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The Making of a Global Sensation: The Journey to Creating 'Squid Game'

By Publicist Julie Lee (juliel@netflix.com) | 29 September 2021

A closer look at the production of the viral hit series



Squid Game is taking the world by storm with its thrilling story of desperate people who sign up to play mysterious children’s games in the hopes of winning a large cash prize. While the series appears to be enjoying instant success, the road to creating it has been long and difficult for series creator and director Hwang Dong-hyuk. Here’s a behind-the-scenes look at how Squid Game came to life.

The Beginning



Director Hwang Dong-hyuk first conceived the idea and began writing in 2008. He said, “The year 2008 was actually right after my debut. That was a time when I frequented comic book stores. As I was reading a lot of comic books, I thought about creating something like a comic book story in Korea, and I finished the script in 2009.” As a film director, Hwang Dong-hyuk originally planned for Squid Game to be a film.

A Challenging Journey




Despite finishing the initial screenplay for Squid Game in 2009, Hwang Dong-hyuk had to shelve the idea and work on his hit films Silenced (2011), Miss Granny (2014), and The Fortress (2017) before being able to create the series. The director revealed, “At the time, it seemed very unfamiliar and violent. There were people who thought it was a little too complex and not commercial. I wasn’t able to get enough investment and casting was not easy. I dabbled in it for about a year, but I had to put it to sleep then.”

About 10 Years Later




About 10 years or so after conceiving the idea for Squid Game, Hwang Dong-hyuk was finally able to actualize it and start working on it. He shared, “Thanks to Netflix, there was no limit and I was given creative freedom to work as I wanted to.” Through this opportunity, the director expanded his story into a series that is capturing a global audience now.

The Intention Behind the Art





One of the most visually noticeable aspects about the series is the unique, colorful aesthetic which sets it apart from other survival stories. Art director Chae Kyoung-sun said, “We created the places and displays trying to make the viewers think about the hidden intentions of Squid Game with us.” The large-scale sets and vibrant colors transport viewers into a realistic yet fantasy-like world. 

Simple Childhood Games




Director Hwang Dong-hyuk deliberately selected childhood games that are relatable and easy to understand. However, the details behind the games shows how much planning went into each round. For example, the first game is Red Light, Green Light which is a game that most should be familiar with. The robot is modeled after a girl from children’s textbooks making the scene all the more shocking as childhood fun transforms into a harrowing fight for survival.

Portraying Realistic Emotions




The enormous sets helped lend to realistic emotions portrayed by the actors. Director Hwang Dong-hyuk said, “I tried to stimulate the atmosphere of real playgrounds, so that the actors can feel like they’re really doing something in there. I thought those kinds of sets can give more of a sense of reality to the actors’ performance.” The juxtaposition of an urgent need for survival set in an innocent, childlike playground is quite striking and emotional.

Creating Nostalgia





One of the sets that took the longest to create is a replication of typical Korean neighborhood alleyways in the 70s and 80s. Actor Park Hae-soo commented, “The playground felt so real, like the actual back alleys of the past. It was like being in front of real homes of the past. It created a strange nostalgia and an odd tension.” Actor Heo Sung-tae also praised the art team for their attention to detail with sprinkling soil in various spots in the alleys. 

Making It Universal and Korean




All of these aspects combine to create a story that is both universal and Korean. Most of the childhood games are ubiquitous and some of them are uniquely Korean. The human emotions and struggles the characters go through will strike a chord within many people irrespective of where they are from. Director Hwang Dong-hyuk commented, “As a survival game it is entertainment and human drama.”

Delivering a Poignant Message




The series examines human nature and how we change from childhood to adulthood through showing adults revisit and play children’s games. Director Hwang Dong-hyuk shared, “I wanted to write a story that was an allegory or fable about modern capitalist society, something that depicts an extreme competition, somewhat like the extreme competition of life.” It’s not all depressing though, as we see the characters hold onto their humanity and hope. The commentary on human nature and society is definitely thought-provoking. 

For more behind-the-scenes details, view the featurette here and watch Squid Game, only on Netflix!




S. Korean series “Squid Game” reaches No. 1 on US Netflix rankings


By Suh Jung-min, staff reporter | September 24, 2021 17:15 KST

The "death game” series has been hot abroad, but less so in Korea, where viewers have complained of overacting, trite dialogue, and sexist tropes










Stills from the Netflix original series “Squid Game” (provided by Netflix)

The South Korean Netflix original series “Squid Game” has turned into a new jackpot, yielding results that some see as outdoing the 45.6-billion-won (US$38.5 million) final prize on the line in the titular game.

“Squid Game,” which debuted on Netflix on Sept. 17, is a series consisting of nine episodes. It was directed by Hwang Dong-hyuk, whose other credits include the films “Silenced” (2011), “Miss Granny” (2014), and “The Fortress” (2017). The lead roles are played by Lee Jung-jae and Park Hae-soo.

The story concerns characters from the dregs of society — left on the brink by massive debts and other factors — as they put their lives on the line in a game that awards 45.6 billion won to its winner.

The series was hotly anticipated in South Korea before its premiere, and it was no surprise to see it at the top of the domestic Netflix rankings. The real shock has been the response overseas.

As of Thursday, the global streaming content ranking site FlixPatrol showed “Squid Game” ranking second worldwide among Netflix shows.

In the past, Korean films like “Space Sweepers” (2021) and “#Alive” (2020) have topped the global charts in the Netflix movie category, but the No. 2 ranking for “Squid Game” was the highest yet for a Korean series. Topping the category in first place was the British series “Sex Education.”

By country, “Squid Game” ranked No. 1 in 22 countries besides Korea, including the US, Mexico, Japan, Thailand, Saudi Arabia and Morocco.

It’s the first time a Korean series has topped the Netflix rankings in the US. The previous best performance was third place for “Sweet Home,” which debuted late last year.

The No. 1 ranking in the US — considered the center of the global content market — is being seen as a symbolic achievement.

Reviews overseas have also been favorable. On the review aggregation site Rotten Tomatoes, “Squid Game” had a “Fresh” score of 100% as of Thursday. The number of professional reviewers assigning ratings was relatively low at seven, but all of them gave positive scores. The “popcorn bucket” rating, showing reviews by the general public, was 89% positive based on 178 reviewers.

On the film information site IMDb, “Squid Game” had a score of 8.3 points out of 10. Anything higher than an 8 is regarded as quite high. Of the 9,229 users assigning scores, a total of 2,693 — around 30% — gave the series a 10.

But while the response overseas has been uniformly positive, reactions in Korea have been mixed.

Those who rate the series favorably cite the Korean touches in its spin on the “death game” genre, an area that has been seldom tackled in Korea. In particular, they point to the unique enjoyment and sympathy evoked as the sad stories of the characters are combined with the tension of the competition and childhood association with honeycomb toffee and games of statues, marbles and the titular “squid game.”

“Death game storylines are nothing new. What sets it apart are the characters it captures,” said film critic Kim Hyo-jeong.

“[The series] also deserves praise for having main characters representing minority groups that have typically been portrayed as ‘losers’ or ‘surplus groups,’ including migrant workers, North Korean defectors and senior citizens,” she added.

Many other viewers say the series resonates with a message that encourages us to reflect on what “fairness” is in a contemporary environment of extreme competition, where people feel like the only way forward is to trample others.

But other viewers have expressed disappointment.

Social media users have grumbled that the series recycles elements from previous “death game” stories like the Japanese films “As the Gods Will” (2014) and “Battle Royale” (2000) and the manga series “Gambling Apocalypse: Kaiji.”

Others have complained that it focuses too much on the characters’ backstories, which they say causes the action to drag. Critics have also complained about exaggerated performances by some of the actors, trite dialogue and the trope of female characters using their bodies to achieve their aims.

Criticisms have been particularly strong among Koreans who have encountered a lot of overseas content in the past. In their view, the series uses an overfamiliar scenario, which it combines with the kinds of melodramatic elements seen in other Korean films and TV series. In other words, the combination of familiar events only leaves them feeling a sense of deja vu.

What’s different this time is that those very elements have helped the series succeed in the competition for overseas viewers. It’s a case where the familiar genre aspects lower the entry barrier, while the characters’ backstories and the colorful visual device symbolizing childhood provide a distinctive kind of appeal.

The sets have drawn particular attention, having been built by hand with minimal use of computer graphics — including the dormitory built out of 456 stacked beds, the pink staircase, and the massive playground.

“The reason foreign viewers loved Bong Joon-ho’s film ‘Memories of Murder’ so much was because of the way it subtly tweaked the ‘thriller’ genre,” Kim Hyo-jeong noted.

“I think they’re going wild for ‘Squid Game’ for similar reasons,” she suggested.



Phone number shown on 'Squid Game' leads to onslaught of prank calls


By Im Eun-byel (silverstar@heraldcorp.com) | Sept 24, 2021


A scene from Netflix series “Squid Game” (Netflix)

As the Netflix drama series “Squid Game” has become a worldwide sensation, a number of people have come forward claiming that they are receiving endless calls and text messages after the show featured a phone number.

In the show, an unnamed character, played by actor Gong Yoo, gives Ki-hoon (Lee Jung-jae) a business card, asking him to join the Squid Game contest. In the competition, 456 contenders compete for the prize money, risking their lives. 

The business card has an eight-digit phone number printed on it, which potential contenders of the deadly game are instructed to call in order to participate.

While most films and TV shows feature made-up phone numbers, the Netflix show features an actual phone number and people have been calling the number or sending texts after the show was released, a person claimed. 

“I have been receiving endless calls and text messages,” a person said in an interview with a local media outlet. “I have been using this number for more than 10 years, so I am quite taken aback.”

“Some 4,000 phone calls come in every day. I did not even realize what was going on as I did not watch the series. Someone who prank called me told me that the number was featured on the show,” the person said. 

Meanwhile, another person is claiming to be a victim of prank calls associated with the phone number.

“The number on the game is very similar to mine. People are calling my number, mistakenly thinking that it is the number on the show,” the person wrote on Twitter along with screenshots of unanswered phone calls. “To the director of the show -- please reach out to me. This is so upsetting.”

Shortly after the claims surfaced online, Netflix Korea said was looking into the matter, trying to contact the alleged victims of the prank calls.


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Lee Jung Jae did a good job pretending to eat while not eating..."Squid Game"

September 24, 2021



The Netflix drama 'Squid Game' is very popular. Accordingly, contents related to 'squid game' are pouring in SNS and online communities.  On the 23rd, a post about Lee Jung Jae's acting skills in 'Squid Game' was posted on an SNS and drew attention.  It was him acting like he was eating. He didn't put food in his mouth, but no one noticed, it was natural.

In the short video released together, Lee Jung Jae is holding a lunch box in his hand. In the camera angle, there is a two-shot of his right shoulder and Il-nam (Oh Young-soo).  At this time, Lee Jung Jae took a spoonful of rice and put it in his mouth. But his spoon caught on camera was empty.  Netizens who saw the video commented, "Why didn't I know while watching it?", "The acting was great", "Did you know this?"

'Squid Game' is a story about people who participated in a mysterious survival game with a winning prize of 45.6 billion won.  For the first time in a Korean series, it became a topic of discussion by being ranked #1 on Netflix's 'Today's Top 10' in the US.



‘Squid Game’ Director Hwang Dong-hyuk on Netflix’s Hit Korean Series and Prospects for a Sequel (EXCLUSIVE)

By Patrick Frater | September 24, 2021




Korean TV series have dominated viewing preferences across large parts of Asia for the last decade. But it has taken a high-concept survival drama “Squid Game” to become the first K-drama to rate as Netflix’s top show in the U.S.

The nine-part Netflix original involves a group of people from all walks of life who sign up for a series of simple, but utterly lethal games, organized by mysterious hosts in masks and red overalls. What spurs on the contestants are their own dire straits and the lure of a more than $40 million cash prize.

Released on Sept. 17, the show entered the Top 10 on Sept. 19 at No. 8, climbed to No. 2 the next day, and was at No. 1 by its fourth day of availability on Sept. 21. In its home market of South Korea, “Squid Game” debuted in second place and reached the top spot a day later.

The show’s writer-director Hwang Dong-hyuk is naturally pleased with the show’s success. But making “Squid Game” was a long and stressful process and not something he is planning to repeat – or, at least, not quite yet.

“I’m not great at team-work,” Hwang told Variety, though he says he is trying to change his ways. Hwang’s track record suggests that his solitary methods to date have served him well.





He wrote and directed 2011 sexual abuse film “Silenced,” adapted and directed historical actioner “The Fortress” in 2017. Both were major hits. And, in between, Hwang was called in as the final screenwriter and director of nostalgic musical comedy “Miss Granny.” It is not only one of the most successful Korean films of all times, but has also been localized and remade in seven other countries, including China and Japan.

So, Hwang is quietly peeved to find himself accused of borrowing too much from other survival genre films “Hunger Games,” “Battle Royale” and, in particular, 2014 Japanese film “As the Gods Will” by shock-meister Miike Takashi.

But Hwang brushes off the criticism by referring to his notes for the project, originally conceived as a feature film, in 2008. “I freely admit that I’ve had great inspiration from Japanese comics and animation over the years,” he said. “When I started, I was in financial straits myself and spent much time in cafes reading comics including ‘Battle Royale’ and ‘Liar Game.’ I came to wonder how I’d feel if I took part in the games myself. But I found the games too complex, and for my own work focused instead on using kids’ games.”

Simplicity and easily-relatable characters are two of the elements that Hwang believes have helped “Squid Game” succeed abroad.

“I wanted to write a story that was an allegory or fable about modern capitalist society, something that depicts an extreme competition, somewhat like the extreme competition of life. But I wanted it to use the kind of characters we’ve all met in real life,” Hwang said. “As a survival game it is entertainment and human drama. The games portrayed are extremely simple and easy to understand. That allows viewers to focus on the characters, rather than being distracted by trying to interpret the rules.”

