A number of actors from Squid Game have responded to criticism surrounding their performances in the hit Netflix show.
- READ MORE: Squid Game review – child’s play turns deadly in a cutting critique of late-stage capitalism
In an interview with The Guardian, the four “VIPs” who appear in the show as English-speaking and mask-wearing billionaires addressed backlash for their “stilted” performances.
“I ain’t complaining baby!” actor Geoffrey Giuliano told the publication, adding: “I’m in the hottest show in the world. I got fanmail. Just today I got a woman who said: ‘Send me your autograph.’ So I did, and two hours later she sent me a photo where she had ‘Geoffrey Giuliano, VIP four,’ tattooed right across her forearm. There have also been some sexual invitations, from males and females.”
Another actor said the experience had been “a bit of a challenge” after working as an actor in Korea since 2014.
“I suffer from extreme clinical depression, so it’s been a bit of a challenge,” Daniel C Kennedy said. “Initially, I was gutted by the comments but, with time and distance and some honest self-reflection, I’ve been better able to filter the feedback into the stuff I can use to improve next time, versus the stuff that is bound to come when you’re part of a project that gets global recognition.”
John D Michaels, who played the role of “VIP one”, added context on the show saying the actors were not given scripts for the whole show, only their scenes.
“We were all wearing very heavy plaster masks, and sitting on couches that were at least 20-30ft away from the closest VIP,” he went on. “We all had to yell our lines vaguely into the air, which added to the weird tonality of the delivery.”
He also explained that the acting on Squid Game and Korean drama more broadly is heightened on purpose, which might shock non-Korean audiences.
“Whether they’re watching with a dubbed or subtitled version, people who don’t speak Korean don’t have the understanding needed to fully judge a Korean actor’s performance,” he explained. “What might be cartoonish or broad about them is lost in translation, whereas the VIPs had no such luxury”.
In a four-star review of Squid Game, NME wrote: “By juxtaposing the innocence of these childish games with the insidious belief that ceaseless, cutthroat competition is the only way modern adults can survive, Squid Game presents a potent microcosm of capitalist society.”