Thrilling fantasy crime series Cheo Yong: The Paranormal Detective is about a man who interacts with the dead. You could say it’s a subject matter with a regional resonance. After all, Asians can be quite the superstitious lot.
Just don’t bank on South Korean actor Oh Ji-ho letting the heebie jeebies dictate his life. The Mokpo native has once admitted in an interview that he believes in ghost. “But that’s another dimension,” he was later quoted as saying.
There is a sense that the 39-year-old is a pragmatic man. That’s probably why questions pertaining to the supernatural were casually dismissed in our e-mail interview. Instead, Oh chooses to divulge about Cheo Yong 2, the second season of his hit television series.
He has every reason to do so, really. Not many small-screen offerings enjoy such longevity in the republic, where audiences are usually content with a 16-episode story arc.
“It’s a groundbreaking genre in TV drama and I have never acted in this genre before. I think Cheo Yong 2 brings something fresh and new for Korean TV dramas,” Oh says.
The heartthrob plays Yoon Cheo-yong, a detective blessed (or cursed?) with sixth sense who loses his loved ones in a tragic accident. Haunted by the traumatic incident, the ace of the violent crimes unit quit his department and works as a district cop.
Things were all humdrum – until he accidentally talks to the ghost of a high school girl. Together, both become unlikely partners in solving the mysteries of unresolved deaths.
Oh is all praise when describing his co-star Jun Hyo-seong (from K-pop girl group Secret) who plays the departed spirit Han Na-young: “I have been working with her since the first season and thus, it’s easy for us when we worked on Season Two. It’s her first time in acting but she’s so natural and has done a pretty good job.”
If anything, Oh’s chemistry with his female co-stars have been garnering plenty of buzz.
The first season hinted at a love line between Cheo-yong and meticulous partner Ha Sun-woo (played by Oh Ji-eun). However, the 34-year-old actress didn’t return for Season Two.
Oh assures that there’s a new romantic tension brewing with his new co-star Ha Yeon-joo’s character.
“You can feel the romance when you watch the TV drama. The two female characters are so different and have their own charisma. You will find it interesting when you watch both seasons,” he offers.
While the complex human and ghostly relationships make the series an intriguing watch, it’s the adrenaline-pumping action sequences that keep viewers hooked to the paranormal fare.
“Season Two is packed with kali arnis (a form of martial arts from the Philippines) and silat combat skills which are getting more exposure in recent movies.
“It’s the first time I get in touch with this form of martial arts. I had to spend a lot of time practicing before shooting the scenes,” he reveals.
Oh, who’s pushing the big 4-0 in April, isn’t planning on slowing down though.
“When you look at Hollywood, you will find many good middle-aged actors. I will keep working hard to become a good actor despite my age,” he concludes.
Cheo Yong 2 airs every Thursday at 10pm on KIX HD (Astro Ch729).