAI so far!!

    I haven’t read over the entire article yet, but i’ve found this one part that can be translated better. (노동석 감독이 “유아인이 나를 보는데 긴장하고 있었다”라고 말한 기사를 읽은 적이 있다. )
    “When YAI was staring at me, (missing subject) was nervous.” The director Noh omitted the subject in an interview, and this reporter Kim wanted to interpret the subject to be Directer Noh instead of YAI in this sentence. <—– Only her guess tho~!!! Some fans assume it was YAI who was nervous based on another interview about his audition for this particular film: YAI was quite nervous when he met the directer fro the first time. However, I’m with Reporter Kim who wants to believe that it was the directer who got nervous when they made this eye contact mentioned in this interview. M reason is that YAI’s Jongdae is quite different from the original synopsis and Director Noh allowed YAI to freely stretch out to whichever direction YAI wanted to take (from other interviews of Noh).

    And, when YAI said he doesn't want to think that he's been performing for the identities of complete strangers, of course, he's relating himself to his characters. But that sentence actually shows the continuity of his characters. Does it makes sense? Like….,, all his characters are not total strangers to each other. They are on the same time line of one person sort of. I don't know.. i don't think i'm doing a good job at explaining.
    But thank you again!! for this beautiful article!!
    You rock Jaeshinah!!!!

    • another important part about what he thinks of his fans:

      Q. When you think of your fans, what kind of people do you think they are, specifically?

      YAI: Outsiders who can’t mix with others, but {people who don’t have the convenience that I could enjoy.} I think what they most want from me is a sense of empathy. I think the reaction against the mainstream is something that’s occurring socio-culturally, as well. I feel friendship toward my fans.

      • -When the tougher actors were passed over for Guh-roh and my thin, weak self of all people was given the role, {they–>it} must have had a {vision–>reason} of [the character] {they–>it} wanted to make.—> *They(script writer and directer) clearly wanted the stereotypical beasty boy out of YAI, however YAI believed there must be a reason when the role was given to him. He’s almost compelled to redefine Beastly Guy to something only YAI could depict.)

        -It’s similar to developing muscles you’re not used to using. So I’m afraid that when I really and truly have to move like a human, I won’t be able to because of my [weak–>too developed] muscles. –>{Once he gets too used to the systematic environment of the filming set, he could actually loose the sense of true acting that is conveying emotions freely (unaware of the filming setting).}

        -Like Jaeshin, Ah In oppa [T/N: the name of his character in ] is an outsider [both] inside [and out], because he’s {the only} high school student {among Junior high students.}

        Hi Jaeshinah, You can delete my comments off whenever you read these. I’ve finally read the entire article!!! so powerful interview~~!!! Love him and Reporter Kim and YOU!!!

        ink

        • Haha no I’m not going to delete them!! ^^ Everyone should know how much I need your help to do a good job. I’m so thankful to you for reading this over so thoroughly and quickly to make sure the translations were accurate. I will go back and fix everything you mentioned as soon as I finish this comment. ^^ THANK YOU!!! 제 한국어 실력이 굉장히 많이 부족하지만 잉쿠씨가 아낌없이 응원해주시고 항상 친절하게 설명해주셔서 너무너무 든든해요 ^^

          [edit]: All edits have been made! If you find any other misinterpretations, please let me know. A HUGE thank you!! ❤

          • Ye~ you finally did it. ^^ Wow~ I send my love for you. This article is one of my favorite! ^^ I love his attitude always thinking hard and selecting his words. And he has worderful personality. sometimes he is too honest but that is one point why i love him. I get some reviews for translating so right now I can’t join with you guys. But I will be back soon~ And Hey~ my lovely co-workers~ I love you very much. Take care~ ^^

          • 아니…뭘요;; 그대신 재시나님은 영어가 강하잖아요. 전 영어, 국어, 둘다 어영부영하니 제가 헛소리 하거든 좀 바로잡아주세요!!