“In my earlier days, I’d drink half a bottle of soju (Korean liquor) to get the creative juices flowing. I can’t do that any more,” Hwang said. “Writing (‘Squid Game’) was harder than normal for me as it was a series, not a film. It took me six months to write and rewrite the first two episodes. Then I consulted verbally with friends, and picked up clues for improvements through my own pitching and from their responses.”

The result is both universal and typically Korean: well-written, well-packaged and purposeful in the time taken to create empathy for the lead character, an unemployed man, Gi-hun, who has been fired, failed with his own business and now gambles with money he steals from his mother. The generous backstory is necessary as, in typically Korean fashion, he gets put through hell.

Appropriately perhaps, Gi-hun is played by dashingly handsome star Lee Jung-jae (“Along With the Gods,” “The Face Reader”), who is made to look like trash.

That could be a metaphor for the country’s entertainment industry, where Netflix has committed a nearly $500 million spend this year, but which is always looking over its shoulder. While Korea is tasting unprecedented success in music, TV and film, next month’s Busan film festival will hold a seminar about the sector’s impending crisis.

“Outwardly, Korean entertainment seems to be doing very well. Think of BTS, ‘Parasite,’ ‘Gangnam Style’ or ‘Crash Landing on You.’ But South Korean society is also very competitive and stressful. We have 50 million people in a small place. And, cut off from the continent of Asia by North Korea, we have developed an island mentality,” Hwang explains. “Some of that stress is carried over in the way that we are always preparing for the next crisis. In some ways it is a motivator. It helps us ask what more should be done. But such competition also has side-effects.”

Hwang says he may return to feature movies before making a “Squid Game” sequel. He is currently at work on a draft of a film, tentatively called “KO Club,” short for “Killing Old Men Club,” which he pitches as a kind of inter-generational war premise.

“I don’t have well developed plans for ‘Squid Game 2.’ It is quite tiring just thinking about it. But if I were to do it, I would certainly not do it alone. I’d consider using a writers’ room and would want multiple experienced directors.”



‘Squid Game’ pop-up set to close amid concerns on quarantine rules raised


By Kim Hae-yeon (hykim@heraldcorp.com) | Sept 25, 2021


The Ogame World set at Itaewon Station (Netflix Korea’s Facebook page)

A temporary replica set of Netflix original drama series “Squid Game,” installed at Itaewon Station in Yongsan, central Seoul, closed earlier than scheduled after doubts over violations of quarantine rules had been raised.

In response to the growing concerns of the public, the Seoul Metro announced that it will close the operation of the set, Ogame World, on Saturday, a day earlier than the expected closing date.

The set, situated on an underground common waiting at the station opened earlier this month to promote the drama. Visitors can experience some of the main games in the drama in person.

After the drama gained instant popularity among its release on Sept. 17, controversy over quarantine rules swiftly arose, with growing number of citizens claiming that social distancing rules were not being followed properly at the zone. 

Social media posts have shown a flock of visitors standing tightly in long lines, waiting to try out the games on the set. 

A netizen posted a comment on social media that the staff operating the set did not monitor those who were ignoring safety guidelines to take photographs.

“I enjoyed the concept of the set being interactive, with some staff wearing the same masks as the guards that appear in the actual series. But I noticed visitors seemed reluctant to use hand sanitizer displayed in between the games,” a visitor who went to the set on Thursday told The Korea Herald. 

“We gave the team approval to operate (the set) as long as they complied with quarantine rules such as maintaining social distancing guidelines and wearing masks at all times,” an official from the Seoul Metro explained. The set was strictly disinfected before and after the operation on a daily basis since its opening, but the decision had to be made after the drama’s unexpected popularity, according to the Seoul Metro. 

The original series “Squid Game” had soared to the top in 14 countries including Korea, US, Vietnam, the United Arab Emirates, Kuwait and Singapore, and is the first Korean series to rank first place on Netflix US, according to FlixPatrol, a US-based provider of data on video on demand.



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'Squid Game' tops global Netflix chart

By Park Ji-won | 2021-09-26


Netflix's original series "Squid Game" / Courtesy of Netflix

Netflix's Korean original series "Squid Game" has topped the global top 10 charts at the streaming giant, Friday, local time. This is the first time that a Korean drama series reached the top spot on Netflix's top 10.

According to streaming analytics platform FlixPatrol, the thriller series seized the position on Friday on the daily top 10 list, while topping the list on Saturday as well. The British teen comedy series "Sex Education," which was at the top, fell to second. "Lucifer," a U.S. mystery series in its sixth and last season, ranked third on the chart.

Squid Game took first place in 66 out of 83 countries.

The achievement came after the series, which began streaming Sept. 17, ranked second on the same chart from Monday to Thursday, local time, last week which was the first for a Korean drama series. It also became the first Korean drama series in the U.S.'s daily top 10 list since Tuesday.


Netflix's global top 10 chart from FlixPatrol / Screenshot from FlixPatrol's website

Created and directed by Hwang Dong-hyuk, whose previous works include the period drama film "The Fortress" and the comedy "Miss Granny," the series revolves around the participants taking part in a deadly, high-stakes survival competition consisting of traditional Korean children's games.

For each round of a different children's game, the players fight to the death to make it to the next stage and become the eventual winner of a 45.6 billion won ($39.4 million) prize.

In a recent press conference, Hwang said he was inspired by real life human struggles for the script he wrote about 10 years ago.

"I realized that we are living in a time where those games are actually happening around us and have become relevant to our world. So when I showed the piece around, people told me that it was very interesting and realistic, which made me think now was the perfect time for this series."




The current situation of the Mugunghwa doll who finished filming ‘Squid Game’

September 27, 2021



The recent status of the Mugunghwa doll that appeared in the Netflix original ‘Squid Game’ has been revealed.

On the 26th, an article by netizen A who discovered a Mugunghwa doll in Jincheon and posted on the online community. The place he visited was a horse carriage village.





A said, “They said that ‘Squid Game’ brought what was originally here and used it for filming”. In the photo, a large Mugunghwa doll was decorated with mushrooms and snails on the side.

It was a cute little girl doll in a nature. It was quite different from the bloody atmosphere shown in ‘Squid Game’.




However, there was a part that made netizens sad. The doll was missing a one hand. It is believed that her right hand was broken while moving after filming ‘Squid Game’. The broken hand was on display without being inserted.

Also, among netizens a question arose as to whether it was true that it was in the carriage village before. The reviews of those who had visited the place in the past mentioned that they have not seen a doll.

One netizen summed it up by saying, “It seems like they made it and used it for filming and seems like it was unpublished until the series of released”.

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Korea's 'Squid Game' Sweeps Global Netflix Charts

By Lee Hai-woon | September 27, 2021

The Korea series "Squid Game" has risen to the top spot on Netflix global charts.  FlixPatrol, which tallies the ratings of streaming programs, last Friday said "Squid Game" beat the British teen comedy series "Sex Education" to the most-watched spot and held it for the next two days.  The show about a high-stakes survival competition ranked at the top in 66 countries including Brazil, France, Germany, Japan, Saudi Arabia and the U.S.


/Courtesy of Netflix

The soaring popularity has inevitably generated a flood of memes, and the Tiktok hashtag also has drawn 8 billion views, while there are 550,000 Instagram posts about the series.  People have posted video clips of playing Korean children's games that are depicted in the series, and users are recreating them on the global gaming platform Roblox.

Actor Simon Pegg poses in a track suit featured in "Squid Game" and with merchandise in this picture from his Instagram on Sept. 25.

Netflix founder Reed Hastings and actor Simon Pegg have posted photos of themselves on Instagram wearing the track suits featured in the series, and Manchester United star Jesse Lingard took a selfie watching the show on a giant TV at home.

Pop culture critic Jung Duk-hyun said, "A globally popular genre fused with a framework that is relatable for foreign viewers worked in its favor. The feeling of alienation in a highly competitive society appears to have struck a chord not only with young Koreans but young people around the world."

In "Squid Game," down-on-their-luck players are taken to a mysterious location where they must compete in one children's game after another to win a W45.6 billion prize or face death (US$1=W1,180).



Presidential hopeful offers 100 million won to buy phone number exposed in 'Squid Game'

By Yoon Ja-young | 2021-09-27


A poster for "Squid Game" / Courtesy of Netflix

A presidential hopeful has offered 100 million won ($85,000) to buy the phone number of a man who says he has been bombarded with unwanted calls and messages after it was shown in the hit Netflix series "Squid Game."

Huh Kyung-young, the National Revolutionary Party's honorary chief who announced his bid for presidency last month, said on Facebook Sept. 26, "I heard that the owner of the phone number showed on a business card in Squid Game is suffering serious damage from prank calls. I would like to buy the number for 100 million won."

In the Korean original series which has topped the charts of the global streaming service in a number of countries, a mysterious man played by actor Gong Yoo gives business cards containing an eight-digit phone number to the main character Seong Gi-hun, played by Lee Jung-jae, and others in despair. He tells them to call the number if they want to join the game, where participants bet their lives to win a huge amount of prize money. 

It seems some viewers called or sent text messages to the number seen out of curiosity, and it turned out that the phone number was not made up for the show. It does exist and the "owner" says he can't continue with his normal life due to endless calls, both day and night. 

The man in his 40s currently residing in Gyeonggi Province told broadcaster MBC, Sept. 24, that he was getting around 4,000 phone calls a day. He said at first he thought they were spam calls as he was not aware of the Netflix series. He found out what was going on only after one of the callers told him that his number was shown on the program.

He said he got calls from those who sounded like kids, saying they also "wanted to be in the game." He said he gets phone calls at 1 a.m., 2 a.m., and 3 a.m., not to mention text messages and pictures. 

He told MBC that he can't change his number as he has been using the current one for 10 years and it is linked with his business. He claimed that even his wife is suffering as she has the same number except for the last digit. He said he is even using sleeping pills to help him fall asleep in this stressful situation. 

According to the Hankook Ilbo, the sister paper of The Korea Times, Netflix said the drama production company is in negotiations with the phone number owner to resolve the issue. 



Capture from the Facebook page of Huh Kyung-young

Huh, who offered 100 million won to purchase the phone number, has been getting the spotlight for his eccentric campaign pledges including giving 100 million won in relief funds to all adults as well as a 1.5 million won "monthly dividend." 

He has run in a number of major elections since 1997, the most recent of which was the Seoul mayoral by-election in April. He came in third with 1.07 percent of the votes. 

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Netflix's co-CEO predicts 'Squid Game' to be most popular show

연합뉴스 / 2021-09-28 15:14:45


▲ In this Reuters photo,shows Netflix's co-CEO, Ted Sarandos. (Yonhap)


▲ This image, provided by Netflix, shows a poster for the Korean series "Squid Game." (PHOTO NOT FOR SALE) (Yonhap)


LOS ANGELES, Sept. 28 (Yonhap) -- Ted Sarandos, co-CEO of Netflix, a global online video service (OTT), recently praised the new Korean survival drama "Squid Game" during Code 2021, a technology conference hosted by American media company Vox Media. 

The thriller drama follows a group of people taking part in playing a survival game to win 45.6 million won in prize money, and ever since its launch, "Squid Game" has topped other Netflix TV shows in popularity in 66 countries, including the United States.

The chief of the global streaming entertainment giant also mentioned that "Squid Game" is attracting more audiences than Netflix's previous non-English original contents including the Spanish thriller "Money Heist" and French series "Lupin." 

"Squid Game will definitely be our biggest non-English language show in the world, for sure," Sarandos said. "It's a very good chance to be our biggest show ever. It's enormously popular." 

CNET, an American technology media outlet also predicted that "based on Netflix's standard popularity metric, 'Squid Game' will become Netflix's most popular drama, beating the drama 'Bridgerton' released late last year."

Netflix selected 10 films each in the drama and movie categories based on the number of subscriber accounts that watched the program for at least two minutes and the total viewing time during the 28 days after the release of the drama and movie.

In the drama category, "Bridgerton" topped the list based on subscriber accounts, followed by "Lupin" and season one of "The Witcher."

In terms of viewing time, the first season of "Bridgerton" topped the list, while season four of "Money Heist" and "Stranger Things - Season 3" ranked second and third, respectively.

In the movie category, "Extraction" hit No.1 on Netflix's list of subscriber accounts, while "Bird Box" topped the list in terms of viewing hours.





(C) Yonhap News Agency. All Rights Reserved


Netflix's co-CEO says 'Squid Game' may become its most popular show ever

By nyway@yna.co.kr | September 28, 2021


This image, provided by Netflix, shows a poster for the Korean series "Squid Game." (PHOTO NOT FOR SALE) (Yonhap)

SEOUL, Sept. 28 (Yonhap) -- "Squid Game," Netflix's new Korean survival drama, may become the global streaming entertainment giant's most successful original content ever, its chief has said.

"Squid Game will definitely be our biggest non-English language show in the world, for sure," Ted Sarandos, co-CEO of Netflix, said Monday (U.S. time) during Code 2021, an annual technology conference hosted in Beverly Hills, California, by American media company Vox Media.

"It's only been out for nine days, and it's a very good chance it's going to be our biggest show ever. It's enormously popular," he added.

He noted that "Squid Game" is blowing past all of Netflix's previous non-English language hits, including the Spanish crime thriller "Money Heist" (La Casa de Papel) and the French mystery series "Lupin."

The nine-part thriller, written and directed by Hwang Dong-hyuk, revolves around a group of people taking part in a series of deadly games to win 45.6 billion won (US$38.6 million) in prize money.

Just a few days after its official release on Sept. 17, it entered the top 10 on the world's popular Netflix TV show rankings offered by streaming analytics firm FlixPatrol. It has remained on the top of the chart for about 10 days.

Also, it became the first South Korean show to hit No. 1 on Netflix's top 10 TV show list in the United States.(END)



'Squid Game' director Hwang Dong-hyuk "It was simplicity that led the series to a global hit"

연합뉴스 / 2021-09-28 15:29:08

▲ This photo, provided by Netflix, shows director Hwang Dong-hyuk. (PHOTO NOT FOR SALE) (Yonhap)




▲ This photo, provided by Netflix, shows the series "Squid Game." (PHOTO NOT FOR SALE) (Yonhap)
SEOUL, Sep. 28 (Yonhap) -- "I didn't expect it to be a global mega hit in such a short period. I'm on an 'emotional rollercoaster' feeling weird and good."

