At first, the game of “Marbles” from Episode 4 of Netflix’s Korean drama “Squid Game” might seem like a slight comedown after some of the more elaborate previous games. And yet, a relatively simple game of marbles leads to one of the show’s most devastating episodes, because each player picks their partner for the game, unaware they’ll have to compete against that person. The loser in this game of marbles dies.
In the latest “Making of” exclusive video provided by Netflix (watch above), Park Hae-soo, who portrays Cho Sang-woo, talks about how “Marbles” became the most memorable game for him, partially due to the way the set recreates the Korean village backstreets and alleys the actor remembered from growing up. “I felt a strange mix of emotions, nostalgia, and tension,” he says about filming Episode 4.
“The marble game was to reveal your most trusted and beloved friend, whom you must kill, in order to survive,” adds production designer Chae Kyoung-sun over another time-lapse video of her team building that set. “It is a very cold and heartbreaking game.”
SEE The Making of Squid Game: SAG Award winning actress Jung Ho-yeon and costume designer Cho Sang-kyung go behind the scenes of the Honeycomb game [WATCH]
“We chose the back alleys in a neighborhood where children would play, and the world was designed from Il-nam’s memories, it came from [his] happiest times” she says, referring to the oldest participant in these games, as played by Oh Young-soo. “Life and death, reality and fantasy – they all exist within the same space in these games.”
Cinematographer Lee Hyung-deok (“Train to Busan”) also offers some thoughts on how he used lighting to help create this illusion. “We also used exaggerated colors that would represent colors from their memories,” he explains, adding that once the players took a closer look, they couldn’t “decipher whether they’re in a dream or reality.” He adds, “We purposely used such methods to create such feelings.”
Series writer, director and executive producer Hwang Dong-Hyuk elaborates on the purpose of “Marbles” within the overall game. “At the end, these teams will split up as enemies. It begs the question to the audience, ‘Can a thing such as one team ever exist?’” In doing so, the episode expands the conflict within the game.
SEE The Making of Squid Game: Director Hwang Dong-hyuk and star Lee Jung-jae go behind the scenes of the Red Light, Green Light game [WATCH]
Some of “Squid Game’s” cast also talk about “Marbles” and how it affected their individual characters. Anupam Tripathi plays Ali, the only non-Korean taking part in the games, who has to play this lethal game against Cho Sang-woo, his closest ally in the game, making this episode quite unforgettable.
“This is the power of the story and the direction behind it,” Tripathi says about the episode. “The cast, the crew, even the extras were there to help you realize your character.”
Director Hwang notes that Tripathi has appeared in many Korean films, and during the casting, other candidates to play Ali seemed to be “pursuing acting on the side.” Hwang explains, “It was impossible not to go with Anupam, because his acting was at another level.”
Park commends Hwang on his casting prowess for adding an actor from a different nationality as he did with Tripathi, thereby making the ensemble cast more interesting. “Everyone was exactly the character I imagined,” he states.
“Every single actor was perfectly cast,” lead actor Lee Jung-jae, who plays Gi-hun, agrees. “They helped me get into my character, and I learned a lot from them. It was such a meaningful experience.”
We even get to hear from Oh Young-soo himself. “I was reminded of my childhood playing the game,” the elder actor says. “When you watch the marbles scene, you can see the falsehood and truth in people. The game reveals a player’s humanity, and especially to Gi-hun.”
Hwang says they paid extra attention to the casting of Il-nam, wanting the actor to be an unknown, to seem more like his character in the show. “Il-nam is also a very three-dimensional character, who can be a feeble old man suffering from dementia and a brain tumor, but at times, he shows a stronger side.”
Check back on Thursday for another “Making Of” video on “Squid Game” Episode 5.
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