[10Asia] Yoo Ah In’s post-FK confessions
If you hated Fashion King’s ending, read this. Among the interviews Yoo Ah In gave to appease the public post-FK-finale, this is the best, IMHO.. As usual, because it’s 10 Asia. ^^
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and additional Star-K Entertainment images via E-Today~
Yoo Ah In – “These things I have, I’m worried that they will make me ordinary.”
“It was a refreshing and interesting challenge; to be able to act a character like Kang Young Geol was a progressive and satisfying step for me,” said Yoo Ah In, who had upped the media anticipation of SBS drama <Fashion King when he, as one of the hottest young actors today, was cast as the lead in this drama with a star scriptwriter, only to receive more rants than raves as the drama struggled with (frequent) questionable developments, and characters often lost their directions only to find themselves returning again and again to the same place, capped off by its senseless finale. But Yoo Ah In is not merely paying lip service with his opening sentence.
“There were times when I was fed up and lost faith, times when I was affected by how the story seemed to have lost it’s form and looked dented,” he confessed without qualms. The path travelled by an actor is a long one. What’s more, actor Yoo Ah In himself has no idea how long he would be able to travel on this path.
But he knows that for every work he takes on, he steps into another world where he goes through a new period of growth. As usual, Yoo Ah In is an actor who is full of anxieties, a 27-year-old experiencing much in the nauseating yet passionate world of acting, as he shares with us his views on acting, creating, love, and people.
Q: I heard you cried a lot at the finale party of <Fashion King>.
YAI: I cried because I was drunk. (laughs) Though I usually don’t cry when I’m drunk. (Shin) Se Kyung was crying in front of me which affected me unneccesarily. Anyway, I cry at least once whenever filming ends for a work – whether it’s right at the moment when filming wraps up, when I’m alone, when I’m in front of a director etc. But the next day, I don’t feel anything at all, to the point where I don’t feel that the drama is real, as if a clock that was temporarily stopped resumed working. (i.e. returning back to real life after it was paused when he entered the drama world)
Q: Using the same analogy, at the very final moment before your clock resumed working, had you ever thought of who killed Young Geol?
YAI: Is the identity of the killer that important? I mean I was curious, but it’s not really important. Anyway, from Young Geol’s point of view, he ends up dead anyway. (laughs) There are many possible endings this drama could have, and I thought suicide wasn’t a bad idea. Eventually I found the ending of Young Geol dying beyond his control or even awareness, the way he just evaporated off the face of the earth, I can agree with it too.
But with regard to the ambitions and passions of the characters in the drama, the fact that the characters do not develop with a clear direction, and instead seem to end up with similar story plots due to minimal development on their characters, this did not settle well with the audience. Personally, I felt it wasn’t that bad, that characters “repeat their footsteps on the same place”. It’s just that recognizing the “reality” of this (i.e. how this happens in real life as well), it unsettles people, and makes them dissatisfied.
“As Actor Yoo Ah In, <Fashion King> is a drama that gave me many opportunities to fall in love”
Q: Did the dissatisfying aspects come about because of the intentional lack of character development, which attempted to reflect reality?
YAI: Personally, that’s what I felt. Although I’m not fully sure whether it fully reflects reality, there were certain moments which the drama had to portray, that I had to portray, moments which often appeared when viewers least wanted them to appear, moments which aim to provoke. To tell the truth, the male characters of <Fashion King> were really empty and pathetic, just look at the dreams of the so-called ‘Male Lead’ Young Geol, he just wanted to earn lots of money and own buildings, and beyond his ambition, he ultimately wanted to overcome the superiority that chaebol successor Jung Jae Hyuk (Lee Jae Hoon) exerted over himself. However, all these are very realistic to me. Although I agree to a certain extent that a drama should provide some fantasy for the audience, I also think that it is necessary to have dramas that touch on the untouchable topics too.
Q: In your earlier works, you often act as characters who rebel against the norms of society, who seemed to have a higher purpose. However, this time, you took on a character like Young Geol who had very strong ambitions to fit himself into a recognized, acceptable status in society. There’s a marked difference in your choice of characters through this drama.
