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Lim Yoon-a climbs her way back onto the movie screen: Girls’ Generation member takes on a demanding role in disaster comedy ‘Exit’

July 25,2019
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[SM ENTERTAINMENT]
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Lim Yoon-a is best known as a member of the successful girl group Girls’ Generation, but this summer, she’s taking a step away from music and jumping back into acting.

For her second big screen project after “Confidential Assignment” (2017), Lim snagged a lead role in upcoming disaster comedy “Exit,” co-starring Cho Jung-seok set to hit theaters next Wednesday. Lim is expected to flaunt her physical prowess in the film, which will feature her and Cho climbing up buildings to safety as a mysterious toxic gas threatens to engulf Seoul.

“I think the desire to show different sides of myself grew since ‘Confidential Assignment,’” Yoon-a told Ilgan Sports, an affiliate of the Korea JoongAng Daily, at a cafe in central Seoul on Monday. “I don’t put limitations on the roles I take on. If I come across a character I find attractive, I’ll play it.”

The following are edited excerpts from the interview.



Q. What did you pay attention to the most while filming “Exit”?

A
. I focused on showcasing my character Eui-ju. I tried to concentrate on the scenes rather than worrying about how I look.

If I had a cute and feminine image in Girls’ Generation, in “Exit” I was just Eui-ju. I would ask my stylists to make me look messier when they came to touch up my hair, for example.



How do you expect the movie to perform in theaters?

I still can’t assess the full scope of the movie or estimate how well it’s going to do. When I first chose to join “Exit,” I was thinking about how much I would be able to grow from it.

But many people have been saying positive things about “Exit,” so I feel it was worth the running and climbing. I still think I could’ve done better in some scenes, but no one has said that my acting sticks out, so that’s good.



Were you ready for the physical demands of the movie? Cho praised your strength multiple times.

When I first read the script, I wondered whether I would be able to handle the physical challenges.

I thought that it would be better if I exercised regularly, so I continued to work out after accepting the role.

I’ve never thought highly of my strength. But when Jung-seok saw me climbing at an indoor gym, he told me that he shouldn’t have worried and that I would be just fine. That gave me a lot of courage.

During one scene I wasn’t able to move my legs at all because I had been running for a long time. I collapsed and cried after the director said “cut.” It was tiring, painful and, most of all, I wanted to move but couldn’t even stand up.

That was the only time I cried. But I think I managed to persevere and I’m glad Jung-seok was by my side.



Was it different working on the movie without having to balance your responsibilities for Girls’ Generation?

I think I was able to focus a bit better on the film and my acting compared to when I was active with Girls’ Generation.

When I finished a drama or movie in the past, I had to get ready for our group’s next album, attend award ceremonies and practice choreography, but there’s more time for me now to prepare for the film and rest.

The only big difference between being with the members and being alone is the noise level. I’m used to the quiet now. I just talk softly with staff when I’m resting in the waiting room.

But the members and I consistently encourage one another. We met not too long ago and it felt really comfortable as if we had just been together yesterday.

It’s almost the 12-year anniversary of our debut, so we’re trying to coordinate our schedules for a meeting. I invited them to a preview screening for “Exit” as well.



How do you assess yourself as an actor?

I started acting almost at the same time as my Girls’ Generation debut. But even though I have a lot of experience as a singer, I still feel like a rookie when it comes to film.

I feel like I need to show a lot more as an actor.



You turned 30 this year. How do you see yourself changing as you grow older?

I don’t think too much about my age. Different times in my life had different perks. At 18, I was happy that I debuted, and now I appreciate feeling more relaxed.

In the past, I tried to excel in everything, and I still do to some point. I felt pressured to do well. It was part of my personality.

This doesn’t mean that I have stopped putting effort into things, but now I remind myself it’s alright if I’m not good at something. My fans helped me think this way, and I’m glad to be walking down my path with them.