Hwang Dong-hyuk, director of Netflix's world 1st rank series "Squid Game," answered that it was the 'simplicity' that has led the production to such global success, during an online interview Tuesday. 

"The games (in the series) are all simple and unlike other game genre productions we have added more detailed stories making the characters much easier to understand. I think this may be the reason why so many watchers around the world like the series. When I was designing "Squid Game," I did aim for the global market. Everyone has said that, 'The most Korean thing can be the most global thing.' 'Parasite' by director Bong Joon-ho, BTS and PSY's 'Gangnam Style' were all like that. I also thought that although squid game is just a simple and old Korean tradition, it may have an influence on the global consumers, so I worked with Netfilx. Of course, I didn't expect it to be this much."

"We heard that 'gat'(Korean traditional hat) became popular thanks to 'Kingdom,' so we made this joke saying 'Maybe dalgona might get sold in high prices' while filming. But it became a reality, and we were surprised," laughed the director.

“Squid Game” is said to have begun its production in 2008. 

“At the time, I tried to make it into a film but couldn’t, because many commented that it was very bizarre, grotesque and sophisticated. But after 10 years, the world has changed into a place where this absurd and cruel survival story makes sense. The plot is considered realistic. Sadly, the world has changed that way,” said Hwang.

He also explained how he came up with the concept of the rich playing with common people.

“In 2008, when I was crazy for comics, I frequently read stories such as “Liar Game” and “Hunger Game.” I was inspired with comics in which those in need were brought to and forced to participate in games.” 

Some said the series plagiarized a Japanese film “As the God Wills.” 

“The biggest difference that I think is that it (‘Squid Game’) shows the people more than the game. As anybody around the world can understand the games’ rules in 30 seconds, it is easier for the watchers to focus on the characters emotions. Also, the other work emphasizes a single hero, but this series is the story of the ‘losers.’ There are no heroes or winners,” explained the director.

He also mentioned he is aware that the series is being criticized in Korea for some reasons including ‘the absence of gender sensitivity.’ 

“I think what Han Mi-nyeo (Kim Joo-ryung) did in the series was a demonstration of what a person in extreme situations can do, not an insult or misogyny against women. Also, the body-printing on the female models was not instrumentalization of women but rather a part showing how much power, which can be represented by the VIPs, could look down on another human being. In other scenes, I just used the commonly shared memories from the 1970~1980s as well. I don’t think that I have produced the series centering on men.” 

As the series has showed an unexpected uprise of popularity, the world is paying keen attention to season 2. 

“First of all, whether Hwang Jun-ho (Wi Ha-joon) is dead is a secret. I think there will be an uproar if I don’t do it (season 2). There a few scenes floating around my head, but I think I should talk about it more with Netflix. I feel worried having I lost 6 teeth while working with season 1 and I have implanted them,” said the director with a laugh. 

“Deciding to work with Netflix was the best choice I have made. I have never produced a work this comfortably,” added Hwang.

“Above all, I have never received this much unbelievably enthusiastic response in just one week." (END)

(C) Yonhap News Agency. All Rights Reserved

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“The man #456, of Squid Game”…Lee Jung Jae’s handsome acting days are hot topic

September 28, 2021



There is an actor who made a big difference in his image with the Netflix original series ‘Squid Game’.

Lee Jung Jae, also known as ‘#456 Ajeossi”, is a typical example. In this series, he takes on the role of Sung Ki Hoon, who joined Survival of the Dead due to business failure. This is an evaluation that made a mark on the character of the middle-aged man.

It was Lee Jung Jae’s youth acting time where he was handsome and charming days, unexpectedly received attention as ‘Squid Game’ became popular all over the world.

This is because, although his excellent visuals and charisma is well known to domestic fans but Ki Hoon’s character is more familiar to overseas viewers. His filmography in the past became a hot topic.




In fact, a video of Lee Jung Jae’s past has been uploaded on major SNS and TikTok. Immediately after its release, the post is getting hot response and getting over 14 million views and 3.6 million likes.

In particular, what foreign fans admired is the appearance of Lee Jung Jae, who appeared in ‘Feeling’ in 1994. Lee Jung Jae showed his potential as a next-generation male actor through that drama.

He captivated the hearts of women with his refreshing smile and acting. His acting skills that have grown day by day and now he has stood as the best actor.




It seems that the Netflix side was also somewhat wanted foreign viewers to know about Lee Jung Jae. On the official Twitter on the 27th, a video comparing Lee Jung Jae in ‘Squid Game’ and ‘The Face Reader’ was uploaded.

Netflix said, “Look at this people! Our Lee Jung Jae is originally like this! It’s him acting really well about being stupid!” and made fans laugh.


Netflix series 'Squid Game' attracts popularity in Latin America

연합뉴스 / 2021-09-28 11:31:16




▲ This photo, provided by Netflix, shows the drama poster for "Squid Game." (PHOTO NOT FOR SALE) (Yonhap)

MEXICO CITY, Sept. 28 (Yonhap) -- "Squid Game," a popular Netflix original series in South Korea is also starting to attract international fame especially in South America. 

Various parodies are seen overflowing the social media and local medias are also writing articles over the heated popularity of "Squid Game." 

According to a Netflix ranking site, Flix Patrol, as of Monday (KST) "Squid Game" has risen to the top of TV shows in almost all Latin American countries, including Mexico, Brazil, Argentina, Chile, and Colombia.

The survival drama "Squid Game," directed Hwang Dong-hyuk, follows the story of a group of people, who are under large debts, risking their lives in a survival game with a 45.6 billion won prize money.



▲ This photo captured from Twitter shows a user posting photos of traditional Mexican snack and games with the writing "What would it look like if we played squid game in Mexico?" (PHOTO NOT FOR SALE) (Yonhap)

"Squid Game," which is based on Korean traditional games captivates not only South American fans who were already interested in Korean dramas but viewers who are newcomers as well. 

Mexican newspaper El Universal mentioned, "Whether you are a drama fan or not, you must have seen memes or images related to 'Squid Game' on the Internet at least once," adding the drama was "successful in various regions, including Latin America, just days after Netflix was released." 

In a review article on "Squid Game" by La Tercera, a daily newspaper published in Chile, the drama was evaluated as "proving the power of the Korean audiovisual industry." 

In addition, major Mexican newspaper Milenio, explains the symbolism in the drama in an article titled "What do the circles, triangles, and squares mean in the 'Squid Game'?" while another media outlet breaks down the background of the story in an article with a title that translates to "Five Things You Didn't Know about 'Squid Game.'" 

There were also several articles introducing other Korean works that fans of "Squid Game" might like.

The popularity of "Squid Game" is also proven by the overflowing memes on the Internet.

On social media, posts with the hashtag "Elju go del calamar," a Spanish title that directly translates the Korean title of "Squid Game," were seen pouring out.




▲ This photo captured from Twitter shows the doll from "Squid Game" positioned in the middle of the road. (PHOTO NOT FOR SALE) (Yonhap)

A user uploaded a picture of traditional Mexican snacks and games while also writing "What would it look like if we played squid game in Mexico?" 

Images of giant dolls that appear in "Squid Game" positioned in the middle of the road as if it was watching for any traffic signal violations as well as posts that virtually selected the cast members of "Squid Game" with local actors gained popularity among viewers. (END)

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From childhood games to iconic track suits, Netflix ‘Squid Game’ syndrome grips the world

By Lee Si-jin (sj_lee@heraldcorp.com) | Sept 28, 2021



Netflix co-CEO Reed Hastings wears a green track suit to become the 457th contestant of “Squid Game” (Netflix)

The worldwide excitement over Netflix’s “Squid Game” is not likely to cease any time soon as even the small details of the nine-part series are fanatically enjoyed by the global audience.

The mystery sci-fi thriller has reached the top spot in countries in the Middle East and Southeast Asia, including Oman, the United Arab Emirates, Kuwait, Vietnam, Singapore and Thailand, according to the US-based streaming analytics firm FlixPatrol. 

The popularity of “Squid Game” gained additional momentum when the show became a first Korean series to reach the No. 1 slot on Netflix US. The survival game continued to mesmerize audiences in South America and Europe as well, topping the global Netflix chart.

Netflix co-CEO Ted Sarnados said Monday at the 2021 Code Conference in Beverly Hills that “Squid Game” could be the company’s biggest show ever.

“The show is already attracting a far larger audience than the French-language crime drama ‘Lupin,’ the first non-English-language show to become the top program on the site. When we see the progress of ‘Squid Game,’ this show is bigger,” a Netflix press statement quoted Ted Sarandos as saying.

The show’s childhood games may have evoked nostalgia among many South Korean viewers, but global audiences seem to be addicted to other details of the show.

The games, once enjoyed by Korean children in the 1970s and the 1980s, lured a lot of young viewers, who have gone on to make various parodies and memes with the show’s first game, red light, green light.

Items from the drama caught the attention of viewers around the world, resulting in aluminum lunchboxes and dalgona-making kits being sold on eBay. Dalgona, referring to a crisp, sweet Korean traditional street food, is enjoyed by many TikTok users who are sharing their dalgona-making experience.


Actor Lee Jung-jae plays debt-ridden divorcee Ki-hoon in “Squid Game” (Netflix)

Several celebrities, including English actor Simon Pegg, have expressed their love for the series by posting photos and videos of themselves wearing green tracksuits and long-sleeve shirts on TikTok and Instagram posts.

Netflix co-CEO Reed Hastings introduced himself as the 457th contestant of “Squid Game” on Netflix Korea’s official Instagram.

“‘Squid Game’ seems very dramatic, but the show is a great metaphor for Korea‘s highly competitive society. Surprisingly, South Korea is not the only country experiencing intense competition. Unlike many drama series offering message of hopes and suggesting what to do, ‘Squid Game’ provides a sharp insight to our harsh reality. I think this is the reason why many viewers find it to be an emotional catharsis,” culture critic Jung Duk-hyun said in a phone interview with The Korea Herald on Tuesday.

“The viewers express their satisfaction with the show in various ways, including showing props, outfits and uploading parodies on social media,” Jung added.

Meanwhile, the globally-popular thriller is not without its share of controversies. A “Squid Game” pop-up set in Itaewon, central Seoul, was shut down earlier than scheduled over growing concerns about social distancing guideline compliance. In another instance, the owner of the phone number that was shown on the show claims to be suffering from countless prank calls and text messages.

The nine-part series has topped Netflix’s global TV show list for eight days since its release on Sept. 17, according to FlixPatrol.




Korean and foreign celebrities love 'Squid Game' as well...EBay selling goods

연합뉴스 / 2021-09-28 09:34:28




▲ This photo, provided by Netflix, shows "Squid Game." (PHOTO NOT FOR SALE) (Yonhap)

SEOUL, Sep. 28 (Yonhap) -- Not only Korean stars but also foreign celebrities have also gone enthusiastic about “Squid Game” which is ranking No. 1 on Netflix world TOP 10 TV programs for 4 consecutive days. 

Earlier in Korea, Chung Yong-jin vice chairman of Shinsegae Group’s review of the globally popular series, “Once I have finished ‘Squid Game,’ I wanted to watch Jigsaw. Give us Jigsaw!” posted on his Instagram page became an issue. 

Actors and actresses such as Lee Je-hoon, Lee Ha-nee and Park Gyu-young praised the series as well.




▲ This photo, a captured image of Jessie Lingard's Instagram page, shows the uploaded photo of Jessie Lingard watching "Squid Game." (PHOTO NOT FOR SALE) (Yonhap)

Foreign celebrities’ reviews for this most popular series in 66 countries are continually being uploaded. 

Jessie Lingard, 75,000 pound (about 120.4 million won) of weekly payment worth Manchester United’s star player, has uploaded consecutive photos of him watching “Squid Game” in his bed on his Instagram page. The scene on his page was from the first game “red light green light.” 

Simon Pegg, a famous Hollywood English actor and screenwriter, revealed a photo of him wearing the green tracksuits that the participants in “Squid Game” put on. He was holding a goods of the series in his left hand. In the photo, a life-sized figure of BTS’ Jin stood next to him attracting the eyes of the armies (BTS’s fandom). 

Netflix uploaded the photo on their official Instagram page with a caption, “Simon Pegg sent this.”

Recently, Netflix founder, Reed Hastings sent a photo of him wearing the green tracksuits to the Korean branch as well.




▲ This photo, a captured image of eBay, shows Dalgona Making Kit from "Squid Game." (PHOTO NOT FOR SALE) (Yonhap)



▲ This photo, a captured image from an online community, shows a parodied scene of "Squid Game" online. (PHOTO NOT FOR SALE) (Yonhap)


Game props in the series are gaining popularity in foreign countries. The popularity exceeds that of Korean Netflix series “Kingdom,” which made gats to be sold in eBay. 

Currently online shopping malls such as eBay are selling Dalgona making kits, stainless lunch boxes and Gi-hun’s No. 456 shirt. In the costume category, Front Man’s mask, the managers' pink clothes and the participants’ tracksuits are on sale. 

“Squid Game” has brought a craze in the virtual world a well. In “Roblox,” America’s popular metaverse platform, users are enjoying the “Squid Game”’s set and game.

As parody photos and videos of scenes from the series are gathering popularity online, it seems that “Squid Game”’s hit will continue for a while.

From the 28th, the series will carry their popularity with an interview of the director and the star actors. (END)

(C) Yonhap News Agency. All Rights Reserved

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(Yonhap Interview) Simplicity, satire in 'Squid Game' appeal to global viewers: director

By Kim Boram (brk@yna.co.kr) | September 29, 2021

SEOUL, Sept. 29 (Yonhap) -- Hwang Dong-hyuk, the writer-director of the hit Netflix series "Squid Game," has said the show's global popularity is something he never expected.