YAI: Yes, while this character is different from the past characters in my filmography, this kind of character can also be said to show a marked difference to the typical lead characters of the mini series genre. We are used to lead characters that righteous, courageous, someone who always places love as his first priority no matter what happens. But this time, the lead character is someone who is absorbed with his ambitions to succeed in society – characteristics that viewers are not used to associating a lead character with. That’s why the way Young Geol-ie achieves his success through despicable, underhanded, shameful tactics, it was something that resonated with me. Also, that’s not all; no matter what (Young Geol does), I felt that he must always project an appealing charm. Earlier, I had even felt that Young Geol was kind of cute, you know. (laughs)
Q: From the technical point of view, what were the efforts you placed into portraying Young Geol?
YAI: I placed much emphasis and efforts into the way Young Geol talks, to portray him like a gangster. Compared to the way I talk in real life, I changed even the way I end my sentences. Also, in order to show how this character’s taste is definitely not “high class”, I wore prints similar to the shirt that Shin Chang Won wore.
Q: Like the majority of Korean dramas, although the subtleties of emotional moments are portrayed well, <Fashion King>’s “skin-ship” issues were dealt with in very unrealistic ways. Ga Young and Young Geol, for example, are two adults who liked each other, yet they could sleep beside each other, chastely back-to-back. What do you think about these kinds of awkward scene developments in romantic melodramas?
YAI: With regards to that, I guess the most realistic portrayals could be found in KBS <Love and War>. (laughs) This is probably one of the limitations of Korean dramas, but still, it’s good that there are plot devices and scenarios that help viewers to accept this (limitation). Examples include dialogues like “I think of you, Ga Young, like a little sister” or when carrying a drunk Anna (Yuri) to her bed, and only taking off her shoes, the setting of “Because she is drunk” will somehow neutralize the situation and make it more convincing for the viewers. No matter what, due to existing negativity towards too explicit sexual scenes in society, it is difficult to show more realistic passionate love in the romance dramas that are more “melo” than rom-coms. However, personally since I don’t have much opportunity to fall in love in the scripts of my earlier works, as actor Yoo Ah In, <Fashion King> is a drama that gave me many opportunities to fall in love.” (laughs)
Q: Although the drama barely ended a few days ago (finale aired on 2012-05-22), what will <Fashion King> mean to you in your memories from now on?
YAI: “Ambition”? My ambition, my fervent wish that the public would accept and embrace Kang Young Geol. Initially, when I read the script for episodes 1~4 and the ending, I was curious about how the story could reach that kind of ending. In order to convince the viewers of the development of this narrative and its characters, I think it could have been better if both (narrative and characters) were more “mixed” and intertwined with each other. Stories about love, ambition, hopelessness should not be regarded as passé. However, even if there are attempts to illustrate (“draw out”) these themes (in Fashion King), the characters and their actors cannot convey the expressions required, which is quite regrettable. That’s why, during the finale party, the scriptwriter also said, “To tell the truth, although I can’t say I am facing you very gladly at this moment, I really want to tell you that you have created a world in which I wanted.” However, now that I’m thinking back, I still can’t figure out why the scriptwriter would describe it this way. (laughs)
Q: That wouldn’t be what most people would say, but to a certain extent, saying it like that would be more sincere, more honest than saying “You were absolutely great”, I guess?
YAI: In a way, I will try to accept and understand everything the scriptwriter and director says, because, essentially I regard them as the owners or even gods of my world. This is what I always do. Even if there are parts which I disagree with, I must always try to fit myself into the character they envision, because my job is to deliver the words that they expect from those characters. Although as an individual, if my life is screwed I can complain to hell and heaven, as much and freely as I want, if people rant against our work, I can’t do that. The most I can do, is to be realistic about it and acknowledge that my (scriptwriter and director) gods have their imperfect moments as well.
Q: Well, one can say that all works have their imperfect moments too.
YAI: Yeah, but throughout filming, I always had faith that despite the imperfections of my gods, they were perfectly capable in achieving what they want. I believed in that. Because it’s very very difficult to work if you had suspicions. I believe that such is the inevitable fate of actors. Thus, in this way, it wasn’t difficult for me during this drama as well (by leaving it all to the good hands of his ‘drama’ gods, so to speak)
to be continued…