I recently posted an interview on Yoon Shi Yoon after he finished his drama High Kick 2. 10asaia did an other interview with the actor after the mega hit “King of baking, Kim Tak Goo”.
Yoon talks about his feeling after the drama with so much attention after-all this is only his second project, I am glad he is keeping his humble attitude and feet on the ground in the midst of popularity. He also talked about his role as Tak Goo, which I find interesting to read. We learn about Tak Goo from the actor who plays him, we see Tak Goo from outside where as he sees him from inside.
I definitely look forward to see his next project! Here is the interview with Yoon Shi Yoon.
He debuted last year through MBC’s smash hit sitcom “High Kick 2,” the sequel to director Kim Byung-wook’s popular family series from 2006. He then landed the leading role in KBS TV series “Bread, Love and Dreams,” which averaged viewership ratings of 36 percent and breached the 50 percent mark on its finale episode. With just two acting roles, Yoon Si-yoon went from a noname newcomer to a star. 10Asia sat down with the 24-year-old actor to talk about his past, present and future.
10: I understand that you’re doing interview after interview after “Love, Bread and Dreams” ended its run. This must be the first time you’re experiencing such a thing.
Yoon: It is. This is already my fourth today. And I still have a similar number left (to do).
10: It must be difficult having to do interviews immediately after finishing up a 30-episode drama.
Yoon: It’s not. I believe this is all just part of the process. It’s where I can say ‘thank you’ as actor Yoon Si-yoon. And there’s a lot I didn’t get to say as my character Tak-goo either. I think this is very important.
10: How has it been talking to reporters?
Yoon: I’m lucky in the sense that they have been nice and like me. Some might say to watch out for them (laugh) but when I respond with sincerity, they would write about it the way I told it to them. I’ve never been hurt by articles before. And in a way, I feel more responsibility because they have viewed me in a positive light ever since I became an actor.
10: Like you say, you’ve been popular since “High Kick 2” which could be considered your actual debut work. But I think you must’ve feel pressured about having to play the lead of a drama, regardless of the response from people around you.
Yoon: I did feel pressure. But it’s pressure over the acting I have to do more than anything else. So I think it was valuable pressure because it’s something I have to learn to overcome as an actor. I can only become a better actor by overcoming that.
10: You said that you felt like you had become your character Joon-hyuk when you were doing “High Kick 2” but you now sound just like Tak-goo.
Yoon: I do, right? Everybody’s been saying that this time around. And I think it comes from my love for my roles. Like when you date someone, you become like that person. I know I lack in everyway including vocalization, pronunciation, acting skills, emotional expression and movement. I know it but I love the roles I play. Both Joon-hyuk and Tak-goo. That’s why I become like them.
10: But a lot of people get scared even when they’re doing what they like. Do you think you’re the type that isn’t scared or is good at overcoming such fear?
Yoon: I ask for help boldly. Because I know I’ll never make it by myself. I never repress my emotions. I think Tak-goo is like that too. We’re similar in that sense. I was able to overcome pressure or fear while playing the role of Tak-goo because I with other people — I don’t have the psychological strength to overcome it alone. I’m the type that asks boldly and bravely, ‘I can’t do this without you.’
10: Who is usually the most help?
Yoon: I guess my closest friends are my manager or stylist. The conversations we have while I’m looking at my script and while I’m eating help so much. And like they protect and support me, I feel that responsibility to do the same for them as well. I feel like I should become someone they can rely on when they’re going through hard times as much as I rely on them.
10: Becoming a star could be one of the ways to become that sort of person. (laugh)
Yoon: This is what I think. That if you are someone who holds his ground, you can be that someone who others rely on. They’ll lean on you because you’re standing firm. And it’s people who are always there in the same place, people who you want to go back to, that are the ones you want to rely on, not the ones who speak elaborately. 25 years old could be considered both a young and old age but I’m going to try not to lose my ground. And if I manage to do that, I think that one day I’ll be someone that my family, my friends and that someone that I will love someday, can rely on.
10: That ultimately means you have to have your own set of beliefs or convictions. What are they?
Yoon: I believe in the power of positive thinking. And I believe that power can change others too. I think good things will happen if you try to look at good things and think good thoughts.
10: Was Tak-goo like that?
Yoon: He was like that, always. He’d be making bread in the bakery no matter how fickle Yoo-kyung acts and he returns to Palbong Bakery even after he achieves everything in the end. He achieved everything solely through the power of positive thinking, without having to fight or clash with someone. And it’s not like he was hard on himself. He was the type of guy that upgrades himself in a Spartan-like manner. So when I shot scenes where he’s in a competition or has to change the mind of the board of directors of his company, I did so with the mind that he doesn’t want to win but finds significance in the process of doing so. That’s the kind of kid Tak-goo was.
10: Is that why then? Some people make those around them feel uncomfortable while they’re working hard but that’s doesn’t seem like what Tak-goo was like.
