From awkward recluse to ancient prince and music prodigy, Yoo Ah-In has played an unusually diverse range of roles for the young actor that he is. The New York Times would describe him as “almost anti-charismatic”, with his delicate features that could set audiences up for a “grand misperception”.
As he opens up to I.T in Shanghai, it’s obvious that we’re looking at a pensive and insightful actor who’s very much in his own skin. Before we set out for the launch party of Birkenstock and Rick Owen’s second collaboration, we sat down with a relaxed and composed Yoo, as he confides in us on his career aspirations and how he gets in character.

I.T: Where do you find inspiration? Can you tell us about your creative process?

Yoo: Actually, it’s not that complicated at all. I find it in things that surround me in my everyday life; in people, situations, and objects around me. All those things are a source of inspiration to me. I try and look closely at things that easily pass us by – things we often neglect – but are around us all the time. I also reach inwards to build empathy for the character I’m playing, so I can better accept and understand their existence. This internal process is my inspiration. I don’t need to go anywhere else.

“This internal process is my inspiration.
I don’t need to go anywhere else.”

I.T: How do you get in character when you’re preparing for a new project?

Yoo: Rather than “creating” a persona from scratch, I like to find traits in a character that resemble my own. I make the most out of those personality attributes. That’s my approach to building a character.

I.T: What’s next for you as an actor?

Yoo: As I accumulate experience and grow my career, I’m constantly thinking of ways to reinvent myself as an actor. This is one of my main concerns right now. As a young actor in my 20s, I played numerous characters that showed how colourful a performer I could be. The next step would be for me to show audiences a more mature version of myself. Rather than taking what’s already been established, I’m questioning how I can be creative with opportunities offered to me. That’s what’s occupying my thoughts these days.




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