Renee Lim East West 101 Interview
SBS's East West 101 is a multi award-winning crime drama series produced and created by the acclaimed production team of Steve Knapman and Kris Wyld.
East West 101 is set around the Major Crime Squad in metropolitan Sydney. It is inspired by the experiences of actual detectives in a crime unit in Sydney's West. East West 101 has proven to be one of the most gritty and ground-breaking dramas in Australian television history, winning a slew of accolades in 2010 alone, including two Logies and three AFI awards. It has featured the cream of Australian talent including Don Hany (Underbelly, Offspring, Rush, White Collar Blue) and Susie Porter (Bootmen, RAN: Remote Area Nurse, Little Fish, The Secret Life of Us).East West 101 Season Three
Following on the East West 101 themes established in the previous two seasons, the new season explores the ramifications of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan through crimes committed in Australia. What happened during the war in the opium fields of the Chora Valley in Afghanistan, and the collateral damage to civilians in Takrit in Northern Iraq, comes home to the main streets of Lakemba and the malls of Cabramatta.
A violent robbery is committed. $36 million has been stolen. Four men have been killed. One of them, an armed robber, is Middle Eastern, a mysterious figure with international connections. The robbery has the marks of a military operation but it is not known if the acts have been committed by extremists to fund an act of terror in Australia or if it is the deed of highly organised criminals.
Detective Zane Malik (Don Hany) is on a quest to find the men responsible. His professional quest has a personal motive; his son and wife are involved in a car accident the day of the robbery. Malik suspects their car was hit by a vehicle fleeing the robbery but he cannot be sure if his logic is clouded by his grief.
Joining Major Crime is Detective Neil Travis (Matt Nable). Travis has returned to the police force from a stint in the army. He is a damaged man, a member of the band of brothers who have seen combat and faced death in the battlefield. He is determined to shake off the war, but whether he can achieve this is yet to be seen. As Malik progresses further into the investigation, he knows he is dealing with a ruthless enemy. He must be prepared to go to extremes measures, if he is to extract the truth, and nail the men responsible for murder and theft.
East West 101 Season Three premieres Wednesday 20 April 2011 at 8.30pm on SBS ONE
Interview with Renee Lim
Renee Lim stars as Plain Clothes Constable Jung Lim. Constable Jung Lim is a hard-nosed, hardedged, danger-loving, junior detective. Lim is fun to work with, warm, witty and a great tease. She is also intelligent and sensitive.
She is also a perfectionist who can become frustrated when things do not run smoothly. At her worst, Lim is temperamental and over sensitive, and colleagues tiptoe around her. She is a natural born detective, with experience in forensics, who does whatever it takes to get the job done.
Because of her formidable knowledge of crime scene science, investigating detectives always make sure she is on the invite list. Her new work partner is Detective Neil Travis and Lim is instantly attracted to him. In season three, Lim learns the hard way that office romances can cause tension.Question:
How would you explain your character in East West 101, Constable Jung Lim?Renee Lim
: I play Jung Lim, a young up-coming cop who is very driven but has no personality whatsoever. Question:
Are you able to relate to the character of Constable Jung Lim?Renee Lim
: Kind of. Jung Lim is one of those people who wants to prove herself and she feels like she may have a lot to prove. In my life, whether it was being an Asian child in the 80's or being a doctor, which is my other job where I work in a hospital which is a 'mans world', I know there is always that aspect where you want to prove to the world that you're actually good enough. With that side of things I think we are quite similar and I definitely drew on some of those strengths of believing in yourself and keep pushing through when everyone else thinks you're not particularly cool or doing the right thing.
Not so much in regards to personality, Jung Lim is pretty straight. I had in my head that she was almost a woman who goes home and does her cross-stitch with a little cushion on the couch and has her microwave dinner, goes to bed and then gets up at the same time every morning to go for a run.
In series 3 of East West 101 I have a relationships with another character and his a bit of a bad boy - which is quite interesting because I've had to readjust my ideas of her a little bit to take that on board. It made sense that Jung Lim chose this crazy bad boy to disrupt her very routine lifestyle. Question:
What does it take to get into playing the character of Constable Jung Lim? Renee Lim
: I think it is mostly about knowing the character before hand. When you read a well-written script, which East West 101 definitely is, there is a sensation of the character as you read through what the character does and then you ad your own bits to it, in terms of what you feel fits at the time. I have been doing the show for almost six years now and I've had the time to be able to meet Jung Lim and grow with her as the time has gone on.
