Almost two years without him gracing our screens, Yoon Si-yoon has been making multiple strides right after completing his mandatory army service: he is currently starring in jtbc’s Mirror of the Witch and joining 2 Days 1 Night as the latest addition to the fixed cast after Kim Joo-hyuk’s departure from the variety. As his fan, I can say that my weekend has been blessed with his appearance on my screen from Friday to Sunday. He donned colourful (and sometimes questionable) clothes for Grazia and the interview has been released. Enjoy!
Come and See Me
Four months after his discharge from army service, actor Yoon Si-yoon is still as bright and dazzling as ever. Between his ambition to show his real self like a blowing wind in 2 Days 1 Night through his Yoon Dong-gu persona and his character Heo Joon in the drama Mirror of the Witch, both images of him faintly resemble the person Yoon Si-yoon.
It has been almost 3 years since the last time we met.
Have we met before this? I am so sorry. It seems that I have lost some of my memories when I went into army…since I underwent CBR training thrice there…Hahaha.
What is the best thing to you after becoming a normal citizen again post-army?
Of course it’s being able to do my job. There are different sources of worries. The job is as tiring and as worrisome as always, but the most important thing is I get to achieve my dream. I am willing to worry about and make an effort for it. I am happy although I have to worry about the work, because I am doing something that I want.
Is that the reason why Dong-gu in 2 Days 1 Night always seems happy?
When I did my first variety program with Barefoot Friends, I thought that since I was going into varieties, I should give my best. But for 2 Days 1 Night, the thought of showing my true self grew bigger. It doesn’t matter if I’m being cursed at or being praised; I want to show the thorough Yoon Si-yoon-like image and colour. Dong-gu is my real self.
People normally show the image of themselves that others want to see.
That has something to do with self-confidence. Actually, in the past, after being accepted by so many people all of a sudden, I was afraid to show my natural self. Thus, I hid it. But then, an actor should be truthful about himself and able to express himself clearly to all kinds of people.
Why did you have that kind of thought all of a sudden?
While I was doing my service, when I thought of my 4 years of being active in the industry, I realized one thing. There are many images of me inside myself and if I can’t express any of them, will I be able to portray different characters in my line of work? I thought that the first duty as an actor and a celebrity is to be able to show both acting and image which are like myself to public. Hence, the reason I chose my comeback project was because it was most Yoon Si-yoon-like. Not because it is a cool role but because the role is closest to my true self. And the project is Mirror of the Witch.
Then why did you choose 2 Days 1 Night?
It is my first attempt and a courageous trial to show the closest image to my true self as a celebrity. Although it’s not something every actor need, for me, I was afraid of showing my true self to the public. I went into Marines because I was afraid of water, and I chose 2 Days 1 Night because I was afraid to show my innermost self to the public.
There are many comments saying that Dong-gu is too unrealistic.
Although it’s endless positive image for now, later it will slowly evolve into an irritated image too. That one was slightly visible during the ping-pong game. I was just showing the exact image and thoughts I had at that time. Of course, when my whole image as a person is shown clearly, there will be times when I will be cursed at. But it’s okay, because it’s something I want to do.
How was the first filming? Didn’t you find it awkward trying to blend in with the other members who were already familiar with each other?
Maybe it was because of my lacking variety skills that I didn’t find it awkward. Because I was not in charge of being funny. (Awww is he implying that he’s not funny?)
Do you read a lot of books in real life too?
Rather than activities which exert energy, I prefer activities which involve thinking, like reading books and traveling. But I don’t really like studying. My academic performance is actually lower than my reading amount (laughs).
Studying and reading aren’t that different, right?
(Cha) Tae-hyun hyung always says that if the cast are to be judged from their reading habit, they would be seen as people who come from ordinary colleges. But he was actually my college senior (laughs). It’s just that I enjoy reading.
What do you usually think of?
To put it simply, everything. I thoughtlessly write down things which suddenly came into my mind or those staying on my mind. I feel happy and at ease just from looking at them, even when they are just doodles. I like the feeling when I can organize my thoughts in an orderly manner. The notes and doodles aren’t really for somebody to read anyway.
You will go on to publish a book at this rate.
Eyyyy~ that’s not something that can be done by just anyone (laughs). (Like Kkae-geum?!) I prefer to separate my hobby and resting time. I think of everything opposite of the thorough day as my resting time. For instance, as someone who can’t stop thinking when talking with someone, ‘rest’ is when I don’t do thorough thinking at all. That is why I also enjoy playing video games. I also went for a fishing trip with (Jung) Joon-young.
That is an upright life of a young man.
Joon-young said that it’s a nerdy life for nerds. But I want to add something to that. Voluntary nerd. I like that actually.
You must have read a book recently. What kind of book it was?
I read The Taebaek Mountains recently. Although the last book I read was actually The True Story of Ah Q, The Taebaek Mountains came to my mind when I thought of a book I have finished. I bought it at a secondhand bookstore to read it again.
Does your schedule draw you apart from your books?
