Yim Si-Wan talks to Glass about what acting has taught him

Glass Man speaks to South Korean multi-hyphenate singer turned actor YIM SI-WAN about his latest role in Unlocked, who he’d love to play in the future and his favourite hobby

The very ideal of a “triple threat” is one that has become so frequently tossed around in recent years
– a show business superhero able to encompass three major performing attributes and succeed in a way that blazes a trail for those to come. With an ever- evolving history of music and film, it’s safe to say that Yim Si-Wan has quite comfortably joined the roster.

As a vocalist of the disbanded ZE:A boyband, it wasn’t long before Si-Wan had made a dominant transition onto the screen. With a snowballing repertoire in film and TV, Si-Wan has become a fixture of K-Dramas and movies, demonstrating a clear versatility when it comes to his craft.

He’s played a villain, a heart-throb, a boy-next door and pretty much everything in between in a decade- long acting career that has garnered a multitude of awards. It’s therefore no surprise that 2023 is as promising a year as ever for the star as he explores new heights with his challenging role in the upcoming 1947 Boston, a period film that details the story of the Korean athletes who partook in the first Boston International Marathon held post-WWII.

Photographer: Kim Young Joon

Can you tell me about the film Unlocked and what attracted you to the film?

Unlocked is a thriller movie that deals with a stranger hacking a smartphone. Since this can happen in real life, this made me feel more attracted to this film.

In Emergency Declaration, about an aviation disaster, and now in Unlocked, you play terrifying characters. How do you prepare for a role like that and what do you use for inspiration?

I’m collecting some Lego for my hobby. The more Lego I collect, the more excited and happier I feel. With that mindset, I thought my character would like to steal and collect someone’s ID as a massive hobby. While he thinks that he is an artistic person, I just focused on the joy of collecting.

Photographer: Kim Young Joon

Do characters stay with you for a while after a performance? If so, what is it like to have such a terrifying character stay with you? Or do you just walk away from a set and throw off the character you have been playing?

When I play a terrible villain or a murderous character, I would focus on joyful emotions while I’m shooting this movie. This character was like a kid playing with his toys. When the other actors are working in their space, I leave the set to play table tennis or drink some coffee in front of the set.

Since Unlocked focuses on the dangers of hacking phones, which we are now all so dependent on, has it changed the way you use your phone?

I’m more cautious about using my phone after shooting this movie. I set up a multiple-locking system, and I try not to participate too much in some group chats. I also use a strong password made by my iPhone.

Photographer: Kim Young Joon

You’ve been acting for a decade now. What have you learned about yourself from the roles you played and has any particular role changed you?

I was learning a lot of things, especially from Misaeng: Incomplete Life. There are some great messages in that drama, so I highly recommend you watch it. You will not only experience Korean culture but also get some wisdom or advice about life. For example, I keep building up my physical strength to do bigger things in my life. To prevent weak physical strength from becoming an obstacle to succeeding in something.

Photographer: Kim Young Joon

You’ve played everything from a soldier to an accountant and a con man. What kind of role would you like to play next and is there any genre you would like to do more of or try for the first time?

I just watched Top Gun Maverick and that was my all- time legendary movie. Someday, I’d like to shoot that kind of movie or I’d like to be a hero saving the earth from a huge crisis. On my usual days, I pretend that I’m just a weak and small guy.

by Ben Sanderson

Photographer: Kim Young Joon

Stylist: Jung Su Yeon

Look 1: Jumper SOLIDHOMME

Look 2: Shirt WOOYOUNGMI

Look 3: Knit NN07


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