Yoon: He’s someone that’s just happy to do what he does. I never had to act the emotion of him being nervous when he gets results. He just did what he did, he got the results, and ‘wow, I’m done,’ is what it was for him. And he only feels happiness because he enjoyed the process of what he did. The reason he smiled and jumped about after the competition wasn’t because he won but because he could make bread out of boiled barley that the child who helped him gave him. That’s why Tak-goo isn’t a hero. He’s just a kid who likes normalities.
10: That’s why he’s quite an amazing character as well. He himself says that he has been through hardships that are so severe that he has “done everything except for killing someone,” but there’s such an innocent side to him.
Yoon: The similarity between me and Tak-goo aren’t the fact that we are both men of high caliber or are nice. Tak-goo has a short temper and is simple-minded. So I interpreted the power of positive thinking he has based on such simple-mindedness. There are people who can’t contain their sadness when they feel it. Not because they’re kind-hearted but because it feels uncomfortable. So Tak-goo says he’s done everything in the past except for kill someone but he doesn’t dwell on it. So I focused on expressing him as he is in his present state. Of course it’s impossible for him not to miss his parents. It’s just that he focuses on what he’s doing in the state he is in — the process of making bread. Because it’s hard to handle pain that is so immense.
10: But Tak-goo matures through the process of focusing on his present. He vows he will not use get into fist fights and forgives Jin-goo.
Yoon: It’s the factors around him which makes him mature rather than him maturing by himself. Tak-goo has actually never forgiven anyone before. He just accepts fate. ‘Yes, okay, that can happen.’ It’s the people around him that help him mature in the process of him learning to accept them. The master at Palbong bakery teaches him about bread and Jin-goo becomes a friend that Tak-goo can rely on.
10: In that sense, I’m curious to know in what way you matured as an actor while meeting various people through your roles.
Yoon: I would be acknowledging how weak I am if there was a drastic change I went through that made me develop the most. So before, I was afraid of my weaknesses. I was thinking that since I’m playing the lead role, I need to take responsibility, I can’t led the drama flop, and I can’t become a burden on my senior actors. But I was wrong. I realized that acknowledging my weaknesses and telling people that I’m having a hard time was the right thing to do. I think that’s how I’ve changed. That’s also why I showed tears at the event held after the airing of the finale episode. I had felt that I was listening only to the echos of my own words when we had held a press conference announcing that the drama would be produced. And this was basically the essence of what every media outlet was asking. Do you know that your rival broadcasters are going to have major dramas coming out? How are you going to win them? And I had responded, ‘Please keep an eye out for us since Tak-goo is a kid with the appeal that he will never lose.’ But those were empty echos. And such thoughts that I had back then overlapped with when we had our wrap-up party. I didn’t know there were so many actors in our drama. I had said ‘Please believe in us’ with almost no confidence at the press conference but it turns out that we achieved a myth thanks to all of these great people who helped and led the drama on. So I wanted to show everybody who had those questions. That they might have been looking only at me but that they now finally probably notice all these other people as well. “Bread, Love and Dreams” may have done well but I don’t think anyone would regard me as the main character of a drama which reached viewership ratings of 50 percent. I’m still an actor with room for risk. But I think that because I’m that weak, the characters who support me can stand out more. I think it serves as the motivation for me to keep moving forward with them. So I like having that weakness about me.
10: Well you said you received a lot of help from people around you but I wonder whether there has been a newcomer actor who clashes and conflicts so violently against seniors like Jeon Gwang-ryeol and Jeon In-hwa like you have done?
Yoon: I’m very positive-minded and also clueless. When we first tried reading our scripts together, the director and writer said they were surprised because I sat between the two (actors) and started acting between them. I didn’t think much about it but it turns out they were thinking, ‘He must not be afraid.’ But I didn’t feel any pressure from them. I just wanted to learn.
10: And how did they respond to that?
Yoon: Jeon said he thought, “Ah, this kid is really a hard worker.” I lost my voice after we rehearsed that day. So he told me, “I know you’re trying hard but what you need to do is loosen up.” It was the same with Jeon. Her character always clashes so much with Tak-goo. But even right after she says mean lines to me while she’s acting, she’d say, “Oh, good job good job” right after the director gives the cut sign so there was no reason I’d be nervous. She treated me so well.
10: What sort of influence do you think your experience on working on this drama have on your next role?
Yoon: Like I said before, the heart to love even my own weaknesses. I not have even more of the confidence to admit to who I am and be more of a team player. Because I know I can’t make it alone.
10: It seems like you’ll maintain that attitude even when you become a star.
Yoon: Of course. They say that the smartest people are the ones that know they are dumb. And I definitely want to become a strong person so that’s even more of why I want to become someone who humbly acknowledges his weaknesses and utilizes them. I’m not the type of person who is good at looking out for others nor with the appeal to draw in people. The one thing — that I won’t lie and ask for help sincerely. And people will be helping me because they know how I feel so I can’t become arrogant. They’re coming to me not because I’m a great person but because they love my heart so I can’t let my heart change.
