‘Squid Game’ star Jung Ho-yeon on getting the role: “The first thing I said was, ‘Why?’”

"A greater fear had taken over me"

Model-turned-actress Jung Ho-yeon has discussed how she was casted in her breakout role as Kang Sae-byeok in Netflix’s hit series Squid Game.

In a recent interview with W Korea, Jung opened up about her budding acting career as well as her debut role in the hit Netflix series. The actress revealed that she was shocked when she first found out that she had been casted in the series.

“When my CEO told me I’d been casted, the first thing I said was, ‘Why?’,” shared Jung. “I was so happy when I heard the news, but it was like a greater fear had taken over me. [I was like] ‘Thank you very much, but I can do this?’”

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The actress went on to reveal that she had auditioned for her role in Squid Game just a month after transferring to her current acting agency. “Last January, I moved to my current acting agency, and at that time I thought that they would train me to a certain extent before putting me to work,” she said.

“However, by February, a group chat including our CEO was created, and he gave me the Squid Game script and told me to film and send in an audition video. I was in New York for New York Fashion Week at the time!”

She went on to confess that she was “stunned” after being told to audition for a role so quickly. “They just told me, ‘Please send in the video as soon as possible.’ I didn’t even know how soon was ‘soon’ [in the acting world],” said Jung.

Elsewhere in the interview, she also talked about how she prepared for her role of Kang Sae-byeok. “I watched a lot of documentaries about North Korean defectors. I also practiced speaking in a North Korean accent with a teacher, and studied a lot.”

“More than anything, I think I was able to accept [the character] Sae-byeok without any big difficulties because I am similar to her. In 2016, I left Korea to further my modelling career overseas, and I spent a lot of time alone. At the time, the emotion that I felt the most was ‘loneliness’… That feeling of loneliness while trying to persevere and live isn’t all that different,” Jung told W Korea.

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In other K-drama news, Netflix has released the first teaser video for its upcoming revenge-thriller series My Name. Starring rising actress Han So-hee (Nevertheless), the series is scheduled to premiere on the streaming platform on October 15.

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