“Seoul Vibe,” which premiered on Netflix last month, is already the second time that actor Yoo Ah-in has worked with the streaming platform.
Though the villain in the latter, a dystopian horror series titled “Hellbound” (2021), Yoo takes on a much more light-hearted role in the new action blockbuster as a young man seeking to realize his own American dream in Seoul.
“Seoul Vibe” is set in 1988, a year that has cultural significance for Korea as it held its first Olympic Games that summer. A team of young motley drivers and mechanics led by Dong-wook go on a covert mission in the days leading up to the Games to dismantle a massive money laundering ring in hopes of achieving the American Dream.
“It is a movie that contains so many elements that people can enjoy,” Yoo said during an online interview with local media on Monday. “It teeters on the line between reality and fantasy, between being funny and being serious. As an actor, this was a challenge, but I’m glad a lot of people thought it was entertaining!”
Yoo plays Dong-wook, a skilled driver and also the leader of the group called “Sanggye-dong Supreme Team”, whose members are played by actors Ko Kyung-pyo, Lee Kyu-hyung, Park Ju-hyun and former member from Wanna One. Ong Seong-wu.
“The chemistry on set was phenomenal,” said Yoo. “More than any other project, I spent a lot of time with other actors.”
He explained that he is often a lone wolf on set, unable to have fun or socialize, partly due to his personality and also because of the pressure of having to perform well in front of the camera.
“Especially during my rookie years as an actor, I never felt very comfortable on set and was always jealous of actors who could have fun and seem free while working,” said Yoo.
Yoo began his acting career as an extra in 2003 at the age of 17, in an episode of the SBS sitcom “Honest Living” (2002-03). His first lead role came in 2004 when he played a high school art student in a drama series titled “Sharp”. Since then, the actor has starred in 16 movies and 11 drama series.
Yoo also cited Korea’s unspoken social cues and standards, especially around age, as another factor that had made him uncomfortable on set in the past. “I felt like a lot of the interactions were just a formality rather than a genuine act.
“But the ‘Seoul Vibe’ set was different. I spent a lot of time with my co-workers, not only to talk about the movie, but also to hang out, play games and have fun. I think a lot of the credit here goes to actor Lee Kyu-hyung. He was the oldest of the crew, and yet he established an atmosphere where all the actors could just be colleagues, equal and independent beings, regardless of his age. The ‘Seoul Vibe’ set gave me hope that Korean society can change.”
The chemistry between the “Sanggye-dong Supreme Team” actors that Yoo praised so much is the core aspect of ‘Seoul Vibe’ that seems to scream young dreams and ambitions.
Sporting iconic ’80s fashion items like baggy pants, bomber jackets and chain necklaces, the young motely crew sticks together through missions to one day succeed, while listening to hip-hop music in the background.
Throughout his career, Yoo has become an icon of youth, starring in movies like “Boys of Tomorrow” (2006), “Skeletons in the Closet” (2007), and “Punch” (2017), which showcased his arrival to life age youthful charm.
But as the actor turns 36 next month, Yoo said he may have to pass that title on to someone else now.
“I certainly try to carry and appreciate that sense of ingenuity and the energy of being young,” Yoo said. “I want to protect them. I don’t think I’m at the center of this ‘youth.’”
As time passes for the veteran actor, Yoo said that he feels the pressure and responsibility become heavier on his shoulders.
“In the past, I used to think that taking on new challenges as an actor was a way for me to grow and for the audience to grow with me as well,” Yoo said. “But now I’ve definitely changed to thinking that I need to live up to people’s expectations of me. A close friend told me the other day that he thinks Yoo Ah-in, the actor, has lost a bit of energy in recent years, and that, I think, is true and is a result of the growing sense of responsibility as an actor. actor in the public eye.
Throughout his acting career, a large part of Yoo’s filmography includes independent films, such as “Boys of Tomorrow”, or works with deep social messages, such as the psychological thriller “Burning” (2018).
But recently, especially in the last three years, Yoo has been seen more in big commercial works.
Yoo’s previous Netflix original series “Hellbound” premiered in November of last year. The six-part series hit #1 on the streaming service just 10 days after release.
Other works by Yoo that are more familiar to audiences include the 2014 romance series “Secret Affair,” which aired on JTBC. The series starred Yoo as a talented young pianist who becomes romantically involved with a middle-aged married woman played by actor Kim Hee-ae.
“Secret Affair” won Best TV Director and Best TV Script at the 2014 Baeksang Arts Award.
Another role Yoo is famous for is the movie “Veteran,” which hit local theaters in August 2015. It is an action comedy about a detective, played by actor Hwang Jung-min, who follows the trail of a young millionaire and criminal, played by Yoo. . To this day, “Veteran” is the fifth highest-grossing film in Korea.
The actor received many awards for his role in the film, including Asia Star of the Year Awards during the Busan International Film Festival in 2015 and Best Actor for Film 21 Movie Awards in 2015.
Yoo’s subsequent film “The Throne”, which was released a month after “Veteran”, is also a popular film. “The Throne” is a historical fiction loosely based on King Yeongjo of the Joseon Dynasty (1392-1910), played by actor Song Kang-ho, and his struggles with his son and Crown Prince Sado. The Korean Film Critics Association gave the film three awards, including Best Film.
Yoo won the Best Actor award for his portrayal of the crown prince at the 2016 Blue Dragon Film Award, among many other awards.
Date of birth: October 6, 1986
Zodiac sign: Pound
Place of birth: Daegu
Debut: 2003 in a Nongshim advertisement
Agency: United Talent Agency
Yoo Ah-in first appeared on screen during a 2003 advertisement for local food and beverage company Nongshim. He subsequently began his acting career in 2004 as a high school art student on the KBS series “Sharp”. Yoo is best known for his performances in JTBC’s romantic series “Secrete Affair” (2014), SBS’s “Six Flying Dragons” (2016), action comedy “Veteran” (2015), historical fiction film “The Throne” (2015), the psychological thriller “Burning” (2018), and the Netflix original horror series “Hellbound” (2021).
This information was confirmed by United Talent Agency on September 1, 2022.