            이렇게 힘든 인터뷰를 이렇게 예쁘게 번역해 내다니,, 재시나님 한국어 실력이..정말 장난아니게 늘은거죠!!!! ^0^* 앞으로도 부탁해용~

  2. I swear I could quote him endlessly just basing on this article ♥

    After , I [remember] thinking that I must not falter and collapse under the situation I was thrust into, and that I had to firmly take a step forward and wait.
    – I love the fact that he’s so grounded and he was aware of the possible effects popularity might do to him so he made it a point not to let it get to his head, because sudden popularity or success can be so overwhelming. I think it’s quite mature of him to think that way.

    There are many ‘beastly men’ with good bodies–why, of all people, did this role come to me?
    – This made me giggle! I haven’t read the book but I imagine the original Geol Oh must be a really big intimidating guy. But Ah In definitely owned the role – it’s his for the taking ^^

    For me–if I’m born with a bump on my chest, I’m not the kind of person who hates it so much I go crazy; I’m the kind of person who puts pretty clothes on the bump and does whatever I can to make that into an asset. A beautiful scar? That’s right, that kind of thing.
    – What a nice insight. I guess in his case, the beautiful scar he’s referring to is his pain or hang-ups getting translated into his beautiful acting and writing ♥

    People think of me as very negative, but isn’t even just the strength to keep living even while burdened with that negativity a powerful positivity?
    – A++++++++
    I read something before that has this kind of message. It’s okay to rant about your frustrations, feel utterly negative at times, but as long as you keep living and moving on, it’s gonna be alright.

    What you’re saying is why would you show your conversation to other people, but what I want to ask is, is it so necessary to avoid showing that? Isn’t society formed when our lives collide with another person’s, and then by accident yet another’s?
    – Well said. Humans are social beings, so why not show it?

    I feel friendship toward my fans.
    – And we feel love toward you ♥♥♥ Thank you, Yoo Ah In~

    This is such a wonderfully written article and same with InK-ssi, I think this is my favorite YAI interview so far. Thank you so much jaeshinah-ssi for the beautiful translation ♥

  3. “I think of it as wanting to receive love because I rightly deserve it. ” — that is why i admire Ah In 🙂

    Jaeshinah thank you for translating this interview! you’re awesome!

  4. * a 135o bow that almost break my spine* KAMSAHAMNIDAAAA Jaeshinah and InK and all other selfless enormous hearted translator. I know I’m going to reread this no-clue-how-many-gazillion-times and stil enjoy reading it. so .. zutto saankyu! God bless you all! Yoo Ah In, you’re just hazardous to my health! 😀

  5. I salute him for saying this:
    I think of it as wanting to receive love because I rightly deserve it. I don’t want to one day suddenly receive more love than my accomplishments deserve, or to be someone who longs for and desires love so much he trembles from fear at the thought of losing it. To begin with, I don’t think the way to maintain the love one receives is to smile prettily.

    My thought is : It is not easy to be in entertainment world, i think especially in Korea. You really have to package yourself so that you will be well accepted, loved and popular and in the process you lose your “self” and identity and even your original face (through plastic surgery). A simple word is ‘hypocrite’. i hope whatever we see ‘YAI’ now is HIM. Because at times i feel he is TOO GOOD TO BE TRUE. His thoughts and insights are amazing.

    • Forgot to mention these important words:
      THANKS JAESHINAH
      with your translation, i have the wonderful experience of getting to know our unique YAI.

  6. Agree with InK … what a brilliant piece of interview … I feel like through this piece of interview, readers would be able to know more of the real Yoo Ah In.

    —For me–if I’m born with a bump on my chest, I’m not the kind of person who hates it so much I go crazy; I’m the kind of person who puts pretty clothes on the bump and does whatever I can to make that into an asset.— a positive attitude and fighting spirit … that’s my kind of guy. Glad to know he has this kind of outlook in life. Love!

    Last but not least, jaeshinah … big HUGS!

  7. He is so witty and true!!! His honesty makes him more manly!!!
    I super love reading all his interviews and super thanks to Jaeshinah for translating it…

  8. WOW!!!I wanna keep a copy of this interview,such a rare treat to find 1.such good questions posed to an actor 2.truly memorable answers from an actor,that ah in is quite a thinker,oh how i would love to share deep ideas with someone like him,rare thing to find pure poetry and wisdom with words!!THANK YOU FOR POSTING THIS!!!

