It took a long time for Lim Seong-mi to play a starring role on the silver screen. “Fighter” scheduled to premiere on Thursday is a great movie to showcase her mature acting. Director Yun Jae-ho depicts a story of a North Korean defector named Jin-ah overcoming challenging situations and opening up to the world with boxing. Highly vigilant Jin-ah starts to loosen up and work through emotional issues after meeting the head of her boxing gym and a boxing coach.
The Dong-A Ilbo met with Lim who plays the role of Jin-ah leading the movie. The actor said she felt like she just made the first step into the world. “Fighter” is her first starring role in a feature film to be released in theaters. She also won the actor of the year award at the Busan International Film Festival last year, the festival’s highest award to an actor.
Lim who wanted to become a comedian as a child first thought about acting after watching a sketch in her senior year of middle school. Her dream to become an actor grew even bigger after watching “Old Boy” by Park Chan-wook in high school, which was her first movie to watch in a movie theater. Since then, she participated in a drama festival for teenagers and took on many leading and supporting roles in various genres.
She had some gap in her acting career, however, when she considered quitting in 2010. “I felt alive when I was acting but didn’t know what to do when I was not. I disconnected from everybody and kept drinking. I wondered if I could continue to live like this. I was scared.”
Lim in “Fighter” is Jin-ah herself. She especially focused on the process of Jin-ah who used to be awkward in expressing her emotions opening up to others in the process of getting ready for boxing competition. “I was trying to put myself in Jin-ah’s shoes who was a stranger to her new environment,” said Lim. She herself picked outfits that would suit well with the character.
Lim also trained for one month to build boxing skills and learned the North Korean accent from actor Lee Moon-bin who is originally from Yanbian and plays the role of a real estate manager in the movie.
“I am starting to enjoy getting older,” she said, adding that she wants to challenge herself with different platforms and genres. “I don’t want to be a racing horse-like actor. I want the audience of my movies to hold emotion as they leave a theater. I hope they watch me as an actor walking on her own path.”