The Korea Herald


[Herald Interview] Korean heartthrob Yoo Yeon-seok says he wants to break free from 'good' image

By Lee Yoon-seo

Published : Dec. 15, 2023 - 14:46

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Yoo Yeon-seok (Tving) Yoo Yeon-seok (Tving)

South Korean actor Yoo Yeon-seok, famous for playing kindhearted, gentle heartthrobs in hit dramas such as "Dr. Romantic" and "Hospital Playlist," said he sought to change dramatically his well-known image through his latest thriller drama series, "A Bloody Lucky Day."

Korean streaming service Tving original series "A Bloody Lucky Day" is a 10-part drama series based on the webtoon of the same title, which focuses on the story of an innocent taxi driver who unknowingly drives a serial killer to his destination.

Yoo plays the role of Geum Hyuk-soo, a psychopathic serial killer who fatefully hails a taxi driven by Oh Taek (played by actor Lee Sung-min) to make his escape after committing a murder.

When asked why he took on the role, which so deviates from his clean-cut image, Yoo said he aimed to shock the viewers with a radical change.

"I had recently played many morally outstanding characters and realized that if I made good use of people's perception of me, I could impact the audience even more with a 'drop' in character," said Yoo, during an interview with reporters on Thursday.

In fact, the public's popular perception of him helped him play the character in the early part of the series, Yoo explained.

"In the beginning of the series, I tried to approach Oh with the image of Yoo Yeon-seok, exhibiting a kind and warm image. Before the taxi got on the highway, I tried to maintain such an aura -- and when things got under (Geum's) control, I revealed the true nature of (him as a murderer)," said Yoo.

In order to play a psychopath, Yoo said he tried to follow the character of Geum as portrayed in the webtoon series.

"With the webtoon serving as the original content for the drama series, I tried my best to bring my first impression of Hyuk-soo (in the webtoon) to the drama series," he said.

"In the webtoon, Geum's appearance is bizarre; the man resembles a frog. However, his facial expressions were bright and his way of speaking was less threatening and more innocent. So I tried to play a psychopath who was enjoying his moments with Oh in the taxi, such as when he talks about the murder," said Yoo.

Through "A Bloody Lucky Day," Yoo said he wanted to break free from his "good" image as an actor which seemed to become more rooted as time passed. As such, rather than being pressured, Yoo said he was thrilled to have accepted the role of Geum.

"As an actor, I want to spark viewers' curiosity by letting them believe that I can deliver various personas and images. It was rather frustrating for me to be defined by statements such as 'Yoo Yeon-seok has a moral image,'" said Yoo.

Yoo said he enjoyed watching the reactions from the viewers once the series was released.

"I read the reviews about changing my face and playing a psychopathic character. Some reviews said I seem to have a mad sparkle in my eyes. Reading the reviews, I thought they reflected that I managed to show a different side of myself. If the viewers said that they were reminded of a doctor's image, I would have been disappointed, but I think the reviews were generally positive," said Yoo.

"A Bloody Lucky Day" is currently streaming on Tving.