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'Squid Game' creator Hwang Dong-hyuk says he still believes in humanity

Entertainment 11:12 January 13, 2022

SEOUL, Jan. 13 (Yonhap) -- "Squid Game" creator Hwang Dong-hyuk has said he still believes in a humanity that moves people to put confidence in a better and more just society even under the life-and-death pressure of social survival games.

"We are living in a society where people dare to tread on other people to survive," he said Wednesday in a pretaped interview by the Seoul-based Corea Image Communication Institute. "But I still believe that this society doesn't have to be one where we need to kill others and override them to go up."

He cited a quote by Sae-byeok (Jung Ho-yeon) in the eighth episode -- "Don't do it. That isn't you. You're a good person at heart." The words interrupt Gi-hun (Lee Jung-jae), who tries to stab his old friend and final competitor Sang-woo while he is sleeping, ahead of the final round of the deadly contest of heavily debt-ridden people to win 45.6 billion won (US$38.2 million) in prize money.

"I wanted to tell all of us 'that's not us' through this piece of work," said Hwang, who has made films with strong social messages, like "Silenced" (2011).

This photo, provided by the Corea Image Communication Institute (CICI), shows "Squid Game" creator Hwang Dong-hyuk (L) posing after winning a prize given by the CICI on Jan. 12, 2022. (PHOTO NOT FOR SALE) (Yonhap)

The simplicity of the children's games and satire of modern capitalist society in "Squid Game" won enthusiastic response across the world, becoming the most successful Netflix show in history. It was viewed for more than 1.65 billion hours in the first four weeks after its release on Sept. 17.

Hwang, who wrote and directed the nine-part dystopian series, said the world has changed to a large extent since he first conceived the idea of making "Squid Game" about 10 years ago. A draft of "Squid Game" had been shelved for about a decade, as local investors and producers turned down Hwang's project.

"When I first came up with this screenplay, many people said it was 'too ridiculous.' But our life has become worse since then," he said. "Along with wider wealth inequality and a stronger craze for speculation, the protracted pandemic made people eager to participate in the deadly but lucrative contest."

The phenomenal success of "Squid Game" spiked controversy in South Korea over the global streaming titan's monopoly of the entire intellectual property of Korean-language shows the company invests in.

The director-writer said it is necessary for the South Korean government to improve related systems to help content creators share the intellectual property rights of their works and foster young up-and-coming talents.

This image provided by Netflix shows a scene from "Squid Game." (PHOTO NOT FOR SALE) (Yonhap)

brk@yna.co.kr
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