"It's just a surprise. It's incredible that all this craze happened within a week," Hwang said in a media interview held online Tuesday. "As a creator, I'm so thrilled that my work has caught the hearts of people all around the world. It might be a once-in-a-lifetime experience."

The nine-episode thriller about life-and-death survival games among hopeless people recently finished its running, generating a huge response from Korean and overseas watchers alike.

It also became the first Korean TV series to top the chart for most-watched Netflix TV series in the United States, tracked by streaming analytics firm FlixPatrol.

Ted Sarandos, co-CEO of the global streaming giant, recently said the Korean show is on its way to become the company's most successful original content ever in the world.


This image provided by Netflix shows a scene from "Squid Game." (PHOTO NOT FOR SALE) (Yonhap)

When asked about the key to the show's global popularity, his answer was brief and clear: simplicity.

Hwang said he thinks the "simplicity" of the games helped people all over the world immerse themselves in its characters and the storyline that satirizes a highly competitive society where more and more people are pushed down to the rock bottom without hope of making a turnaround.

"I also think people are attracted by the irony that hopeless grownups risk their lives to win a kids' game. The games are simple and easy, so viewers can give more focus on each character rather than complex game rules."

"Squid Game" features a mysterious competition where hundreds of heavily debt-ridden people desperately play kids' games at the risk of their lives with hopes to win a total of 45.6 billion won (US$3.8 million) in prize money.

It revolves around Ki-hoon (Lee Jung-jae), a forty-something who fell to the bottom of society after a business layoff, divorce and a gambling addiction.

He and 455 other ragtag participants play traditional Korean children's games, including "Red Light, Green Light," a sugar honeycomb game and tug of war, in a closed compound built on an uninhabited island. The games are easy and simple, and their rewards are clearer: if you lose, you get killed.


This image provided by Netflix shows a scene from "Squid Game." (PHOTO NOT FOR SALE) (Yonhap)

It was the first Netflix series by the director, who has taken the helm of four feature films: "My Father" (2007), "The Crucible" (2011), "Miss Granny" (2014) and "The Fortress" (2017).

He said "Squid Game" was first conceived in 2008 when he was struggling with financial difficulties. While reading many survival genre films, novels and cartoons, like "The Hunger Games" and "Battle Royale," he said, he wondered what it would be like if he participated in those life-and-death games or if he hosted them.

"I think 'Squid Game' shares the framework and some dramatic stereotypical tools with those previous survival shows," he said. "But its content and narrative are different from them."

He said he wanted to write an allegory or fable of modern capitalist society that corners more and more people into an extreme competition designed by a group of inhumane wealthy patrons.

Hwang's draft screenplay of "Squid Game" was first written for a feature film about a decade ago, but it was turned down by local investors and production studios, citing its violence and sensationalism.

About two years ago, he met Netflix, which has been increasing investment in South Korean content in a bid to expand its subscriber numbers throughout Asia, and decided to create a nine-part original series.


This image provided by Netflix shows a scene from "Squid Game." (PHOTO NOT FOR SALE) (Yonhap)

However, it was not easy to direct such a long project with a total running time of eight hours, even for the prolific filmmaker.

"I'm a film director who is used to making a two-hour movie. It was so hard to create an eight-hour long series," said Hwang, adding he lost six teeth while filming "Squid Game." "But I knew that a TV series can be more influential than a film, as it catches viewers' eyes on the screen in a deeper and longer way."

About rising demand for a second season, Hwang said he now has no detailed plan but remained open to the possibility.

"There are many untold stories, like the past history of game hosts and guards. Those will be presented in the next season," he said. "Nothing has been determined yet. But there are possibilities."




This photo provided by Netflix shows director Hwang Dong-hyuk of "Squid Game." (PHOTO NOT FOR SALE) (Yonhap)




Netflix says its investment has created economic effect worth 5.6 tln won in S. Korea


By Kim Boram (brk@yna.co.kr) | September 29, 2021

SEOUL, Sept. 29 (Yonhap) -- U.S. streaming giant Netflix said Wednesday that its Korean investment over the past five years has led to an economic effect worth 5.6 trillion won (US$4.7 billion) in South Korea's entertainment-related industry.

In an online event titled "Netflix Partner Day," the company said it has injected 770 billion won over the last five years and promised to funnel 550 billion won into creating South Korean projects this year alone.

"The investment has generated 5.6 trillion won in cumulative economic effect and created 16,000 jobs in various industries related to entertainment and content creation," said Kang Dong-han, the company's vice president of content for Korea. "And other industries like fashion and food have received a ripple effect worth an additional 2.7 trillion won."

He said Netflix has presented some 80 Korean-language films, TV series and variety shows to 190 nations since its Korean entry in 2015, including the latest sensation "Squid Game."

The nine-part survival series, written and directed by Hwang Dong-hyuk, revolves around a group of people taking part in a series of deadly games to win 45.6 billion won in prize money. It has remained on the top of the world's popular Netflix TV show rankings offered by streaming analytics firm FlixPatrol for about 10 days.

"This year will be meaningful for South Korean content becoming mainstream in the world's pop culture," the Netflix official said. "Shows made by Korean creators in collaboration with Netflix have spread all over the world, including North America, Europe and Africa, beyond Asia."

Netflix said its original content production in South Korea has teamed up with Korean experts not only in the acting, directing and screenwriting fields but also in post-production sectors like special makeup, sound effects, color grading, visual effects, translating and dubbing.

It introduced Korean partners like Technical Art Studio CELL, a leading special effects and makeup company, and Dexter Studios, a VFX post-production and film production company, who have contributed to a number of its originals, including the historical zombie series "Kingdom" (2019), the monster horror show "Sweet Home" (2020) and the space opera "Space Sweepers" (2021). (END)


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Lee Jung Jae Says He Wants to Work with Lee Byung Hun If There Is Season 2 for ‘Squid Game’

by krishkim | images: Netflix





Squid Game continues to be a hot topic. While global fans’ interest in the lead actors is growing, Lee Jung Jae held a video interview on the 29th to share various stories related to Squid Game.

Q1. Are you feeling the global popularity?
I check out social media. So yes, I do realize the popularity. I saw the pictures that the people posted. Also, the parody videos posted by people who watched the show were interesting. 

Q2. Why do you think people are so enthusiastic about ‘Squid Game’?
There are many unique parts. The script complexly harmonizes various aspects, and the filming and the characters are all well balanced. It seems that the era in which this kind of content can be sympathized with is also important. Director Hwang Dong Hyuk said that he had prepared the project for eight years, but now is when people can empathize (with the show) more than back then.

Q3. You showed a shocking makeover. What do you think about the reactions you’re getting?
Foreign fans probably don’t know who I am. I don’t know if he was my fan or even a Korean, but someone posted a bunch of pictures of me with the message, “Lee Jung Jae is an actor who can do more.” I laughed so hard after watching that. There’s nothing more I could ask if the viewers think, “I don’t know who that actor is, but he pulled off that Ki Hoo role so well.”






Q4. The mistake in the eating scene became a hot topic online.
When I film an eating scene, I do my best in the first shoot. But while filming the same scene 3 or 4 times, I get full and tend to cut corners. They were filming from my back, so I thought I wasn’t coming out. Guess they didn’t see that when editing (laughs).

Q5. Was red hair a part of the script?  Did you actually dye your hair?
Red hair was actually written in the scripts. Dying your head to red is something that a man in Ki Hoo’s age will never do. I think it showed his will to transcend a certain limit. I didn’t dye my hair but instead wore a wig.

Q6. Wasn’t there any pressure about breaking your dandy image?
I really became a squid. People who saw it said things like, “The hat doesn’t look good on you. Why did you wear it?” to me. I heard lots of things. But all I wanted to do was to disappear into Sung Ki Hoon, and I’ve never thought that I had to break my image. I was just doing realistic acting.

Q7. I acted with Lee Byung Hun in one scene.
I’ve been friends with Byung Hun since my debut. Thanks to his relationship with director Hwang Dong Hyuk, he made a special appearance in Squid Game. If there ever is season 2, I would love to work with him. Even if I can’t appear in season 2, I want to work with him on some other projects. 

Source (1, 2, 3)
Translator Kim Hoyeun: If you are a fan of K-drama, K-movie, and K-pop, I am your guy. I will continue to provide you with up-to-date K-entertainment news.



‘Squid Game’ Director Hwang Dong Hyuk Talks About Ki Hoon’s Red Hair, Possible Season 2 and Star-studded Cameos

by Cho EK | images: Netflix



In an in-depth interview with a media outlet, Netflix original series Squid Game director Hwang Dong Hyuk opened up about his latest work.

Hwang said, “The show aimed at the global market from the beginning. I thought what is most Korean is what is the most international. The show presents a series of old local playground games, so I had my doubts about its global success. Therefore, I was stunned when it became one of the top trending shows. I jokingly told people that if things work out, the honeycomb kits will sell like hotcakes and it became true,” with a hearty laugh.

Some people point out that Squid Game is similar to some Japanese movies based on survival games. In response, he said, “I think there are two major differences. In other similar works, we see the games first. However, in Squid Game, we see people first. Usually, in movies like this, a genius appears to solve the complex games. However, we chose the simplest games of all children’s games. It’s not about a hero winning the game, but it’s all about the story of the losers. The ‘stepping stone game’ is the most symbolic in that aspect. It is a story of losers who can go all the way to the end with the dedication and sacrifice of many other people.”




The scene where Sung Ki Hoon (Lee Jung Jae) changes his hair color to red at the end drew a lot of attention. Regarding the part, director Hwang explained, “I thought about this intuitively, thinking about how Ki Hoon should change his hair in a hair salon. I imagined being him and thought to myself, ‘what is the color that you would never choose to dye your hair?’ Then I came to the conclusion that Ki Hoon would never dye his hair red. It would be the craziest thing for him to do. So I chose the color and I thought it really showed his inner anger.”

Regarding the possible second season, he revealed, “I have some plans in my mind, but I should talk to Netflix about it first. I lost six teeth, and I got implants filming the first season, so I’m a little worried,” and laughed. However, he chose to stay silent about the fate of Hwang Joon Ho by saying, “It’s a secret, and I can’t tell you now.”

About how Gong Yoo and Lee Byung Hun made surprise appearances, he explained, “I knew Gong Yoo before filming Silenced (2011), so I asked him to be on our show at a private gathering. Plus, I kept in touch with Lee Byung Hun after The Fortress (2017), and he said yes when I asked him to appear at another event.”

Jung Ho Yeon, who appeared as Sae Byuk in the series, is receiving rave reviews. In regards to her popularity, the director said, “I wanted to work with new actors. The moment I saw her audition tape from New York, I immediately thought to myself, ‘this is the girl we want.’ My first impression on her was that she is wild and free like an untamed horse.

Translator Cho EK: I’m a big fan of Korean dramas and movies.
Sources (1, 2, 3, 4, 5)

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Lee Jung-jae of 'Squid Game' "I have taken off so much and became a real squid"

연합뉴스 / 2021-09-29 16:31:00






▲ These photos, provided by Netflix, show Lee Jung-jae from "Squid Game." (PHOTO NOT FOR SALE) (Yonhap)


▲ This photo, provided by Netflix, shows Lee Jung-jae. (PHOTO NOT FOR SALE) (Yonhap)

SEOUL, Sep. 29 (Yonhap) -- "Although I don't do social media, as I do check them, I can feel it. I have received lots of congratulations and am enjoying parody videos as well." 

Actor Lee Jung-jae who took the role of "Squid Game," Netflix's original series that has taken the world by storm shyly answered as above when asked whether he could feel the popularity. 

Although Lee is a veteran actor with 30 years of career, such peculiar work like "Squid Game" would have been a nervous challenge to him. Lee put down his trade mark, heavy voice and cool image, to act the lower class's poor image. 

"Rather than feeling scared of transfiguring into a new character, I laughed for quite long saying 'Did I act like that.' Because I felt like I have taken off so many things. The series contain expressions, breaths and movements that I usually don't make. I remember doing that kind of acting in the past but not recently," said Lee on an online interview Wednesday.  

"Actually acting the daily lives is the hardest as I have to be more natural and look a bit more like ordinary people. But as it is not a documentary, I practiced a lot mixing up with acting in possible extreme situations. I thought 'Ey, do I really have to lick this much' when shooting the dolgona game. But when I thought about it, as the participants are doing the game for their lives, they may do it that much so I tried my best. I had to do both natural and extreme actings. As I got older, I usually get quested for bad guys' or strong roles. I felt more welcome when I met this ordinary man character. I really became a squid. But I never thought that I should ruin myself. I only thought of acting Gi-hun well." 

"I tried to 100% accept and well follow the producers' ideas rather than coming up with my own ideas. There were scenes that I wasn't confident of but director Hwang Dong-hyuk told me, 'Think like you have all the skills but just using a little bit more of them,' so I tried my best to follow that," added the actor. 


▲ This photo, provided by Netflix, shows Lee Jung-jae. (PHOTO NOT FOR SALE) (Yonhap)

Reviews saying that the watchers love Gi-hun's humane sides are pouring out from the foreign fans. 

"I am not sure how much the foreign watchers can understand Gi-hun's helping the others even in those extreme situations. But I think those emotions are quite Korean style so I didn't feel any awkwardness from the scenario."

"I think it carries a message, the courage of not losing that kind of warm heart when we need it," added Lee. 

Gi-hun, who always looked the same, changed his hair red and decided to participate the next game predicting season 2.

"Red hair is never the color a man in Gi-hub's age would do. It would have been his will to show his actions that he would never take," said Lee.

"I like the open ending that gives the feeling that an exciting story will begin. I liked the ending as it felt like Gi-hun who doesn't have any power or strength jumping into the dangerous world saying 'This isn't right'," said the actor.

"I felt that the producers have been preparing for this for a very long time," said Lee about the series' remarkable scale. 

"The basic storyline, adults playing games from the childhood, was grotesque and scary. Also, I think as the hardships of the game's participants were well explained, emotions could well explode at every character's ending. Those points made the series different from other survival works. And the scale was unbelievable where 456 people could run in a large ground with a giant doll playing red light green light," said Lee. 

