[2014 Oct] Yoo Yeon Seok, the man who is successful because he is kind

In the drama <Reply 1994>, Chilbongie said “I’m ruined because I was nice.” However, in his movie <Whistle Blower>, his role Shim Minho changes the world by speaking the truth and promoting kindness and righteousness rather than cheating, egoism and opportunism. If it’s like that, how about the actor Yoo Yeon Seok? He is today’s hottest actor and is certainly successful through his 10 years of untiring endeavor. In 2003, he debuted on screen as the young character of Yoo Ji Tae in the movie <Old Boy>. He is never distracted and silently went through the road of acting. He who is successful because he is kind, Yoo Yeon Seok’s youth starts right now.


He dreams of showing a different appearance every single time.

What was the reactions to your movie <Whistle-Blower>?

Everyone said they liked the movie. I also heard a lot of talks that it was a production that will make you do a lot of thinking after watching the movie. I felt really happy that the reactions were good.

After receiving the script, have you ever had a thought that you really have to do this movie?

I only have one reason. After <Reply 1994>, the thought of having to show a different appearance from Chilbong grew. In that sense, I thought that the ‘Shim Minho’ role of <Whistle Blower> has a quite different feel. I think it’s a complex reason. I’ve also decided to it because the scenario is interesting, and I wanted to work together with Director and Park Hae Il sunbae.

You’ve acquired a youthful image through <Reply 1994>. You could’ve chosen a trendy and bright one for your next production but you chose a serious one. You could’ve taken a relatively easier path. Is there a reason why you chose this path?

I think it’s hard to say which production is more easy or hard. I think the people who likes me, likes that I’m showing a different image in every production. In that sense, I want to show a different image, a rather opposite image of Chilbong. I think that I want to take filmography seriously as an actor than as a star.

You seem to have paid so much attention for building the whistle-blower character in the movie.

The big concern was ‘How will the Whistle Blower Shim Min Ho be able to tell the real truth?’. I thought a lot about how persuasive will I be able to act Shim Min Ho since he whistle blowed without any evidence. After thinking and thinking, I realized that the person who will be telling the truth should be calm without being vigorous and tricky. I also tried to be calm while acting, as much as possible, when I was saying the facts.

He wants to be called an actor rather than a star.

I feel a lot of intense concern about acting from you. Since when did you start dreaming of being an actor?

I participated in a play when I was in elementary. After the play has ended, I remember feeling very thrilled from the claps I’ve received at that young age. Since then, I wanted a work that interacts with other people, preparing something, showing it and receiving claps, while the viewers are enjoying. I think that I dreamt of being that kind of performer rather than precisely an actor.

Did you not feel pressured about working closely with your big (named) sunbaes?

They cared for me very well so that we could be comfortably act together. I was really excited and fluttering that I got to work together with the sunbaes I like. I worried more about how much I will be able to portray my role well in the movie, rather than character’s emphasis.

You seem to consider the diversity of filmography than the emphasis of character when choosing a role.

I tend to feel more interest on a role that I’ve never showed before. Same goes with genre. A production’s diverseness is a big factor. The actors you work together is also one of this. I’m not the type who sticks to just one standard to decide on a production. I tend to think on the overall factors.

Your forte seems to be a good and bad image at the same time and you can portray any role perfectly. What do you think are your strengths and weaknesses?

I think my strength is a sympathetic (character). Actually, I have a complex about my appearance not being easily remembered for one’s image. I wondered If I am dull… boring… But after having to act in various roles, rather than to strongly appeal in one image, it would be an advantage as an actor to act in various roles without being awkward. That’s how I started accumulating varieties of filmography.

You seem to have a lot of hobbies. You’ve had a photo exhibition too, and you put your artistic sense into good use. Have you ever thought of trying to do a different work?

I just want to keep doing what I like to do right now rather than doing a work too far from what I like to do. I started this work because I like acting. I do also like photography, but… I’d have to study about it more, to make it more than just a hobby.

It ain’t over till it’s over

It took you a long time to get to where you are right now, during the times when you were still an unknown actor, have you ever doubted and worried?

I have never felt doubts about being an actor, ‘not even just one moment’. Of course, I worried a lot and also had tough times, but there was never a time that I suddenly fall into despair and can’t do my production. Child roles, Supporting roles, Main roles… I thought of it as walking up the stairs step by step, so I didn’t feel a huge discouragement or doubt.

