Unlike the main character in his blockbuster streaming show, Hwang Dong-hyuk does not exactly hit the “Squid Game” jackpot.
Despite Netflix becoming a bona fide cultural phenomenon with a record number of viewers, Netflix’s “Squid Game” has not exactly proved to be a money cow for the Korean show’s backer. Series creator Hwang has revealed that the smash hit survival drama has basically given him “enough to put food on the table.”
“It’s not like Netflix is paying me a bonus,” the 50-year-old Seoul native told the Guardian. He also pointed out that despite his astronomical success – “Squid Game” recently overshadowed “Bridgerton”, which became Netflix’s most watched show ever – the streaming platform still pays him the amount stipulated in the original contract.
Hwang joked that he would probably never be as “rich” as “Squid Games” gambling-addicted protagonist Seong Gi-Hun (Lee Jung-Jae), who – spoiler alarm! – ends up winning the deadly tikamp prize of $ 38,460,271.20. But the author admitted that he has enough to do.
Still, it may seem trivial considering that the dystopian thriller has been seen by 142 million households, increasing Netflix’s subscriptions by 4.4 million. Currently, the show is estimated to be worth about $ 900 million for the streaming service.
Not to mention that the making of “Squid Game” took a serious toll on Hwang’s body and mind.
“It was physically, mentally and emotionally draining,” lamented the “Silence Director” for the creative process, which was reportedly so stressful that he lost six teeth.
Hwang also told the British magazine: “I kept having new ideas and revised the episodes while we were filming, so the amount of work was multiplied.”
“Squid Game” – where players with money compete in deadly playground competitions for prizes – is reportedly based on the series about Hwang’s struggles after the economic crisis that hit South Korea in 2009.
Hwang reportedly sought refuge in Seoul’s comics such as “Battle Royal” and “Liar Game,” which portray characters “desperate for money and success.”
“If there was a survival game like these in reality, I wondered, would I participate in it to make money for my family?” he told the Guardian. “I realized that since I was a filmmaker, I could put my own stamp on those kinds of stories, so I started on the script.”
Fortunately, Hwang has not shattered all hope of hitting the “Squid Game” jackpot.
“It’s possible I have to make season 2 to get as rich as’ Squid Game’s winner,” he said. However, it is still unclear if there will really be a season 2 – but even if there is, it probably would not fall until 2023.
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