The Boy Who Smells Like Fish: Talkin' Tuna and Stank With the Cast and Crew

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The Olympia Theater hosted the world premiere of The Boy Who Smells Like Fish at the Miami International Film Festival Saturday. The comedy is about, well, a boy who smells like fish.

The boy in question, played by Big Love's Douglas Smith, isn't doing anything untoward with your ceviche while you're off in the bathroom. No, he has trimethylaminuria, a real but rare metabolic disorder that causes him to secrete a fishy odor.

A representative from a Miami-based support group for sufferers of trimethylaminuria was on hand to thank the filmmakers "for telling our story."

After the premiere, the festivities continued on the 19th floor of the JW Marriott Marquis, where guests and their scents mingled high above downtown Miami. We were there, not only to enjoy the responsibly portioned desserts and two-lane virtual bowling alley (which smelled like virtual feet) but to learn more about the cast and crew's firsthand experiences with body odor.

Don McKellar, actor

What is the best-smelling fish?
Don McKellar: I like a smallmouth bass. I like the smell of freshwater fish because I grew up in Ontario. So maybe you have a different opinion down here in Miami. Maybe I'm not picking the hometown fish, and if so, I'm sorry. So maybe a smallmouth bass or a pickerel.

What is the smelliest you've ever been?

I had to do a film once where I was supposed to be part of the Warsaw uprising. I was a rebellious Jew, and I ended up dying in the sewers. And I had to spend a full night actually in the sewers, and I was very, very, very smelly. It was a horrible experience.

Almost like being killed in the Warsaw uprising?

Yeah, I suppose.

If someone had an odor problem not caused by a disease, what would you tell them?

I have a high tolerance for smells, so I would never. I don't think I would. [Thinks for a moment.] No, I would tell someone, but after a while.

Carrie-Anne Moss, actor

What do you smell like?
[Either does not hear or dodges our stupid question with Matrix-like agility.]

But what do you smell liiiiiiiiike?!?
[No answer. Continues walking.]

Javier Guillon, writer

Can you give us some beard and mustache maintenance tips? Do you condition?
Javier Guillon: No, I just wash. It is clean.

How did you settle on this style of facial hair?

I did it as a joke, two or three years ago. I was in Mexico on vacation and I kind of said, "OK, let's go." And then I found out something interesting, that it has a name in hairstyle theory. This part [pointing to his mutton chops], they call "mutton chops." And so when they are together with this mustache [pointing to the mustache hanging over his mouth like a shaky wood-and-rope suspension bridge], they are called "friendly mutton chops." So that is good to know.

Does it smell like anything?

Like mutton, like mutton chops.

Ariadna Gil, actor

What is the best-smelling fish?
Ariadna Gil: Langosta.

What do you do when you smell bad?

Gil: I...?
[Kim Ly steps in to mediate.]
Kim Ly: She's never smelled bad. She always smells good.

Gil: Oh. Oh...

Kim Ly, actor

What is the best-smelling fish?
Kim Ly: Definitely tuna. It's a fantastic fish.

What's the worst you've ever smelled?

Oh, when I was really young, I didn't like to take showers, so I was a smelly boy back then. About 10 years old or so.

Analeine Cal y Mayor, director

What is the best-smelling fish?
Analeine Cal y Mayor: Salmon.

What's the worst you've ever smelled?
Rotten eggs.

You've smelled like rotten eggs?

Oh! No. I found them in my school.

If you knew someone who smelled bad, but not because of a disease, what would you do?

If I knew them, I would tell them.

Niv Fichman, producer

Who is the smelliest member of the cast and crew? 

Niv Fichman: I think we've been blessed with a sparkly, squeaky-clean cast. In Mexico, when we were shooting the dance numbers, it was 40 degrees centigrade, so people tended to be sweaty, shall we say.

If you knew someone who smelled bad, but not because of a disease, what would you do?

I would do anything possible. I'd go through his whole hygiene regimen. I tend to be bossy that way, so I would have taken over his hygiene that way.

What do you smell like?

You know, I don't smell that badly, usually, which is a really fantastic thing. But I shower so often that it's pretty rare that I smell.

Stacy Perskie, producer

What is the worst you've ever smelled?
Stacy Perskie: I actually shot in a garbage dump last year, a film that's coming out next summer called Elysium, and we shot in the main garbage dump of Mexico City. I would say that is the worst smell. Ever.

What is the best fish?

For me? Tuna. It's fantastic.

If you knew someone who smelled bad but not because of a disease, what would you advise them to do?

Some cologne. I'm not a big cologne guy, but some cologne could help.

The 2013 Miami International Film Festival continues through March 10. For more information, visit miamifilmfestival.com.

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