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(Yonhap Interview) Actor Yoo Seung-ho envies his character in new film

All Headlines 12:42 June 24, 2016

By Chung Joo-won, Go Eun-ji

SEOUL, June 24 (Yonhap) -- South Korean star Yoo Seung-ho showed heartfelt envy on Friday for Kim Seon-dal, the lead role in his new epic action-comedy "Seondal: The Man Who Sells the River."

In an interview in Seoul, the 22-year-old described Seon-dal as a triumphant, gutsy character -- his complete opposite.

"If I were him, I'd never be down with pessimistic thoughts like 'I failed' or 'I won't make it,'" he said.

To the young actor, Seon-dal is someone who can still be himself no matter how troubled or frustrated he becomes -- a man who can truly enjoy his life.

"I am the complete opposite (of Seon-dal)," Yoo continued. "I'm always drowning in worry."

This comes from a well-established star who has built a strong Asian fan base since his 2000 debut.

Some of the early Asian fans of Yoo still remember him playing young Prince Damdeok -- whose adult character was portrayed by veteran Bae Yong-joon -- in MBC's fantasy-action epic series "The Legend" in 2007.

After coming of age, the South Korean heartthrob has mostly played serious characters, including a main role in the television series "Remember - War of the Son" and "Warrior Baek Dong-soo," and in the films "Joseon Magician" and "Blind."

"I didn't particularly like or dislike the comedy genre, but always wanted to try one," Yoo said. "(Comedy) was a whole new, pleasant experience that I've never had before. It was more fun than I'd imagined, and I felt like going for another one."

In fact, "Seondal: The Man Who Sells the River" has attracted the curious eyes of many movie critics and cinema-goers.

In general, South Korean actors do not prefer to play in multiple epic dramas or films in a row due to the distinctive style and difficult dialogues of the genre.

The self-dubbed "serious man" said, before accepting his latest role, that he thought over countless times whether he was making the right choice about appearing in two straight epic films.

"In the end, I decided to go for another epic film, because it had a different synopsis and character from the previous one," Yoo said. "Above all, the new film was a comedy, and I chose to do the film since I wanted to try every genre at least once."

One of the most memorable moments in the movie was a scene in which Seon-dal disguised himself in women's clothes to outsmart a billionaire. Yoo himself came up with the disguise scene, but he was later surprised by the outcome.

"I was confident about my female appearance because I've been told many times that I have a pretty face -- but as soon as I screened the scene, I realized I look exactly like a man," the actor said with a smile.

When it comes to his clean-cut, well-bred image, the celebrity said he did not make special efforts to develop one.

But in the public eye, the star deserves the title, since he rejected special admissions for college and went to do his mandatory military service at 21, earlier than most male stars.

"My childhood dream was to become a soldier," he said, "Even as an actor, I've had admiration for soldiers."

In his private life, Yoo is an ordinary young man in his twenties, far from someone who lives under the spotlight.

He said he has three best friends, and they always "smash cake on each others' faces on birthdays and talk about girls."

Growing up as an actor, Yoo appreciated that aging earned him the ability to better understand his characters.

"When I was little, I didn't get to choose my roles and therefore did not have a well-developed understanding of my characters," he said. "Now, I have a better understanding of my characters and take responsibility for my role."

"I've come to understand that the best way to stand out in film is to perfectly blend into it," he added.


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