Filipino actor Christian Lagahit has revealed in a recent interview that he initially auditioned for the role of Ali in Netflix’s Squid Game, before being cast as another character.
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Speaking to CNN Philippines, Lagahit – who went on to portray Player 276 in the hit Korean survival series – said that he had “actually auditioned for the role of Ali”, which was eventually played by the Indian actor Anupam Tripathi.
He added: “However, since I didn’t get that role, mid of last year, the production just called me and told me that I’ll be playing a special role for that drama series”.
Player 276 appears in the fourth episode of the show, and aids the main cast in surviving a game of tug of war, albeit with a sinister twist – the losing team would plunge to their deaths.
Despite playing a minor role, Lagahit said that he is proud to “represent the minorities” in Korea, “especially the Filipino community”. Per CNN Philippines’ report, Lagahit has lived in South Korea since 2015, and has appeared in minor roles in shows such as The Negotiation and Space Sweepers.
Since premiering on Netflix late last month, Squid Game has gone on to become the first Korean show to top the US Netflix charts among other countries.
Speaking on the show’s immense popularity, Lagahit said: “To be honest, I did not expect that it would be as big as it is right now, not just in the Philippines but all over the world.”
Netflix’s co-CEO and chief content officer Ted Sarandos said in late September that Squid Game “will definitely be our biggest non-English language show in the world”, and that there’s “a very good chance it’s going to be our biggest show ever”.
Squid Game received a four-star review from NME’s Hidzir Junaini who praised the show for its “sharp social critiques, suspenseful competition and sympathetic characters”.