Actor Yoo Hae-jin [Chae Ki-won/10Asia]
10: You said in an interview before that "supporting actors don't have enough time and the script isn't so kind to them". Maybe that's why but you're famous for being an actor who is always very prepared. You are said to have produced dozens of ideas for playing your role in "JEON WOO CHI : The Taoist Wizard".
Yoo Hae-jin: Nah, not dozens. (laugh) Whether it be the director, crew or actors, we're there to make a good movie. So I just think about whether there would be anything better since I'm part of it as well. In that sense I'm more active than passive but it's not because I'm trying to stand out. Rather, if I think I stand out too much I'll tell the director so and if he agrees, we go with my idea and if not, I set my opinions aside because the director is the one who is looking at everything in the big picture. And when I don't know what to do either, I lay forth the problem first and then ask for help. I do try to find a better direction though and ask, "Director, I can't think of anything no matter how hard I try. Is there something else we could try?"
10: Every actor works in different ways but it doesn't seem like a common method. It's probably not easy for an actor to make suggestions to the director.
Yoo Hae-jin: That's why you have to be careful how you do it. And I'm very careful about it. (laugh) I hint to my thoughts saying, "Another way of doing it is like this, what do you think?" And if it doesn't pass, I'll put my opinion aside completely. But we're all there going through tough times together so I think it's a waste not mentioning what could possibly make a good movie when you think there is a way.
10: Are you usually the enthusiastic type? Outside of acting.
Yoo Hae-jin: No. I'm not like that at all in private settings. But when I'm working on a movie, it's fun to because there's significance in participating in something together and making it happen.
10: Is it related to the way you learned to do theater?
Yoo Hae-jin: That does have quite a lot to do with it.
10: You first started acting in your junior year of high school, after joining an acting troupe. I'm curious to know how you went looking for a troupe merely for your love of acting instead of wanted to become a celebrity or a star.
Yoo Hae-jin: That's why I think how you actually get into acting is important. When I used to live in the city of Cheongju, there was sort of a cultural center near my house. And when they hold events, I'd slip in through the backdoor to watch. Then one time, I watched a mono-drama when I was in eighth grade. And I thought, 'Wow, I guess that's what I want to do in the future'. It was so shocking and great. It just so happened that I was in puberty then so I felt those emotions much stronger. I think that was a very important moment for me and great luck.
Actor Yoo Hae-jin [Chae Ki-won/10Asia]
10: Even so, people usually try to major acting when they get to college. Why did you, as a high school student, go directly to a troupe?
Yoo Hae-jin: I had actually begged to be sent to an arts high school but my family wasn't in the situation to support me for it financially and my parents were conservative so they also didn't want me to act. Then when I reached high school, I thought I needed to do something about my situation so I joined a troupe after taking part in a summer camp for acting. In the beginning I started with running errands for the other actors and tried copying what they do from a distance.
10: How was it getting to show other people your acting for the first time? For people who aren't actors, that moment is fearful to even imagine.
Yoo Hae-jin: Of course I was extremely nervous, scared and having a hard time the first time I went on stage. And that was a strange experience but what was more weird was when I got paid several millions of wons for the first time after doing a movie. Because for theater actors, and the situation hasn't got much better yet, but we barely made enough to pay for our transportation. But receiving such money after not even being on set that many times, I wondered to myself whether it was okay that I receive that money.
10: Then with theater, if it was about wondering whether you'll be able to show everything that you have to the audience in front of your eyes at that very moment, with movies, was it that you had to give back something worth the money you've been paid?
Yoo Hae-jin: Yes. I wondered, 'Am I doing my money's worth? And is it right that I'm getting this much?' Didn't you feel like that when you got your first salary? Oh, maybe it's a bit different? My standard was always 'a little' so when I first got paid in several times that amount, I wondered whether I'd been paid the wrong amount. (laugh) I think that was back in 1997 when I did "Blackjack".
10: Then this is from even before then. What sort of person do you think you were when you were in school?
Yoo Hae-jin: I was very introverted but I really tried hard from a certain point to change that. I think after the moment I decided to act, I told myself I need to practice showing myself. I tried standing in front of others on purpose too and that helped me become quite an active student. But my old personality is coming out again. (laugh)
10: You first majored in fashion design in college.
Yoo Hae-jin: I had tried out for acting and film twice but failed both times. That's why I thought of fashion. I was originally planning on just going to the military but my father said I might as well just study anything. But I didn't want to just study anything and do something that will help at least a bit with acting so I chose fashion.
10: How did you feel when you didn't get accepted as a theater and film major? You must've wondered whether the judges have failed to recognize your talent or whether you're just not talented enough.
Yoo Hae-jin: And looks played a lot in their decisions. So I thought, 'Ah, am I dreaming of something in vain?' and I became scared of tests after failing a couple times. It was also a lot of pressure having to be judged in such a short time so even when I take medicine to help calm me down, I'd shake from nervousness.
Reporter : Choi Ji-Eun five@
Photographer : Chae ki-won ten@
Editor : Jessica Kim jesskim@, Lee Ji-Hye seven@
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