He also introduced the series the whole world is crazy for as 'a unique concept and complex scenario.' 

"The series' story can be well empathized by those living this era. A production should be produced at the right time but this work seems to have met the right audiences as well." (END)


(C) Yonhap News Agency. All Rights Reserved




[Herald Interview] News about ‘Squid Game’ continues to surprise its creator

By Lee Si-jin (sj_lee@heraldcorp.com) | Sept 29, 2021

“Squid Game” director Hwang Dong-hyuk (Netflix)

Hwang Dong-hyuk, the writer and director who recently made his Netflix debut with “Squid Game,” expected the bloody survival battles to make the series a hit -- but not at the international level. 

“I thought the series was either a hit or a complete failure. But I believed in the potential of my work and hoped the viewers would enjoy the episodes by feeling nostalgia. This was the reason why I decided to work with Netflix and put myself in a small extra challenge to knock on the door of the global market,” the director said during an online interview with a group of reporters Tuesday afternoon. 

“But I never expected my work to reach the top spot in many countries across the globe. Hearing all of this news is still surprising and refreshing,” Hwang added.

The sci-fi thriller revolves around hundreds of cash-strapped contestants who accept an unexpected invitation to compete in six childhood games for a tempting prize of 45.6 billion won ($39 million).

When asked what it was like to select games for the series, Hwang said he had already decided on them in 2009, when he finished the script.

“When I was planning out the work, choosing the first and last games was very simple. The first game had to be Red Light, Green Light. When I asked myself what game would be best to create a bizarre scene with a shocking massacre, Red Light, Green Light was my answer.” While the hundreds of competitors move in sync like K-pop groups, the merciless shootings were needed to properly introduce “Squid Game” both to the 456 contestants and the viewers, the director said.




Hundreds of competitors play Red Light, Green Light in “Squid Game.” (Netflix)

“The squid game is a great metaphor for a highly competitive Korean society. I wanted the survivors to look like gladiators. This was the reason why it (the squid game) had to be played last,” Hwang said.

Though the nine-part series brought him global recognition, the director explained that “Squid Game” holds special meaning for him even apart from that.

“My childhood memories are held in the work. The games reflect my experience as an immature boy and the lead character’s name, Ki-hoon (played by Lee Jung-jae), is taken from one of my best friends. I cannot remember the reason why I decided to use his name, but I just did,” Hwang said.

While expressing his satisfaction with the series, the director showed his determination to be a real game changer in the Hollywood content industry.

“After ‘Gangnam Style,’ K-pop sensation BTS and Oscar-winning film ‘Parasite,’ ‘Squid Game’ is trying to become Netflix’s most popular show ever. I heard that Bloomberg reported that Korean content is becoming a severe threat to Hollywood. I wanted to work hard and grow as an actual competitor of the American entertainment business. I am certain that these efforts will lead to another development for the Korean content business,” Hwang said.

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[Herald Interview] Lee Jung-jae says ‘Squid Game’ surprised him like it shocked the world


Korean top actor is willing to appear in possible “Squid Game Season 2,“ if the director needs him


By Lee Si-jin (sj_lee@heraldcorp.com) | Sept 30, 2021


Actor Lee Jung-jae (Netflix)

Top actor Lee Jung-jae is surprised with the global fervor for “Squid Game,” while enjoying the success of his Netflix debut.

Mesmerizing viewers is not an unusual experience for the veteran actor, but Lee was shocked when he first saw himself as Ki-hoon.

“Watching me playing a role as Ki-hoon gave me goosebumps. I laughed a lot when I monitored the work after its release. Acting Ki-hoon was definitely a refreshing experience, making moves and facial expressions that I rarely used in acting more charismatic figures or villains,” Lee, who has mostly appeared in films in recent years, said during an online interview with a group of reporters Wednesday afternoon.

The Netflix megahit centers on debt-ridden contestants accepting an unexpected invitation to compete in selected childhood games for what turns out to be a life-changing sum.

Despite the life-threatening situations the games throw up, Lee captured the global audiences’ over with the humorous character, Ki-hoon.

“I recognize that a lot of fans like me to play a more humorous character. Ki-hoon was, of course, very different from the roles in my previous works -- ‘Deliver Us From Evil,’ (2020) ‘The Face Reader,’ (2015) ‘Assassination’ (2015) and ‘New World’ (2013). I am grateful for the views loving different sides of Lee Jung-jae and watching other contents after learning about me in ‘Squid Game.’ I hope this leads to the international audience’s love for many other Korean contents.” Lee said.

Asked why he decided to make his small screen return as a player in a mystery survival game, Lee said he was absorbed into Ki-hoon and scenario just like other “Squid Game” enthusiasts.




Actor Lee Jung-jae plays debt-ridden divorcee Ki-hoon in “Squid Game” (Netflix)

“I do not separate the scripts and decide on doing either movies or drama series in a certain year. I always think of what I can do best and how I can entertain the public when I first receive the script. I thought Ki-hoon would allow me to show different sides of actor Lee Jung-jae,” Lee said to The Korea Herald.

Lee acknowledges that Ki-hoon can be heavily criticized for not caring his old mother, wasting money by betting on horse racing and not looking after his daughter. 

”Making Ki-hoon’s actions understandable, entertaining and even charming for the viewers was a huge challenge and I shared a lot of opinions and thoughts with director Hwang Dong-hyuk to properly express the character,“ the actor added. 


Actor Lee Jung-jae (Netflix)

During the interview, the veteran actor also shared his plans to meet with global audiences again.

“I am not sure if I can work in Hollywood or overseas entertainment business with my insufficient English skills, so I cannot say anything for certain at this moment. But I hope to meet the international fans with the works that I am currently shooting,” he said.

Lee added that he is willing to perform in possible “Squid Game Season 2,” if the director needs him.

The nine-part thriller is creating a worldwide sensation by topping the global Netflix chart since its release on Sept. 17.



[INTERVIEW] 'Squid Game' star Lee Jung-jae on his international breakout role

By Lee Gyu-lee (gyulee@koreatimes.co.kr) | 2021-09-30


Actor Lee Jung-jae / Courtesy of Netflix

Actor Lee Jung-jae has so far already established himself as one of the top actors in Korea, building an extensive portfolio over the 28 years of his career, from playing a charismatic villain in "The Face Reader" (2013) to a ruthless Yakuza gangster in "Deliver Us From Evil" (2020).

But it only took one series for the 49-year-old actor to rise to international stardom with the role of a broke, yet good-hearted gambling addict in Netflix's new hit original, "Squid Game."




Netflix original "Squid Game" stars actor Lee Jung-jae as the lead. Courtesy of Netflix

"I was in a phase where I was contemplating what my next project should be. Because as I got older, the roles I was offered were mostly villains or other such fierce characters," the actor told The Korea Times. 

"And just as I was hoping to show a different type of acting, the series' director Hwang Dong-hyuk offered me the role of Gi-hun. I wanted to portray an everyday kind of character."

The nine-part thriller series is based on high-stakes rounds of children's games, in which participants risk their lives to become the sole survivor who wins 45.6 billion won ($39.4 million). 




A scene from the thriller series / Courtesy of Netflix

Lee expressed that he was drawn to the idea of the survival-themed series. "The idea of taking the games we used to play when we were young and making them into survival games was grotesque and chilling," he said. 

"Also unlike other survival game genre works, the series takes a closer look into the sorrows and sufferings of the people who take part in the game, and carefully develops them. So when the characters face off in the ending, it comes out as truly cathartic."

Lee's character, Gi-hun, became a persistent gambler after getting laid off from his previous job, even stealing from his elderly mother, whom he lives with. His daughter is about to move abroad with his ex-wife's family. Driven to make money to gain his daughter's custody and for his mother's surgery, he joins the game without knowing much about what he's getting himself into. 

Lee, who is widely known for his sophisticated, sharp look in Korea, was willing to step out of this well-established image for a transformation to portray the divorced, down-and-out character.

"I wanted to really look like a person living in a basement-level apartment in Ssangmun-dong. When I first came in for a fitting, the costume director gave me the most unflattering clothes that were not even my actual size. And I said, 'I'll take whatever you give me,'" he said. 

"As an actor, I did what I had to do to bring out the character of Gi-hun, so I've never felt embarrassed about the look."




Lee plays divorced gambling addict Gi-hun in the series. Courtesy of Netflix

Along with Gi-hun's appearance, he said that he studied people on the street to refine the details in his acting. 

"One thing I did differently (from previous works) was that I would go for a walk a night before filming and observe the people on the streets in order to find elements to add to the character," he said, adding that portraying an ordinary person was harder than his previous roles.

"With villainous characters, it's not so hard to act once you set the character in the beginning, but (with this character,) there were a lot more things to put into the equation to look natural."

The series delicately follows the emotional state of Gi-hun, as he barely makes it through each round of the deadly games, while struggling between following his conscience and risking his life. 

Lee noted that his sympathetic character delivers the main message of the series. "I'm not sure if audiences abroad would have agreed with this character offering to help others, even under extremely hard circumstances. But I think this is a type of sentiment that Koreans have," he said. 

"To me, he just seemed like a warm-hearted person, and there was nothing about the story that I couldn't wrap my head around. He had the bravery to hold onto the things that he shouldn't let go of. And that part of the character reflects the message of the series, I think."




A scene from the series / Courtesy of Netflix

The actor explained that he put his heart into every scene, and that he was surprised to see the outcome of his acting.

"When I first saw my acting, I laughed for a while… I was using gestures and expressions that I don't normally use, and that have not been using for quite a time," he said. "Especially with the Dalgona game, I thought to myself, 'Do I really need to lick this hard?'... But when you think about the fact that he is risking his life, it made sense to go all out. I felt intense emotions in every game."

Adding that he was awed by the scale of the set, he praised the production team's efforts in bringing fiction to life on the screen. 

"The size of the set, as if it were a playground, was staggering, and the artistry of its design was excellent, as if it was a modern art exhibition," he said. "So it kept me curious to see what each next set would look like, and when I get to the set I would just be busy taking pictures of it."

Lee, who is currently working on his new film, says that he is enjoying seeing how the series has become a sensation on the internet whenever he has free time. 

"I saw some parody videos that viewers made, which are funny. I think they have so many more ideas than we did," he said, adding that the series' skyrocketing popularity feels surreal. "I'm really thankful that so many people, including the press, seem to like the series. And as I have been doing, I'm just going to keep doing my best."

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(Yonhap Interview) 'Squid Game' brings in Lee Jung-jae's rare portrayal of clumsy, blundering guy

By Kim Boram  (brk@yna.co.kr) | September 30, 2021


This image provided by Netflix shows Korean actor Lee Jung-jae. (PHOTO NOT FOR SALE) (Yonhap)

SEOUL, Sept. 30 (Yonhap) -- Since making a sensation as a devoted bodyguard in the mega-hit TV series "Sandglass" (1995), seasoned actor Lee Jung-jae has portrayed handsome and dandy sweethearts or charismatic gangster leaders or kings in his subsequent projects, such as the romance film "An Affair" (1998), the crime thriller "New World" (2013) and the historical drama "The Face Reader" (2013).

In the latest survival drama "Squid Game," however, South Korea's former heartthrob took off black fitted suits or royal robes and put on a green jogging outfit.

Lee plays Gi-hun, a down-on-his-luck middle-aged man who sponges off his ailing old mother for living expenses and resorts to gambling after a series of business failures, a divorce and heavy indebtedness.


He is drawn to a mysterious competition of traditional Korean kids' games that will reward the only survivor with 45.6 billion won (US$3.8 million) in prize money.







These images provided by Netflix show scenes from "Squid Game." (PHOTOS NOT FOR SALE) (Yonhap)

Lee said he chose to take the role that could represent his mundane or nerd-like personality concealed deeply inside his mind.  

"I thought Gi-hun is a boy-next-door character that we can meet easily around us," Lee said in a media interview held online on Wednesday. "So I was interested in the character that is different from my previous ones."

He said he thought it could be a good chance to diversify his filmography.

In particular, the veteran actor was attracted by Gi-hun, who shows deep sympathy for other weak participants, like an old man and a North Korean girl, during the blood-splattered games, different from others who lose humanity under the life-and-death pressure and the large sum of money.

"I felt I share similarities with him when he grumbled at his mother's advice or talked mischievously with his friends," he said. "And he is such a good person who can reach out his hands to those who need his help. I think I have that kind of benevolent mind to some extent. My role was to take that part out when acting him."

Director Hwang Dong-hyuk, who also wrote the screenplay of the Netflix original, encouraged him to draw on his childhood memories and various ways that he would react in desperate situations.

But Lee admitted that he felt a little bit awkward when seeing Gi-hun give up keeping his family afloat and being addicted to gambling.

"In the early part of the series, Gi-hun seems reckless, irresponsible and helpless," he said. "I tried not to look too repulsive or nasty. But when I saw the series, I couldn't believe that's me."

The prolific actor, who is now working on his directorial debut "Hunt," thanked some of his fans for uploading photos of his past nice and stylish characters in previous shows to show global viewers that Lee is not a sad-sack guy.

"I saw some postings that list pictures of my previous characters. It was fun," he said. "Thank you everybody for loving me and 'Squid Game.'" (END)



Actor Park Hae-soo says 'Squid Game' is a honorable work within his acting career


연합뉴스 / 2021-09-30 12:17:55





▲ These photos, provided by Netflix, show actor Park Hae-soo. (PHOTO NOT FOR SALE) (Yonhap)

SEOUL, Sept. 30 (Yonhap) -- Actor Park Hae-soo (40), who plays the role level-headed and rational Cho Sang-woo in Netflix's hit drama series "Squid Game," has said the attention the show received is something he never expected. 

"I was confident about the drama and scenario, but I didn't know it would receive so much attention worldwide. I'm so thankful and happy that I was part of this work," Park said in a online interview with Yonhap News Agency held on Wednesday. 