    • Totally agree with you! The questions are amazingly constructed and articulated. It’s brings out the best of our YAI. I just love how you describe him “rare thing to find pure poetry and wisdom with words”. His mind’s amazing…wisdom infinite…the more you read, the more you want to know more. ..every interview is like a flowing river of wisdom! In this generation of technology, he is a rare breed indeed.

      HUGS to Jaeshinah! You’re equally amazing!

  9. I hope you don’t skip meals and sleep to make us happy …. but this post ugh I love it.. love it … really love it …. I got to read it again and again … awesome … you jaesinah thanks a lot …

  10. That was really good. You did a wonderful job, jaeshinah. I also like how the reporter isn’t trailing behind, either. I wonder if now reporters are a bit anxious to interviewing Yoo Ah-in because he’s someone who answers more than what most will expect. Her prologue is also pretty cool. I’m glad that there are meaty reporters still out there who can ask one heck of an interview.

    Now get some sleep, jaeshinah! And eat well. We’re all worried about your health.

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  12. Wow! That’s a looooong one.. Thank you so much for translating this article! I can’t put into words how much I appreciate all the efforts you gals put into this. 캄사함니다!! ..>

    • I don’t get why my comment was cut, but I meant to say…

      Wow! That’s a looooong one.. Thank you so much for translating this article! I can’t put into words how much I appreciate all the efforts you gals put into this. 캄사함니다!!

      On a side note, now I know that this is the article that states he did a commentary. (I’m following the blog pursuing the realization of an SKKS d-cut; I really want to buy one. Lol.)

      The more interviews of YAI that I read, the more I see him as a very deep person. He’s starting to feel like a modern, Korean version of Van Gogh to me. I hope you don’t think my comparison is bad or something. I adore Van Gogh’s creations, and I just think that, like Van Gogh, YAI’s a person who doesn’t exactly fits his time. (I’m sorry. I can’t explain it too well.)

      Actually, I think I’m affected by the song “Starry, Starry Night” by Don McLean. (The lyrics keep popping on my head.)

  13. Pingback: [Itw] Cine 21 Interview with Yoo Ah in, Nov. 2010 | Haven For You | Pet Halloween Costume

  14. Thank you so much Jaeshinah and InK.

    Thanks to you, we’re able to get to know him little by little. This interview was really long, and I was smiling and thinkin’ all the time I read it. I mean, that’s something really appealing with him, he makes me think about myself every time I read what he said. I love it. He’s a good actor, his writing is good and has deep meaning, and his personnality is pretty interesting.

    When he says that his fans shoud be “Outsiders who can’t mix with others,” that’s true for me ^^ And before : ” I’m lonely because I’m different.” Like that too. But I won’t quote everything that is intersting beaucse he’d be sooooo long xD And the others have already said what I was thinkin’ so …

    Anyway, big hugs for you !

  15. Ah In.
    The level of my admiration to you more height day by day.

    To be honest, interested in you and support
    you are the one thing that is very
    remarkable that ever happened in my life.

    Because you, oh,how should I explain?
    Every word, emotion and soul that you reveal
    from your mouth,it’s like a pearl in the ocean!
    So valuable!

    These interviews fantastic and amazing! And of course
    if possible, too many I want to quote! LOL

    Thanks a lot JAESHINAH! Thanks a lot INK!
    YOU’RE AMAZING,ADORABLE!
    Thank u so much!
    Love you guys,love Ah In forever!

  16. These days Ah In’s interviews really make other interviews I read pale in comparison. I’m not comparing Ah In’s personalities or how he presents himself to those of other celebrities. I merely talk about the length and depth of the interview. To translate such a piece, it must be myriad of work! Jaeshinah and Ink you two are phenomenal!

    This interview has a lot of acting technical questions. I wonder if it’s because Cine21 is a cinema-centric magazine, or the reporter prepared those questions because the interviewee was the touch and serious actor YAI haha.

