Yoo in October 2015
October 6, 1986
Daegu, South Korea
|Occupation||Actor, creative director, gallerist|
|Agent||United Artists Agency|
|Revised Romanization||Yu A-in|
|Revised Romanization||Eom Hong-sik|
Yoo Ah-in (born Uhm Hong-sik on October 6, 1986) is a South Korean actor, creative director and gallerist. He rose to fame after starring in the 2010 television series Sungkyunkwan Scandal. Yoo is best known for his leading roles in the coming-of-age film Punch (2011), melodrama Secret Love Affair (2014), action blockbuster Veteran (2015), period drama The Throne (2015), and the historical television series Six Flying Dragons (2015-2016).
A controversial figure in South Korea, Yoo is known for his politically charged views and his frequent involvement in online spats with netizens on his social media accounts. In late 2017, Yoo drew controversy for his allegedly anti-feminist comments, which ended in Yoo making a public apology. The following year, Yoo was again caught up in controversy for showing his alleged detestation for the Me Too movement in South Korea on his social media account.
- 1 Early life
- 2 Career
- 3 Other work
- 4 Public image
- 5 Personal life
- 6 Filmography
- 7 Awards and nominations
- 8 References
- 9 External links
Yoo Ah-in, whose real name is Uhm Hong-sik, was born in Daegu in south-eastern Korea, the youngest of three children. In the first year of Gyeongbuk Arts High School majoring in fine arts, Yoo was discovered by a casting agent on the streets in front of the school. He came up to Seoul by himself and became independent, which he said developed into his own asset. He was enrolled in Seoul Arts High School, but before long he dropped out of school to carry on his broadcast activities. Yoo later entered the college (Dankuk University and Konkuk University) with GED test.
2003–2005: Career beginnings and hiatus
Using the stage name Yoo Ah-in, he made his debut in a TV commercial in 2003. His first management wanted to create a pretty stage name for him that fitted an idol image because the name Uhm Hong-sik was considered too heavy and old fashioned. He then chose Yoo Ah-in, in which Ah-in was taken from the German world meaning "one".
Yoo was then cast in the teen series Sharp 1 after auditioning, playing the role of a model student majoring in painting. After the series aired, Yoo gained popularity and was cast in romance drama April Kiss and one-act drama Shi-eun & Soo-ha. Yoo also appeared in various commercials including school uniforms and youth apparels.
After that, however, Yoo took a break from acting and disappeared from the spotlight. According to Yoo, he got to live as an actor without any knowledge about acting and entertainment industry. At first, he was overjoyed with cheers and popularity, but then was confused whether he really wanted it, and so had period of break in order to look inside himself. He was able to think about what is going to be for himself, not him being shown to others, and what kind of way the actor is. He had thought about his identity for a long time and drawn a picture of the future, then found himself who regarded acting seriously and started to have a passion for acting. Afterwards when asked about the blank period, Yoo said:
It [spotlight] did not seem to be mine because I did not know what was happening to me and how to cope with it at the time. I can digest it now. After then, I got the idea that I have to be ahead, wait and stand firmly on my feet, rather than breaking down in any kind of phenomenon that rushes to me.
2006–2009: Film debut
Resuming his acting career, Yoo starred in low-budget indie film Boys of Tomorrow, which premiered at Busan International Film Festival in October 2006. He expressed of the film "If I have drawn a picture of the actor career, this film must be within that picture". Director Noh dong-seok cast Yoo because Noh was impressed by his performance at the audition. Yoo's performance of a boy who is looking for a real gun to escape from the frustrating reality earned positive reviews, and he won the Best New Actor award at the Busan Film Critics Awards.
He then starred in Jeong Yoon-cheol’s black comedy film Skeletons in the Closet, playing the role of a eccentric boy who believes he was a king in previous incarnation. Yoo was nominated at the Blue Dragon Film Awards.
