It seems the harsh and brutal reality of 'Squid Game' began to filter into the life of its creator during the filming of the series.
Hwang Dong-hyuk has admitted that during the filming of his mega-hit TV series for Netflix, he got so stressed that he lost a number of teeth in the process.
Speaking with The Guardian about the creation of his dystopian survival drama, the South Korean director admitted how draining it was for him. Losing six teeth during filming because of his endless ideas, Dong-hyuk admitted: "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."
Part of this stress could be down to his own willingness to helm the series solely by himself. He previously admitted to Variety that he's "not great at teamwork", and should a second season be made, he's already quite tired "just thinking about it". No wonder, with six of his teeth missing.
The surprise Netflix showstopper, which has been crowned the streaming service's number one title ever, has reportedly earned the company upwards of $900 million in profits. But has the 'Squid Game' creator received a bonus for all of his hard work? Not a chance.
When asked if he's currently rolling in enough money to mirror the multi-million winnings on the show, Hwang Dong-hyuk said: "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."
Dong-hyuk had been attempting to make the series for over 10 years before Netflix decided to take a punt and carry it. The idea for the series came out of his own personal family financial situation in 2009, after the Recession hit. He said: "I was very financially straitened because my mother retired from the company she was working for. There was a film I was working on but we failed to get finance. So I couldn’t work for about a year. We had to take out loans – my mother, myself and my grandmother."
Oh, and that other Netflix series which 'Squid Game' overtook as the biggest series launch ever, 'Bridgerton'? The creator/director admits he never made it through the first episode. The shade of it all: "I find it difficult to watch any series in full. There are only two I’ve watched through to the end: 'Breaking Bad' and 'Mind Hunter'.
"People said 'Bridgerton' was very good so I tried watching episode one but I gave up in the middle. I’m not really into TV romance stories because it’s been six or seven years since I was in a relationship. I find it really hard to relate to."