    The one sentence that keeps playing in my head since yesterday when I read this interview is:

    “Though he does everything he can to be far and high away because he can’t stick his foot fully in the inside, he’s a kid for whom the effort to remove himself [completely] from those limits and separate himself actually becomes meaningless. That’s also how I am as an actor”
    ->Ah In has such a strong sense of self-awareness. He always says about packaging himself so that he won’t be fixed or stuck into the (social-showbiz) system. But at the same time I think he acknowledges (bitterly) that sticking to the system is inevitable at a certain level. Or maybe I think too much here haha. In the context of the interview, he may just mean he needs to practice to act more naturally.

    “I think the reaction against the mainstream is something that’s occurring socio-culturally, as well.”
    LOL is it true that Ah In neglects schooling? He sounds like a nerd here hhaha. Our Ah In is really too cool for school!

    • Hi tiny!! I think you interpreted the first quote perfectly. Ah In always strives to set himself apart from the mainstream pop culture and follow his own path, but even as he runs away from it he knows that he’s still a part of it. He has to be, in order to act. Even as he takes all the precautions he can to avoid being stuck as someone or something he’s not, he realizes that without the system, he loses everything. Being outside the system is meaningless because it’s the system that gives him what he has, as an actor. He depends on it even as he rejects it. That’s how I understood it=) His level of self-awareness really blows my mind. It makes me want to look at my own life and my own self and gain an awareness for who I am and where I am. It’s so easy to go through the day-to-day motions and blind yourself to who you really are and what you’re really doing, and why. It’s often just easier not to think about it, you know? Ah In inspires me. But I can’t lie. I’m thrilled the translation of this article is done. El fin. Finito. No more!! Hahaha. It was so hard to find the proper words sometimes T__T

      • I know how you feel. I’m subbing Shim’s Family and although I really really love it, just sooo hard. Some parts of the interview sound so “Korean,” so I can totally see the challenge. The Korean fan@Duam was right: Ah In is someone who can inspire his fans to go through a lot for him. *why am I typing this at 4 in the morning?*

        Sigh…ignorance is bad. Being aware of what’s going on yet can’t do much about it is worse. That’s why smart people can’t live happily in this world. Geniuses die young or in misery.

        I think being able to articulate the above words, Ah in’s a very positive and realistic person. I won’t be worried too much about him being depressed anymore. He’s trying to build a career within the business yet still wants to keep his roots. Trying so hard not to blend in at the risk of being seen as “showing off”…a kind of “rightful resistance”….being wrong but right in the system…I’d say. Ah In fighting!

        How sexy it is when a man says he’s lonely because he’s different!

        • Tiny, it’s 4 am in your part of the world and you’re already awake? How come? Please take care of yourself more…owkie. You too Jaeshinah. Fighting and take care of your health..have some rest.

        • so agree with you @tiny,
          i love him because he is so true to himself
          he expressed out what he want to say
          and the most important is….
          his not trying to catch readers or viewers attention,
          just because of the good news,…
          instead he is telling us that this is me…
          if you like me, just follow and accept me,
          not because i am a celebrity…
          or you are my fan but for me you are my friends…
          aaahhhh…
          no matter what
          i will always be your no. 1 fan Yoo Ah In
          saranghae!!!

    • Hi Tiny! Like Jaeshinah said here, you’ve got the first part right!!!!!!!!

      and about the reporter’s sharp yet appropriately prepared questions…
      She’s a well known reporter. I’m not sure if you had a chance to read the translated version of an OLD interview of YAI done by the same reporter. I do think that a lot of reporters out there will get timid by YAI’s writer’s mind that’s competitive to their own ability to play with words. Yet, for this interview, I’m guessing that YAI also had some expectations out of Reporter Kim cuz she’s really good~~~~~. Some fans of YAI got disappointed by this beautiful article cuz their expection on Reporter Kim was too high. LOL.

