‘Squid Game’ director describes the show’s main characters as his “inner clones”

"They represent the two sides of me"

Hwang Dong-hyuk, the director of Netflix’s hit series Squid Game, has opened up about how the show mirrors the challenges of everyday life.

In a recent interview with CNN, Hwang discussed the how the show’s cutthroat storyline relates to greater societal issues, as well has how main characters Seong Gi-hun and Jo Sang-woo are his “inner clones”.

The 50-year-old director had shared that the narrative of Squid Game – which revolves around 456 debt-ridden ordinary people participating in deadly renditions of children’s games for a chance to win a fortune – reflects the “competitive society” we live in today.


“This is a story about losers,” Hwang said, noting how many in society strubble with everday life while the “winners” get to “level up”. He went on to reveal the more personal elements he had incorporated the series, particularly through its main characters, Gi-hun and Sang-woo, who he had named after old friends.

Hwang the described the two characters as his “inner clones”, noting that they “represent the two sides of me”. He added: “Like Gi-hun, I was raised by a single mother in a financially troubled environment in Ssangmun-dong. At the same time, like Sang-woo, I went to Seoul National University and my entire neighbourhood praised me and had high expectations of me.”

On October 7, the cast of the popular series appeared on on The Tonight Show With Jimmy Fallon, where actor Lee Jung-jae revealed that “there was definitely a lot of improv during the shoots,” discussing a scene where his character, Gi-hun, bumps into Jung Ho-yeon’s Sae-byeok, making her drop her cup of coffee.

“Typically, you would just pick it up and hand it to her but I noticed the straw on the ground so I improvised and tried to stick the straw back into the cup. I tried to do it multiple times. That made Ho-yeon crack up so hard that she couldn’t lift her head up.”