How are you? As you all know, there have been many articles about Ah In these days~ Thanks to my low-profile friend, the little birdie who whispers in my ear, here is the translation of an interview that CINE21 did with Ah In~ The interview was originally posted on October 17, 2011 at CINE21~
Please keep in mind that since there are some parts are literal translations, it might be a bit difficult to understand~ But, we did our best~ So if anyone would like to clarify anything, please just jump right in~^ ^~
Translated by the Little Birdie Who Whispers in My Ear~
Edited by mathed~
Originally Posted at Mathed’s Home~
[Yoo Ah-In] A Walking Actor Who Is Pointing at the Mask
Yoo Ah-In is the subject that the camera focuses on with a long and wide setting. Just keep an eye on him for a minute. He never remains still. Relaxation or tiny struggle, try not to give up relaxation. When I try to record his interview with a camera on a tripod, before I know it, I can only get a picture of his ear. He’s a bit pain in the ass. During the past two years, Yoo Ah-In has been acting and gotten a good press when it comes to his facial expressions in the even more closer frame or bust shot in TV drama <결혼못하는 남자: A man who doesn’t want to get married> and <성균관 스캔들: SKKS>. Three years after <하늘과 바다: The sky and the ocean>, <완득이: Punch> gave Yoo Ah In the physical freedom for the first time. “I think it is possible to act everything instinctively if I feel comfortable. I don’t have to add more. I’m not sure my instinct works or not for those who have seen me.” Indeed, 완득 looks so amazingly comfortable in the movie <완득이>. Even if he is called a trouble maker, he seems to be the one who has a stable personality. So to speak, he is not a student who is left out, but leaves the rest of his classmates out. So, the guidance of 동주 선생 (played by 김윤석: DdongJu teacher) seems that he doesn’t save a disorderly student from a pit of despair but drags a mature and superior student down to the ground and makes him live like an ordinary person. Yoo Ah-In is nodding. “For him, it can be helpful to slow down the pace of growing.”
With the poverty, fistfights, a disabled father and an uncle, and a runaway Filipino mother, 도완득 (Do WanDeuk) is a character who has a clear setting of ‘who he is’ from the beginning. ‘The most pathetic boy in the world,’ could this abridged variable be a clue or a burden? “I thought to myself deeply. However, it was important that the attitude of 완득이 itself reacting against the surrounded environment and not analyzing 완득이’s realistic factors to form his environment. Even though 완득이 is helpless, he just takes it as it is. He thinks ‘that happens all the time’. While I was acting like having instant noodle in school uniform, it reminded me of my past which was that I set the table, watched TV and had a meal by myself. I never felt I was unlucky or sad. I just took it as being natural and reasonable.” The ‘attitude’ is a kind of attached subject for Ah-In who has a habit of writing. “I stopped to write about what I feel and where I am. Now, I’m writing how I think deeply to react. That is the kind of attitude I can have.”
