SEOUL – While some actors who play villain roles ask viewers to sympathise with their characters, insisting that villains might also turn out to be likeable in the end, actress Lim Ji-yeon wants viewers of The Glory to have no mercy on her character, school bully Park Yeon-jin.
“I wanted Yeon-jin to be hated by all The Glory fans. I hoped for her not to be tolerated nor understood, not even for a moment. Even I, who played Yeon-jin in the series, could not forgive her,” Lim told The Korea Herald about the iconic character in Netflix’s blood-soaked revenge drama.
Lim felt that the series was a big challenge for her because Yeon-jin was the first villain role of her 12-year acting career.
She believes it takes just as much effort for a character to be hated by viewers as it takes to be loved.
“If I got all the drama’s fans to despise Yeon-jin, then it seems like my mission has been accomplished successfully,” she said.
The 32-year-old actress shared that Yeon-jin received more attention than expected as the series centres on Dong-eun (played by Song Hye-kyo) and her vengeance story after surviving horrific abuse in high school.
“Dong-eun called me (Yeon-jin) out in almost every episode. Maybe that’s why the name got stuck in viewers’ heads and led the drama’s fans to have interest in my character,” Lim said, sharing her thoughts on why Yeon-jin garnered so much interest to the point where the character became a popular meme in South Korea.
She added that Yeon-jin was a multidimensional character who has the face of an angel but the heart of a devil.
“Because I was the villain, I thought Yeon-jin might be a one-dimensional character – a vicious bully. But screenwriter Kim Eun-sook emphasised that Yeon-jin is an angel in front of her husband and the world’s prettiest woman as a weather forecaster.
“But she becomes a heartless villain who feels no remorse for her past deeds in front of the victims. This multidimensional side might have triggered the viewers’ interest as well.”
When asked about how her character ended up, Lim said Yeon-jin received a well-deserved punishment.
“I think it was the best way to finish Yeon-jin’s story. Unlike the other four – Sa-ra, Hye-jeong, Myeong-oh and Jae-joon – Yeon-jin needs to repent for her past deeds by undergoing the same experience,” she said.
The other cast members include Kim Hieora, Cha Joo-young, Kim Gun-woo and Park Sung-hoon.
“Nevertheless, I am certain that Yeon-jin is not reflecting on her mistakes,” Lim added.
From her Instagram account to the comments on YouTube videos, Lim said she could sense the rising popularity from both local and foreign fans as well.
“I was surprised that the viewers who enjoyed The Glory are also looking up my past projects, like the 2014 film, Obsessed. I am grateful for their love and support,” Lim said.
“I even got calls and text messages from other directors who thanked me for making their films and dramas go viral once again.”
“If I were to recommend a TV series for overseas drama fans, who got to know me from The Glory, I would say Tving’s mystery thriller House Of Lies presents a very different side of Lim Ji-yeon,” she said of the thriller where she plays a woman in search of her missing sister.
While Lim hopes to satisfy such high public expectations, she does not feel a lot of pressure over her performance in future projects.
“Many people have asked me if I am nervous about how the viewers will judge my acting in the upcoming series. But I am not worried,” she said.
“I was a desperate actor and have always put my utmost efforts into every work that I have joined, regardless of the character being the lead or a supporting role. Sometimes, I received criticism from the public, but that is all part of my personal story of developing as an actor.”
She also does not want to limit herself to a specific genre or character.
“Whether the role is important or not, I want to take part in various projects and improve as an actor. In an upcoming series, I play a pregnant woman who is a victim of domestic violence. It is a completely different character from The Glory,” Lim said.
“I hope the viewers completely forget who I was in The Glory and don’t recognise any parts of Yeon-jin when watching the new TV drama,” she said. THE KOREA HERALD/ASIA NEWS NETWORK