Nam Na-young (‘Squid Game’ editor) on ‘the tension and the intensity’ of her nominated episode ‘Ggangbu’ [Exclusive Video Interview]

“It’s a huge personal honor,” declares editor Nam Na-young about receiving her first career Emmy nomination for her work on the Netflix blockbuster “Squid Game.” For our recent webchat she adds, “It still feels surreal and unreal but i’m really grateful.” Watch our exclusive video interview above.

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“Squid Game” was conceived by acclaimed feature writer/director Hwang Dong-hyuk, who not only created and produced “Squid Game” but also wrote and directed all nine episodes. The series stars leading man Lee Jung-jae as central hero Gi-hun, rising star Jung Ho-yeon as North Korean refugee Sae-byeok, Park Hae-soo as the calculating Sang-woo and Golden Globe winner O Yeong-su as old man Il-nam, all of whom are first-time Emmy nominees this year. The ensemble also features Wi Ha-jun as undercover cop Jun-ho, Heo Sung-tae as the villainous Deok-su, Anupam Tripathi as lovable migrant Ali and Kim Joo-ryoung as the delightfully unhinged Mi-nyeo.

The series is about down-on-their-luck people in dire need of money, who each receive mysterious invitations to join a dangerous life-or-death version of their childhood games in order to win a cash prize of 45.6 billion won (equivalent to about 38 million US dollars).The games depicted on “Squid Game” are adapted from traditional Korean children’s games, but in this dystopian fable, if and when you lose a game, you die. The show sets up this riveting roller-coaster ride for audiences, who are kept guessing throughout each nail-biting episode who will be the winner and what is the purpose behind the deadly competition, with the 456 participants eventually culled to a lucky few who remain to play the final game in the season finale. Netflix premiered all nine episodes of the South Korean thriller on September 17 of last year, after which it became a word-of-mouth sensation and the streaming giant’s most popular series launch ever, topping Netflix charts in over 80 countries. Director Hwang is now writing the show’s second season, perhaps one of the most highly anticipated follow ups in years.

SEE 2022 Emmy nominations: Complete list of contenders for 74th Primetime Emmys

After all of its commercial success, “Squid Game” could dominate at the Emmys next month by converting a number of its impressive 14 nominations into wins, particularly given its three surprise wins at the 2022 Screen Actors Guild Awards, where Lee won Best Drama Actor, Jung won Best Drama Actress and the series’ stunt crew took home the stunt ensemble prize. “I never expected this to happen, this global craze or hype to occur,” Nam admits. “At the same time I realized that you can tell a really universal story that can reach everybody’s hearts and people around the world can resonate with it and I’m very grateful for that.”

In her category (Best Drama Editing), she is one of four contenders (out of a total of seven) that was also nominated earlier this year for the American Cinema Editors “Eddie” Award (which was ultimately awarded to the “Succession” season finale). The first-time nominee now gets another chance to take home a win for her work on the show, once again submitting the acclaimed sixth episode “Ggangbu” for Emmy consideration (as she did for the Eddie). In that episode, players are forced to pair off for the fourth game in the deadly competition, playing marble games inspired by their childhood. While Gi-hun grapples with a moral dilemma in his game against Il-nam, Sang-woo chooses self-preservation against Ali and Sae-byeok shares her story with newfound confidante Ji-yeong (Emmy nominee for Best Drama Guest Actress Lee Yoo-mi). “There are some unique aspects to episode six that makes it special, by which I’m referring to the fact that you can see multiple groups playing the marble game,” she explains, “People felt that the tension and the intensity that was maintained throughout was very impressive, so that’s the reason why it was chosen as our submission.”

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