Seducing a rich man to get out of poverty

Korean actress Lim Soo Jung was drawn to the temptress' complex emotional layers in movie Perfect Proposal

Korean actress Lim Soo Jung and actor Yoo Yeon Seok star in the movie Perfect Proposal.
Korean actress Lim Soo Jung and actor Yoo Yeon Seok star in the movie Perfect Proposal.PHOTO: THRILL

South Korean actress Lim Soo Jung, 36, plays a debt-ridden woman who is embroiled in a get-rich-quick scheme in the movie Perfect Proposal.

In it, her character has to seduce a rich old man. In real life, she says she would be tempted to do the same to get out of poverty.

"But in the end I think I would stick to my principles," says Lim in an e-mail interview with Life.

The Korean movie - which will air on cable TV this Friday - is adapted from French novelist Catherine Arley's book La Femme De Paille (Woman Of Straw) that was published in the 1950s.

An English film adaptation of the book was made in 1964, also called Woman Of Straw, and which starred actor Sean Connery.

What drew Lim to take on the project, which also stars Yoo Yeon Seok from drama Reply 1994, was the challenge of depicting the layers of emotions felt by her character.

"Jiyeon approached the rich chairman for his money, but she's to some extent an innocent person as well.

"The most difficult part for me was the balance between portraying who she really is and how she conceals her plot," says Lim, who starred in hit drama I'm Sorry, I Love You (2004).

Having acted for over a decade or so, she has learnt that a "good actor should always empty himself" and "let the character" take over.

So for this role, she says: "When I was acting in this film, I felt like there was no correct answer for what I should do and that made me worried.

"I decided to erase the things that I prepared and brought in new sentiments and feelings for the character (on the set)."

Her acting career has earned her critical acclaim - she snagged the Best New Actress award in the horror flick A Tale of Two Sisters (2003) at the 2003 Blue Dragon Film Awards, one of the major film award ceremonies in South Korea. In 2012, at the same awards ceremony, she won Best Actress for her role as the sultry, but naggy spouse in the rom-com All About My Wife (2012).

Asked how she has managed to stay so youthful looking all these years, Lim puts it down to being "lucky to be born with a baby face". She says regular exercise, a healthy diet and downing 2 litres of water daily to hydrate her skin also help.

"I eat a lot of vegetables and fruits and stay away from carbonated drinks. It's important to put on make-up, but don't forget to remove the make-up too."

  • Perfect Proposal airs this Friday, at 11pm on Thrill (StarHub Cable TV Channel 618 and Singtel TV Channel 415) 
A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on August 12, 2015, with the headline 'Seducing a rich man to get out of poverty'. Subscribe