BY CHO YEON-GYEONG [kim.eunjin1@joongang.co.kr]




'엑시트' 임윤아 ”새 이미지? 내 안에 있었던 다른 모습”

윤아가 첫 주연작으로 '엑시트'를 택한 이유와 시사회 이후 호평을 받고 있는데 대한 소감을 전했다.

영화 '엑시트(이상근 감독)' 개봉을 앞두고 있는 임윤아는 22일 서울 삼청동의 한 카페에서 진행된 인터뷰에서 "시사회 반응이 좋다"는 말에 "사실 잘 체감은 안 됐다. 영화를 많이 해보지 못한 신인이라 반응에 대한 기준을 잘 모르겠다"고 전해 웃음을 자아냈다.

윤아는 "다만 좋은 말씀을 많이 해주시니까 열심히 뛰고, 달리고, 올라갔던 보람이 있는 것 같다"며 " 아직 내가 보기에는 아쉬운 부분도 보이긴 하는데 '다행이다' 싶었다. 솔직히 난 영화에 잘 어우러지기만을 바랐는데 튄다는 듯한 말은 없는 것 같아 그것 만으로도 좋았다"고 밝혔다.

이와 함께 윤아는 '엑시트'에 대해 "재난 영화니까 '무겁거나 진지한 분위기가 많지 않을까'라는 생각을 했는데, 유쾌함이 적절하게 섞여 있는 것 같더라. 무엇보다 용남 역할 (조)정석 오빠라고 하니까 더 잘 읽혔다"고 말했다.

이어 "'공조' 때도 '윤아에게 새로운 모습을 봤다'는 말씀을 많이 해 주셨는데, 그 때도 그렇고 지금도 그렇고 결국 내 안에 그런 모습이 있기 때문에 할 수 있는 것 같다. 하고 싶거나 끌리는 것도 내 안에 그런 모습이 있다는걸 알기 때문에 그런 것 같기도 하다. 어떻게 보면 '엑시트' 의주는 '공조' 백수였던 민영이가 취직을 해서, 순수보다는 책임감 쪽으로 기울어져 성장한 느낌이 든다"고 고백했다.

이어 "그렇기 때문에 너무나도 갑자기 새로운 모습을 보여 드린다는 생각을 하지는 않았다. '거부감이 많이 있으시려나?' 생각하지는 않았던 것 같다"며 "'공조'가 없었더라도, 드라마처럼 로맨스를 계속 한다고 해서 그게 안전하다고 생각하지도 않는다. '공조'를 겪으면서 다른 것을 보여 드리고자 하는 마음이 커진 것 같다. 딱히 캐릭터에 제약을 두고 있지 않기 때문에 캐릭터의 매력에 따라 움직이고 있다"고 진심을 표했다.

임윤아는 '공조' 이후 두번째 영화 필모그래피이자 첫번째 스크린 주연작으로 '엑시트'를 택했다. 임윤아가 맡은 의주는 대학시절 산악부 활동을 하며 길러온 탄탄한 체력을 바탕으로 연회장 행사를 불철주야 도맡아 하는 인물. 산악부 당시의 타고난 존재감은 희미해진 채 연회장 직원으로 퍽퍽한 회사원 생활을 이어가지만 밝고 건강한 에너지가 매력적이다.

임윤아는 어머니의 칠순 잔치에 참석한 반가운 동아리 선배 용남을 만나게 되면서 시작되는 코믹 연기부터 재난 발생 이후 책임감 있는 면모까지 자연스럽게 소화했다. 실제 임윤아 특유의 당찬 성격은 책임감 강하고 능동적인 캐릭터 의주와 절묘하게 어우러져 '엑시트'의 전체 분위기를 완성한다.

'엑시트'는 청년 백수 용남(조정석)과 대학동아리 후배 의주(임윤아)가 원인 모를 유독가스로 뒤덮인 도심을 탈출해야 하는 비상 상황을 그린 재난탈출액션 영화다. 31일 개봉한다.

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