‘Squid Game’ cast, producer and crafts roundtable interview
How does it feel that “Squid Game” has become a worldwide phenomenon, watched by over 142 million households globally? Although Netflix has picked up the show for a second season, we’re still reeling from how the first season ended.
Gold Derby senior editors Marcus Dixon and Rob Licuria welcome seven “Squid Game” cast members to an all-star roundtable discussion lasting well over one hour (watch above). We were joined by creator, director, writer and showrunner Hwang Dong-hyuk along with stars Lee Jung-jae, Park Hae-soo, Wi Ha-jun, Jung Ho-yeon, Heo Sung-tae, Anupam Tripathi and Kim Joo-ryoung, and key crafts talent Chae Kyoung-sun (production designer), Jung Jae-il (composer) and Jung Jai-hoon (visual effects supervisor).
Netflix dropped all nine episodes of the show on September 17 and it quickly became a word-of-mouth sensation. The series tells the story of down-on-their-luck people in dire need of money who 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 (which is around a not-too-shabby 38 million bucks). Of the 456 participants from all walks of life who are locked into a secret location to play Game 1, only a handful are left to play Game 6.
Multi-hyphenate Hwang Dong-hyuk created and produced “Squid Game,” writing and directing all nine episodes. Since his debut feature film “My Father” in 2007, Hwang has won numerous awards both internationally and at home in Korea, including for his period epic “The Fortress” (2017) and drama “Silenced” (2011).
Iconic leading man Lee Jung-jae plays Gi-hun, in desperate need of a large sum of cash to help his daughter overseas and his unwell mother. The actor is one of the most sought-after stars in Korea, most known for his work in “The Thieves,” “New World,” “The Face Reader,” “Assassination,” the “Along with the Gods” series and “Deliver Us from Evil.”
Park Hae-soo plays the calculating Sang-woo, one of Gi-hun’s neighborhood pals who is up to his neck in debt from a failed investment. Park is best known for his roles in drama series “Prison Playbook,” and films “By Quantum Physics: A Nightlife Adventure” and “Time to Hunt.”
Wi Ha-jun plays undercover cop Jun-Ho who infiltrates the game looking for his missing brother. He’s best known as the love interest in “Something in the Rain” and “Romance Is a Bonus Book” to the two-faced serial killer in “Midnight.”
Jung Ho-yeon makes her acting debut as pickpocketing North Korean defector Sae-byeok. The breakthrough performer first rose to prominence as joint runner-up of “Korea’s Next Top Model” in 2013, sweeping international runways ever since.
Heo Sung-tae plays villainous gangster Deok-su is on the run after losing everything at a casino. The actor is one of the veterans of the cast, having featured in films like “Hitman: Agent Jun,” “Black Money” and “The Divine Move 2: The Wrathful” and TV series “Beyond Evil,” “Psychopath Diary,” “Watcher” and “Different Dreams.”
Indian expatriate Anupam Tripathi plays Pakistani migrant worker Ali, whose hopes for the “Korean Dream” turned into a nightmare at the hands of a manipulative and neglectful employer. This is Tripathi’s follow up to his breakthrough role in the Korean Netflix space opera “Space Sweepers.”
Kim Joo-ryoung plays the troubled and unpredictable Mi-nyeo, who has always done whatever it takes to survive in the real world. She is best known for her roles in “The Snob” and “Land of Happiness” and TV series “Kingmaker: The Change of Destiny” and “When My Love Blooms.”
Award-winning production designer Chae Kyoung-sun is best known for her work on Hwang’s “The Fortress” and films “A Melody to Remember” and “Twenty.”
“Squid Game” is composer Jung Jae-il’s first time working with Hwang and his first time composing for a TV series, after a successful career as a film composer, most notably for Oscar-winning Bong Joon-ho‘s “Okja” and “Parasite.”
Visual effects supervisor Jung Jai-hoon brought a wealth of experience to the intricate visual and practical effects on “Squid Game,” having worked in Korea on various film productions over the years.