Squid Game star says Netflix's twisted survival contest could become a reality

WOULD you risk death playing childhood games in order to wipe out your debts and walk away with millions? 

That is the premise of Netflix’s biggest ever show — the South Korean-made Squid Game — that is taking the world by storm.


Described as “hyper-violent” by critics, with more than 200 deaths in episode one, it has been compared to a twisted mix of films Saw, The Hunger Games and Battle Royale.

And actor Wi Ha-joon, who plays policeman Hwang Jun-ho in the nine-part series, says he fears the gruesome fictional contest could in fact become reality.

In an exclusive interview, he told The Sun: “If the extreme competition and wealth gap of our society persist or intensify, I think it might become a reality to varying degrees.

“But I certainly hope it never happens and I don’t think it should.

“It’s a captivating series where a social satire about class conflict, the wealth gap and the depths of human nature is presented in a survival genre that forces the characters into ruthless competition for a massive cash prize and their lives. 

“It has a refreshing premise that uses Korean traditional games as part of a shocking murder game.

“And while it captures the greed and true nature of various people at a crossroads to make choices, it also presents moving human narratives of individual characters that resonate with the viewers. 

“That’s why I think so many people can relate to the story and immerse themselves in the series.”

And immerse themselves, they have. 

Bigger than Bridgerton, The Crown and Stranger Things, the show has topped the Netflix viewing figures in more than 90 countries across the world, including here in the UK.

Elimination done    by snipers’ rifles

Could it be that after 18 months of lockdowns and self-isolation, the prospect of escapism — even to somewhere so dark and sinister — is fuelling its success?

Wi, 30, said: “I think a lot of people relate to the messages of Squid Game and are immersing themselves in the story because times are turbulent across the world due to Covid-19. 

“On the one hand, I feel sad to think that such positive reactions to the series might be reflective of how difficult and intense life is these days.

“But I also find it rewarding as an actor that a series I’m part of offers so many people the comfort and entertainment that they need. 

“I watched the entire series a total of three times, and on the second and third watch I discovered the hidden meanings and details that I missed when watching it for the first time.”

 But if he ever found himself down and out, would Wi enter the game himself?

The star said: “I might be curious to find out what it is and I think I’d do well in the game, but I’d try to put that energy to good use and work harder in real life. 

“I’d share any winnings with my family and make lots of donations. I love working out, so I’d also open a spacious, state-of-the-art fitness centre.”

The series opens with lead character Seong Gi-hun having fallen on hard times, separated from his wife and daughter, gambling relentlessly and stealing from his elderly mother.

A chance meeting with a businessman on a train platform gives him an invitation card to take part in the contest, where 45billion won (around £27million) is up for grabs if he can simply survive six rounds of childhood games.

The games are played on a mysterious Bond villain-like island. 

Other contestants include a young North Korean defector, a thuggish gang member, a dodgy investor on the run from cops, a terminally ill old man and an illegal immigrant from Pakistan. 

From the moment the first game begins, you know this is not going to be as simple as winning at conkers. Green Light Red Light, also known as Grandma’s Footsteps, sees contestants have to pass over a finish line before a timer runs out — but they are eliminated if a sinister doll catches them moving when “Red Light” is announced.

And the “elimination” is done with snipers’ rifles. 

Next up is the Honeycomb Challenge, where hopefuls have to use a needle to cut out a shape in a biscuit without breaking it.

Sounds rather simple, doesn’t it? But it depends on the shape — and whether your life is on the line.

Thirdly, it is a good old-fashioned tug of war — hundreds of feet in the air so the losers plunge to a very gruesome death.

After that, there is a game of marbles and a terrifying walk across an unstable glass bridge before the finale Squid Game itself, essentially a more violent version of British Bulldog.

Director Hwang Dong-hyuk, who started working on the series back in 2008, said the ideas were inspired by his lowly upbringing in Ssangmun-dong, a neighbourhood in Seoul, South Korea.

‘Most intense and fierce’

He said: “I chose the simplest games that I used to play as a child. I selected Grandma’s Footsteps as the very first game because it would be most suitable for hundreds of people to play at once, while a crowd doing the stop-and-go altogether would be interesting to watch. 

“The Honeycomb Game was what I enjoyed as a child, and I thought my secrets to winning were interesting enough to be included in the work. 

“As for the sky tug-of-war, I liked its visual kicks and the fact that it’s a team competition. Playing marbles had an odd sensation that the beautiful marbles gave. The game’s simplicity was nice.

“The glass stepping stones was created in line with the theme of the work, that the winner stands on the path built on the sacrifice and failure of the precedents. 

