Squid Game has been making rounds all over social media because of many reasons – one of them being how great the cast members are in their roles. Did you know how they got their roles, though? We got to join a press con for the series before it aired and here’s what we learned:
Lee Jung-jae (Seong Gi-hun) shares that he always wanted to work with Director Hwang Dong-hyuk so when Director Hwang reached out, he was more than happy to join and read the script. “When I read the script, there were various emotions and situations that all played out in an intriguing way, and I thought it would be a fascinating story,” he shares. “I was really wondering how these games would be brought to life and every day on the set, it was filled with excitement and I really had a lot of fun!”
After seeing himself on the screen, Jung-jae admits that he was laughing at himself. “I felt like I was brainless or something, which was surprising to see,” he admits. It really is a very different role from what you would imagine from him, isn’t it? In fact, this is one of the reasons why Director Hwang cast him in the role, to begin with. “He is always portrayed as a really cool character starting from way back,” Director Hwang points out.
That is why I wanted to destroy his image in a way. I had this urge to do something about his image. Even when he is doing a cool character, you can always sense this streak of humanity from him and that was something I wanted to explore a lot deeper in this new series.” It was definitely a success!
Park Hae-soo (Cho Sang-woo) shares that he wanted to work with Director Hwang, as well as with Lee Jung-hae. “There really was no reason for me to not join,” he exclaims. The biggest reason for him, however, was the script. “It depicted so many different types of people. The growth, the character arcs, and the character development – it was all just so charming and very intriguing. This unique universe that Director Hwang created and how these games were brought to the screen… I really wanted to see it myself. It was a project that I really wanted to be a part of.”
It wasn’t all fun and games for Hae-soo, though. He admits that he had a hard time reading the inner feelings of Sang-woo. “I had a lot of discussions with Director Hwang until the very end,” he opens up. “What I got from this experience is that Sang-woo is the only one who could make certain choices. As events developed, Sang-woo has some changes internally and that’s a big change within him. But is it really just him who thinks this way? Maybe other people will think the same way.” Well, did you?
HoYeun Jung (Sae-byeok) admits that she didn’t exactly “choose” to be in the series. She auditioned for it because when she was reading the script, she couldn’t stop. “I started reading it late at night and finished it in one sitting until the morning,” she remembers. “I stayed up all night! That was how great the story was. I have been a fan of Director Hwang’s previous works, as well, so I was very excited.”
HoYeun Jung was actually in New York Fashion Week during the casting but cleared her entire schedule to be a part of Squid Game. “I put all of my energy into practicing acting to audition so when Director Hwang said he wanted to see me in person, I flew to Korea straight from my schedule from New York and I took the job,” she reminisces, adding that she also took lessons to learn the North Korean dialect.
Director Hwang shares that the minute he saw HoYeun Jung, he knew she was the right pick. Apparently, a lot of actresses auditioned for the role, but he just couldn’t find the perfect fit. “When I received the audition tape and saw it, I felt like this was it,” he shares. “She would be playing the role. The tone of the voice, the glare, and the aura – everything was perfect!”
Heon Sung-tae (Jang Deok-su) was also very surprised reading the script, which is why he joined. He adds that he also worked on The Fortress with Director Hwang and was most excited to see what he would say for directions in acting in Korean (since The Fortress was in a different language). “When I first met the director, he actually apologized for giving me another role in the gang because I’ve done it so many times in the past, but it was completely new,” he adds.
Wi Ha-joon (Joon-ho) also fell in love with the script. “The scenario was just extremely original and it was really shocking how children’s games could be used this way as a subject matter, so it was just very fascinating,” he raves. “I also wanted to work with this amazing group of people – the director and the cast. I really wanted to be a part of it and I was very lucky to be chosen. It’s a true honor.”
Ha-joon shares that his role was quite difficult, as well. After all, Joon-ho had to do scuba diving, run up mountains, and be soaking wet at times. Plus, there weren’t a lot of people nearby on the set with him. “Still, despite those difficulties, I know how many difficulties the other cast members had to go through, so I wasn’t the only one doing the hard work,” he says. Although Ha-joon had to lead certain scenes on his own, he is thankful that Director Hwang’s directions helped him get through them. “I would’ve loved to have been a part of the games, though,” he announces with a tinge of regret. “I would’ve loved to learn from these amazing co-stars and senior actors, too.”
But did you know why he was cast? His voice! Director Hwang points out that Ha-joon has a very deep and soft voice. “There might not be a lot of lines in the world of the masked men since they are not able to talk to each other, but in the small amount of lines that he had, his amazing voice is really enough to capture the hearts of those listening,” Director Hwang says. “This is one of the reasons why I cast him.”
Well, we think the entire cast was absolutely perfect. What did you think of the casting choices? Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org or send me a direct message at When in Manila Angeline on Facebook. Interact with the team and join the WhenInManila.com Community at WIM Squad! Join our WhenInManila.com community on Viber, as well!