The Life List: Five things to know about K-variety show New World

(From left) Eun Ji-won, Jo Bo-ah, Lee Seung-gi, directors Go Min-seok and Cho Hyo-jin, Kai, Park Na-rae and Kim Hee-chul at a press conference for New World in South Korea on Nov 17, 2021. PHOTO: NETFLIX

SINGAPORE - In the South Korean reality show New World, six celebrities - Kim Hee-chul, Lee Seung-gi, Eun Ji-won, Jo Bo-ah, Park Na-rae and Kai from K-pop group Exo - spend six days on an idyllic island.

But this is no relaxing getaway. They have to play games and complete missions that earn them virtual currency. On the final day, they get to exchange the currency for cash. And the promise of prize money turns them against one another.

Here are five things the cast shared about the unscripted series, which is available on Netflix.

Betrayals abound

At a laughter-filled interview with regional media, singer-actor Lee (Mouse, 2021), 34, says the premise set the members up to betray one another.

Kim, 38, a member of K-pop boy band Super Junior remarks: "In New World, if someone comes to you and says: 'Trust me', never trust them. If someone comes and tells you, 'I'm not interested in money', definitely don't believe them."

Kim happened to wear a green tracksuit in the show, similar to the get-up worn by the desperate contestants in the viral K-drama Squid Game.

Lee jokes: "Hee-chul lost a lot of money in the game, so he'll make a perfect contestant for Squid Game."

Watch out for the newbies

While most of the cast such as Lee, Kim, Park and Eun are experienced variety veterans, actress Jo and singer Kai are new to game shows.

Still, they are not to be underestimated.

Eun, who is known for being in idol group Sechs Kies and part of the cast of K-variety New Journey To The West (2015 to present), says he was surprised by Kai, 27.

Actress Jo Bo-ah (left) and Kai from K-pop group Exo are new to game shows. PHOTOS: XXADORAA,ZKDLIN/INSTAGRAM

The 43-year-old says: "It was my first time filming a variety series with Kai and while he's part of a famous idol boy band, he didn't care about his image and was so passionate about everything he did."

Kim, who is known for his quick wit and sharp tongue on variety series like Men On A Mission (2015 to present), says Jo, 30, is no simple character too.

"I am most afraid of Bo-ah. I can't even look into her eyes. I think people watching might think that Na-rae and I are the tough ones or the mean ones, but you know what? After experiencing all of these people, Na-rae is an angel."

Park Na-rae's the mum

Comedienne Park, 36, who hosts programmes like I Live Alone (2013 to present), was the mother hen who kept the group fed on the island.

Jo (Tale Of The Nine Tailed, 2020) says: "Na-rae has these mum-like qualities and she was very warm to all of us. Also, we would have starved without her, so I want to thank her for being a really good cook."

Friends or foes?

The six celebrities spend six days on an idyllic island in the South Korean reality show New World. PHOTO: KIMHEENIM/INSTAGRAM

Lee and Kim are both triple threats who act, sing and host, but New World is the first time they are working together. While Kim may be the older one, Lee seemed to have the upper hand.

He says of Kim: "I realised through filming New World that Hee-chul is pretty naive and gullible."

To that, Kim replies: "Before this, I thought Seung-gi's really smart and by the book, but he turned out to be very nice to me. Still, he drew a distinct line between being my friend and being really good at the games."

Showing their true faces

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Park says: "I've done a few outdoor variety shows, but the biggest difference here is that I couldn't take along my agent or stylist, so I couldn't fix my make-up and my face just changes over time. You'll see when I'm getting tired with my eye bags and everything. I couldn't hide anything."

Kim, whose previous variety shows were primarily talk shows set indoors, says: "I was becoming kind of complacent because it's comfortable to stay indoors with a similar script, but going outdoors, I could feel a gush of adrenaline and it was an exciting turning point for me."

Kai sums it up: "There is a lot to look out for, a lot to watch and the charm of each of us is going to come out."

New World is available on Netflix.

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