Asked about the secret behind the popularity of "Squid Game," Park said, "There seems to be points where the audience are able to relate in terms of human nature and the character's psychological change. I think people also find it interesting to see a traditional children's game turned into a cruel survival game for adults." 

Debuting on the theater stage in 2007, Park has built a solid acting career for 14 years and has been praised for delicately expressing Sang-woo's complex and subtle feelings and changes in "Squid Game."

Park, who came in the interview wearing the iconic green training suit, said, "First of all, my family is very thrilled and I'm starting to realize my popularity after getting a lot of calls from people around me," adding, "It's very (popular) because I got a lot of calls from people around me," adding, "This has become a very honorable work within my actor career."

In addition of recently becoming a father of a son, Park expressed his feelings on his "double celebration," saying, "I could only meet my baby through video calls while filming for 'Squid Game,' and I can't explain how grateful and amazing I feel." 

Park's character, Cho Sang-woo, recently joins a large firm as a graduate of Seoul National University however falls into a huge debt due to investment failures and decides to participate in the game to seize the last opportunity of earning money.

"In order to get into my character's thoughts and judgements, I imagined a lot of reasonable choices only Sang-woo could make. I talked to the director a lot as well," Park said. "I think the scene that best expresses Sang-woo is where he doesn't tell his friend Ki-hoon (Lee Jung-jae) about what the next ("Dalgona" Candy Challenge) game is." 

As for the ending, Park said, "I'm 100 percent satisfied because I think it was very optimized for my character," however added that it is a "shame" as to whether he will appear in the second season. 

About entering the game in real life, Park said, "I don't think I would be able to participate," adding, "If I were to actually enter the game I have to survive to arrive at the last gate. Overall, I do have some confidence, but I'm most worried about the marble game." 

Apart from acting as Sang-woo, Park chose Ki-hoon and Deok-su (Heo Sung-tae) as the characters he would want to play. 

"Ki Hoon as a character changes a lot and it's fun. Deok-su has so many charms that I want to try acting as him if I can," Park said laughing. 

As for Lee Jung-jae, Park expressed his affection towards the actor, saying, "I really want to meet him again." 

"As a person who grew up watching a lot of Lee Jung-jae's movies, I had a very interesting experience in watching another side of him. He was such a cool and talented actor to me, and I would like to thank him for approaching me as the most down-to-earth and comfortable brother to me." 

The 40-year-old actor also expressed his gratitude towards director Hwang Dong-hyuk, saying, "It was a really fun collaboration because director Hwang helped me shared my concerns about the character," adding, "In the future, I would like to continue meeting with him even if we're not meeting as a director to actor."

Park, who is scheduled to spend busy days by starring in new weekend drama "Chimera," the Korean versions of Netflix's original series "Money Heist" and "Suriname," as well as movies "Yacha" and "Ghost," expressed his passion for acting, saying, "I'm waiting for my next work."

"I'm also continuing to make plans for theatre works. I'm thinking about preparing a new work with my theatre colleagues, but I think it'll probably be next year when we reveal what it is," Park said laughing. (END)

(C) Yonhap News Agency. All Rights Reserved


Netflix Korea's 'Squid Game' continues to earn praise from around the globe

BY LEE JAE-LIM [lee.jaelim@joongang.co.kr] | September 30, 2021



A scene from Netflix series ″Squid Game″ [NETFLIX]

Global media outlets continue to heap praise on the Netflix Korea original series “Squid Game.” 

An article titled “'Squid Game’: What it is and why you will be obsessed with it” was published by CNN on Wednesday which reads “to say the horror series is causing a buzz would be an understatement. It’s a bit of a phenomenon much like the South Korean film ‘Parasite’ turned out to be.” 

Related experts analyze that the release of the series was timely with the ongoing trend among American viewers of actively consuming more non-English language content then they did in the past.   

“'Squid Game’ also is benefiting from the rising popularity — and acceptance — of non-English-language content among U.S. viewers,” Hollywood entertainment outlet Deadline evaluated. “Since 2019, non-English-language viewing in the U.S. has grown by 71 percent, and 97 percent of Netflix’s U.S. members have chosen to watch at least one non-English-language title in the past year. The ramp-up is even more dramatic for K-dramas, whose U.S. viewership has jumped over 200 percent between 2019 and 2021.” 

The New York Post published an article titled “How Netflix’s brutal ‘Squid Game’ is already wreaking havoc around the world” on Wednesday, commenting on how the series has “already taken social media audiences hostage.” It analyzed that more than 14 billion videos with the hashtag #SquidGame have appeared on TikTok since the series was released on Sept. 17.   

Entertainment website Buzzfeed released a quiz titled “Everyone’s Talking About ‘Squid Game’ — So Let’s Find Out Which Character You’d Be” in the format of a multiple choice test. One question asks people to choose what kind of Korean food they’d prefer from choices like tteokbokki (spicy rice cakes), bibimbap (a Korean rice dish mixed with vegetables and meat), hotteok (honey and nut-filled pancakes), dalgona (a retro candy made by mixing melted sugar and baking soda) and kimchijjigae (kimchi stew).   

The Guardian analyzed the success factors behind the series in an article titled “Squid Game: the hellish horrorshow taking the whole world by storm.” 


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Medias overseas highlight "hellish horrorshow taking the whole world" over 'Squid Game's global sensation

연합뉴스 / 2021-09-30 10:13:47


▲ This photo, provided by Netflix, shows "Squid Game." (PHOTO NOT FOR SALE) (Yonhap)





▲ These photos, provided by Netflix, show Netflix original series "Squid Game." (PHOTO NOT FOR SALE) (Yonhap)

SEOUL, Sep. 30 (Yonhap) -- Foreign medias are hastening to cover in their articles the South Korean series “Squid Game” which is on 1st rank for Netflix’s world top contents. 

UK daily news media The Guardian looked deep into the background of the remarkable global success writing an article, “Squid Game: the hellish horrorshow taking the whole world by storm” on the 28th (local time). 

The participants of “Squid Game,” a 9-episode Netflix series, compete in survival games to win the prize money of 45.6 billion won. They have to 'survive' the games as losers are killed instantly. 

“The nine-part series is the first Korean show to reach the top spot on the streaming platform in the US, and is currently number one in the UK,” said The Guardian.

“Its success won’t come as a surprise to a generation of viewers who got hooked on murderous dystopian series The Hunger Games and cult favorite Battle Royale.” 

But Squid Game’s backdrop is South Korea’s present-day, very real wealth inequality, The Guardian pointed out as the difference of the series. 

The media also spotted that both “Parasite,” winner of 2019’s Oscar Award, and “Squid Game” feature two separate classes. 

“Yes, the games are terrifying but how much worse are they than the half-lives of those living in interminable debt?” 

“An episode of backstories makes it clear that anyone can fall into debt through bad luck,” said The Guardian.

US CNN started their article “’Squid Game’: What it is and why you will be obsessed with it” saying, “Netflix’s latest hit really kills” on the 29th. 

“’Squid Game’ is a South Korean fictional drama in which contestants who are deeply in debt play children’s games in order to win a ton of cash,” said the media. 

“To say the horror series is causing a buzz would be an understatement.”

“It’s a bit of a phenomenon much like the South Korean film ‘Parasite’ turned out to be,” commented CNN. 

Deadline, an American media featuring breaking Hollywood news, assumed that the series’ groundbreaking popularity marking top spot for US Netflix ranks was possible due to the trend of openly accepting non-English-language contents among American watchers. 

The media sees the series as a milestone for Korean original dramas. 

“Squid Game also is benefiting from the rising popularity ㅡ and acceptance ㅡ of non-English-language content among U.S viewers,” 

“91% of Netflix’s US members have chosen to watch at least one non-English-language title in the past year. The ramp-up is even more dramatic for K-dramas, whose US viewership has jumped over 200% between 2019 and 2020,” reported Deadline. 

French channel BFM TV has also spotlighted the series saying, “The first Korean series to put up its title on Netflix top 10.”

“It astonished the critics and the viewers.” 

The media introduced squid game is the most popular game in Korea in the 1970s and said that the game was the perfect metaphor for the drama’s message in that the game required strategic thoughts. 

“The series is very crafty carrying the tension from the start to end and shows cruelty hardly seen in films,” commented BFM. 

They also added that Korean culture’s popularity these days, from BTS to “Parasite” and webtoons, is unprecedented. 

The article featuring “Squid Game,” a huge global sensation regardless of country, became BFM TV’s official website’s the most read article of the morning on the 29th. (END)

(C) Yonhap News Agency. All Rights Reserved


Clips with English Subs


[ENG SUB] Squid Game / Commentary 


[ENG SUB] Preferences of Squid Game cast


Squid Game | Behind the Scene



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Cast of 'Squid Game' to appear on Jimmy Fallon show

연합뉴스 / 2021-10-02 16:12:58


▲ This photo, provided by Netflix, shows the survival drama "Squid Game." (PHOTO NOT FOR SALE) (Yonhap)

SEOUL, Oct. 2 (Yonhap) -- The cast of "Squid Game," which has remained on the top spot for nine days as the world's most popular Netflix TV show rankings offered by streaming analytics firm FlixPatrol, will continue its global move by appearing as guests on a popular American talk show. 

According to a Netflix official, the cast of "Squid Game" will be special guests for NBC's "The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon" on Oct. 6 (Korean time). However, the specific list of cast members scheduled to appear has not been revealed. 

The nine-episode thriller follows a group of people entering life-and-death survival games to win 45.6 billion won as prize money. "Squid Game" features actors Lee Jung-jae, Park Hae-soo, Jung Ho-yeon, Wi Ha-joon, Oh Yeong-su, Heo Sung-tae, Anupam Tripathi. (END)


(C) Yonhap News Agency. All Rights Reserved




[K-Drama Review] ‘Squid Game’: Strange Combination of Tear Jerking Drama, Humor, Death Game

by Cho EK | Edited by Hong Hyun Jung | Translated by Cho EK | images: Netflix



Netflix has been reaping satisfactory results with its various recently released Asian death game series. For example, there is Alice in Borderland, Netflix Japan’s newest survival series which was released last December, and then there is Squid Game that features a deadly take on traditional games which is receiving rave reviews nowadays. While Alice in Borderland throws a helpless young man into a bloody game, Squid Game takes advantage of the tragic story of those neglected in a cold capitalist society and throws them into a terrifying game. The two works both portray various characters in the deadly games they play, however, Squid Game looks a little different from the death game shows we’ve seen before.

Squid Game is a story of those who risk their lives to join the mysterious survival game to become the final winner of 45.6 billion won ($38.4 million). The storyline looks similar to many works in the same genre. However, from the first episode, the series clarifies that it is about to tell the most Korean story by borrowing the structure of the deadly game. In other words, the series hints at each character’s hidden stories behind the flashing game. Moreover, the main character is a middle-aged father, a figure that almost all Korean media loves to use to win the audience’s hearts.

The K-Shinpa (a.k.a. Korean tear-jerking drama) is clearly there from the start but tweaks in an unexpected way in the second episode. In the first game, players who learned about the hellish reality of this world were given a choice. By applying the rule that says, “Players can leave the game if a simple majority of them vote to do so,” the series encourages the players to participate in the game voluntarily. And by doing so, each character’s tragic story captures the dark reality of Korean society. For instance, Ki Hoon couldn’t stop playing the horse race even though he already had enough debt. (He gets fired from work after he fails as a small business owner). Successful businessman Sang Woo graduated from a prestigious university, yet he failed in investment to make his dream come true. What’s worse is that he embezzled his client’s money only to lose it all. North Korean refugee Sae Byuk and immigrant worker Ali were only exploited and couldn’t dream of living a better life. Yet, these people who have nowhere else to go start to radiate a strange vibrancy as they join the deadly games.



The tournament in the series is based on the playground games we played as children. The rules are simple, but the competition gets tough as it proceeds. As director Hwang said that he wanted to make this show a metaphor for the extreme modern capitalist society, the world of Squid Game reflects on the society we live in by creating a more extreme version of it. Players constantly betray each other to obey the logic of survival of the fittest so that they do not lose the once-in-a-lifetime opportunity they have seized at the edge of their lives. Deok Soo intimidates weaker players from the very beginning. Ki Hoon and Sang Woo decide to abandon their trust in each other and humanity when they are cornered in a dead end. Outside the Colosseum, where the miserable players compete for money, unidentified VIP guests savor their struggle while betting on the players. This story blatantly reveals the ugly truth of capitalist society.

The bloody game leaves a lot of people dead, and it is filled with tight tension throughout the whole season. However, some good touches of Korean humor provide a brief break to the heart-pumping games. The last participant, Ki Hoon, does an excellent job of lightening up the mood. Lee Jung Jae brought his character to life by perfectly playing a petty man. When we watch the series, no one can deny that he is a pathetic human being. However, he can also be a pure man with a good heart. In particular, at the beginning of the game, Ki Hoon’s kindness makes a great contrast with the cold world, and it guides the way to the hidden brutal world. Also, the fact that you need luck more than skill to survive in the game reveals Squid Game’s unique black humor. The fairy-tale-like, pastel-colored game set completes the series, where comedy and horror coexist.

The show slightly deviated from the tropes of the death game to make the series more intriguing, and that choice leaves us with several questions. The show forces the individual stories of the participants into the game process, making the whole narrative too emotional and slow. Plus, this problem only gets worse in the second half. Plus, like any other Korean series, the drama is very much male-centered. Some lines and situations are outdated, ignorant, and even unnecessary enough to be deleted.

It was a nice attempt to drag the game manager into the main story by placing Jun Ho in the scene. However, it doesn’t blend well with the overall narrative, and it gives the impression that the director was forcing the element into the episodes to tailor the show into nine episodes. The foreign actors who played the VIPs instantly broke the immersion to the play, and the episode would have been far better without them.

The first season of Squid Game ended with many possibilities for the future. Although the second has not been confirmed yet, Netflix will most likely add another season to this drama as they did with the Kingdom series. Since it is an exciting series with its clear setbacks, I wonder if they will return with a better tone next time.

