Netflix's Squid Game is now a major international hit and is likely to become the most-watched series of all time on the streaming service. However, a lot of fans may not understand just how much of a Cinderella story Squid Game really is. But that's about to change. As you can see in the tweet below, Squid Game creator Hwang Dong-hyuk had to go through a pretty hellish struggle in order to get the series onto Netflix and reap the massive success that he's now enjoying. It's a great read, and all the more reason to love Squid Game while you're watching it!
As The Number Game explains: "Squid Game creator Hwang Dong-hyuk wrote the show in 2009 but was rejected by studios for 10 years. He once had to stop writing the script + sell his $675 laptop due to money struggles. Today, it's #1 in 90 countries + set to become the most-watched show in Netflix history."
‘Squid Game’ creator Hwang Dong-hyuk wrote the show in 2009 but was rejected by studios for 10 years.— The Numbers Game (@Tngtweets1) October 4, 2021
He once had to stop writing the script + sell his $675 laptop due to money struggles.
Today, it’s #1 in 90 countries + set to become the most-watched show in Netflix history. pic.twitter.com/RbFr8JeW1m
Hwang Dong-hyuk has something of a history when it comes to sticking to his convictions. The Korean filmmaker's second movie, The Crucible (Silenced), was about the scandal at Gwangju Inhwa School for the deaf in South Korea, an institution with a long tradition of abusing students. That film examined both the abuses in the school and the larger societal mechanisms that allowed it to continue for that long; it was a box office hit, and helped spark major reforms about sexual abuse of minors, known as "Dogani Bill." It's also the film that provided an important insight into how Hwang looks at filmmaking as a whole:
"I took up filmmaking because I was so frustrated by all these unresolved social issues I saw. We can see through films how much we are changed by the world. You can't change society with just one movie, but looking at the repercussion of the release of this film, we can think about the power film has in terms of positively affecting society."
Still, even with that kind of success under his belt, Hwang Dong-hyuk still had to contend with the challenges of the entertainment industry to get Squid Game made. In previous accounts, Hwang has explained that in 2008, when he was financially hurting, he used other properties like Battle Royale, Liar Game, and Gambling Apocalypse: Kaiji, as a source for creating Squid Game. It was also the same sense of social responsibility that brought about The Crucible that made Hwang Dong-hyuk fight so hard to get Squid Game on the screen:
"I wanted to write a story that was an allegory or fable about modern capitalist society, something that depicts an extreme competition, somewhat like the extreme competition of life. But I wanted it to use the kind of characters we've all met in real life."
Well, Squid Game has arrived at a time when society is feeling extreme stress of economic turmoil and anxiety about the future; where the divide in wealth is spiraling out of control; human bonds are fraying over competition for everything from resources to social rights, and all the while, the voyeuristic indulgences of reality TV, social media and competitive gaming have caused a level of interpersonal callousness that arguably borders on the psychotic. No wonder the show is such a hit.
Squid Game is now streaming on Netflix.