Yoo Ah In Talks About What Led Him To Quit Smoking, How He Is Evolving As An Artist, And More

In a recent pictorial for Arena Homme Plus magazine, Yoo Ah In sported Balenciaga’s World Food Programme (WFP) 2021 Spring Collection as part of the ongoing campaign for “Zero Hunger.”

On top of the striking photos, the interview that followed added to his intriguing portfolio as an actor. The first topic to tackle was his new year’s resolution of quitting smoking. He explained, “While smoking for such a long time, I never came across the thought that I should quit. Then recently, cigarettes stopped tasting as good, and smoking became meaningless. I also think I just wanted some change.”

Despite it only being February, Yoo Ah In has the year’s work cut out for him. After the premieres of “#ALIVE” and “Voice of Silence” in 2020, he has two more movies on the way in 2021. He shared that in the process of choosing his next projects, one vital aspect to consider is how he can present something new each time. He explained, “It is the actor’s job to make sure the audience stays on the edge of their seats throughout a movie. But when a piece is revealed, a certain prejudice or stereotype involving the actor may come about. So as the number of projects you’ve been involved in increases, the more you contemplate how not to tire the audience and consider the concept of ‘being new.’ To put it as a joke, we easily say, ‘He’s the same again,’ about an actor who has been adored for a long time. Although we act, the essence of our humanity doesn’t change. For an actor, being good at variations by acting out a variety of characters is a task to be resolved. A movie runs for only about two hours, but the life of an actor is long, so that’s something to contemplate.”

When considering his next piece, Yoo Ah In stated he “imagines” more than “contemplates” and chooses a character that is either natural or interesting to imagine. He added that he usually does not choose a role that requires “considering.”

On his upcoming movie “The Match,” the actor will take on the role of Lee Chang Ho, a character based on an actual Go player. The film will tell the story of Lee Chang Ho and fellow Go player Cho Hun Hyun and how their lives revolve around and evolve through Go. He commented, “I watched a lot of documentaries featuring both players. There are a lot of people on YouTube that tell the stories of historical figures in their own ways.”

In the plot synopsis, Cho Hun Hyun and Lee Chang Ho are described not only as rivals, but also as teacher and student. When asked if he has a mentor of his own, Yoo Ah In answered, “I didn’t learn how to work by studying under someone. When it comes to learning, I think it’s more important to have an attitude of wanting to learn in every moment than to look for someone that directly tells me something. Thankfully, I started working early on and have met a lot of people and a variety of people. They are all teachers to me. Even people who weren’t good examples can be sources of learning and incite sparks of change depending on how I decide to take it.”

Currently, Yoo Ah In’s biggest interest lies in health. He explained, “It is important to look healthy, and I keep thinking about living a healthy and balanced life. Before, I used to find meaning in things that I could put physical toil into or satiate my passions. Now, I accept that I have one body and that there is a limit to my stamina and mental resilience. Once I realized that I can’t push my physical and mental health, I started contemplating how to continue my time in good health. I think it’s a natural phenomenon. Isn’t there a difference between the worries we have in our twenties, thirties, and mid-thirties?”

On top of his goal to quit smoking, Yoo Ah In aspires to spend 2021 doubting himself less, loving himself more, and having the courage to live his life more unapologetically himself. In a following discussion of what art is, he added, “The superficial image we have of artists and art is overwhelming for me. Now, I know and accept that my time, existence, the existence of others, the life we share, and the world I live in are all art. Whereas in the past, I wanted to do art and thought about the artistry of things. That’s how I’m changing. I’m uncertain about the word ‘art’ now.”

Watch Yoo Ah In play a bestselling author in the drama “Chicago Typewriter” here!

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