[인터뷰] ‘The Glory’ Lim Ji-yeon “The reason why that scene was the best punishment for Yeon-jin…”

[일요신문] “These days, comments on my SNS (social media) are overflowing with the word ‘Yeon Jin-ah’ (laughter). I think so many people love me very much, and all the actors have a happy day. Honestly, when I first started, I never imagined that the word ‘Yeon Jin-ah’ would be called so many times (laughs). I think it’s probably because it’s called that in the play, so people love the line itself.”

Park Yeon-jin, the best villain character in ‘The Glory’, was actress Lim Ji-yeon’s first attempt at a villain role. Photo = courtesy of Netflix

※ This article contains spoilers for the Netflix original series ‘The Glory’.

Actress Lim Ji-yeon (33) defined Park Yeon-jin as ‘the best villain’. Was it not thanks to the passionate acting based on the actor’s thorough research that he managed to establish himself as the best villain not only for Lim Ji-yeon but also for the viewers? Lim Ji-yeon, who poured everything she had through the Netflix original series ‘The Glory’, recalled the moment she met Park Yeon-jin like this for the first time.

“From the moment I read the script, I felt that Yeon-jin is the ‘best villain’. This is the first time I’ve played a villain, so if I met such a great character, I thought, of course, I shouldn’t miss him. At first, I think I put all kinds of thoughts into building Yeonjin’s character. Should we do it as a sociopath or as a robot? Since he’s already a character with strong lines, wouldn’t he be more attractive if he was silent? Or should I let my emotions out? I had many concerns, but in the end, what I found was ‘Let’s just go by myself’. There must be something only I can do. The feeling of ‘the best villain’ I’ve never seen before will only be attractive when it starts with me. I just found it by accident.”

According to the actor, Yeon-jin is the perfect villain that never existed before and never will be, accusing the main character Moon Dong-eun (played by Song Hye-kyo). Viewers hated Park Yeon-jin to the end, watching him, who was a serious perpetrator of school violence (school violence) in his school days, felt no guilt even after growing up. Lim Ji-yeon emphasized that this kind of response from viewers was what she had hoped for from the beginning.

Lim Ji-yeon said that she wanted Park Yeon-jin, who she played, to be hated by everyone without anyone understanding it. Photo = courtesy of Netflix

“It’s not easy to receive infinite love from people while working on a project and get sympathy as the main character. But it’s not easy for everyone in the world to hate me (laughs). It was another challenge for me, so I acted thinking it would be nice if all the viewers hated me. I was also acting Yeonjin, but I couldn’t tolerate (Yeonjin) even for a moment. I told the author too. He said, ‘I hope the world hates me’. If everyone looked at me like that after the drama was released, I think I succeeded (laughs).

Is Park Yeon-jin’s ‘evil’, which he never reflects even after reaching the end of falling into hell, natural, or was he made that way? This question was also a big concern for Lim Ji-yeon, who started ‘The Glory’ for the first time. After going through several trials and errors, the conclusion he came to was that “there is no reason for Yeonjin’s evil.”

“I didn’t bother looking for a reason. I thought that he might have changed due to environmental factors or trauma, or that he might be a character who is inherently incapable of feeling guilty, but in the end, I realized that this character has no reason . I had everything I wanted since I was little, and my own thought was ‘I was born this way, who would you say was born that way?’ It is like this. Thinking like that makes it easier to say ‘I didn’t do anything wrong, Dong Eun-ah’. All five perpetrators of Dong-eun’s bullying must have the same mindset. Because they do not know their faults, they commit all kinds of evil. So I think the chemistry of the bad guys worked well (laughs).

When asked what was the hardest thing about Yeon-jin’s acting, as expected, “Screaming acting” was rated with three fingers. Yeonjin always pretends to be calm because she has a bad personality for no reason and takes all her bad actions for granted. However, whenever the sudden rage becomes unbearable, there are more scenes in the second half where people scream or curse loudly. Lim Ji-yeon’s story is that after filming a scene like this, when she goes home, her neck is always locked.

One of the hardest parts of acting as Park Yeon-jin, who chose Lim Ji-yeon, was her screaming performance. Photo = ‘Y Gogoniant’ still breaking

“There was the scene in the second half of Part 2 where I shouted ‘It’s done!’ to Chief Shin in the morgue was a scene I had prepared perfectly. The first time the director took a wide shot first and he liked it a lot. He said, ‘It’s very scary’ (laughs). It’s such a compliment for the director to say that. When I was acting as Yeonjin, it was so difficult to control my voice that I had to finish filming in one take. My voice cracks when I shoot the same scene several times (laughs). I can tell by watching the play. In that scene, whether I cut my neck or not (laughs). I think they covered that part with hindsight recordings.”

Perhaps because it was a character created after thinking about it for a long time, Yeonjin’s ending still left a deep impression on Lim Jiyeon. He said that he had been considering the final scene for several months even before filming began, and ultimately summed up the scene as “the last and best punishment that Yeon-jin could receive.” It was a ‘remorse’ punishment, so it was an ending that could be satisfied as an actor and as a viewer.

“Yeonjin doesn’t know what was wrong until the end. No regrets, no reflection. Rather, he thought that being rotten inside him was the best punishment for being remorseful for the rest of his life, taking back the wrong he had committed. Of course, it was very difficult during filming. I cry a lot and also break down a lot. As an actor, I liked the character Yeonjin, but I remember that it was very difficult for Yeonjin, who was always lovely, to collapse at the end. I think I cried a lot when I saw the child who was always looking down, look up for the first time.”

What is common between the actors in ‘The Glory’, which has heated domestic and foreign countries with hot issues for three months after the first release in December 2022, is that not one person is excited by the heat this. Not only in Korea, but also in the first week of the release of Part 2, it continues its box office success by taking the No. 1 spot in the Netflix TV show category worldwide. The same was true of Lim Ji-yeon. While acting as Park Yeon-jin, Lim Ji-yeon started laughing, saying, “I realized that I am indeed an actor with a strong ‘Kang Da-goo’.”

“I thought, ‘I have to look really good,’ because villain roles didn’t come in, but I saw the writer saying, ‘I want her to be a woman with an angelic face and a devil’s heart’ about Yeonjin’s character. Then, should I use my angelic face? I challenged that thought (laughs). I don’t have the burden of ‘I have to do more than Yeonjin in my next project’. I am excited at the thought of taking on a new role in a better project. I can’t imagine it with my face, but I still try to do work that makes me curious about doing a character once. I think the most fun I can have as an actor is challenging without setting my own limits.”

Reporter Kim Tae-win