Squid Game production secrets and behind the scenes of making the Netflix show
It cost £12.3million to make the series
It’s on its way to being the biggest show Netflix has ever created. But Squid Game was rejected for 10 years before it was picked up by Netflix, and that’s just one of many production secrets behind the series.
Behind the scenes a lot goes on to make a show as huge as Squid Game. From the multi-million budget, to huge brand-new sets being built and the games genuinely petrifying the actors as they filmed them. So how do you make the most popular and wildest show on Netflix? Here are the biggest production secrets of Squid Game, and the best behind the scenes facts and pictures from the show.
The show was written in 2008 and was rejected for 10 years before Netflix picked it up
Hwang Dong-Hyuk, who wrote and directed Squid Game, originally came up with the idea for the show in 2008. “We thought of a new series about survival games”, he said. Hwang began working on his script in 2008 and finished the first draft in 2009. It reportedly took him nearly six months to write the first two episodes alone.
However, the show faced multiple rejections and it wasn’t until 2019 that it was picked up by Netflix. The script was reportedly branded as too bizarre and was rejected for 10 years, with Hwang telling Radio Times at the time the story felt “unfamiliar and violent”. He also struggled with funding and casting before the show was picked up by Netflix.
It also had two other names before it became ‘Squid Game’
When Netflix originally revealed plans for the show in September 2019, it was called “Round Six”. It’s then been reported that another thought for the name was calling it Squid Game: Play to Die – but I guess that gives away the initial shock element of episode one a bit.
The sets were all built from scratch specially for the show
Every single one of the incredible sets for Squid Game were built from scratch, custom for the show. So yes, every single game we saw was built just for those scenes. “The set was almost dreamlike,” said Lee Jung-Jae, who plays Gi-hun. Chae Kyoung-sun, the Art Director for the show, said the most effort went into making the set for the marbles game, which was based on real life back alleys of Korea.
Squid Game was originally meant to be a movie
In an interview with Variety, the Squid Game creator revealed the project was originally created as a feature film. In a further interview, he added: “It was initially a film script but after I completed it I was looking for investors and actors to cast but the response was not good. It was such an unfamiliar and surreal story that investors felt that it was too risky to turn it into a film.”
It cost £12.3million ($16.8million) to make the series
Given the huge sets in the series and incredible cast, it’s probably no surprise that Squid Game cost a lot to make. But when I say a lot, I mean a lot. Production cost for the show was 20 billion won, which works out at about $16.8 million or £12.3million.
Filming and production was done in 2020
It’s been reported that production began on Squid Game in 2020, with casting finishing in June 2020. Filming would have began shortly after, and cast member HoYeon Jung, who plays 067, posted on Instagram “That’s a wrap!” in November 2020. That means filming would have taken around five to six months.
The doll from Red Light, Green Light is real
It’s one of the most burning questions Squid Game viewers have had, so is the doll real? And yes she is, kinda. The real-life version of Squid Game’s doll has been on display in Jincheon County in Chungcheongbuk-do Province, South Korea. She was specially created for the show, but has since been placed outside a museum.
However, she must be real. Because Vulture interviewed her over the phone. Yes, really. “I’m so nervous! I’ve never been interviewed before,” she began. She then explained she is named after the flower, Mugunghwa, or the Rose of Sharon in English. “You can call me Chantal,” she said.
And the honeycomb was also real
The honeycomb used for the challenge was real too. There was a dedicated person on the Squid Game set to make the cookies, and the actors referred to them as the “honeycomb master”, saying they were constantly making honeycomb in the background. The set smelled of honeycomb whilst they were shooting the game for an entire day and HoYeon Jung, who plays player 067 , said this game was one of the most memorable to film.
The actors said the glass panel game was petrifying to film
The most scary of all the games to film for the actors was the stepping stones style game, where the players had to cross a bridge of glass panels, some of which could hold human weight, some of which couldn’t. On-screen, the drop was huge and players fell to their deaths, but in reality the fall was around one meter and production used real tempered glass elevated above the floor.
“Filming stepping stones was actually terrifying,” HoYeon Jung said. Writer and producer, Hwang Dong-Hyuk, added: “A mere 1.5 meters can make you frightened. The glass made them [the actors] nervous. I think we could express the unnoticed rigidity and fear of the body. It felt like really jumping off a high bridge. The game was real and they felt real fear.”
The cast are all besties in real life too and honestly, this makes my heart so full
Just a quick look on Instagram at all the cast’s pictures together and you can see that they are all best friends in real life. They have all shared loads of cute pictures, with Kim Joo-ryung, who plays Mi-nyeo, being one cast member who shares quite a lot. She’s clearly friends with the actor who plays Ali in Squid Game, posting a photo of them together captioned “my bro prince of India”. She shared another with HoYeon Jung captioned “no words needed” with a heart emoji. Her other wholesome Squid Game cast picture captions include: “With darling” and “With a handsome man”. The actor who plays Ali posted a cast photo captioned: “The Eternal Friendship of Squid Game”.
Check out some of the cute pics here:
Here’s a video where you can watch behind the scenes clips of Squid Game being made and production secrets from the cast themselves:
Squid Game is available on Netflix now. For all the latest Netflix news, drops and memes like The Holy Church of Netflix on Facebook.