‘Squid Game’ Director Hwang Dong-hyuk on Netflix’s Hit Korean Series

Lee Sooyeon

             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. On his interview with the ‘Variety’, he said that he is not great at teamwork, 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.

p.c:Netflix

He claimed that he 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 he wanted it to use the kind of characters we’ve all met in real life.

             Hwang said that he doesn’t have well developed plans for ‘Squid Game 2, and it is quite tiring just thinking about it. But if he were to do it, he claimed that he would certainly not do it alone. He’d consider using a writers’ room and would want multiple experienced directors.

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