Kim: I was thirsty for a role like this.
10: You mean a character with action scenes?
Kim: Not just the action but a character with a strong image. I really love Angelina Jolie from movies like “Wanted” or “Tomb Raider”, where she looked fantastic as a sleek, sexy woman running around with a gun. I have strong features too so I thought I would look good carrying a gun or playing a detective role. That was when I got the synopsis for “Iris” and the role of Kim Sun-wha. There were only about five or six lines written about her character at the time but I really wanted to play her.
Kim: I didn’t feel that she was a “brief” character as shown in the synopsis. I felt like she was so much more, and the part did change a lot during re-writes of the script. In the beginning, there was no romance between Hyun-joon and Sun-wha, but that changed during the shoot in Japan. Tae-hee and I formed a love triangle with Hyun-joon. I think I’m going to give my whole heart to Hyun-joon in the second half of the drama.
10: So it’s a love story where you choose love over ideology and feel guilty about it, right?
Kim: I think that’s what makes it so attractive! Sun-wha is a character with a tragic destiny. She doesn’t know what it feels like to be a woman being raised as a human weapon and every cell in her body becoming brainwashed. That's why she doesn’t know how to express love even when she falls in love but she develops the emotions and starts worrying about it. We recently shot those scenes of my character going through the emotional changes and I had to act out subtle body language and looks when our bodies touched during the action scenes. It was so exciting to express this kind of faint love and I would think, “This is it!” after shooting. Isn’t such love more appealing to the viewers as well? The important thing is not what the character ends up gaining, but how much presence she makes on screen.
10: For Sun-wha, making a presence started successfully with her hairstyle. Was it your idea?
Kim: I didn’t think of it in the beginning. The producers wanted to give Sun-wha many changes and offered me a wig, but the way I looked in a wig felt so fake. So I offered to cut my hair and everyone was surprised. (laugh) I think it was a great idea now. The writer complimented me on it and I’m satisfied because the images that I wanted are coming together and alive even better.
Kim: I’m always wearing jeans, walker boots with a leather jacket, tank top and camouflage jumper. It’s a never-before-seen style so I think it’s appealing. I don’t think this role is simply boyish and strong. There’s a complicated, sexy aspect to it so I think a lot about that.
Kim: Surprisingly, I don’t think about how I should play the character. I think that once you understand this woman’s history and pain, you don’t need to make something out of it forcefully. I really love roles where, if it were real circumstances, it would be heartbreaking, pitiful and even a bit pathetic but you can live out the role with the story and the pain in your acting. There’s a lot more to express emotionally.
10: Sun-wha looks like a completely new role, but when you think about it, you’ve played a lot of repressed characters over the years, including in [the TV series] “All About Eve”.
Kim: In the emotional aspect, she could be considered similar to Young-mee in “All About Eve”. But an actor’s role can’t be completely different every single time, unless it’s a circus. You have your own personality and nature. But I am changing as a person. I’m getting older and like my subconscious adds or erases stuff, I believe the way you express a similar character clearly changes too. So I think there’s a different look in my eyes and a different something. I want to show a different kind of depth, if it’s possible.
10: A certain level of response is expected with the drama’s scale and casting, but female viewers don’t usually prefer this kind of drama. How can you appeal to them?
Kim: I myself am a female viewer. The Angelina Jolie's films I mentioned earlier -- I used to fast forward through the movie and just watch the scenes that Jolie appears in. (laugh) I also only recently watched “Swiri”. That’s how I was but now I’m so into this drama. It’s better to watch ten minutes of the drama than me explaining everything, but it’s a drama that has grown deeper in terms of scale and acting. I used to talk about myself a lot more in my previous interviews, but this time I keep talking about “Iris”. I make my first appearance in episode 3, but you have to start watching from the first episode. The melodrama storylines are truly the best! Really!
Reporter : Yoon Hee-Seong email@example.com
Photographer : Chae ki-won firstname.lastname@example.org
Editor : Lynn Kim email@example.com, Lee Ji-Hye firstname.lastname@example.org
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