While some actors who play villain roles ask viewers to sympathize with their characters, insisting that villains might also turn out to be likable in the end, Lim Ji-yeon requests viewers of “The Glory” to have no mercy on her character, 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 in a firm tone.
In an interview with reporters on Friday at a cafe in Sinsa-dong, southern Seoul, Lim conveyed her feelings about the iconic character in Netflix’s blood-soaked revenge drama, “The Glory.”
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. The actor said she believes it takes just as much effort for a character to be hated by viewers as it takes to be loved.
"If I have gotten 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 actor shared that Yeon-jin received more attention than expected as the series centers on Dong-eun (played by Song Hye-kyo), a revenge-driven female lead, 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 her character, Yeon-jin, garnered so much interest to the point where the character became a popular meme in South Korea.
The actress added that Yeon-jin was a multi-dimensional 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 emphasized that Yeon-jin is an angel in front of her husband and the world’s prettiest woman as a weather forecaster,” Lim said.
“But she becomes a heartless villain who feels no remorse on her past deeds in front of the victims. This multi-dimensional side might have triggered the viewers’ interest as well,” the actor continued.
When asked about how her character ended up, Lim said that 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,” the actor said.
“Nevertheless, I am certain that Yeon-jin is not reflecting on her mistakes,” she added.
From her Instagram account to the comments on YouTube videos, Lim shared that she can definitely 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,” she added with a smile, barely containing her excitement.
“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 told The Korea Herald.
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, to be honest, 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,” Lim explained.
“The Glory” star said she 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 the 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 recognize any parts of Yeon-jin when watching the new TV drama,” she said.