Exclusive Interview with “Growing Up” & “Getaway” Star Steven David Lim

Steven David Lim was a familar face on Singapore TV during the 1990s. He is best known for starring in all six seasons of the hit TV series ‘Growing Up’, which holds the record for being the longest running English drama series from Singapore.

One of a handful of openly gay actors from Singapore, Steven boasts an extensive acting portfolio that includes roles in film, television and theater. In 2017, Steven won the ‘Best Supporting Actor – Drama’ award at the 8th Indie Series Awards. Recently, he is starred in the on-air Singaporean BL “Getaway” as Daddy (main lead Sam’s Father). Let’s get to know more about this popular Singaporean actor, as he shares details about his personal & professional life!

1) You have been actively involved in LGBT-themed productions. Do you think they can pave the way for LGBTQ equality, since most countries in the Asia still have legislations against homosexuality?

They are certainly one of the ways to do so – a good production/script allows viewers to emphatise and even care for the the characters, possibly in a world that is totally different from their own – it humanises the issues and fosters understanding.

2) We would love to talk about your character Melvyn Shu (Mel) in “Cut Sleeve Boys”. How did you embody his strengths and vulnerabilities?

Wow, that’s quite a while ago – my first film production right out of drama school in London. Melvyn, like so many of us, is a complex, complicated guy with an inwardly (and flamboyant/camp) soft heart yearning for love but has been taught to hide it in a tough outer shell of masculinity and a ‘go ahead, i dare you’ attitude being a minority within a minority as a gay Asian man in London.

3) You played the role of Isaac in “People Like Us”. This project seems quite close to your heart? Why is it so special?

The script for People Like Us absolutely blew me away – the subject matters dealt with in the series and the writing were very real and very current and it did not skirt around topics that were seen as taboo. It dealt with issues which really needed to be addressed and didn’t pull any punches. Meeting the rest of the cast, the production team as well as Leon, the writer/director gave me even more confidence in it. Leon is a master storyteller with a great sensitivity. For me it is a groundbreaking show as proven in the number of film festivals it was shown in as well as the numerous international nominations & awards it has won.

4) You seem to have good rapport with your “Getaway” co-star and onscreen son, Sean Foo? How comfortable are you both working with each other?

We have known each other for a while before the production as he had interviewed me for Dear Straight People several years ago. It might sound cliché but I do see a lot of myself in him and we share similar goals in pushing the LGBTQ agenda. Working together, we both bring different expertise, experience and knowledge to the table.

5) What are the apparent similarities and differences between you and all the LGBTQ characters that you played?

There are bits of me in every character I play, different facets of me. Of course, for some characters, I really had to dig deep to find particular characteristics in order to still be true to the character.

6) Apart from being a cast member, you were also involved in “Getaway” as an acting coach? How is the experience of being an acting coach like?

It was a really interesting experience as many in the cast are first time (and may I say, very cute) actors. The challenge was to enable them to be comfortable in front of the camera and to be natural in their delivery. We did not want them to over rehearse their lines (this can make for a robotic delivery).

7) What is your opinion about BL content? Thailand is currently seeing a sudden surge of BL dramas? What do you think about this?

I actually find most ‘conventional’ BL content a bit of a head-scratcher. I come from an older generation of gay men who still had to take a stand on things and the BL genre puzzles me. They touch on the LGBTQ topics but coyly skirt around without actually addressing it. From my limited understanding of the genre, its target market is actually non-LGBTQ. At the end of the day, if it softly promotes an acceptance and understanding of LGBTQ to a wider audience, why not?

8) Would you be interested in starring in a mature BL romance in the future? If yes, then what kind of scripts would you prefer?

A mature BL romance? Do you mean one featuring older characters or one that properly bites into the meat of LGBTQ issues? I am always open to new projects and challenges. I don’t think I have a preference on the kind of script.

9) We have a lot of BL fans and members of the LGBTQ+ community as our avid readers. Do you have any messages to share with them?

Thank you for your support with Getaway. It is great to see a community of BL fans and LGBTQ+ with a shared love. I hope to see the genre develop and grow (as everything does).

10) Dear Straight People has launched a crowdfunding campaign for Season Two. If it’s successful and we get to see a second season, what storylines do you hope to explore with your character?

I hope we get to explore the impact of his son’s coming out from the father’s point of view as well as the reasons and thinking leading him to react the way he did/does. In my own coming out to my parents, even though it was not as dramatic as Sam’s in the series, it took me many years to fully understand what my parents also had to go through. The fears, the guilt, the sadness and no less, the worry. This is something not often explored in most coming out stories. Perhaps a better understanding of it will help bridge the gap created between parent and child and help mend broken connections.

The BL Xpress would like to express their gratitude to Mr. Steven David Lim and Dear Straight People for this Exclusive!

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