Verdict: A great example of ‘what is most Korean is what is most international’ (6.5/10)

Edited Hong Hyun Jung: I am a K-content guide who publishes various articles for people to enjoy Korean movies and dramas deeper and richer. I’ll introduce you to the works that you can laugh, cry and sympathize with.
Translator Cho EK: I’m a big fan of Korean dramas and movies




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He finally joined Instagram [ from_jjlee ].


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'Squid Game' tops Netflix's TV category in 83 countries including India

연합뉴스 / 2021-10-02 17:55:45


▲ This photo, provided by Netflix, shows the survival drama "Squid Game." (PHOTO NOT FOR SALE) (Yonhap)

SEOUL, Oct. 2 (Yonhap) -- The hit Korean survival drama "Squid Game" has topped Netflix's TV category in India, making it reach No.1 at least once in all 83 countries that screen the series. "Squid Game" has remained on the top spot for nine days as the world's most popular Netflix TV show rankings

"Squid Game" topped Netflix's TV category in 81 out of the 83 countries except Denmark and Turkey on Oct. 1. In Denmark and Turkey, the survival drama remained first place but went down a rank and was placed second, according to streaming analytics firm FlixPatrol. 

The total score of "Squid Game" was 828, down one point from the previous day and 158 points ahead of the British original TV series "Sex Education," which ranked second place with 670 points. 

In India, where viewers show high loyalty to contents made within their own country, "Kota Factory," an Indian comedy drama that depicts the competition of entrance students to enter prestigious universities, has maintained its No. 1 position. However, the series eventually gave up its top spot to "Squid Game," which had been gradually rising in rankings every other day. 

Meanwhile, the cast of "Squid Game" will continue the global craze of the drama by appearing as special guests for popular American talk show "The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon." 

"We can't reveal the specific list, but the cast of 'Squid Game' will appear on the 'Jimmy Fallon Show' on Oct. 6 (Korean time)," an official from Netflix said. 

The nine-episode thriller follows a group of people entering life-and-death survival games to win 45.6 billion won as prize money. "Squid Game" features actors Lee Jung-jae, Park Hae-soo, Jung Ho-yeon, Wi Ha-joon, Oh Yeong-su, Heo Sung-tae, Anupam Tripathi. (END)

(C) Yonhap News Agency. All Rights Reserved



‘Squid Game’: Netflix Installed Replica of the Show’s Murdering Robot Doll at a Shopping Mall


By Todd Spangler | October 1, 2021


Courtesy of Netflix

What better way to promote a new TV show than to scare the living daylights out of unsuspecting passersby?

In a marketing stunt for Korean thriller “Squid Game,” which has become a viral smash hit worldwide, Netflix installed a replica of the giant animatronic doll that first appears in episode 1 at the Robinsons Galleria mall in Quezon City, Philippines.

In the show, hundreds of debt-saddled contestants are mysteriously brought together to compete in children’s games for a huge cash prize — but with literally life-and-death consequences. The first game is “red light, green light,” overseen by the robotic doll, who explains that any contestants whose movement is detected after the light turns red will be “eliminated.” As it’s quickly revealed, that means they will be immediately shot and killed.

The replica doll at the Manila-area mall monitors a crosswalk to catch jaywalkers, chanting the eerie “Red Light, Green Light, 1-2-3” song from the show.

If a pedestrian tries to cross against the “don’t walk” red light, she swivels her head around and flashes LED-red eyes to single out the culprit. Yikes.

Here’s a video tweet from Netflix Philippines showing the creepy 10-foot doll in action:

Since its Sept. 17 premiere, the ultraviolent K-drama has taken the world by storm. “Squid Game” has consistently ranked as the No. 1 series titles in countries across the globe, according to Netflix. This week Netflix co-CEO and content chief Ted Sarandos said the show has a very good chance of becoming the streamer’s biggest show ever (and will definitely rank as its most popular non-English original series).

“We did not see that coming, in terms of its global popularity,” Sarandos said Monday at Vox Media’s Code Conference. To date, the most-viewed Netflix original TV show in its first 28 days of release is “Bridgerton.”

The mania for the show appears especially acute in South Korea, where broadband provider SK Broadband on Friday sued Netflix — seeking to recoup higher network costs — over a 24-fold increase in traffic from May 2018 to September 2021, citing in part the success of “Squid Game,” Reuters reported.

Meanwhile, the actual doll created for “Squid Game” was spotted on display — with a missing hand — at the Jincheon Carriage Museum Adventure Village in South Korea’s North Chungcheong Province. But the museum has reportedly since put the doll in storage.

Series creator and director Hwang Dong-hyuk told Variety he first conceived the idea for “Squid Game” in 2008 as a film. But he was diverted by work on several hit films before being able to revisit the project about 10 years later.

“When I started, I was in financial straits myself and spent much time in cafes reading comics including ‘Battle Royale’ and ‘Liar Game,'” Hwang said. “I came to wonder how I’d feel if I took part in the games myself. But I found the games too complex, and for my own work focused instead on using kids’ games.”


S.Korea broadband firm sues Netflix after traffic surge from 'Squid Game'


By Joyce Lee | October 1, 2021

SEOUL, Oct 1 (Reuters) - South Korean Internet service provider SK Broadband has sued Netflix (NFLX.O) to pay for costs from increased network traffic and maintenance work because of a surge of viewers to the U.S. firm's content, an SK spokesperson said on Friday.

The move comes after a Seoul court said Netflix should "reasonably" give something in return to the internet service provider for network usage, and multiple South Korean lawmakers have spoken out against content providers who do not pay for network usage despite generating explosive traffic.

Netflix said it will review SK Broadband's claim, and seek dialogue and explore ways in the meantime to work with SK Broadband to ensure customers are not affected.

The popularity of the hit series "Squid Game" and other offerings have underscored Netflix's status as the country's second-largest data traffic generator after Google's YouTube, but the two are the only ones to not pay network usage fees, which other content providers such as Amazon, Apple and Facebook are paying, SK said.

Netflix's data traffic handled by SK jumped 24 times from May 2018 to 1.2 trillion bits of data processed per second as of September, SK said, riding on the success of several Netflix productions from Korea including "Squid Game" and "D.P."

SK Broadband said it lodged a lawsuit against Netflix for it to pay for using SK's networks since Netflix began using SK's dedicated line starting 2018 to deliver increasingly larger amounts of data-heavy, high-definition video content to viewers in Korea from servers in Japan and Hong Kong.

Last year, Netflix had brought its own lawsuit on whether it had any obligation to pay SK for network usage, arguing Netflix's duty ends with creating content and leaving it accessible. It said SK's expenses were incurred while fulfilling its contractual obligations to Internet users, and delivery in the Internet world is "free of charge as a principle", according to court documents.

But the Seoul Central District Court ruled against Netflix in June, saying that SK is seen as providing "a service provided at a cost" and it is "reasonable" for Netflix to be "obligated to provide something in return for the service".

SK estimated the network usage fee Netflix needed to pay was about 27.2 billion won ($22.9 million) in 2020 alone, the court document said.

Netflix has appealed against the ruling, court records showed, with fresh proceedings to start in late December.

Netflix said in a statement on Wednesday that it contributed to the creation of about 16,000 jobs in South Korea stemming from about 770 billion won in investments, as well as an economic effect of about 5.6 trillion won.

Ruling party lawmaker Kim Sang-hee said on Wednesday that out of South Korea's top 10 data traffic generators, 78.5% of the traffic came from foreign content providers, up from 73.1% a year earlier, with "Google-YouTube and Netflix that account for the majority turning a blind eye to network usage fees".

In the United States, Netflix has been paying a fee to broadband provider Comcast Corp (CMCSA.O) for over seven years for faster streaming speeds. https://reut.rs/2Y8wOzb
($1 = 1,187.3400 won)


Reporting by Joyce Lee, Additional reporting by Nivedita Balu in Bengaluru; Editing by Raju Gopalakrishnan and Anil D'Silva


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'Squid Game' leads went through the acting mill

BY KIM JEONG-YEON [kjdcultue@joongang.co.kr | October 3, 2021



Actor Lee Jung-jae [NETFLIX]

Actor Lee Jung-jae is showing some new acting chops on the Netflix hit “Squid Game.” Lee was looking for something new after too many villain roles.   
In “Squid Game," Lee plays Gi-hun, who has lost his job, lost his wife in a divorce and lost money in gambling. He doesn’t have a regular job and wears questionable combinations of clothes.   
While fans are digging Lee's performance, they also have welcomed actor Park Hae-soo, who is something of a new face on screens after a career mostly on the stage.   
Park plays Sang-woo, who grew up in the same neighborhood as Gi-hun and went to Seoul National University. After working in finance, he lost a chunk of change and ended up joining the Squid Game.   
The two actors sat down for an online interview with the JoongAng Ilbo, an affiliate of the Korea JoongAng Daily, last week to talk more about the series and their characters.   
Q. How different is this role from other recent roles?
A. Lee: As I grow older, I am only offered roles that have to show strong personalities, or villains. I was contemplating whether I could show something new to the audience, I was offered the role of Gi-hun by director Hwang Dong-hyuk. I thought, I would like to play an everyday man that anyone can see anywhere in their daily routines. I was so pleased to get an offer from the director, and I was even more delighted with the role I was offered.   
Do you think the tone of your acting was different?
Lee: When I first saw my acting, I laughed so hard questioning whether that really was me. I felt like I threw away a lot of things. Some facial expressions I rarely show in life were shown. I do remember that I did make such faces a long time ago in my acting, but not recently. So I laughed.   
What was the most difficult part?
Lee: In fact, acting very mundane everyday moments are the most difficult. What I do has to be natural, and there are some points where I need to look like one of those mundane people the audience sees in their everyday life. When I first got the script and started practicing, I felt very uncomfortable. That felt so weird for me. I was basically asked to do what I do daily, and what I do naturally, but what I was acting seemed so unnatural. I guess it took time to practice until I synced things up. I had to go back and forth between the actions that were very much routine and some things that were so extreme. The director told me that I already have all the traits in me and encouraged me to show just a little more.   
Was there any particular scene that was hard to do?
Lee: There is a scene where I had to lick things as I played the dalgona game. I wasn’t sure if I had to go there and do that. But for your own survival, it made sense. I think.   
You have earned the image of an actor with a good look. Isn't it a problem to do something that may make you look ugly?
Lee: I really look ugly now. (Laugh) Those who saw me wearing a cap in the show told me I really looked bad with that cap and why on earth did I wear that particular hat. But as an actor, I don’t think I have ruined my image in any way. Because I am an actor, I try different things, and that was something essential to make Gi-hun real. I never thought I was ruining anything when I was preparing for a shoot and when I was actually shooting. I think [the crew] had a lot to think about in terms of what outfits I should wear to play the character.




Actor Pakr Hae-soo [NETFLIX]

Tell us what you did to play Sang-woo.
Park: I met with people who graduated from prestigious universities. My character is insecure and feels restless when he doesn’t get to be in the top place. I wanted to know more about the kind of insecurity that people who went to good schools may have. I met with some people to interview.   

What was it like to play a scene where you have to betray others?
Park: I shouldn’t sympathize, but since I personally like the actor who played the other character, I was really hurt. I was supposed to sympathize with the idea that I need to push others to have myself survive, but it felt complicated.

What was the relationship between Gi-hun and Sang-woo?
Park: My character was able to become a member of the elite and be the best in what he does and make money. But he was never able to develop a down-to-earth personality and other easy-going traits Gi-hun has. He was jealous of that and such emotion kept him from keeping his distance from Gi-hun.



'Squid Game' becomes first series to top daily charts in all 83 countries where Netflix streams


BY LEE JAE-LIM [lee.jaelim@joongang.co.kr] | October 3, 2021



A scene from Netflix series ″Squid Game″ [NETFLIX]

By topping Netflix India’s top 10 TV shows chart on Friday, Netflix Korea’s original series “Squid Game” set another milestone by ranking No. 1 in all 83 countries in which the streaming platform currently compiles its data from.   
Out of all Netflix series, “Squid Game” is the first to top daily charts in all 83 countries.   
According to streaming analytics company FlixPatrol, the series even beat the prior No. 1 Indian-comedy series “Kota Factory” in the daily chart, an unprecedented feat considering the fact that Indian viewers usually remain loyal to locally produced content. 
On Friday, the series ranked No. 1 in 81 countries except for Denmark and Turkey, in which the series slipped to No. 2.  
“The show is now expected to be seen by more than 82 million subscribers worldwide in its first 28 days [since its release],” Fortune magazine wrote on Sunday. “When compared to traditional television, that’s more than the number of 18-to-49-year olds estimated by Nielsen to have watched the 40 highest-rated broadcast and cable shows of the past year combined.”   
The cast of the series is also scheduled to make an appearance on an upcoming episode of NBC’s “The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon” on Wednesday.  
“Squid Game” centers around 456 players selected by mysterious hosts who bet their lives to participate in a series of survival games in which the ultimate winner earns prize money of 45.6 billion won ($38.7 million).

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'Squid Game' all the rage in Paris


이원주 / 2021-10-04 10:50:19


▲ This photo, provided by Netflix France, shows visitors at a pop-up store for the Netflix series "Squid Game" in Paris playing a game of "dalgona bbobggi" on Oct. 3, 2021. (PHOTO NOT FOR SALE) (Yonhap)

PARIS, Oct. 4 (Yonhap) -- A pop-up store for Netflix's original Korean series "Squid Game" opened up in France over the weekend, attracting fans in Europe.

The pop-up store, set up at a cafe in Paris' 2nd arrondissement, ran from Saturday to Sunday and allowed visitors to take photos with the staff dressed up as red-suit guards as in the show.

The store also showcased a childhood game featured in the series known as "dalgona bbobgi." Visitors at the pop-up store took on the challenge, in which they have to successfully crack sugar candy into a particular shape, such as a star, without breaking the whole piece.

"Squid Game" is a nine-part thriller, which revolves around a group of people taking part in a series of deadly games to win 45.6 billion won (US$38.5 million) in prize money.

