Actor Yoo Ah In Through the Years

Yoo Ah In

“A male actor who hasn’t finished his military service has to pick his projects carefully.”

Actor Yoo Ah In’s final drama project before he enters compulsory military service will be JTBC’s new Monday-Tuesday melodrama “Secret Love Affair.”

He said, “I went back to being a proper actor, discarding any ulterior motives I had and chose this project.” The traces of maturity revealed in his worries run counter to his baby-faced appearance. Yoo Ah In is clearly a unique character.

He has been described as having a normal existence, noted for his eye smile and youthful looks, called a ‘sensitive boy,’ and has displayed his spunk by speaking out on Twitter. He has clearly developed a distinct personality over his 11 years as an actor.

Yoo Ah In Through the Years
Yoo Ah In debuted in 2003 on KBS 2TV’s “Sharp 1” at the age of 17, and has steadily built up his resume with a diversity of roles that have allowed him to cultivate his acting chops. He has appeared in dramas and films, has rarely allowed himself to be typecast and invests himself in each character regardless of whether in a supporting or lead role.

In his first movie in 2006, “Boys of Tomorrow,” Yoo Ah In played a youth, Jong Dae, who had a strong desire to own a gun, expressing the pain of being a youth stuck in a suffocating reality, took on the part of a rebellious teen, Wan Deuk, born into a multi-cultural family in 2011’s “Punch,” and played filial son, Kang Chul, to a mother with dementia in 2013 movie “Tough as Iron.” One may also recall his role in 2008 comedy “Antique,” in which he played a boxing champion, Yang Ki Beom, turned bakery apprentice. His latest movie, “Elegant Lies,” opened on March 13, where he plays the bachelor next door Chu Sang Bak.

Aside from film work, Yoo Ah In has also had a string of different roles in dramas. He had his first sageuk role in “Strongest Chil Woo” in 2008, playing long-haired assassin Heuk San, and followed that up with a charismatic turn as the brooding Moon Jae Shin in the 2010 hit drama, “Sungkyunkwan Scandal.” His last two projects were “Fashion King” in 2012, where he played young aspiring designer with big dreams, Kang Young Gul, and “Jang Ok Jang Live in Love” in 2013, in which he starred opposite Kim Tae Hee as the single-mindedly devoted King Sukjong.

Yoo Ah In has clearly come a long way from being Ok Rim’s (Go Ara) boyfriend in “Sharp 1,” and has completely erased his image as a child actor. The Yoo Ah In of today has no problems matching up to his distinguished co-stars, as can be noted by his next role as Kim Hee Ae’s man.

Secret Love Affair

He plays 20-year-old genius pianist Lee Sun Jae, who will share an unconventional romance with Kim Hee Ae, who plays his mentor Oh Hye Won, in passionate melodrama “Secret Love Affair.” In reality, the two leads share a 19-year age gap, a considerable difference despite the recent trend of noona-dongsaeng drama romances. Yoo Ah In has previously worked with many senior actors, but this is the first time he will be having a romance with an older actress. Another challenge he faces will be in delivering a convincing performance as a genius performance, and for that, he has been said to be diligently practicing the piano during his breaks.

Despite the many transformations he has shown audiences in his 11 years as an actor, it seems that Yoo Ah In is still not satisfied. The introspective actor said that before enlisting into the military, he would “go back to the basics” with “Secret Love Affair,” which speaks of his unique philosophy and desire to do better.

“Secret Love Affair” premieres on March 17 on JTBC, and airs at 9:50 PM KST on Mondays and Tuesdays.

What is your favorite Yoo Ah In role?