But still, as a person, I think that you could’ve had times when you break down or felt weak.

I don’t think I’ve ever break down, but there were times that I did felt anxious. As I had a gap (of when I didn’t have work), I worried about “Will ever get to do a production again?”. Everytime I was like that, I urged myself. The hyungs that I’ve also worked together told me that “Male actors start on their thirties. So don’t be too nervous about it.“. And I made effort to keep that in my mind.

You seem like a very positive person.

I think that thinking negatively is absolutely isn’t a help for me. Not only for me, but same goes for other people too. It’s so easy to think in a negative way if you see several things as tough. But luckily I’m the type who keeps working hard while thinking positively.

You’ve become the hottest actor right now. In the other interview, you said that you were worried and afraid that you would change. I’m curious about what points that Yoo Yeon Seok would avoid.

Anyone are bound to change if their environment have also changed. Moreover, the excitement and interest for me has really changed than it used to be. Upon realizing it, I thought that I might change in a negative way. I’m afraid. So I try my best so that I get a hold of myself and not change in a negative way. Of course, I will change too. I will keep changing. It’s only that, I want to keep showing everything that they know about me and the image that was the reason for the people to like my current self, without changing them.

You’ve mentioned the story about male actor starts on their thirties. Now that you are in your thirties, were there any changes on the way you see acting or your ethics on your work from your twenties?

It would be really nice if I could say that nothing changed about my ethics on work. It’s just that my responsibilities and the expectations for me has become bigger and discreet. In choosing a production, It’s all in the process and acting. When I was little, I worried about how I will be able to show an actor’s existence as ‘me’, but now it was how I will be in harmony with the production. I now tend to look in a bigger picture than before. And also, I’m not doing the work alone, but because it’s a teamwork together with dozens or hundreds of people, my own misjudgment could affect a lot of things so I also feel a lot of responsibility.

You can live a lifetime by just doing what you like

This question could be a little weird but… Do you find acting fun?

(Laughs) it’s fun. I’m doing it because I’m having fun, and I think I didn’t expect too much of things. If it wasn’t fun, I wouldn’t have continued on doing it in the past 10 years despite even not having special income. (Laughs) It’s not like I am designated for art. And because of that, I think it would be hard to do it if you don’t like it. Even though my job is an actor, I will live a lifetime thinking of it as ‘something I like’ and not as a ‘job’. Simply because I like it. Not just because someone asked me to do it.

There are actually a lot of people who does a work they don’t like.

It’s not bad to live like that. But I wish them to do what they like to do. Of course, I can’t live just doing only what I like either. But when picking a job, at least consider a field that you like… I think that it’s a waste to pick something that you don’t personally like. Even though my job is an actor, I will live a lifetime thinking of it as ‘something I like’ and not as a ‘job’. Simply because I like it. Not just because someone asked me to do it.

** Not sure if he really repeated those words again or it’s just the editor who repeated it. .__.

What kind of actor is a good actor to Yoo Yeon Seok?

That is a hard question… {Thinking for quite a while) Would it be proper to say a soulful actor? I could also say an actor who does workmanship. An actor should at least not allow his own soul to show when acting. Isn’t it hard to say an actor is good when he is not soulful and does not do everything he can while acting? In that sense, I think my future goal is to become like my sunbaes on Grandpa Over Flower. They’ve decided to do acting for life, and even now they are very dedicated to everything in acting and does it passionately. And until now they still challenge themselves. I think that you have to have those kind of qualities in order to have an image of an actor.

If as an actor, your ultimate goals are to be able to show various appearances and soulful acting, how about as a person, what are your ultimate goals?

I want to live my entire life while dreaming a new dream. I came this far even though it was hard, dreaming of my dream, which is ‘acting’, that until now I still like. I want to live just like that in the future. So that I could go on, even though there would be tough times, I’d be able to withstand it. I wish that I could be able to keep dreaming the dreams I like.

Editor: Aron Jeon
Student Reporter: Kim Min Jeong
Photographer: Park Shi Yeol

Original article : naeilshot.co.kr
Translation by : Tokkipanda
Brought to you by Yeoniverse ~ Yoo Yeon Seok IFC


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