Some thought she was going to be girl forever, but suddenly Lim Soo-jung has become a woman. Now she plays a victim of chronic lung disease over eight years in Director Heo Jin-ho's latest film "Happiness," to be released on Oct. 3.
In the movie, Im's character Eun-hi falls in love with Yeong-su who comes to the rehab center for his own illness, but after she has given him everything, he throws her away. The Chosun Ilbo spoke to the actress.
◆ People say you have a baby face and looking young is good, but it can also restrict the range of characters you play as an actress.
- In the movie, Yeong-su and Eun-hi are seven to eight years apart. I was able to become completely absorbed in my character, and when I did that, these concerns just disappeared. I'm sure when audiences see the movie, they won't find it awkward at all.
◆ Eun-hi is so feminine, one wonders whether such woman can actually exist in real life.
- To be honest, I'm more like Su-yeon, the character played by Kong Hyo-jin, who is more contemporary and cool. That's why when I first got the script, I couldn't fully understand my character. Eun-hi is on the extreme end of the spectrum with maximum femininity. She is almost a motherly character. But then when you think about it, all women have maternal love inside them.
◆ While Eun-hi is feminine, she is not completely old-fashioned as she is very bold and doesn't shy away from expressing her affection.
- Right. Eun-hi doesn't pretend at all. She doesn't calculate. As long as she likes the person, she doesn't mind saying "let's move in together." She's honest because for her, being happy is what matters the most since she doesn't know how long she has left to live. In that sense, I'm a bit like Eun-hi. I'm not so bold, but I'm honest with my feelings, and if there is a person I like, I express it.
◆ Have you ever been in love?
- Of course I have. I was in love in my early 20s. In the movie, it was literally heartbreaking to see Yeong-su change. I couldn't help but cry to see the frustrated Yeong-su who is getting tired of Eun-hi in the playground scene. In the script, Eun-hi is supposed to just look at Yeong-su, but I cried. The director later said he would have regretted if I hadn't cried.
◆ What are you like in real life?
- Before I made my break (in a sitcom called "School IV" in 2001), I was a nobody for about three years, and during that time I probably have tried out at hundreds of different auditions. In the process, I changed a lot. I was really shy before, but now I'm a bit like the bouncy Si-eun in "Lump Of Sugar," a bit odd like Yeong-gun in "I'm a Cyborg, but That's OK," and part of me is really closed-up and fragile like the sisters in "A Tale Of Two Sisters." "I feel like I take with me a bit of each character I've played and I don't want to throw away even one. Am I going to go develop a multiple personality disorder at this rate?."
◆ Tell us your ultimate goal as an actress.
- "So far I've been mostly playing unrealistic characters. They were either physically or mentally sick. So in the future I hope I get to play characters that are more down-to-earth. I'm also drawn to strong women characters. Maybe a businesswoman or a martial artist in a historical film? An evil character would be interesting too. If I can have one wish before I turn 40, that is to perform so well that everyone gives me two thumbs up.