It was very late at night time in Korea when Wi Ha-jun popped on a video name to talk with Deadline about his position in Netflix’s mega hit Squid Game, and the way his life has been turned the other way up for the reason that Korean-language collection entered the cultural stratosphere final month.
For those that stay below a rock, Squid Game is a survival drama set in Seoul, the place tons of of financially strapped contestants signed away their life rights to play youngsters’s video games for an opportunity at profitable a $38 million grand prize. Lose any spherical and be ready for a grisly loss of life.
Since debuting final month, the collection directed by Hwang Dong-hyuk shortly reached No. 1 on Netflix in 90 international locations inside its first 10 days. Currently, Squid Game is on monitor to grow to be Netflix’s greatest non-English-language collection and presumably supplant Bridgerton’s as the streamer’s biggest show of all time.
Wi performs Hwang Jun-ho, a rogue police officer who by accident stumbles behind-the-scenes of the modern-day Hunger Games. His mission to search out his misplaced brother shortly shifts gears as he’s confronted with an impossibly heinous recreation that makes use of human lives as leisure.
A scene-stealer regardless of his few strains, Wi spoke with Deadline by way of a translator in regards to the hidden fantastic thing about the ugly collection and why he thinks it resonated with a world viewers. He additionally reveals the issue of appearing behind a masks, and what we are able to count on subsequent from the rising Korean star.
Here’s the complete interview, which has been edited for size and readability.
DEADLINE: Squid Game has actually blown up since its Netflix debut. How has that affected your day-to-day and what has been the craziest factor that occurred to you because it dropped?
WI HA-JUN: I’d say the craziest factor that occurred to me is having an interview proper now with one of many greatest media firms on this planet. I additionally went on Late Night with Jimmy Fallon which was fairly loopy. I’m receiving tons of messages from followers world wide on my social media account. All of those occasions are actually shocking and new to me, and that fills my coronary heart with pleasure on a regular basis.
DEADLINE: You’ve appeared in a lot lighter titles, together with 18 Again and Romance Is a Bonus Word, which have a unique tone than Squid Game. What struck you about Jun-ho’s character that made you wish to be a part of this collection?
WI: I like this style myself and I used to be so fascinated by the script, revealing this surprising occasion from the eyes of an owl – as an outsider. That was what captured me and was why I made a decision to affix the undertaking.
DEADLINE: Because it’s such a departure from the roles you’re used to, what did you find out about your self as an actor in Squid Game?
WI: I truly didn’t notice it at first, however there have been lots of people round me who instructed me that they completely beloved the tone of my appearing and appreciated the gaze I confirmed within the collection. I acquired plenty of compliments and realized that could possibly be my power in appearing, so I hope to implement it into my performances going ahead.
DEADLINE: Your character has a powerful ethical compass with a ardour for justice. How does Jun-ho suit your character versus different roles you’ve had previously?
WI: I’ve various similarities with Jun-ho. To begin with, I’ve an older brother who could be very pleasant with me. I additionally put excessive worth within the orders, guidelines and disciplines which are on this world. I used to be instructed usually that I ought to grow to be an officer, soldier or a authorized practitioner.
DEADLINE: Beyond the totally different tone, you had been additionally behind a masks for almost all of the season. Which scene was essentially the most troublesome to shoot given these situations? How did you put together for that?
WI: The truth I used to be carrying the masks for almost all of the collection was fairly difficult, notably the appearing beneath the masks. I used to be going into the taking pictures with plenty of pressure. Even if I attempt laborious and carry out with my facial expressions and my gaze, it didn’t come by way of exterior of the masks. When I’m appearing laborious, it doesn’t actually present properly on the display screen. I needed to make extreme gestures to compensate for the lack of my facial features and gaze. For instance, I’d flip my head extra dramatically.
The most difficult scene to shoot was the one the place I made an underwater escape carrying scuba gear. I haven’t talked about this in interviews, however I’ve a severe worry of water. It took plenty of time to beat that worry. I took fairly a number of swimming classes to shoot that scene, however I used to be capable of full it properly so I’m very completely satisfied in regards to the consequence.
DEADLINE: There had been emotional performances out of your castmates Lee Jung-jae and the sensible Anupam Tripathi. In distinction, you performed an unflappable character whose mission was to unravel his brother’s disappearance. Do you assume it was essential to behave unemotional in his journey?
WI: I believe that’s an important support in his journey as a result of in the event you take a look at the conditions that Jun-ho was in, he’s there as an intruder and needed to cover his identification. If he was over-reactive and confirmed motion, then he would have been caught. It was fairly essential for my character to know how you can act in such a fashion in order that he would be capable of obtain his purpose.
DEADLINE: If Jun-ho needed to play within the video games, what would he be good at?
I was a runner in my youthful days and I’m good at controlling my physique actions so I’d excel in Red Light, Green Light.
The precise Squid Game is in actual fact not the form of recreation that I performed as a baby as a result of it’s from an older era. But if I needed to partake, I’d most likely be good at that too.
DEADLINE: Season 1 left Jun-ho with an ambiguous destiny. If he did survive, how do you assume he did it? What do you assume his subsequent steps are after that revelation about his brother?
WI: I’m dying to know what occurred to him. I would like him to return alive, discover his brother and ask him tons of questions. As a brother, I’d ask him sincerely. As a detective, I wish to discover the general secrets and techniques behind the sport as properly. I actually hope to see Jun-ho come again alive and discover all these questions. I hope to see a extra brotherly-love aspect of their relationship as properly.
DEADLINE: So, you hope to see some reconciliation together with your brother within the present?
WI: Reconciliation, I don’t know. I should hear why he made sure decisions.
DEADLINE: How is the reception of Squid Game in Korea? Over right here they’re enjoying the present’s soundtrack in bars and youngsters are dressing up as guards and gamers for Halloween.
WI: I believe the reception is sort of the identical in Korea. When I’m going on set for my new position, I get inundated with questions on my character’s destiny or if they’ll get props from the present just like the guards’ masks. There are many people who find themselves speaking about getting dressed with the inexperienced or pink go well with from the sport for Halloween.
DEADLINE: Are there any kind of tasks or roles would you prefer to work on subsequent?
WI: The undertaking I’m presently engaged on depicts a personality that’s tough, comedic and cute on the similar time. I hope plenty of viewers get pleasure from my new character from my new collection. If given the possibility, I’d hope to participate in an motion undertaking as a particular agent or a navy officer. I’d even be fascinated about enjoying the position as a pleasant villager.
DEADLINE: What do you assume is essentially the most rewarding facet of this gory and darkish collection?
WI: I’d say essentially the most lovely half about this gory story is the arc of the protagonist, Gi-hun (Lee Jung-jae). He at all times thought of different contestants and was the least egocentric. He took care of others till the very finish, even when his life was on the road.
DEADLINE: Why do you assume Squid Game has exploded in reputation the best way it did? Obviously, the solid had some half with it, however what in regards to the themes and messaging?
WI: I believe it was fairly recent to depict youngsters’s video games from the olden days, which was fairly nostalgic, particularly once they had been used for life-or-death conditions.
In the sport scenes, you noticed greed and uglier human features inside the entire members which displays what we see in the actual world. The present depicts the frustration that’s deeply rooted inside people who find themselves dwelling within the fashionable world. Our society is turning into much more capitalistic, with competitors turning into much more extreme. That’s most likely why the story resonated with so many.