In 2008, Yoo starred in historical drama Strongest Chil Woo, playing a cruel but lonely assassin adopted by a nobleman. He gained recognition from critics and viewers for his performance, despite it being the first historical drama for him. He also featured in Min Kyu-dong’s comedy-drama film Antique, adapted from Yoshinaga Fumi’s manga Antique Bakery. For his role as a patisserie aspirant and former boxer, Yoo took boxing and baking classes. He received the Best New Actor award at the Director's Cut Awards and emerged as the one of promising actors in Korean film industry.
In 2009, he was cast in romance drama He Who Can’t Marry, as cheeky assistant who works at the architectural office, portraying the lively and bright sides of twenties. He next starred in film Sky and Ocean, playing a pizza delivery man who makes his own livelihood.
2010–2013: Rising popularity and breakthrough
Yoo's rise to fame came in 2010, when he acted in fusion period drama Sungkyunkwan Scandal. Due to the drama's popularity, Yoo shot to stardom along with the rest of the young cast. He played the role of an unpredictable man who moonlights to reveal the corruption of rich nobles. Yoo's popularity was later referred to as "Geol-oh-al-yee" (Geol-oh fever/love sickness), named after his character.
This was followed by his first big-screen leading role in the coming-of-age film Punch, a critical and commercial hit in 2011. His costar, veteran actor Kim Yoon-seok predicted that "In the next 10 years, he will be one of the biggest names in Korean cinema."
Cast as King Sukjong in the 2013 period drama Jang Ok-jung, Living by Love, a revisionist take on infamous royal concubine Jang Hui-bin. Yoo called the role one of the biggest challenges of his career and he garnered favorable press reviews for his mature, charismatic and versatile portrayal of the historical figure.
He then played the titular character in the film Tough as Iron, about a Busan pier worker who takes care of his mother afflicted with dementia and kidney disease. Yoo and Tough as Iron co-star, Jung Yu-mi later collaborated again as voice actors in the animated film The Satellite Girl and Milk Cow.
2014–present: Acclaim in film and television
In 2014, he appeared as a quirky supporting role in Lee Han's Thread of Lies (this was Lee's second film adaptation of a Kim Ryeo-ryeong novel after Punch). This was followed by a leading role in cable melodrama Secret Love Affair, in which Yoo played a piano prodigy who falls for a married, much older woman.
In 2015, Yoo starred in two top-grossing films. He played an amoral young millionaire who faces off with a detective in Ryoo Seung-wan's crime thriller/comedy Veteran, and as the tragic Crown Prince Sado in Lee Joon-ik's period drama The Throne. He received Best Actor awards at influential film awards including Blue Dragon Awards, Korean Film Reporters Association Awards, Chunsa Film Art Awards, and Golden Cinematography Awards. The same year, he was named "Actor of the Year" in the 2015 Gallup Korea Survey and ranked number two on Korea Power Celebrity by Forbes.
Yoo was then cast in the historical drama Six Flying Dragons, reuniting with Fashion King co-star Shin Se-kyung. The drama occupied the number one ratings slot throughout its run. Yoo's portrayal of an ambitious prince Yi Bang-won won him Best Actor in the TV Category at the Baeksang Arts Awards. Due to his success in both film and television, the entertainment media coined 2015 the "A-in-shi-dae" (Ah-in Era).
In 2018, Yoo starred in Lee Chang-dong's film Burning, portraying a pure and sensitive young man who tries to solve the mystery surrounding the woman he loves in. The film premiered at the Cannes Film Festival, where Yoo walked the red carpet. He is set to star in the crisis film Sovereign Default, playing an investor.
Yoo is the representative and creative director of Studio Concrete. The creative collective 'Studio Concrete' was established in 2014 by individuals from various artistic and professional backgrounds. Yoo and his friends founded Studio Concrete with the mission of "building a healthy support system for the future generations of creatives." The Studio Concrete space is located in a remodeled old townhouse with a gallery and cafe on the first floor and a workshop on the second. They host art exhibitions and display capsule collections by emerging Korean designers, many of whom are their friends and peers. To pay the bills, they also do creative consulting work for popular Korean brands like Lucky Chouette and Tom Paper.
In 2013, Yoo donated to a campaign titled "I Am Against The Unfair Food Tray of Children" through The Beautiful Foundation. He had helped The Beautiful Foundation adding 22% to the fundraising goal, thus only 1% to go to reach 350 million Won. The Foundation published his letter encouraging participation, and soon after, the fundraising exceeded its goal.
