‘Squid Game’ production designer Chae Kyoung-sun evoked ‘nostalgia’ with her Emmy-nominated ‘Gganbu’ set [Exclusive Video Interview]

“I believe that out of the nine episodes of ‘Squid Game,’ episode six is likely to be the favorite of our foreign viewers. And I think this is because the episode deals with the various emotions of different types of human beings … and the fundamental fear over life and death,” says production designer Chae Kyoung-sun about the episode “Gganbu,” for which she earned an Emmy nomination for Best Production Design for a Narrative Contemporary Program. We talked to Chae as part of our “Meet the Expertspanel of Emmy nominated production designers. Watch our exclusive video interview above.

The series follows a group of desperate people coerced into competing in a deadly competition inspired by childhood games for the chance to win an enormous cash prize. “Gganbu” brings competitors to a series of interconnected alleyways where they play one-on-one games of marbles — the winning player lives, and the losing player dies. “In terms of production design,” Chae explains, “we really try to focus on having everything border on the real and fake … such as the sunset, the evening glow, all the finishes that we use in bringing that alleyway to life.”

Those alleyways were inspired by writer-director Hwang Dong-hyuk‘s memories. Hwang “talked a lot about his childhood to me about the times when the family wasn’t very well off during the 1970s and ’80s, when he would play in the alleyways with his friends,” Chae remembers. “He wanted to really bring that nostalgia back.” And Chae “really wanted to live up to the director’s expectations” in addition to serving the show’s story and themes. “Although these contestants are so desperately trying to return home, they can’t.”

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