“I placed the Squid Game in the end since it was the most intense and fierce game among all the children’s games.”

So will there be a series two, if anyone survives the first? 

Director Hwang, 50, told The Sun: “I have not looked through it all but I do realise there are huge expectations for season two.

“It’s not that I haven’t thought about season two at all, and I also do have a rough framework for it. 

“But I keep asking myself whether I can make it better than season one. I do not want people to get disappointed.”

If he struggles at all, the internet is awash with fan theories about how things conclude and what happens next

Hwang said: “If I ever make season two, I will try to look up those many ideas, and of course if there are any good ones I can bring them into the story. 

“Since I prefer writing alone, maybe all these ideas on YouTube can function as my writer’s room. 

“Or maybe I can even ask the fans on social media to give ideas.”




KIDS’ FAVOURITE BEHIND HIT  SHOW

SQUID Game is named after a South Korean ­childhood game similar to our British Bulldog.

The rules sees players defending and attacking and it is played out on an often chalk-drawn area in the rough shape of a squid (left).

In Netflix’s version though, the challenge is a fight to the death. A mysterious invitation to join the games is sent to people who are down on their luck and in dire need of money. Some 456 participants, including the show’s main protagonist – Seong Gi-hun, a divorced and indebted former factory worker – are locked into a secret location where they play the games in order to win millions.

The challenges are based on traditional Korean children’s games, such as Red Light, Green Light and the honeycomb biscuit game. 

IS BRUTAL SQUID GAME A WINNER?

YES 

BY ANDY HALLS HEAD OF TV 

IT’S been a long time since I felt inclined to watch a full series in less than 24 hours, but I just couldn’t switch off Squid Game. 

In the brief period of sleep I got after ploughing through the first four episodes, all I could think about was whether I’d take part if I were desperate enough. 

And that’s the point here. 

Unlike other shows of a similar ilk, these characters chose to participate.

They have not been forced like in The Hunger Games or Saw. They’re so desperate they feel they have no choice. 

Stick with the initial episode, which sets the scene and can be a little cheesy and am-dram at times, and you’ll get your just rewards from the first childhood game alone. 

The sequence in Red Light, Green Light where Frank Sinatra’s Fly Me To The Moon plays over gunfire is a cinematic masterclass. 

Sack off the dubbing, too. Subtitled drama makes you pay attention and this is blink and you’ll miss it telly. Plus, the actual dubbing itself will have you reaching for one of the guards’ guns to end it all. 

The beauty of Squid Game is the perfect blend of great characters and genuine jeopardy. 

It’s not like 24 or the Bourne movies where you know your favourite is surviving all manner of nonsense because there is another series or sequel to come. 

This is just unbridled brutality and no one is safe. 

Is it too violent? Is it heck. 

Sure, there are a lot of deaths but there’s also a lot of contestants.

If Line Of Duty added another 500 coppers to the cast, you’d see more bodies piled up, too.

But this is more than just point-blank murders and gratuitous bloodshed. 

There are several moments that had me reaching for the tissues, such was the depth of characters and quality of storyline. 

You’ll be hard pushed to find a better, or more unique, series to watch this year.

NO

BY ROD McPHEE TV Editor 

IN the course of normal life, nobody should risk flicking between regency drama Bridgerton or Come Dine With Me repeats and end up watching someone’s head get caved in.

Nor should they stumble across an unfortunate soul getting pummelled with bullets or plunging to their death from a bridge.

But that is the gamble you take scrolling through ­Netflix shows, which now include the repulsive Squid Game.

Like mugs, we pay – yes, actually hand over money – to the streaming service for the traumatic privilege.

Quite how it can justify airing this “drama” – which makes the bloody gladiator tournaments of ancient Rome look like school sports days – is incredible.

This is, after all, a streaming service. So unlike terrestrial channels you don’t get a true sense of how “adult” the content is based on how late it is placed in the schedules.

And Netflix’s description of the show does not even begin to convey the horror house of stomach-churning scenes you will witness

It simply says: “Hundreds of cash-strapped players accept a strange invitation to compete in children’s games. Inside, a tempting prize awaits – with deadly high stakes.”

Of course, the creators will say it is not really about the gore. They will insist it is all about human nature and how we respond when our backs are against the wall.

But we know all that already. We behave appallingly – and it should not be encouraged.

Just check out the people fighting over petrol last week, or hang around your local pub car park at closing time.

The world is full of idiots and violence. That is why this is a global hit. Thirsting after such gore appeals to the worst elements of human nature.

It is no better than rubber-necking a car crash or attending a public hanging – maybe both will feature in Netflix’s next big show.

    Source: Read Full Article