Maybe it is possible to do things right the first time. Actor Yoon Shi-yoon, who first met viewers through MBC sitcom “High Kick 2,” has become very popular with his realistic portrayal of “student Joon-hyuk” experiencing first love. The actor says that he — currently adored by all age groups ranging from the young female fans who get excited at the sight of him to the mothers who adore him like a son — is “grateful” for the attention. But this actor, who believes the way to repay his fans’ love is by not being easy on himself, is still thirsty to learn more about acting. He is someone who thinks more about how to take his next step in the right direction correctly rather than quickly. Maybe that is why Yoon Shi-yoon’s voice sounded more mature than the young “student Joon-hyuk” he plays in “High Kick.”
10: You are very popular nowadays compared to when the show first started. Do you feel it yourself?
Yoon Shi-yoon: I don’t really know because I’m always on set. But there are young fans who come to see me sometimes when I do shoots outdoors, and recently, middle-aged women have also started to recognize me and say hello. Those are the times I feel that I’ve become a bit famous.
10: You have a fan cafe now — do you visit it often?
Yoon: There are times, when I’m going home after finishing shooting, where I get very lonely. There are times I want to talk to someone but I can’t see anyone at 3 in the morning. That’s why I sort of hassled people around me by calling them in the beginning, but these days I’ll go into my fan cafes during such times and read my fan letters. They fill my heart and give me faith more than anything else.
10: I heard you are a devout Christian. Being a believer in someone, aren’t you a little cautious about receiving faith from many others?
Yoon: I think faith is a very, very pretty handcuff. It helps you not to fall and stand firm on the ground. I am actually scared to let myself go completely, so I try to whip myself up. And if it’s intended at making myself strong for those who believe in me, wouldn’t that clearly bring a positive effect?
10: The the scene where you sang “The Road to Me” received a lot of attention in particular. There were some fans who wanted to know whether you really sang that yourself.
Yoon: I did sing it myself but my throat was in pretty bad condition when we filmed that scene, so I got very little practice. And I ended up becoming sick at the time too so I had to go to the hospital which gave me about an hour’s practice to squeeze in before the shoot. I’m disappointed because I could have done better.
10: People say that you look like you would really like ballads.
Yoon: I do like ballads. I love [Korean pop singer] Sung Si-kyung’s voice so it [“The Road to Me”] was one of my favorite songs. I like to listen to quiet songs in general.
10: Do you have thoughts of using this momentum to record an album?
Yoon: If I record an album, I would do it in a way that nobody would know about it. I would listen to it alone or sneak it into the bags of my close friends. Hahaha.
10: I think fans want to find something in common between actor Yoon Shi-yoon and your character Jung Joon-hyuk, the more they get used to him. What were you like during your school days? Were you anything like Joon-hyuk?
Yoon: I was an ordinary student. I like people and I like adults so I do think I was very charming toward my teachers. And I like to stand in front of people, so I was often president of my class. I think I was just happy about doing something in front of people rather about getting to lead them. I was the president and entertainer of my class. Haha.
10: In the beginning of the show, Joon-hyuk was a simple character who just complained to his family and felt awkward around Se-kyung. But as the show progressed, you must have had moments when you had to act out a plot twist or it got increasing hard for you to act emotionally. How are you working through such moments?
Yoon: I don’t feel those differences directly because when I start believing that the emotions I feel during the show are real, my emotions change too. For example, the Joon-hyuk we know from the beginning of the show would have never been embarrassed about Se-gyeong washing his underwear. But I have focused on my character’s situation and with Joon-hyuk so into her, I too ended up feeling embarrassed. And when Se-gyeong talks to me with her eyes wide open, I really couldn’t help feeling great.
10: Actors often talk about how they actually become their character. So do the emotions that your character feels also affect the relationship between the actual actors? There are many fans who are curious about Yoon Shi-yoon and Shin Se-gyeong, not your characters Joon-hyuk and Se-gyeong.
Yoon: I haven’t been in a relationship for quite a while now. So it’s true that I feel like I’ve been on a date after I shoot romantic scenes. Even with the scenes which air for less than a few minutes, we actually shoot them for hours. So I think the feelings of nervousness or excitement I got during the shoot linger for a while after those shoots, regardless of who I was with. I do feel like I’m going out with someone at times. Of course, the real Se-gyeong is very attractive and also great to everyone around her so that may be why I’m growing increasingly fond of her.
10: The sitcom is increasingly revolving around the romance between the characters but I think there may be something else you would want to show about Joon-hyuk.
Yoon: Growth. It’s not about who Joon-hyuk ends up with but rather just about the process of how he learns to love. He used to disdain everyone and was unsociable but learns to open up to others and do others favors as he starts liking Se-gyeong. He used to fight a lot with Jung-eum but with her too, he learns to build a friendship based on trust with her. Joon-hyuk is maturing, becoming an adult and a man in the process of learning to trust people and giving them his trust too.
10: There was a report saying you have decided to take on the role of a high school student again in another work. What’s the foremost factor for you in deciding to choose your next role?
Yoon: I only think of one thing. The fact that I still have to learn the fundamentals, despite many people advising me that I should try to get rid of my image from the sitcom or try to increase my popularity. I am learning many things as the youngest on the set of “High Kick.” I think I even learn from Hae-ri and Shin-ae. It’s important to figure out what situation you’re in after you finish one role, but it’s not the foremost important factor. Whatever role it may be, I hope to be able to meet a director and staff who will teach me for who I am and express it well.
10: It seems that you are always very thankful to director Kim Byung-wook for guiding you well.
Yoon: It’s true. He is someone who, if your acting lacked in over nine ways out of ten, he will remember to compliment you on that half a point of what you did well on. And he’ll encourage you to make that into a whole point the next time. That helped me to work with the enjoyment of what I got complimented for, rather than feel daunted over my mistakes.
10: You must have received a lot of help from the actors on the show too. Who are you the closest with?
Yoon: Many of my seniors, including Mr. Lee Soon-jae, always give me great advice and take good care of me. And there are many actors around my age too so I hang out with them in between shoots too. I’m a bit more closer with Gwang-soo, especially because we share the same religion, but he really taught me a lot of things when I took my first step as an actor. Like the mind set I should have as a new actor.
10: Then what goals do you have right now as a new actor?
Yoon: I want to become good enough to truly call myself an actor. An actor is someone who takes responsibility for his acting and can pull off his role so well that the viewers wil be able to trust what they see. I’m still not good enough to achieve that goal right away and I know you can’t become that sort of actor in such a short time. That’s why I’ve set my mind on trying hard from now on.
10: What are some of your more short-term goals? For example, is there a particular genre you really try?
Yoon: I guess I want to play more roles where I can give off the image that I’m maturing because there are certain roles you can only play at certain ages. I hope it’ll be a role where I can give off the vibe that I’m someone in his 20s full of energy.
Reporter : Yoon Hee-Seong email@example.com
Photographer : Lee Jin-hyuk firstname.lastname@example.org
Editor : Jessica Kim email@example.com, Lynn Kim firstname.lastname@example.org