In 2014, he launched a local clothing line named Newkids Nohant to create Hangul-themed T-shirt designs. He then donated the profits made through the clothing line, opening up the Newkids Yoo Ah In Charity Fund. The fund will be used to provide aid for college tuition and educational expenses for the students who attend college while living in or after retiring from residential care centers.
Considered one of the most outspoken and controversial Korean actors of his generation, Yoo drew media attention in late 2012 when he tweeted a strongly worded criticism against the withdrawal of Ahn Cheol-soo from the presidential race.
Yoo is also known for his frequent involvement in online spats with netizens on his social media accounts. In late 2017, Yoo drew controversy for his alleged anti-feminism comments. In 2018, he was again caught up in tensions with netizens for his alleged detestation for the Me Too movement in South Korea, by alluding the movement to a witch-hunt.
In 2017, Yoo revealed that he has a bone tumor, and thus had been delaying his mandatory military service. Yoo's representatives stated that his symptoms were benign, which meant that the non-cancerous tumor would have minimal effect on his everyday life and carry no risk of spreading. On June 27, 2017, Yoo's agency announced that he had been exempt from military service after failing five medical examinations.
|2007||Skeletons in the Closet||Shim Yong-tae|||
|Boys of Tomorrow||Jeon Jong-dae|||
|2009||Sky and Ocean||Jin-goo|||
|2013||Tough as Iron||Gang Cheol|||
|2014||The Satellite Girl and Milk Cow||Ko Kyung-chun (voice)||animated film|||
|Thread of Lies||Choo Sang-bak|||
|The Throne||Crown Prince Sado|||
|2016||Like for Likes||Noh Jin-woo|||
|CCRT Aerospace : Episode 1 Fragile : The Other Space||Man||short film
|Sovereign Default||Yun Jeong-hak|||
|2003||Honest Living||Man #2||SBS||bit part, episode 164|
|2004-2005||Sharp 1||Yoo Ah-in||KBS2|||
|2004||April Kiss||16-year-old Kang Jae-sup|
|2005||Shi-eun & Soo-ha||Lee Min-suk||Drama City episode|
|2008||Strongest Chil Woo||Heuksan / Kim Hyuk|||
|2009||He Who Can't Marry||Park Hyun-kyu|||
|2010||Sungkyunkwan Scandal||Moon Jae-shin|||
|2012||Fashion King||Kang Young-gul||SBS|||
|2013||Jang Ok-jung, Living by Love||King Sukjong|||
|2014||Secret Affair||Lee Sun-jae||jTBC|||
|Discovery of Love||Woodworking class student||KBS2||cameo, episode 16|||
|2015-2016||Six Flying Dragons||Yi Bang-won||SBS|||
|2016||Descendants of the Sun||Bank teller Uhm Hong-sik||KBS2||cameo, episode 13|||
|2017||Chicago Typewriter||Han Se-joo / Seo Hwi-young||tvN|||
|2011||Yoo Ah-in's Launch My Life||Mnet||Fashion/business reality show|||
|2014||Wan-deuk who wants to Fly||KBS1||Narrator||Documentary|||
|2017||June Story||Documentary commemorating 30th Anniversary of June Struggle|||
|2018||Eyewitnesses of Syria||SBS||Documentary|||
Music video appearances
|2016||"ㅎㅎㅎ (Heung-bu)"||Peggy Gould|||
Awards and nominations
|2004||Gonews Netizen Entertainment Awards||Best New Actor in Drama series||Sharp 1||Nominated|
|2007||8th Busan Film Critics Awards||Best New Actor||Boys of Tomorrow||Won|||
|3rd Pierson Youth Film Festival||Best Newcomer, month of May||Won|
|Best New Actor||Won|||
|28th Blue Dragon Film Awards||Skeletons in the Closet||Nominated|||
|2008||11th Director's Cut Awards||Antique||Won|||
(Arena Homme + and Audi Korea)
