By now, you would’ve at least heard that one KDrama has been busy making waves in South Korea as well as internationally. If you guessed, “The Girl Who Sees Smells”, you’re absolutely right!
“The Girl Who Sees Smells” is a gripping new murder mystery starring Shin Se Kyung and JYJ member Park Yoo Chun, and it could possibly be Park Yoo Chun’s last show before he enlists in the military this year.
The story revolves around 2 extraordinary souls who cross paths to solve the mystery of the “Barcode” serial killer that wrecked their lives. The first one is the lead female character Oh Cho Rim (played by Shin Se Kyung), who miraculously developed the heightened sense, but lost her memory after recovering from an accident that put her in a 6-month-long coma.
Now a simple, happy-go-lucky schoolgirl, Oh has lost her memory of her tragic past, including the untimely death of her parents.
In her quest to becoming a stage comedian, Oh comes across Choi Mu Gak (played by Park Yoo Chun), a newly promoted police detective who months ago lost his younger sister to the “Barcode” serial killer. Interestingly, the trauma from the incident has left Choi devoid of his sense of smell and taste, as well as the ability to feel pain.
Together, they rack their brains and fall into some hilarious, offbeat situations to unravel the mystery surrounding the murder of Choi’s sister, as well as the other shocking “Barcode” incidents. But something else about Oh Cho Rim is bothering Choi Mu Gak and lead detective Lieutenant Yeom Mi (played by Yoon Jin Seo): her uncanny resemblance to the case’s missing key witness, and how she occasionally gets mistaken by strangers as Choi Eun Seol. Mu Gak is perplexed – Eun Seol is the name of his dead sister!
We know, right? It sure sounds exciting and twisted all at the same time! Let’s now find out how Shin Se Kyung is dealing with playing such an important role in “The Girl Who Sees Smells”, how she can/cannot relate to her character, and how being in the South Korean showbiz industry has shaped her as a person:
In your new drama “The Girl Who Sees Smells”, you play someone with blessed with the additional sensory ability to “see smells”. In reality, would you consider yourself to be a sensitive person who is very aware of happenings and people around you?
I can be a very sensitive person at times. I am someone who is always alert and aware of what’s happening around me and people, but other times, I am rather dense. I try to be more delicate and try to avoid situations where I might make others feel uncomfortable. If I hurt someone unintentionally, I think I will be hurt too.
Which of your 6 senses (sense of sight/hearing/smell/taste/touch and gut instinct) are most sensitive?
Even though I don’t have good eye sight, I don’t wear contact lenses because they are uncomfortable (laughs). Because I like to eat, I think my taste buds are sensitive. I like both eating and cooking. I think our sense of taste gives us the most pleasure, and I would also want my intuition to be the most sensitive!
If you could be granted a special power in real life, what would you like to have? Why?
I want to have the ability to teleport! This is always the answer whenever I get this kind of questions. I like travelling with my family and occasionally my body and mind get exhausted because of the long travelling time. And I do hesitate to travel if the destination is too far. I think it would be best to be able to travel anywhere with teleportation.
What was your perception of Yoo Chun before embarking on this project? Did it change after you started working with him?
He is a really good man and also a sincere actor. He creates a good atmosphere on the set and works very hard. Even though he and I have not worked together for long, we have many things in common because we are of a similar age group. I think our chemistry is reflected in the drama and it is really great to know that viewers and fans are enjoying the drama.
From Rain, Jang Hyuk, Han Suk Kyu to Song Seung Heon, you have worked with some very big names within Korean showbiz. What do you still remember of your filming experiences with each of them? What has filming with them taught you? Did they offer you any advice?
Song Kang Ho and Han Suk Kyu are big seniors to me. Working together and watching them act is a great lesson for me on the set. Even though they have a great career and have been acting so long, they are not domineering to the junior actors. They respect me and made me aware of the future hardships that I may have in this career. I could not understand what they said at that time but now I understood them as time went by.
When working with these big names, you have always looked undaunted and at ease. Were you always these fearless? Or were you trying to mask off your fear, just which we couldn’t tell?
I think getting scared does not help me act better. It’s more about feeling pressured if I bring trouble to my seniors rather than being scared.
Because of your previous work “When a Man Falls in Love”, we seem get the impression that you are a very strong, independent, and opinionated girl. How different is this perception from the real Shin Se Kyung? How would you describe yourself?
Mi Do is like a hedgehog to me. I feel fond towards her and want to hug her tight, and she seems like she may really exist somewhere in the world. I realize that my personality is very similar to Oh Cho Rim from the drama “The Girl Who Sees Smell”. I think the writer portrayed me well.
You started out in this industry at a very young age as a child star. Back then, you probably had an image to maintain. Were you able to have a normal childhood and school life? Were there things you missed out on and couldn’t do as a child or as a teenager?
Thankfully, I had normal school days even though I started acting at a young age. Most of my friends are from middle and high school. I had school trips, school picnics and spent time with my friends, which you can only experience from school. This brought a positive influence to my personal life and life as an actress.
But on the other hand, has starting out early better prepared you for the competitive and fast changing Korean entertainment industry, be it dealing with the media or coping with the hectic life of an actress?
If I approach people with a certain objective in mind, I am worried that people could misunderstand me. So I always try my best at every moment. Having a busy actress life… the most important thing is to eat healthily, spend quality time with precious people, and to find the happiness within.
How well do you think you are doing so far, coping with the challenges of showbiz? Are there aspects of showbiz which you still cannot get used to?
I am still afraid of posing for photo walls. People might be surprised to know this, but it is difficult to think of what expression and what pose to do for the photo wall… isn’t it true for most actors? I think I would rather act, not for something showy.
Female actresses from Hollywood are increasingly taking a stand against sexism and are saying no to frivolous questions like what brand of dress they are wearing, etc. If you had a choice, what questions do you hope to never be asked again? What questions do you hope to be asked?
There are no difficult questions for me, but it is hard for me if I can see that someone purposely wants me to make mistakes during an interview. So I try not to make the mistakes.
Many people see you as sexy. Do you think so too? What do you think is the sexiest thing about yourself? Who is your sexy goddess icon?
I am both sexy and cute! I am just joking (laughs) I want to be sexy and cute. It would be so cool to have many attractive qualities as a person and actor. I don’t know if I am at my sexiest… I want to be a woman who has a sexy brain ^^. I think there are so many sexy icons and the expression of sexy is different from being cool. I fell in love with Scarlett Johansson from the movie “Avengers”.
Special thanks to our awesome friends from ONE HD for making this interview happen!
Don’t forget, you guys. The Girl Who Sees Smells” premiered on 6th May 2015, and will air every Wednesday and Thursday at 8:55pm on ONE HD (Astro B.yond Ch393)