Squid Games is Netflix’s biggest series launch with 111 million fans; here, we look at 6 facts you likely didn’t know about the show.
There is a current fever taking the entertainment world right now, and its name is Squid Game. With an incredible story, impeccable acting, and a perfect mixture of depth and gore, the series jumped cultural and racial divide to win the hearts of people everywhere, becoming the most-watched Netflix series ever in over 90 countries.
What’s even more interesting is the intriguing story behind the emergence of the project. How it took the show’s creator and director, Hwang Dong-hyuk, over a decade to get a company to pick up the project after writing it. How the actor that played one of the show’s lead characters (HoYeon Jung) was only a model who had never acted a day in her life. The list goes on.
In a recent chat with CNN, Hwang Dong-hyuk further made some interesting revelations about the show. “This is a show about losers. How these losers fight. How these losers die. There’s no cool hero. That’s kind of what sets it apart,” he said. “It’s as though I have created a ‘Harry Potter’ or ‘Star Wars’ franchise.”
Dong-hyuk went on to speak about the production, characters, and premise of the show, amongst other things. Here are six facts you probably didn’t know about Squid Game and its creation.
6 interesting facts about Squid Game
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1. Hwang lost 6 teeth during filming of the show
Filming what has now become the most popular show on Netflix was every bit as daunting as one can imagine. So much so, the show creator lost six teeth due to stress. “On my left side, I still don’t have two molars. I need to get implants but haven’t had the time,” Hwang Dong-hyuk said.
2. The story is over a decade old
As anyone with an invested interest in the show must have known by now, the story is not new. Dong-hyuk came up with the story over ten years ago, but there was no interest from anywhere. According to him, people said the story was too weird and far from reality. “Now, people are saying, ‘If the show existed, I think I would play’ or ‘This game must secretly exist somewhere in the world already,” Hwang said.
In his evaluation, it makes for a sad story to see how ‘the world became a place that is much more suited to ‘Squid Game’ in just over 10 years.’
3. Most of the games played in the show are childhood games Hwang played
The creator picked the most visual games from his childhood, among which is the Squid Game itself. Dong-hyuk describes it as a very physically demanding game which usually led to them being injured as kids. “When we played squid game, it would always be the last game of the day,” he explained.
Of course, it did not involve fatality as it was in the show, but they used to end up with torn clothes, and sometimes a lot of crying.
4. Hwang based some characters on his own life
Character names like Seong Gi-hun, Sang-woo, and Il-nam, are names of Hwang Dong-hyuk’s friends from his childhood through university. “As for characters of Gi-hun and Sang-woo, their familial relationships and lives reflect the way I grew up,” he said. “I was born in Ssangmun-dong, was raised by a single mother, and my grandmother will lay out a mat at the market to sell vegetables.”
It goes without saying that these conditions were as relatable as can be for a lot of people. This is one of the major qualities of the show. The audience could see themselves in the characters.
5. The most memorable scene
The final meeting between Il-nam and Gi-hun was the defining scene for the show’s creator. You must remember the scene, of course, where the biggest twist was delivered, and the frail old man was revealed to be the mastermind behind it all. Who would have thought!?
“The kind of feeling in my heart, I don’t know what you’d call it. Maybe catharsis… a world that I want to believe in. It is my reason for creating this show… my faith in humanity. All these mixed feelings were growing inside me,” Hwang explained.
6. The end was deliberately left open
Two things stood out in the final episodes of the show, leaving unanswered questions and a possibility for a follow-up season. One was the case of the detective who was shot in the shoulder and fell in the sea, and the other was Seong Gi-Hun’s final phone call and his declaration that he is coming for the organization.
“There are some loose ends I’d like to explore if I were to make a second season. The Frontman’s unexplained past, detective Jun-ho’s story. Those are things I didn’t explain in Season 1. If I were to do Season 2, I’d like to explain those elements,” Dong-hyuk said. He added that the man with the Ttakji in his bags who played the slapping game with people at the train station was another story to explore.
Hwang further expressed how challenging and tasking it was to write, produce, and direct the project alone, and how worried he is by the prospects of having to repeat the same for a second season.
There is however nothing going on in that regard for now, even though many fans across the world are hoping for a second season. What worries me personally though is the risk of a second season losing the plot and quality. I guess we will have to wait and see though.
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