Haeundae-gu, Busan, Republic of Korea,
Yoo Seung-ho on his lastest role in THE DEAL
Interview with the star of the latest Wavve original series
"There is a certain desperation to start anew." Yoo Seung-ho described Jun-seong in The Deal in that way. The actor's own impression is not much different from that. Although he still has the half-moon eyes and boy-like smile, Yoo Seung-ho's face after taking off his expression shows the reluctance of a person who doesn’t easily compromise.
Debuting at the age of 5 and now at 31, Yoo Seung-ho still does not cease to be confused about the acting profession he chose because he can "genuinely become himself." Before he knew it, he became an actor who raises curiosity about the future of his age with the dark shadow behind his shining face. I met Yoo Seung-ho, who entered the first streaming platform series and is pioneering a new path for his 30s.
Yoo Seung-ho (Photo: Baek Jong-heon for Cine21)
When I first had the costume fitting, my hair was a bit longer. After discussing with the director, I decided to cut it short. I once asked Director Lee Jung-gon if the main characters in his movies had to shave their heads. What came to my mind was the appearance of senior soldiers I saw during my military service. Some people shave their heads as a pledge to go out and live a new life. The Deal may be the story of Jun-seong's pledge collapsing. On the other hand, I hoped that the unadorned appearance of actor Yoo Seung-ho would be properly shown.
Jun-sung initially joins as a passive co-conspirator, not as the mastermind of the kidnapping. He is a character guiding the audience through moral conflicts. How did you view this character?
I agree that Jun-sung is a character who also plays the role of a mediator between the audience and the drama. Whereas this man often feels quite foolish. He wants to take the money and keep his friend. It may sound unreasonable when you think about it, but it's human nature to hope for better when cornered, and that is his humane quality. I played a role in giving credibility to such irony. If Jun-sung often looks like a soft-hearted child, unlike he seems, it's because of his wandering, helpless appearance.
How was the atmosphere on the set of The Deal with the three male actors of the same age?
I was familiar with working with adults since my child actor days, so the atmosphere on the set of The Deal was surprisingly enjoyable. Anxiety followed, too. No matter how close we were, my guideline was to respect the line that should be maintained as working colleagues.
Yoo Seung-ho of The Deal makes us look forward to Yoo Seung-ho's deeper face in his 30s. The atmosphere has changed a bit. Do you perceive your own changes?
There were many who saw me as young, and each time, I hoped that all these issues would be resolved when I turned 30. I eagerly awaited my 30s. However, when I actually faced it, it was different from the fantasy. Time helps a lot, but it doesn't solve everything. My current feeling is close to disappointment. Perhaps I longed for a false masculinity, looking at the cool seniors and older brothers around me. Was it too ambitious? Anyway, all I think of myself is that I'm not good enough now.
Throughout our conversation today, I felt self-doubt and severity in your body. Starting social life early, there must have been times when you had to restrain yourself.
There was also parental education, and the atmosphere peculiar to the set in the past played a big role. "Become a neat actor," they said. (Laughs) Although it was frustrating, if I hadn't done that, I might have gone down a strange path. It was definitely tough during adolescence. Sometimes I envy actors who have confidence in themselves, but I decided to think it was a difference in method. However, when the hesitations, caution, and the dilemmas I unfolded without confirmation in the interview pages were transferred to print, they often just looked like someone who wasn't this or that. So, for a while, I didn't reveal my true story.
When I met the actor named Yoo Seung-ho, I always wanted to ask how he could start working at such a young age. It's early even among child actors. Perhaps that's why your private life, such as refusal of special admission to college or early enlistment in the military, has been on the lips. It's a good story, though.
I was only 5 years old. I started working because of my family's financial distress. There is no greater truth about that time. I looked cute as a child, and if I took pictures diligently, I was given reasonable compensation. Talking about having dreams or ambitions at that age is a bit... I was rather an ordinary kid who admired ordinary jobs like police officer or firefighter. So, half of my life was spent handling very negative questions about being an actor. Instead of juggling academics and acting, I wanted to focus only on acting and chose to finish the military service early because I had a certain admiration for the military job. I can say this now, because It's been almost 10 years now. Three days after entering the military, I wanted to go outside of the camp and get back to acting. During my service, I had to deal with people’s attention as well as harassment. Since then, I decided to positively affirm my profession and try to do it properly. That was after going through those experiences.
You are known to be an excellent cat owner. How do you spend your day during breaks?
For a while, I got into various sports, but I quit them all. What started with grooming my cat's fur has now made me a household expert. I was alone at home for two weeks before the promotion of The Deal started, and I wasn’t bored at all. I only felt stable and happy while cleaning, cooking, washing dishes, and recycling. I repeat that like I’m training almost. When there’s a lot going on in my head, I rip things out to sweep, wipe, and clean. I like wiping things off.
Written by Kim So-mi