December 6, 2021

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“My Squid Game Tells the World, Founded on Inequality and Injustice” – Corriere.it

from Stuart Jeffries

“Not only South Korea, I wanted to convey a message about modern capitalism,” says Hwang Ong-Hyuk, author of the most-watched Netflix series of all time. And reveals the personal drama behind it all

In his office in Seoul, Hwang Dong-Hyuk burst out laughing. I asked a writer and director squid game, the most watched series of Netflix, if his sudden success made him a rich man. In this dystopian drama, a mysterious organization challenges 456 players, from all walks of life – but each deeply in debt – to compete in a series of childish games. Whoever wins will go home with a £28m prize pool. Losers get shot in the head.


Little money

Perhaps Huang could now count on a fortune equal to that of his more fortunate competitor? He admits: “I’m not that rich, but I have enough to live on. It’s enough to put food on the table. And it’s not as if Netflix paid me any bonuses. He paid me as per the original contract. It seems to me unfair. After all, the director earned The 50-year-old South Korean has hundreds of millions of supporters.In early September, squid game pass it Bridgeton As the most successful TV series ever. According to rumors, the nine-episode drama cost £15.5 million to produce, or £1.75 million per episode. The profits collected were amazing. The series, which has been watched by 142 million households according to Netflix and persuaded another 4.4 million users to subscribe, has (so far) reached an estimated value of around €765 million for the streaming service. Perhaps Hwang should have negotiated a performance-related clause, only for the fact that creating and making the drama caused him such high levels of stress that he lost six teeth. “I am physically, mentally and emotionally exhausted. New ideas came to my mind and I kept revising episodes during filming, and that did nothing but double the amount of work.”

leave

idea squid game He was born out of a family relationship to Huang in 2009, when his country was hit hard by the global financial crisis. “I found myself in serious trouble, because my mother retired at that time. I was working on a movie and couldn’t find any funders. So I was inactive for a whole year. My mother and grandmother and I had to take out loans.” Hwang searched for some distractions at comic book cafes in Seoul . “I read Battle Royale Bouncing Gamee Other comics deal with survival games. I identified myself with all of their characters, driven by desperation and hunger for money and success. I reached the bottom of my life at that moment. If there really was a survival game like this, I wondered, would I have participated in saving my family? I realized that, as a director, I could add my personal touch to this type of story, and that’s when I started working on the script.

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game game

Hwang was inspired by a version of the catcher, the game he played as a child, called the “squid game”, because the different parts of the squid’s anatomy were drawn on the playground. “I was very good at fighting to get to the squid head,” says Hwang. “To win you had to fight.” In the series’ first episode, the 456 contenders can only move when the gloomy face of a mechanical doll is banished. Players who are caught on the move are clipped by a volley of a machine gun. Why on earth would Hwang create such a brutal and outrageous competition that destroys the value of human life? “Because the idea behind this series is very simple,” he explains. “We are all fighting for our lives in an unequal reality.”

The real problem

Is it a harsh judgment on capitalism, your judgment? “There is nothing metaphysical! Everything is very simple. I am convinced that the world economic system is based on inequality and that 90% of human beings are convinced of its deep injustice.” During the pandemic, poor countries failed to vaccinate their populations. People got sick and died in the streets. In this sense, yes, I have tried to convey a message about modern capitalism. But like I said, there’s nothing particularly mysterious.” But don’t you see a contradiction in the simple fact that without the money of a multinational company like Netflix, your critique of global capitalism would never surface? Hwang laughs again and says, “Well, Netflix is ​​a multinational, It’s true, but I don’t think it contributes to exacerbating the injustices in this world. No, in my opinion there is no contradiction. While working on this project, my goal was to finish at the top of the US Netflix chart for at least one day. Then squid game It ended up being a broader success, and eventually became the most-watched series on Netflix ever. I was so surprised. This shows that the global audience shares the message I wanted to send.” Hwang looked perhaps Bridgeton To study the competition? “I find it difficult to watch any series in its entirety. So far, there are only two that I followed to the end: Too bad NS Mindhunter . But I heard Bridgeton was cool and watched an episode, but I only got halfway there. I’m not interested in romance, it’s been six or seven years since my last relationship. I can’t relate to him.” Maybe that’s why the sex scenes in squid game They are very frustrated. I’m thinking of Episode IV, where two players, one of them a chauvinistic gangster, have sex in the shower.

