“49 Days” Press Conference: “Another Soul-Switcher”

While SBS’s “Secret Garden” has ended, stories about soul switching are far from gone. While fans may still remember the heartbreaking scene where Hyunbin takes Ha Ji Won’s body into the storm for one last soul-switching, viewers are in for another soul swapping story. SBS will air the first episode of “49 Days” on March 16th. The story is about bubbly Shin Ji Hyun’s (Nam Gyu Ri) soul going Song Yi Kyung’s (Lee Yeo Won) body. Yi Kyung apparently was having a hard time mourning the death of her love. While the chain of events is similar to “Secret Garden,” “49 Days” has a completely different start to the story.

“49 Days” starts with a death. Everyone has probably once wondered who will mourn for us after we are dead. Director Cho Young Kwang said, “It’s a story about how a young woman looks through her life from someone else’s eyes and realizes the betrayal of her friends and fiancé.”

The drama focuses on the fact that instead of a switcheroo between lovers, two complete females change souls. It’s important to point out that while in her own body, Ji Hyun has never bothered or impaired anyone else in her life. However, that all changes after an accident. Within 49 days of her death, Ji Hyun must find three people who will cry for her loss. If she succeeds, she, both her body and soul, will be able to return to the world. Sounds easy enough, but there is a catch. The three people must not be blood-related to her. To return to her friends and family, Ji Hyun enters Yi Kyung’s body, but finds unexpected truths waiting for her. While it may seem like a modern version of a Grim Reaper story featuring Jung Il Woo, the actual storyline of “49 Days” is set to be serious and intense. For a soul-switching far-fetched from reality-like story, the chemistry and the focus of its actors are crucial.

Because of the fact that Ji Hyun’s body is “dead,” “49 Days” is more of a story of Ji Hyun’s soul entering Yi Kyung’s body rather than a complete “I switch into you, you switch into me.” As a result, there is a lot of pressure on Lee Yeo Won’s part because she has to portray two characters. At the press conference, Lee confessed, “At first, I thought it would be a fun experience, but it’s harder than I expected.”

Lee also said, “I was so focused on creating a strong character for Yi Kyung to show the drastic change when she is possessed by Ji Hyun that it was hard for me to recreate a Ji-Kyung (Ji Hyun inside Yi Kyung). Gyuri and I try to study each other as to how we walk, talk, and act. I tried to emphasize Ji Hyun’s characteristics as I become Ji-Kyung.

The plot that a person is possessed by another person’s soul and that three drops of tears can reincarnate the soul’s corpse is truly a fantasy. However, the theme is still deeply rooted in reality: it’s about interpersonal relationships and life and death.

The script is written by So Hyun Kyung, who also wrote “Shining Inheritance” (2009) and “Prosecutor Princess” (2010). Song has a gift for writing dramas that express dynamic yet complicating relationships – whether it’s between a man and a woman or friends or family.    

Written in Korean by alice@soompi; translated by hotshotlover30@soompi