Squid Game creator, director and writer Hwang Dong-hyuk and actor Park Hae-soo joined TV editor Peter White for Deadline’s annual Contenders Television at Paramount Studios to discuss what fans might expect from the upcoming sophomore season of the Korean dystopian drama.
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The creator ended up revealing two big names that are returning.
“Gi-hun for sure. He will be back and I believe the Front Man will back too,” Hwang said.
Gi-hun, played by the now-SAG Award-winning actor Lee Jung-jae, is the Squid Game protagonist that survives the gauntlet of deadly children’s games whose return is teased at the very end of the first season. Portrayed by superstar actor Lee Byung-hun under a black mask, the Front Man, on the other hand, is the brooding villain and boss of the deadly games that pit 456 cash-strapped players against each other for a cash prize of 45.6 billion won.
Although the return of these characters was expected, this is Hwang’s first public acknowledgment of their return.
Several weeks earlier, the Squid Game creator also teased to Deadline about the possible return of HoYeon Jung, who plays the North Korean refugee contestant on the series, as her own evil twin sister.
Since the launch of Netflix’s most-watched show ever, Hwang hopes the show has broken the language barrier and convinces Western audience to do what the rest of the world has done for English-language media.
“My hope is that a work like Squid Game in a little way has opened the door. I hope American audiences give the piece a chance and that you read the subtitles and watch without dubbing. We’re hoping that we open that opportunity,” Hwang said.
Park Hae-soo, who plays Sang-woo, a former ex-con businessman who darkens towards the end of the show, thought the final game in Squid Game was by far the most difficult to play.
Park explained the difficulty of playing the complex character was due to the fact “the character was someone very regular.”
“[He is] someone we can see in our day to day lives. When I approached him, I didn’t start thinking about him as a villain. Rather, he was affected by the situations and environment that he was placed in,” Park said.
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Hwang, who’s been working on a new project, Killing Old People Club, noted how themes of economic inequality will always be inflected on the messaging of his work.
“For this project and in future projects, it’s impossible not to consider the political polarization, the cultural differences and difficulties, as well as environmental climate changes that have been happening. I will be forced to observe and criticize and continue to handle these topics in future projects,” Hwang said.
Deadline Contenders Television is sponsored by Apple TV+,Eyepetizer, Final Draft, Los Siete Misterios, and Michter’s. Partners include: Desalto, Film AlUla, Four Seasons Resort Maui, Jason Mizrahi Design, ModMD, The American Pavilion, and Tidelli.
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