I think, for me, in this case, the hardest thing was to make sure I didn't smile because Jung Lim doesn't really smile, at all, ever. Finding a way to not smile and to make it work without feeling like I had to stop myself was hard. It has been really lovely to play someone who is so different to me; it has really challenged me to find the truth of who she was and why she is the way she is. I think, to be honest, by the time I got to series three I wasn't really having to do too much 'work'.Question:
Can you talk about the training and research that went into playing a detective?Renee Lim
: We had some amazing consultants. Two amazing gentleman were with an equivalent police group and they came on board, gave us lots of advice and we met with armors and they showed us how to hold a gun. I don't have a large roll officially in the first series but the main characters got to meet with the detectives who their characters were based on and actually speak to them about it. We did spend sometime with police, in the offices, to see how they did things.
It was interesting for me because I am a doctor, I think we have similar jobs in some ways because we both deal with emergencies and situations were we are on our own making decisions and are very in control. I think because of that a part of me fell into this role, quite easily because I understood that aspect of it - being in an emergency services environment and having to take control of the situation to do what needs to be done, there is no hair flicking or pretty outfits or taking or wasting time because you have to get the job done as quickly as possible. I didn't take on a lot of the things you see in CSI television or those other types of glamorous shows where they spend half their time chatting, having sex or looking at computer screens; in reality it's not like that because I do the same job from a different perspective. The environment is real and gritty and all you are trying to do is help people or save people and make the world a better place. Question:
Do you believe East West 101 is a genuine look at the Major Crime Squad of Sydney?Renee Lim
: I would say definitely and that is the feedback we are getting from people that are in the industry of police work or detective investigation - a lot of them say thank you for actually representing them in real life. Obviously that works both ways because we don't always represent them in a good light but I think that is really important because it is necessary for people to realise that we all have lives outside of our jobs and people don't just become policeman or doctors; they have home lives outside of helping and saving other people and they have home issues, fights and they don't always get along. It is really important thing that we do present that, in the show and the storylines. We choose to tell stories were there is a lot of grey, where it is a lot harder to tick boxes or put crosses next to peoples names.Question:
Are you able to give us an indication of what we're in for in season 3 of East West 101?Renee Lim
: I can't give away too much but I can say that during the first episode there are a lot of big noises and there is an amazing opening scene that I would recommend to anyone who is going to watch the show. There is a lot more personal journeys in season three - with a lot more crying and there is also a bit of comedy and a lot of family. I think this series, being the last, is a really big deal and they're allowing the characters to tell their stories a little bit more and this lets the audience become apart of their lives and I think that is an amazing thing to be apart of. Question:
Do you think that audiences who haven't watch the first two seasons will enjoy season three?Renee Lim
: Yes they could, definitely. I think all you need to know about East West 101 is it is a story about a bunch of cops who are trying to working the beat, do the right thing but that everybody is different and they're all there just trying to get the job done.Question:
What originally inspired you to begin breaking into the acting industry, because you were already a doctor? Renee Lim
: I was an actor, singer and dancer when I was much younger and still at school and all through University I keep perusing it and I went straight into my internship and I thought 'I need to take a year off and give acting a go'. I have always lived my life by two sayings "live for perfect moments, they exist in every second you forget to enjoy" and "if I'm not happy, I shouldn't do it". I have always felt like you only have today and that experience comes from my personal life and my job. Half way through my intern year and I was applying for jobs for the second year and I decided I wanted to take time off and peruse acting for at least a year and not waste my time thinking 'what if'. I started to pursue acting and the next thing I knew I had an agent by accident and I had my first paid gig and then it kept going. I was going to leave medicine all together but then I really missed medicine - so now I do medicine by choice, because I love it and I work in emergency and palliative care and acting is now my job opposed to my hobby.
I've always said to everyone around me 'you've got to do what you love' it was important to give acting ago because if I hadn't I would have never known what could happen. In the end, nothing matters except for happiness and who cares if you are making enough money or if people think you're 'cool' or 'successful'. If you're happy then you are the most successful you'll ever be.
Interview by Brooke Hunter