|24th KBS Drama Awards||Best New Actor||Sungkyunkwan Scandal||Nominated|
|Netizen Award, Actor||Nominated|
|Best Couple with Song Joong-ki||Won||.|
|2011||5th Mnet 20's Choice Awards||Hot 20's Voice||N/A||Won|||
|Hot Style Icon||N/A||Nominated|
|4th Style Icon Awards||Bonsang ("Main Award")||N/A||Won|||
|2012||3rd Korean Film Reporters Association Awards (KOFRA)||Discovery Award||Punch||Won|||
|6th Mnet 20's Choice Awards||20's Male Movie Star||Nominated|||
|20’s Style Star||N/A||Nominated|
|21st Buil Film Awards||Best Actor||Punch||Nominated|
|20th SBS Drama Awards||Excellence Award, Actor in a Miniseries||Fashion King||Nominated|
|Netizen Popularity Award||Nominated|
|Best Couple with Shin Se-kyung||Nominated|
|2013||9th Korean Environmental & Community Awards||People Who Made the World Brighter
|21st SBS Drama Awards||Excellence Award, Actor in a Drama Special||Jang Ok-jung, Living by Love||Nominated|||
|Best Couple with Kim Tae-hee||Nominated|
|2014||50th Baeksang Arts Awards||Best Actor (TV)||Secret Love Affair||Nominated|||
|7th Korea Drama Awards||Top Excellence Award, Actor||Nominated|
|3rd APAN Star Awards||Top Excellence Award, Actor in a Miniseries||Nominated|
|2015||3rd Marie Claire Asia Star Awards
(20th Busan International Film Festival)
|Asia Star of the Year||Veteran||Won|||
|15th Korea World Youth Film Festival||Favorite Actor||Won|||
|35th Korean Association of Film Critics Awards||Best Actor||Nominated|
|52nd Grand Bell Awards||Veteran||Nominated|||
|36th Blue Dragon Film Awards||Won|||
|1st Fashionista Awards||Best Male Fashionista in a Movie
|Best Fashionista – Men Category||N/A||Nominated|
(Arena Homme + and Mont Blanc Korea)
|5th SACF Artists of the Year Awards||Artistic Impression in Motion Pictures Award||Veteran, The Throne||Won|||
|21st Cine 21 Movie Awards||Best Actor||Won|||
|4th CFDK Awards||Fashion Icon Award||N/A||Won|||
|The Korea Film Actors Association Awards||Top Star Award||Veteran, The Throne||Won|||
|23rd SBS Drama Awards||Grand Prize (Daesang)||Six Flying Dragons||Nominated|||
|Top Excellence Award, Actor in a Serial Drama||Won|
|Top 10 Stars||Won|
|Netizen Popularity Award||Nominated|
|Best Couple Award with Shin Se-kyung||Won|
|2016||InStyle Star Icon||Best Actor (Film)||Veteran, The Throne||Nominated|
|7th Korean Film Reporters Association Awards (KOFRA)||Best Actor||The Throne||Won|||
|11th Max Movie Awards||Veteran||Won|||
|8th Style Icon Awards||Bonsang ("Main Award")||N/A||Won|||
|10th Asian Film Awards||Next Generation Award||Veteran, The Throne||Won|||
|21st Chunsa Film Art Awards||Best Actor||The Throne||Won|||
|36th Golden Cinematography Awards||Veteran||Won|||
|52nd Baeksang Arts Awards||Best Actor (Film)||The Throne||Nominated|||
|Best Actor (TV)||Six Flying Dragons||Won|
|11th Seoul International Drama Awards||Best Actor||Nominated|
|7th Korean Popular Culture & Arts Awards||Prime Minister Award||N/A||Won|||
|1st Asia Artist Awards||Grand Prize (Daesang), TV Drama||Six Flying Dragons||Nominated|
|16th Korea World Youth Film Festival||Favorite Actor||Like for Likes||Won|||
|2017||5th Annual DramaFever Awards||Best Actor||Six Flying Dragons||Nominated|
|19th Korea Fashion Photographers Association Awards||Photogenic of the Year||N/A||Won|||
|2018||71st Cannes Film Festival||Best Actor||Burning||Nominated|
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