While Squid Game might be on track to become Netflix’s biggest ever show, the Korean drama was previously rejected by local studios for a decade before being picked up by Netflix.
As reported by the Wall Street Journal, creator Hwang Dong-hyuk first thought up the idea for Squid Game over ten years ago. At the time, the film director and screenwriter was living with his mother and grandmother and had to halt on scriptwriting at one point as he was forced to sell his $675 laptop for money.
Local film studios rejected pitches for Squid Game, believing the concept to be “implausible” and “too grotesque”. However, the show was finally picked up by Netflix, who thought that the class struggles depicted in the show “spoke to reality”.
Hwang said that the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic only exacerbated a disparity between the rich and the poor. “The world has changed,” he told the Wall Street Journal. “All of these points made the story very realistic for people compared to a decade ago.”
Early indicators for the show estimate that Squid Game could be on track to become Netflix’s biggest TV show ever. For the US streaming service, the show’s sudden popularity could be interpreted as vindication of the company’s recent decision to invest in Korean content. Netflix told the WSJ that it had invested about $700 million in Korean films and television shows between 2015 to 2020.
IGN recently reviewed Squid Game where we gave it a 9/10, calling it “one of the most exciting series to hit Netflix in some time.” We praised the show for its ability to make its audiences squirm and for being “one of the most unique things you’ll watch this year”. For those looking to get into the show, however, you may want to choose your options wisely, as one set of English language subtitles is reportedly more accurate than the other.
Jared Moore is a freelance writer for IGN. You can follow him on Twitter.