      Do you remember his tweet mention from the time around when O2 article was pubblished? He said something like that he’s happy in these days to meet these wonderful reporters who can actually bring out what he’s been longing to express. I’ve noticed that YAI leaves links on his twitter or minihompy of the interview articles when he really liked or was satisfied with the content.
      O2 and Cine21 were both posted on his Minihompy.

      • ooh InK, do you have a link to that old interview you mentioned? I would love to translate it if I can ^^ Reporter Kim is amazing…

        it warms my heart that Ah In has been meeting reporters who understand how he needs to express himself. that’s why we have the gift of these amazing, complex, insightful interviews that truly do his mind justice. I’m so thankful for them =)

        • Hi Jaeshinah!
          I need to take my words back here. I’ve looked up the old article from the Cine21, and realized it was not done by Kim Hye Ri reporter but by Jung Jae Hyuk reporter.
          I remember YAI was a follower of Reporter Kim on Twitter from a long time ago and they mentioned each other sometimes in the past, so I automatically assummed they’ve known each other from a privious interview or something, however, now i see that YAI has read Reporter Kim’s book that’s published sometime in May 2010(?) not so sure when exactly it was. Anway, he mentioned to her after reading the book, and they followed each other and tweeted sometimes. I guess both YAI and the reporter must have been thrilled right before they met for the first time to do the interview 🙂
          That old interview from Cine21 was also a good one. It’s called “수컷은 되고 싶지 않아요.” (http://www.cine21.com/Article/article_view.php?mm=005002002&article_id=53915 )

          Another great interview article from the past is one of the first ones out there…interviewd by the financial sponsor of the film [Boys of Tomorrow] 김조광수님.
          (http://www.maxmovie.com/movie_info/sha_news_view.asp?newsType=&page=&contain=&keyword=&mi_id=MI0044678062) (http://www.maxmovie.com/movie_info/sha_news_view.asp?newsType=&page=1&contain=&keyword=&mi_id=MI0044678430)

          There are so many articles from the past, but these are the ones i remember that were standing out from the rest. and… these are also posted by YAI on his Minihompy~

          Now, i need to go back to my twt post to correct the facts about Kim Hye Ri reporter~ sorry if i confused you with my mistakes.

          • oh. another huge writing peice that was a biggie was.. the one on his hompy about the film 하늘과 바다..that was my frist impression of YAI as an young actor who can literally speak up

          • THANK YOU~!! I had seen the Boys of Tomorrow interview before, but I had misplaced the link and couldn’t find it =( I remember I definitely wanted to do that translation. thanks so much for the link!! I seriously love the movie Boys of Tomorrow, and I love Ah In in it. It’ll be so fun to do an interview from around that time.

            As tiny mentioned, I did the Cine21 2008 interview wayyy back at the beginning of this website ^^ the link is: https://yooahinhaven.wordpress.com/2010/11/03/2008-cine21-interviews-yu-ah-in/ it’s one of my first translations, so it might be awkward or it might have some mistakes =/ Part of it was also done by Rxgoodleaf (another translator) which is why some questions are translated twice. it *was* an amazing interview, wasn’t it? 🙂

            Haha, I love that Ah In & Kim Hye Ri have, like, intellectual crushes on each other. awwwww!! how nerdy and cute!

    • Dear Tiny, when you mention the following:
      These days Ah In’s interviews really make other interviews I read pale in comparison. I’m not comparing Ah In’s personalities or how he presents himself to those of other celebrities. I merely talk about the length and depth of the interview.

      It makes me curious of other Korean celebrity interviews. You already know I am not a Korean and i never read long interview of other celebrities except for YAI, i hope you can respond to these questions :
      1) Is YAI the only or very few young celebrity that is toughtful in Korea?
      2) Are other young Korean celebrities respond more or less with similar answer to YAI if approximately the same questions are posed.
      3) Are there any Korean reporters also in awe or ‘nervous’ with the young celebrity that they interviewed?

      These questions always pop up in my head when i read YAI interviews. It may sounds harsh, but I always wonder, do we netizen praise so highly of him that in the end if other celebrities were asked the same questions, they must have responded the same. Indirectly, what i mean is YAI is not as unique as we all thought of him.
      (ohh….. what a confused person I am). Just ignore this if it does not make any sense to you.

