Disturbia’s Aaron Yoo

We recently caught up with Disturbia costar Aaron Yoo to talk stalking, creepy neighbors and Guitar Hero.

You play Kale’s (Shia LaBeouf) best friend Ronnie in Disturbia. Tell us about your role and the film.
My character Ronnie is this kid who sees his buddy Kale fall apart after his dad dies. Fast forward a year later and Kale’s put under house arrest because he’s got himself into so much trouble. Kale becomes obsessed with the idea of his next-door neighbor being a killer, but to me it seemed more like a way of getting this cute girl [Kale’s other, hotter next-door neighbor Ashley, played by Sarah Roemer] to come play with us. In regards to the supposed murderer, Ronnie is the skeptic, but plays along, while Kale is like, “No seriously there’s something going on.”

Were you surprised by Disturbia‘s box office success?
Yeah! We’d hoped that it would do well, but we didn’t expect it to be as big as it was. We were number one at the box office for three weeks! The third weekend was the ridiculous one. And then that fourth weekend was really funny, when we came in second to Spiderman III by like a $145 million. We were all like, “Well, we’re still second [laughs]!”

What attracted you to Disturbia?
The thing that attracted everyone to Disturbia was the good material. Disturbia was fast-tracked by Steven Spielberg. He picked up the script and was like, “This is like the movies that I used to make when I started.” I remember when I met writer Christopher Landen, and I was like, “Thank you for writing such an amazing script.” It was so funny. Chris was like, “I’m in the same boat you’re in, my movie is being produced by Spielberg. What is going on?!”

After you did a movie about spying on your neighbor, did you find yourself watching people more?
I think I became more aware of, “Oh, this is voyeurism.” But we all do it everyday. I remember coming from New York [Aaron lives in L.A. now], and the huge difference between L.A. and New York was discretion, basically. When you’re on the subway in New York, people literally could be 11-inches away from you, and you can’t just stare at them. And then you get to L.A., and people spend so much time in their cars that even when they leave their cars they sort of walk around with this idea of there being a windshield in front of them. I think most people here don’t even notice how much they blatantly stare at other people. But it’s just curiosity. It’s nothing creepy.

If you were placed under house arrest like Kale, how would you pass the time?
I’d play video games. My roommate and I have two Guitar Hero controlers hooked up to our living room TV. “Mother” is my jam, but I wish I could play it better. I’m really not that good at Guitar Hero! We also just got Dance Dance Revolution, but we don’t play it much yet. I’m a techno-file. I have this location-free player that Sony makes. You can take stuff that you have recorded on your DVR and broadcast it to the Internet, and then play what’s on your DVR on your PSP from anywhere in the world. We also have two PS3’s in my house. So I think I’m okay if I get put under house arrest.

Have you ever had a creepy neighbor?
No, I’ve never had a creepy neighbor. But my roommate and I have been wondering about our current neighbor. We can’t figure out what he does. We’re pretty sure he supports his parents, but he’s young, maybe in his twenties. He’s not creepy at all, but we basically have this betting pool about what this guy could possibly do. Theories have ranged from Russian Mafia thug to Ukrainian rap star.

Disturbia reminded us of Hitchcock’s classic Rear Window. Do you have any favorite classic thrillers of your own, and is it a genre you’re particularly drawn to?
My favorite types of movies definitely aren’t thrillers, but at the same time you can’t deny the genius of Hitchcock’s films. I do really like The Third Man. There’s a final chase sequence through a sewer system that is perfect. I think the first time I saw it was in a film class at NYU. The mood, the tension, the lighting, and just following Orsen Wells around for like 15 minutes without a word being said is just brilliant. Some of the best moments I think in Disturbia are watching Shia watch Sarah. When you see him, looking at her, and nothing is said… there is just so much is going on. It’s really true cinema to me.

We hear you’re a soccer fan, are you going to try and catch Beckham out there now that he’s playing for L.A. Galaxy?
I could not get a ticket to that thing! It is apparently the hottest ticket in town. But then I heard he busted his ankle, so I’m going to laugh at all those people who watch a game without Beckham. But the owners will probably trot him out anyway.