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hidden love

There is no love in squid game , right? “Rather yes!” Hwang insists. «It is a different love, in an unusual, abnormal and hopeless situation. The woman is dependent on the strongest male in the group. He has to find something to hold on to. She is convinced that it is love, otherwise it would be very sad to offer sex to this man just to ensure survival. A woman wants love to be what she feels, but it’s not romantic love Bridgeton ».
Hwang admitted that he wrote this scene after watching a reality show on TV, in which contestants are abandoned on a desert island. “It is about observing the psychology of characters in extreme situations. Many are sexually attracted to those they consider the strongest or most skilled at obtaining food, even if they have no interest in them yet. Are women sexual objects? For the first time, a smile faded from Hwang’s face. “Why are you asking me about excessive sex of women?” He explains to me that his only goal was to “show that regardless of gender, men and women are ready for desperate acts when they find themselves faced with harsh situations. My goal was to create something that could be universally understood. Today we all live in a world squid game Among the Squid Game players is a defector from North Korea. “North Koreans today are the largest minority in South Korea, and their numbers will increase,” Hwang says. In my opinion, inter-Korean exchanges will strengthen and at some point there will be reunification. At least I hope so.” North Korea hasn’t given a very positive opinion of the series. According to a North Korean propaganda website, Arirang Meari, Hwang’s drama effectively demonstrates how South Korea is “stained with the law of survival of the fittest, corruption and immorality.” All terms, of course, that It has not been confirmed in North Korea, a truly egalitarian country.

fight

But Squid is not just a picture of his native country. “I aimed to create something that could generate wide resonance not only among Koreans, but all over the world. This was my aspiration.” In this struggle for life and death, social norms have been decimated as competitors find themselves mired in a war of all against all. , in which human life is tragic, brutal and ephemeral. “We live in a world of squid gameHwang insists, while saying that not all of his drama’s heroes are locked in their selfishness, not all of them are willing to outrun losers for money. Some viewers found the ending disappointing: the winner makes two surprising decisions regarding his family and the prize pool. american basketball legend, LeBron James, who really enjoyed the series, commented, “But I didn’t like the ending. What does that mean?” Is LeBron James wrong? Hwang laughs from Seoul, before hinting at one of James’ famous films. He asks me “Have you seen Space Jam 2?” Not everything, I answer.” LeBron James is cool and can say whatever he wants. I respect your opinions. I am honored that he watched the entire series. But I won’t change my ending. The end is mine. If James has a better ending, let him write it, a sequel to him. I’ll watch him and maybe send him a message saying: “I really enjoyed your series, except for the ending”.

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level movie

There is certainly another reason for Hwang’s deliberate conclusion, which cleverly winks at a sequel, where we can see the winner ready to take on the diabolical secret organization he’s running. squid game . However, there have been no announcements yet, and Hwang wasn’t sure there would be a second season, nor what the plot would be. “There are rumors. It’s inevitable, given the series’ success. I’m thinking about it. I have a high-end movie on my mind, but I won’t work right away. There is another work I want to do. For now, I’m trying to decide which one to prioritize. I’m going to have to talk to Netflix about it.” Hwang doesn’t want to go down in history just as a creator squid game And he’s pressing Netflix to stream three movies he’s made in the past decade. But he does not rule out the possibility of a sequel – albeit for a very physical reason. “Maybe” he admits with one last chuckle, “he’ll have to start a second season to get as rich as the winner in squid game».

Nov 13, 2021 (change on Nov 14, 2021 | 12:22)