      Regardless of what I mentioned above, YAI is the first celebrity that I was so curious about and I keep following him even after the drama that he acts has ended. I think my questions above are more on to justify the time I spent on him everyday. 🙂

      • I’m going to butt in here for a sec even though your questions were directed towards tiny^^ i hope you don’t mind!! I don’t follow a ton of celebrities in Korea, but even a casual observer of Korean pop culture can tell you Yoo Ah In is special; unique, even. I don’t know of any other stars who are as bluntly honest as he is, especially regarding the problems he sees in Korean pop culture and society more broadly. Most stars are afraid to touch controversial topics because it can keep them from getting jobs or it can make them less popular, and they all want a squeaky-clean image without any scandals. Ah In makes clear he is a person first, and an actor/celebrity second. That’s really special, I think. No one does interviews like Ah In, and he stands out particularly strongly because he’s so young.

        In any case, InK or ancientkingdom or someone else who knows more about Korean actors than I do can answer this better, but there’s a reason why reporters and news articles continually refer to Ah In as different, shockingly honest, and thoughtful—not only in comparison to fellow celebrities, but also in comparison to most Koreans in general. =) Just my two cents.

        Another celebrity who gets attention for being shockingly blunt (on TV, mostly) is Kim Hyun Joong. His responses in interviews and variety shows show him to be a cold and blunt guy that stands at strong contrast to his pretty boy image. He answers questions in really short and blunt sentences and he’s definitely got a hilarious sarcastic streak. Jessica from SNSD once said on TV that he came up to her and said “Your sister’s prettier than you,” which is… right. What do you even say to that? Haha. But KHJ’s bluntness and “4D-ness” is different from Ah In’s. KHJ gets attention cause his “cold guy” image is so different from his pretty looks, but he definitely doesn’t tweet or write or interview like YAI. They’re kind of on different levels… it’s hard to even compare.

        • thanks jaeshinah. your explanation clears a lot of doubtful thoughts i have towards YAI. I think my doubts are logic as i do not know deeply about Korean entertainment. And I also want that all the reading, thought, fangirling on YAI is not just because he is a pretty boy.

          In my country, we do not have that kind of interviews. Normally, the reporters like to dig dirty story and very few on positive interviews and normally the artists mature when they have done quite a lot of terrible things when they are young.

          i love you jaeshinah for the all the daily doses of YAI news and etc. Sorry, again my curiosity….. are you a students?

          • here are my two cents. ^^
            I haven’t seen that many K actors in my life yet, but actors like 안성기(Ahn, Sung Gi) and 박신양(Park, Shin Yang) have visited my school campus to have lectures on Korean films. I felt 박신양 was very intelecutally deep actor as well. There must be a lot of korean actors who are heavy thinkers and deep minded.. cuz you know acting job requires a lot of philosophical practices to justify the charactor’s action and perform the justified action of someone else..
            There can be many other thinker actors in Korea… however, not every one can express their thoughts in words (i’m sure they can act it out well tho~)
            YAI is unique in a way that he’s so young to have such a wise clever mind set. If you start reading his old interviews… it’s really surprising that a 20 year old guy could answer like him.
            And to me, i fee like that he’s expirenced with words so much, he knows how to examine the words and to rearrange them. He’s a poet…. and a thinker. that word playing ability he has… can’t be really seen 100% to non korean speakers unfortunatly. There are many K fans of YAI who got to know him thru his acting career, yet a lot of them became true fans of YAI after reading his poems, tweets, and interviews. He has at least three means to express himself well: painting, acting, and writing. And, writing is a huge chunk of him to me. I feel like some of incompetent celebrity reporters (who spend most of their time digging up the dirty issues) would get nervous in front of YAI cuz not only YAI is honest and blunt to show his boredom toward the same old questions but also he knows better how to play with the words than those pathetic reporters.

      • Hi kfan, sorry my response is late. life has been hectic.

        I have been around the kfandom since 2006. Have fallen in love with so many actors, but most of them are temporary crushes. YAI is one of a few that I can’t move on.