10: But you sometimes play your roles with an appeal of a main character at star level.
Yoon: I think roles are about harmonizing. And I actually still don’t know that well so I’m telling you based on the fact that I think my senior actors are the answer. Everything needs to harmonize. I sometimes need to let go of what’s my own. Of course I could raise ratings by having me stand out in a certain way. But when a drama’s over, I think there’s nothing worse than when all people remember is the main character, if after a movie you say ‘Oh, it was a Yoon Si-yoon film.’ That means that person is a celebrity not an actor. I could have gotten into shape by working out and showing a more sophisticated Tak-goo but that’s not him. Harmonizing with other is who Tak-goo is. Of all the fine array of actors who appeared in our drama, not once did one of them try to stand out. I need to learn that. There are so many people out there who try much harder than I do, yet walk to places because they can’t make enough money even for transportation. I’m being rude to them if I obsess over acting that makes me look cool.
10: It seems like you are quite the unpretentious person.
Yoon Si-yoon: I’ve only played two roles so far but have had so many mentors. There are many people who tell me how I should live as an actor. Nobody tries to put false ideas into my head.
10: I think that could only be possible if you loving living an ordinary life.
Yoon: I really do spend my time ordinarily. I’m a very boring person. I like meeting up with people around me to talk with them. Right now as well, I’m not happy because I’ve been receiving so much love but because people around me can happily enjoy themselves through this. Can it get any better? I can ride in a large and comfortable car, talk about my schedule and talk about my work. And while papers on self-development say that one should have big dreams, I think I must be someone who doesn’t have the capacity to because after working hard, I like to spend at least an hour drinking beer with my friends. And I’m working hard because that’s what I’m trying to protect.
10: I think that’s why you’re particularly thankful of your fans. You write on your fan cafe as well.
Yoon: I’m very sorry. I haven’t been able to do that these days because I’ve been so busy. I should have written to them after “Bread, Love and Dreams” ended its run but I haven’t been able to do that. I think I’ll get to only by the time I’m done with these interviews.
10: You said you live an ordinary life but not everyone likes to write.
Yoon: I think I live my life doing all the boring things. I really do. Like I like watching sports rather than playing them.
10: I heard you like baseball.
Yoon: I’m a huge fan of baseball. If you like baseball, you’re automatically on my side and my person. That’s how much I love it. The one day of the year that I have severe depression is the day baseball ends, the day of the finals for the Korean series. I feel very empty. I truly think, ‘How do I live?’ And then I feel like I can breathe again when it’s April.
10: What is it about baseball that you like so much?
Yoon: Baseball is about defense. That’s why I like it. Defense plays a much larger role in baseball, about 90 to 10. And they say while offense may be innate, defense is all about how much training you do. That’s why I feel much more affinity to people who are good at defense.
10: Would you call yourself a hard worker as well?
Yoon: I want to be. I’m not yet but I’ll become one.
10: And you’ll need to work hard to play roles that are heroes or villains, not characters that are close to who you are like Joon-hyuk or Tak-goo.
Yoon: It could come from hard work but I think what’s ultimately important is your love for your character. You need to become as close as you can to the character to deliver your character to the audience persuasively. If you were a genius actor, you could create your character with perfection but I’m not, so if I like the character I’m supposed to play and feel that I want to play the role soon, then I’ll gradually become that character since that’s where I’ll have kept on turning my attention to. I think I’d gradually become that character if I keep thinking about his characteristics and try to see how he feels.
10: Then let me change the question. Do you think you’d be able to love any sort of character?
Yoon: But I think that’s an issue of time. I think there’ll be characters that take a long time to fall in love with. Even with people, there are times when you fall in love with them immediately but also those you love after a couple of years.
10: But your work requires you to finish what you do within a limited time-frame.
Yoon: I think the senior actors are skilled enough to utilize that time efficiently but I don’t know how to do that yet. I need to look at it more on a long-term perspective.
10: I get that you want to hold your ground, that you love ordinary things and that you want to become a good actor. But isn’t there still something that you want to achieve? Outside of becoming a star.
Yoon: There is. And it’s actually something so great that people may think it’s ridiculous but I mean it. I want to become the keyword for hope. It could be about becoming the promotional ambassador of a famous volunteer group or someone who can be influential in both inside and outside Korea in good ways. And I want to act with that energy so that I could become someone whose acting can be believable and trusted. Someone who comes off as the type to take part in good deeds and give hope to people with just a few words, rather than someone who advertisers are charmed by. It’s a really big dream. I really want to become that person.
Reporter : Wee Geun-woo eight@
Photographer : Lee Jin-hyuk eleven@
Editor : Lee Ji-Hye seven@
Editor : Jessica Kim jesskim@
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