Guess What the Squid Game Director's Unlikely Inspo Was for the Masked Men in the Show

It took 13 years before Squid Game materialized into a Netflix series.

If you've checked out the top 10 row in Netflix lately, you'd know that Squid Game has been a regular on the platform's most-popular list. The psychological thriller had most viewers binge-watching over the weekend with its horrifying game scenarios and unexpected twists.

Squid Game on Netflix
PHOTO BY INSTAGRAM/NETFLIXKR

The Netflix original series is inspired by a Korean childhood game and shows how 456 cash-strapped players compete to win 45.6 billion won (around P1.9 billion). This may sound like an innocent and fun show, but it's definitely not: once a participant gets eliminated from a game, a bloody goodbye is inevitable. Despite seeing how violent the games are, the players are still willing to join since most of them are knee-deep in debt.

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Also read: This Cool Pop-Up Lets You Step Into the World of Netflix's Squid Game

Squid Game on Netflix
A total of 456 players take their chances to win the grand prize.
PHOTO BY INSTAGRAM/NETFLIXKR
Squid Game on Netflix
The game arenas are deceptively cute at times, like the playground where the second game was held.
PHOTO Courtesy of Netflix
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Director Hwang Dong Hyuk started writing the draft for Squid Game in 2008: "When I wrote it, I thought I could play it because I was in debt at the time. I thought to myself that I wish there was a chance like this," he said in a press conference.

The idea for the series was found to be "too complex" and "not commercial" when he wrote it, though, and it took a while—and an introduction to Netflix— before Hwang could actually produce it. "It's kind of a sad story, but this deadly game compares quite a bit to the things we see today such as investing in coins and such. Times have changed and people have told me that it reminds them of things that are happening in this tough society. With that, I expanded the story about two years ago and now we are here."

Squid Game on Netflix director
Director Hwang Dong Hyuk 
PHOTO Courtesy of Netflix
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Also read: Get Ready: That Massive Squid Game Doll Is Now In Metro Manila

Also a screenwriter, Hwang is recognized for socially conscious films that depict the harsh realities of life, like Silenced and The Fortress. (He worked with Gong Yoo and Lee Byung Hun in those Korean movies before they made a surprising cameo in Squid Game!) You already know that the squid game, a street game played in real life by kids in South Korea, became the inspiration for the series because of how it represents present-day society. The inspiration for some of the other details, in turn, came from the animal kingdom—ants, to be specific. The show has masked men wearing the same outfits as the contestants, but with different shapes on their masks: circles for the workers, triangles for the armed men, and squares for the managers. "There are the working level ants and they are given one purpose, and one purpose only. I drew the idea of the masked men from the world of ants," shared Hwang.

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Squid Game on Netflix
The masked men of Squid Game
PHOTO BY INSTAGRAM/NETFLIXKR
Squid Game on Netflix
PHOTO Courtesy of Netflix
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Squid Game is now streaming on Netflix.

. Minor edits have been made by the SPOT.ph editors.

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