        Your skepticism is understandable, because knowing the persons close to you is hard enough, left alone celebrities who you can only know on screen and through interviews right? What I love about YAI most is not how he presents himself to us, but how he doesn’t give a s*** about what we take him for. Of course he’s happy and loves his fans^^, but noone can really tell this man what to do or how to think. That’s why he’s cool.

        About other celebrities’ interviews, I recently read an interview of Lee Seung Gi. Striking Striking contrast! I like Lee Seung Gi as a nice-boy-next-door-who-all-moms-want-their-kids-to-be, and I’m blown away by how different these two guys are. they’re like the opposites of all opposites lol.

        So Ji Sub is one actor that I think bear some similarities personality-wise with YAI, since So Ji Sub is also very liberal soul. Jang Hyuk is another who is serious and no-nonsense, to the point of being socially awkward lol. I thought Jang Geun Suk was pretty mature, but Jang Guen Suk’s interviews are more of the standard interviews, I’d say. But since the notion of “standard interview” can’t be defined clearly here, my comment isn’t valid much lol.

          • OMG i’m glad you do. I’m a long time So Ji Sub fangirl. I love him since 2002 Glass Slippers (I watched in 2004 I think)! So charismatic and sexy. The man is a bomb!

            Lots of SJS fangirls are charmed by YAI because they both ooze out the same charisma and hotness lol

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  18. thanks jaeshinah, InK and tiny. i felt very lucky and honored that the three of you responded to my cynical comments. and glad to know that there are Korean actors that I know has an outstanding personality too.

    i have to admit when i read YAI interviews, his statements and insight have shocked me. when he talks about life, popularity, being different and still be able to preserve the fundamental of yourself in spite of what is going on in your life….. i was thinking how very true all those things are. my thought is how can a young handsome boy/man and plus an actor have these insights. he must be genius or read script? but repeatedly all his answers for various interviews are consistent. and thanks for the explanation coming from the three of you, it shows whatever ‘many things’ i labored on him are really worth it. hope YAI will remain his true identity for all his life. but are we going to remain close to him for the coming years?
    Promised? 12 minutes 47 seconds.

    thanks again 🙂

  19. thank you very much for sharing your translation with us. yoo ah in is one very interesting person. his thoughts are very insightful & revealing. thank you again. i am proud to say that i am a yoo ah in fan!!! i am looking forward to his projects & writings as well. 🙂

  20. EXTREMELY elaborate exact Korean-English translation!!!
    Absolutely amazed at the brilliant skills!!!
    The translator, Jaeshinah is REALLY worthy of respect!!!
    Wanna show my respect to Jaeshinah as well as considerate talented actor, YAI!
    Of course the competent assistant, Ink is great, too! 🙂
    Frankly speaking, although I’ve already read the interview in Korean,
    – in addition, I’m a Korean native speaker.;;-
    I didn’t exactly understand what YAI said so ambiguously
    until I read this INCREDIBLY accurate detailed translation!!!
    (Kind of embarrassed!!! >.<;;)
    Although I spent a lot of my time reading and understanding this long English article
    it was COMPLETELY worthwhile!!!!
    It's such a nicely written article!
    I also have a marvelous experience of getting to know fabulous YAI!!
    REALLY awesome and thank you SOOOOOOOOOOOOO much!!!!

  21. The same thing happened to me tiny.. (oOOps! sorry to butt in) I had a little crush on YAI at first but didnt pay that much attention coz I really like Lee Min Ho but when I read the writings and responses of YAI on his interviews I think I was hit by cupid.. hehehe. Actually today is my first day of learning Korean, I wanted to understand YAI more.. I dunno why but I think that through reading his tweets and interview responses I am somewhat connected to him. puhaha.. im going crazy.. btw i also like SJS particularly when he played the role of Kang In Wook on “Something Happened in Bali”.

    • Wow! Goodluck on your first korean lesson(ooops sorry to butt in) hehehe, welcome to haven! Hope to see you here often! Join The fun ^^ we Are family here ^^

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