After its official release on Sept. 17, it entered the top 10 on the world's popular Netflix TV show rankings offered by streaming analytics firm FlixPatrol and became the first South Korean show to hit No. 1 on Netflix's top 10 TV show list in the United States.

Last month, Ted Sarandos, co-CEO of Netflix, said "Squid Game" may become the global streaming entertainment giant's most successful original content ever.

"Squid Game will definitely be our biggest non-English language show in the world, for sure," he said during Code 2021, an annual technology conference hosted in Beverly Hills, California, by American media company Vox Media.


Cast members of the TV series, including actors Lee Jung-jae and Park Hae-soo, are set to appear on NBC's "The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon" on Wednesday as guests in an online interview. (END)


(C) Yonhap News Agency. All Rights Reserved



‘Squid Game’ cast to appear on Jimmy Fallon show

By Lee Si-jin (sj_lee@heraldcorp.com) October 4, 2021


From left: Actors Heo Sung-tae, Park Hae-soo, Lee Jung-jae, Jung Ho-yeon and Wi Ha-joon pose for a photo after an online press conference on Sept. 15. (Netflix)

Actors of “Squid Game” are scheduled to appear on popular US late-night show “The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon,” in a special interview with the show‘s host.

According to Netflix, the four actors -- Lee Jung-jae, Park Hae-soo, Jung Ho-yeon and Wi Ha-joon -- will join the late-night show online for an episode that will be recorded Tuesday. The show is set to air the following day in the US.

The nine-part thriller has topped global Netflix charts since its release, and became the first South Korean show to reach the top spot in the streaming platform’s show rankings in the US.

K-pop sensation BTS and Blackpink as well as Oscar-winning director Bong Joon-ho have also been guests on the show.

“Squid Game” has ranked as the most popular show on the streaming platform in some 80 countries for 11 days, according to US-based streaming analytics firm FlixPatrol.



Dalgona candy all the rage around the world


By leemail@donga.com · whatsup@donga.com | October 05, 2021



International viewers of the Netflix’s series ‘Squid Game’ call Korean nostalgic treat dalgona a “Korean hokey pokey” or “honeycomb toffee.” With Squid Game becoming a global sensation, dalgona has become a new form entertainment around the world.

According to online retailer G-Market on Monday, the sales of dalgona kit has increased 270 percent compared to the same period of last month, for about two weeks from Sept. 17, when the Korean series was released on Netflix. On international e-commerce sites, such as Amazon and eBay, dalgona kits are being sold with screenshots of Squid Game in the description section. The kits are being sold at around \20,000 or \40,000 ($22-$36), up to eight times the domestic price, which ranges from \5,000 to \10,000. To international customers, dalgona comes across as a unique Korean treat.

It appears making dalgona has become something of a trendy game. There are about 280,000 posts on dalgona on Instagram. International fans are sharing videos of themselves making dalgona on their social media. A pop-up store for Squid Game opened for two days in Paris, France was crowded with fans, who came to experience making dalgona and a game of ddakji.

The effect of the recent Squid Game craze was also evident in Korea. According to the convenient chain CU, the sales of sugar, which is the main ingredient of dalgona, surged 45 percent from Sept. 17 to Sept. 30 from the previous two weeks. Street vendors selling dalgona have also enjoyed a rise in sales. Some 30 people lined up in front of a dalgona shot near Hyehwa station in Seoul. “I’ve never seen dalgona vendors competitively selling the candy,” an internet user wrote on his social media. “This is also the first time I’ve seen dalgona candies sold out at “Aunt’s ppopgi” run by an old lady in Myeongdong.” 

The reason foods in movies and dramas are gaining popularity is because foods stimulate synesthesia, experts say. “Viewers tend to imitate the experiences of the protagonist in order to satisfy their desire to feel connected to the characters in their favorite movies and series,” said Moon Jeong-hoon, professor of agricultural economics and sociology at Seoul National University. “Among them, foods are perfect in maximizing experiences since they use all five human senses, unlike automobiles and fashion.”



Squid Game actors gain millions of Instagram followers after hit show

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Netizens claim awkward English subtitles in 'Squid Game' change meaning of show


연합뉴스 / 2021-10-05 14:34:11


▲ This photo, provided by Netflix, shows Korean survival drama series "Squid Game." (PHOTO NOT FOR SALE) (Yonhap)

SEOUL, Oct. 5 (Yonhap) -- Since making a sensation as Netflix's most-watched drama series, the English subtitles for "Squid Game" has been receiving continuous criticism for awkwardly translating Korean lines. 

The nine-episode thriller follows a group of people entering life-and-death survival games to win a 45.6 billion won prize money, however viewers claim that some of the unnatural English subtitles do not accurately convey the original meaning of the drama. 

On Tuesday (Korean time), BBC have brought attention to a particular Twitter user named Youngmi Mayer who claims "the closed-caption subtitles in English are 'so bad' that the original meaning is often lost." 

"The dialogue was so well written and zero of it was preserved [in the subtitles]," Youngmi wrote on a Twitter post on Oct. 1. 

Youngmi also pointed out that the subtitle which read, "I'm not a genius, but I still got it worked out," properly translated into English means "I am very smart, I just never got a chance to study." 

However, the closed-caption subtitles Youngmi had initially commented were known to have been automatically generated in a video for the hearing-impaired, and the Twitter user clarified that the English language translations provided elsewhere were "substantially better." 

Another user commented on Youngmi's post, saying, "Me and my flatmate both watched Squid Game on two different laptops and our English subtitles were different," adding, "The distinctions were subtle but even that made it feel like we were watching different shows." 

A Twitter user named Yasmin also said, “I also watched it in Korean and as a multi-lingual speaker with translation and subtitling experience I just noticed a lot of messy areas and it was so basic,” adding, “I also (just to see what it was like) started to watched the dubbed version- it was worse.”

Although BBC has asked Netflix about the claims, the global streaming entertainment giant did not respond. 

In Korea, it has also been pointed out that the names that different characters call each other in “Squid Game” are also awkwardly translated in English.

The term “oppa,” which is used when calling an older brother or a close older male friend, was translated as "old man" and “ajumma," which translates to "ma'am" in Korean was simply written as "grandma," failing to properly express Korea's unique names.

(C) Yonhap News Agency. All Rights Reserved



Lee Jung Jae and Jung Hae In Dominates October Movie Star Brand Reputation Rankings


by Munjeong Jung




Credit: Netflix

According to Korea Enterprise Reputation Institute, Lee Jung Jae, Jung Hae In and Wi Ha Joon came in first, second and third for this month’s brand reputation rankings for film actors respectively.

The institute produced the ranking by analyzing the consumer participation, media coverage, communication, and community awareness indexes of 50 most-loved movie stars, using big data collected from September 4th to October 4th.

This month’s top 30 actors are the following:
1. Lee Jung Jae, 2. Jung Hae In, 3. Wi Ha Joon, 4. Lee Yoo Mi, 5. Gong Yoo, 6. Lee Byung Hun, 7. Park Jung Min, 8. Kim Dae Myung, 9. Lee Soo Kyung, 10. Heo Sung Tae, ..

First of all, Lee Jung Jae, who topped the list, saw a 520.64 percent increase compared to July. Secondly, Jung Hae In, who came in the second, saw 395.24 percent growth compared to three months ago. Lastly, Wi Ha Joon, who landed on the third, saw a 389.45 percent rise compared to the same period this year.

Koo Chang Hwan, the director of the Korea Enterprise Reputation Institute, said, “Lee Jung Jae topped this month’s brand reputation list for movie stars. Many link results explain that he has a “transforming, friendly and diverse” image and many searched him by Squid Game, Netflix and Instagram.”

Source (1)
Translator Jung Munjeong: I’ll provide you with the latest articles on K-Drama, K-Pop and K-Movie as quickly as I can.



Ranked: from Lee Jung-jae to Jung Ho-yeon, 8 Squid Game actors whose characters we were really rooting for in the Netflix K-drama series

  • The more we get to know characters in survival-game series Squid Game the more it hurts when they meet their fate. We pick out eight we admire or who move us
  • A couple are baddies, others, like Lee’s character Gi-hun, sympathetic. There’s one everyone probably roots for, then there’s Squid Game’s breakout star


By Pierce Conran | 3 Oct, 2021


This article contains spoilers.

Squid Game on Netflix has been thrilling global audiences with its twisty and twisted death game, in which 456 contestants unwittingly sign up for a series of deadly playground challenges. We didn’t get to meet all those players, but we quickly became attached to the ones we did.

We spent more time with those who survived the early rounds, but the more we got to know them, the more it hurt when they eventually stumbled and met a grisly fate, because in the end there could only be one.

We’ve gone back and ranked the eight contestants we were rooting for the most. Some of them for touching our hearts, others for gaining our admiration through their tenacity, and others still for being the bad guys and keeping things interesting – the game floor wasn’t the only place characters could be “eliminated”.


Lee Jung-jae in a still from Squid Game. Photo: Netflix

4. #456 Seong Gi-hun (Lee Jung-jae)

Both the last player drafted and our entry point into the story, Seong Gi-hun is a deadbeat dad and washed up gambler who isn’t above stealing from his own mother. Yet he’s also a sociable sort who becomes increasingly sympathetic through the games, as his positive attitude brings people together and as he risks his life to save others.


A leading actor for 23 years, Lee Jung-jae was well known for romantic roles until he pivoted into action and thriller parts as he got older, thanks to his booming baritone voice and huge on-screen presence. Through Gi-hun, Squid Game introduced us to a new, avuncular side to the veteran star.


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Phone number in Squid Game's business card scene to be edited out: Netflix



The number on the business card in Netflix's Squid Game will be edited out. // Screengrab from Netflix

It was a show that took the world by storm and even had Singaporeans joining in on the fun.

Yes, we're talking about Netflix's Squid Game — the dystopian streaming series centred around 456 participants who are competing for a chance to win 45.6 billion won (S$52 million) but they suffer deadly consequences should they lose.

Aside from capturing the minds and hearts across the globe, the show also sparked some interesting reactions from the public. For example, people were transferring 456 won to a bank account number that was featured in a scene from the show.

In case you're curious, director Hwang Dong-hyuk said the account actually belongs to one of the producers of the show but has been closed "to avoid potential issues in the future".

Another similar incident saw people calling a number that was shown on a business card. Unfortunately, the number turned out to be real and the unlucky individual reportedly received over 4,000 calls.

Well, it seems that Netflix and production company Siren Pictures Inc are resolving the issue by "editing scenes with phone numbers where necessary".

"Together with the production company, we are working to resolve this matter, including editing scenes with phone numbers where necessary," a Netflix spokesperson told The Independent.

The fix should provide some relief for the owner of the number who told South Korean publication Money Today that he has been receiving "endless" calls and texts.

"It has come to the point where people are reaching out day and night due to their curiosity. It drains my phone's battery and it turns off," he said.

As of the time of publishing, the scene hasn't been edited yet.

So if you're feeling FOMO, or you just haven't had a chance to watch it, perhaps you might want to do it soon.



Netflix to delete phone number scene in ‘Squid Game’


By Lee Si-jin (sj_lee@heraldcorp.com) | October 6, 2021


The mysterious business card from “Squid Game” (Netflix)

A scene showing a telephone number on a mysterious business card will be deleted from the drama series “Squid Game,” an official of Netflix Korea said, after the number’s owner was bombarded by thousands of calls since the show’s release.

In the first episode, actor Gong Yoo makes a cameo, giving Lee Jung-jae the business card and asked him to call the number printed on the back if he is interested in joining the so-called Squid Game contest.

The contest turns out to be a deadly one in which 456 competitors vie for a tempting prize of 45.6 billion won ($38.3 million).

The number printed on the business card is a number that is in use and the owner has claimed that he has been flooded with calls and text messages, while others with similar phone numbers also said they have become victims of prank calls.

“We are trying to resolve the issue with the production company, including editing the original scene with the phone number where necessary,” the official said.

The official said the company is trying its best to resolve the problem with the alleged victims and the owner of the phone number, but did not give further details.

“We would like to ask the fans to stop making late-night calls and messages,” the company added.

According to the Netflix Co-CEO Ted Sarandos, the Korean sci-fi thriller is on track to be Netflix’s biggest show ever, attracting far more viewers than the highly popular French-language crime drama “Lupin.” 

The nine-part series “Squid Game” became the most popular show on the streaming platform in some 80 countries, according to streaming analytics firm FlixPatrol.



Netflix to replace scenes with exposed phone number in 'Squid Game'


연합뉴스 / 2021-10-06 08:57:41


▲ This photo, provided by Netflix, shows survival drama "Squid Game." (PHOTO NOT FOR SALE) (Yonhap)

SEOUL, Oct. 6 (Yonhap) -- Global streaming entertainment giant, Netflix announced to edit several scenes from "Squid Game" that exposed people's personal phone numbers, which has previously caused controversy. 

"The production company and Netflix are making every effort to resolve the situation smoothly, and we have decided to replace scenes with people's phone numbers," Netflix explained on Tuesday. 

"We politely ask fans to refrain from sending prank calls or messages," Netflix added. 

After an 8-digit phone number was shown in scenes from "Squid Game," the owner of the phone number as well as others who have similar numbers complained to be receiving endless calls all day. In addition, a bank account number actually used by one of the production crew was exposed, causing some fans to actually transfer money to the account.

The nine-episode thriller follows a group of people entering life-and-death survival games to win a 45.6 billion won prize money and has maintained the No. 1 spot for twelve days as the world's most popular Netflix TV show. (END)

(C) Yonhap News Agency. All Rights Reserved


KKANBU Chicken proposed commercial model to the first participant of ‘Squid Game’

Oh Young-su, Lee Jung-jae's 'gganbu' from 'Squid Game,' turns down Gganbu Chicken's ad modeling offer

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  • Helena changed the title to Lee Jung-Jae 이정재 [Movie “Hunt” | Upcoming: Star Wars series “The Acolyte” (Disney+)]

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