How can I talk about Ah-In’s acting without talking about <종대: Jong Dae> from <우리에게 내일은 없다: Boys of tomorrow>? He is almost the same teenager like 완득이, who has eyes of herbivore and a way of speaking which is “I don’t care whether you guys understand me or not.” 종대 walks on the handrail of a pedestrian overpass which makes us feel precariousness. On the other hand, 완득이 is not a crybaby but someone who seems to see his own life like a spectator. Is that because of the difference between 21-year-old Yoo Ah-In and 25-year old Yoo Ah-In? While watching <완득이>, it reminds me of his reminisce a year ago which was that he liked to step back and look at his friends back in school. And when he was filming <서양골동양과자점 앤티크: Antique> with other actors in the same space, the director of the movie, <민규동 : Min Gyu Dong>, said he saw Ah-In smiling like an immortal when nobody was there. Nevertheless, Yoo Ah-In does not pursue only growth. “I think종대 is healthier than 완득이. Ironically it’s because I’m longing for 종대. And for 완득이, I think he’ll be much happier to be dragged down to earth. I can be thrown out, distorted and breakable. I think it is a perfect state. That’s why I envy 종대. But you know, 완득이 already gave up many things, which is a pity.” He’s right. Yoo Ah-In feels for 완득이. “He’s too nice. That’s why I feel for him. Finally he met his mom and bought her shoes like a boyfriend. When he took her in his arms at last at the bus station, he just said ‘give me a hug’ to his weeping mom. He is too premature to let himself off. That is also poor. No one treated him as an ordinary boy. I hated this situation to propel him to survive like an adult.” A 17 year-old 엄홍식 (Um Hong Sik: Yoo Ah-In’s real name) is more bounded and determined than 완득이. He just quit the school instead of asking “may I quit the school?” like 완득이. “There was no considerable opposition. I had no big obstacles, so it became my character and reality. After I grew older, I learned the convenient way to say ‘I’m sorry for making troubles’ after doing what I wanted. I never thought that’s trouble sincerely. In fact, that’s not trouble, but I think I didn’t have to be understood and explain everything I had in my mind. I feel more comfortable when people just look down on me and think ‘It’s a childish behavior.’ Eventually, the most important thing is what and how I do. I prefer doing what I want and killing me with words. So actions come before words.
Through laughs and tears, accidents and incidents riding back and forth, the style of the movie <완득이> is not kind to the boy,완득이, who is very considerate to no purpose. It does not offer time for audiences to look into a boy’s feelings of pretending to feel serene. From the time when 완득이 is stuffing salty side dishes into his throat which his mom made for him to the time when the moment he manages to say something to her mom, I think there are some left out feelings which the movie could have waited and shown for a while. “I’m sorry for that as an actor who plays that role, but the movie runs through it without digging inside. I think that’s the fate of our movie. I’m satisfied with this movie because it shows even if poor people are surrounded by a poor environment and nobody listens to their story, they don’t growl and they deal with it very smoothly. I think I am compromised. There are not many movies like that.” When the time he decided to play a role of <완득이>, Yoo Ah-In said this is the chance to test his acting that is connected with the technique out of his experience but not losing his instinctive gesture. Now the movie is completed. How close does he think his goal was reached by testing the reality through the artificiality? “To conclude, I can’t get out of playing 종대. No, that’s right. I think so. Even though I use techniques, the bottom should not be exposed. I think I can’t play a role with only techniques filled with fake entirely. By the way, I don’t have everything. I’m surely confident that I have much more ‘self’ than any other. Sometimes that’s why I guess I can’t act for a long time.”
Long for the freedom of a man who never owns
I think to myself as I see Yoo Ah-In’s skyrocketing rise after SKKS, he can never have a power of the man who has never had power like the way he mentioned about this. Instead, he can get another kind of power which is selling products and making people adore his appetite. But he’s concerned about something he lost rather than something he got. “You know what I mean? I think that the real thing is the power of a man who doesn’t have any of them. Maybe… That’s why I might not know how to handle the new power that I recently got, so I feel burdensome and tired. In that sense, I always said that the time of teens is the best overall. I also long for freedom and power of a man who has nothing. I have a desire even to be lost in despair.” It’s no wonder he throws ‘the end’ around without hesitation even if he is now a star. “I want to finish up on my own before things are becoming beyond my control. At the same time, I realize how difficult it is. Meanwhile, in several interviews I gave, I think I have been full of hot air.” By the same token, Yoo Ah-In wants to choose all of his future works posthumously and not to use a bridge to cross to other places. “If my days are numbered, I could live a full life (smile).”
He probably used to feel anxious about nobody choosing him as an actor of their films, so he might imagine quitting the acting life. But, now, he seems to think of ‘the end’ as a person who has a different possibility from his previous life, which is starting as a blank slate. After a long conversation, the last verse of the poem I read lately overlapped dimly on his face as he was leaving his seat slowly.
‘You’re going to fly away.
Don’t fly away.
You’re going to fly away.’
Quoted from the poem ‘The bird’ by ‘Shim Bo Sun’