Entertainment

Squid Game creator Hwang Dong-hyuk revealed he did NOT get a bonus from Netflix

Netflix confirmed earlier this month that the wildly popular Korean series Squid Game was the streaming service’s biggest show ever… but that didn’t make series creator/writer/director Hwang Dong-hyuk any richer.

The series, which follows a group of randomly-selected debt-riddled strangers picked to compete in deadly games for a shot at a massive prize, was watched by a record 111 million subscribers, easily beating Bridgerton as the biggest Netflix show.

Hwang, 50, who wrote and directed all nine episodes of Squid Game, was asked in an interview with The Guardian if he’s now as rich as the game’s winning contestant, which he laughed off, revealing Netflix hasn’t given him any kind of bonus.

Squid Game creator: Netflix confirmed earlier this month that the wildly popular Korean series Squid Game was the streaming service’s biggest show ever… but that didn’t make series creator/writer/director Hwang Dong-hyuk any richer

Biggest show: The series, which follows a group of randomly-selected debt-riddled strangers picked to compete in deadly games for a shot at a massive prize, was watched by a record 111 million subscribers, easily beating Bridgerton as the biggest Netflix show

Biggest show: The series, which follows a group of randomly-selected debt-riddled strangers picked to compete in deadly games for a shot at a massive prize, was watched by a record 111 million subscribers, easily beating Bridgerton as the biggest Netflix show

‘I’m not that rich. But I do have enough. I have enough to put food on the table. And it’s not like Netflix is paying me a bonus. Netflix paid me according to the original contract,’ Hwang said. 

Leaked documents revealed that the show cost 15.5 million pounds ($21.28 million) to produce, which comes out to 1.75 million pounds ($2.4 million) per episode. 

Netflix now estimates that over 142 million subscribers have watched the show, with the show responsible for 4.4 million new subscribers, and the show itself believed to be valued at 650 million pounds ($892.2 million) to Netflix as a whole.

Not that rich: 'I’m not that rich. But I do have enough. I have enough to put food on the table. And it’s not like Netflix is paying me a bonus. Netflix paid me according to the original contract,' Hwang said

Not that rich: ‘I’m not that rich. But I do have enough. I have enough to put food on the table. And it’s not like Netflix is paying me a bonus. Netflix paid me according to the original contract,’ Hwang said

Value: Netflix now estimates that over 142 million subscribers have watched the show, with the show responsible for 4.4 million new subscribers, and the show itself believed to be valued at 650 million pounds ($892.2 million) to Netflix as a whole

Value: Netflix now estimates that over 142 million subscribers have watched the show, with the show responsible for 4.4 million new subscribers, and the show itself believed to be valued at 650 million pounds ($892.2 million) to Netflix as a whole

Hwang also revealed that writing and directing every episode was such a stressful ordeal that he even lost six teeth during production.

‘It was physically, mentally and emotionally draining. I kept having new ideas and revising the episodes as we were filming so the amount of work multiplied,’ Hwang said.

He also revealed that the original series was inspired by his own family’s financial hardship, following the 2009 global economic collapse. 

Stressful: Hwang also revealed that writing and directing every episode was such a stressful ordeal that he even lost six teeth during production

Stressful: Hwang also revealed that writing and directing every episode was such a stressful ordeal that he even lost six teeth during production

‘I was very financially straitened because my mother retired from the company she was working for,’ Hwang said.

He added he was working on a film but failed to get financing, ‘So I couldn’t work for about a year. We had to take out loans – my mother, myself and my grandmother.’

During this low point he took solace in Seoul’s comic book cafes, where he read classics like Battle Royal and Liar Game.

Financial: 'I was very financially straitened because my mother retired from the company she was working for,' Hwang said

Financial: ‘I was very financially straitened because my mother retired from the company she was working for,’ Hwang said

‘I related to the people in them, who were desperate for money and success. That was a low point in my life,’ Hwang said. 

‘If there was a survival game like these in reality, I wondered, would I join it to make money for my family? I realized that, since I was a film-maker, I could put my own touch to these kinds of stories so I started on the script,’ he added.

Squid Game was released on September 17, with Hwang revealing the goal was to be the #1 TV show on Netflix… for just one day.

Low point: 'I related to the people in them, who were desperate for money and success. That was a low point in my life,' Hwang said

Low point: ‘I related to the people in them, who were desperate for money and success. That was a low point in my life,’ Hwang said

‘But it ended up being much more successful, the most watched show on Netflix ever,’ he said. 

‘It’s very surprising. It shows that the global audience is resonating with the message I wanted to reflect,’ Hwang added.

Hwang added there has been ‘talk’ of a second season, though he’s not sure yet if it will happen. 

Most watched: 'But it ended up being much more successful, the most watched show on Netflix ever,' he said

Most watched: ‘But it ended up being much more successful, the most watched show on Netflix ever,’ he said

‘Of course there is talk. That’s inevitable because it’s been such a success. I am considering it,’ he said.

Still… even if a sequel does happen, it won’t be coming anytime soon, since he has other things he wants to work on.

‘I have a very high-level picture in my mind, but I’m not going to work on it straight away. There’s a film I really want to make. I’m thinking about which to do first. I’m going to talk to Netflix,’ he said.

Sequel talk: 'Of course there is talk. That’s inevitable because it’s been such a success. I am considering it,' he said

Sequel talk: ‘Of course there is talk. That’s inevitable because it’s been such a success. I am considering it,’ he said

Other things: Still... even if a sequel does happen, it won't be coming anytime soon, since he has other things he wants to work on

Other things: Still… even if a sequel does happen, it won’t be coming anytime soon, since he has other things he wants to work on


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