There are instances where I read books with similar characters I am portraying to get into the emotions of the characters. In order to match my acting with much younger (Kim) Sae-ron in Mirror of the Witch, The Stars by Alphonse Daudet came to my mind. Thus, I take the motif from it and apply it into my acting.
What kind of motif did you incorporate into your acting to be exact?
There is love which transcends all time: there is love that makes two people grow together; there is love that blooms from the most unfortunate encounters. And then there is this kind of love that is borderline friendship and love. Perhaps, that kind of love doesn’t necessarily require the two of them to look at the same place while holding hands. With that emotions, I feel that I can portray the character of Heo Joon.
But then, people would always think of Kim Takgu first when they see Yoon Si-yoon. What does Kim Taegu mean to you?
It’s like Yoon Si-yoon himself. Just like people thinking of Mirror of the Eastern Medicine when they think of Heo Joon.
Like a proper noun then?
Yeah. People would think of Apple when they think of Steve Jobs. It’s something to be thankful of to be able to show one proper role of himself in his entire life.
But that is not a good thing for an actor.
Normally, people would see a single image when looking at someone. I think of it as having actor Yoon Si-yoon expressing the colour of a person. Removing the image of Kim Takgu is a homework I am happy with. If I am able to show another image of me, that means that my own ability is getting better.
Now, it seems that you will be remembered as Dong-gu instead of Kim Takgu.
Right? Yoon Si-yoon is being pushed into a corner….
Still, Dong-gu seems to fit you more (laughs).
You’re right, isn’t it analog-like? That’s me. I’m serious but I love comedy. I think that it is not right not to mix art with truthful laughter. It will just come out as being unfriendly. That is why I watch difficult movies, no matter how bad it is for me. If I am going to show the reality and convey it to the audience, they must be mixed properly with comedy.
Do you apply this too when you are choosing your projects?
Of course. All the projects I have done all this while have their own good messages to be conveyed through the story. That is also the reason why I love watching Stephen Chow’s movies. Be it Stephen Chow or Takeshi Kitano’s movies, there is comedy mixed into the movies; but if the message in the story fails to be conveyed, a movie will become a mere slapstick, gag show. But the movies are kind. That is the image I want to portray.
There are times when you are being overshadowed by others’ less serious approach.
There were instances where I would stop and think: “Why is he so good at making jokes?” “Why is he so playful? “Why is he smirking while talking?” I would also look less serious when I did that. It is okay to see me as it is at that moment, because that is also when I put in my sincerity.
Do you mean becoming a fun but not too careless actor?
I’d like it if I can be someone who can make jokes and be a fun person. One day, I hope that I can share my thought and other things with other people but for now, I am not ready for it yet. That is also the same reason why I don’t write a book. Because I don’t want to mix laughter and comedy into it. It’s the same as having a ball hitting the beam instead of the goal, missing the real target.
Instead of Takgu or Dong-gu, when will we be able to meet another image of Yoon Si-yoon?
This is just my senseless and worthless philosophy. My points are still lacking. I look forward to and feel that it is possible for me to be able to carry the colour and mind of an actor, showing everything without any hesitation.
What kind of steps need to be taken in order for you to reach that phase?
“This role should be given to Yoon Si-yoon”, “As expected, it’s Yoon Si-yoon.” I will wait until I can hear these kinds of compliments. From one point to another, I will have to control my performance until it becomes a constant line and I believe that will be the moment for me to be someone who can act better. Maybe at that time, I will become another person with another image as a well-rounded actor. I still have a long way to go.
How far have you come so far?
Maybe around 40~50% at the moment? I want to rake in more realistic points. Thus, I am showing my whole self. I don’t really know how far my talent can go but I believe that I will be able to reach that goal eventually (laughs).
Before you knew it, you’re already passing 30 years old.
No~ I am only 29 this year. It will come out if you do a quick search on Naver (laughs).
Do you think you will change once you enter the 30s?
I think I will be the same. I think I should be the same. There might be regression in some parts. People still think of me as young because of my boyish image.
Right. Your boyish image is still going on strong.
It can be both advantage and disadvantage. However, a boy will become an adult and a man one day. For now, I am living as a boy until my growth into a man is complete. I want to focus a little bit more on my dreams and become more truthful in conveying my emotions at this moment. When a boy matures into a man as he lives, the public will eventually see him as a man. I can’t turn myself into a man just like that. I still think that it’s more fun living as a boy. Maybe it will be better to act like a man, with less talking and showing a splendid pose as one? To me, that is just like a comedy.
You are very clear when it comes to your wants.
Of course. I have my life planned according to its stage. Right now, it’s the stage of (gaining) experience. I’m experimenting by going on various dramas and varieties.
What is the next stage after experimenting with works?
I want to organize different images of mine, including those I portray through my works. Maybe I will show the image of educating people. That might come true when I reach mid-40s so I will work hard until then.
What will be the life of an actor to Yoon Si-yoon when you look back at this moment later on?
I always write this down when I give my signature: ‘I believe in the triumph of an honest man’. I want to live honestly without any dirty play. Honesty doesn’t necessarily mean good-natured. I want to live as somebody who can admit his wrong when he makes mistakes.
Credit to: GRAZIA Korea