'Squid Game' Creator Hwang Dong Hyuk Once Stopped Writing The Script Because He Had To Sell His Laptop

When he came up with the idea for the drama more than a decade ago, he was strapped for cash because no one wanted it.
by Hanna Tamondong for Cosmo.ph   |  Oct 9, 2021
Image: COURTESY OF NETFLIX
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If there's one person who's currently enjoying the global success of Squid Game, that would be the drama's creator, Hwang Dong Hyuk. In the past three weeks, Netflix viewers have been watching the psychological thriller and it might just be its most popular show to date, beating multiple Hollywood titles. Now if you think director Dong Hyuk's life is all rainbows and unicorns, think again—he once had to sell his laptop and stop writing the drama's script.

The 50-year-old director came up with Squid Game's plot in 2008, after reading a comic book about a number of people who joined an outrageous game. Since he wanted it to be Korean in all sense, he incorporated classic Korean childhood games in the story. The twist? Those who lose in the games will end up dying. Ironic, right?

Director Hwang Dong Hyuk had to sell his laptop while writing the script for 'Squid Game'
Instagram/netflixkr
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Just when he was already visualizing the characters for the drama, director Dong Hyuk had to stop writing the script and sell his laptop for $675 (around P34,000). At this point, he was also in debt—so imagine how hard it was for him to continue the story. And oh, he was also living with his mom and grandmother during this time. IDK about you, but his life kinda reminds me of Gi Hoon's in Squid Game.

Director Hwang Dong Hyuk had to sell his laptop while writing the script for 'Squid Game'
Courtesy of Netflix
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Director Hwang Dong Hyuk had to sell his laptop while writing the script for 'Squid Game'
Instagram/netflixkr

The drama was initially planned as a feature film and when he presented its screenplay to production companies, director Dong Hyuk's idea was rejected. They thought it was peculiar, too brutal, and unrealistic. Fast forward to 2018, Netflix welcomed the concept, allowed him to fully express his thoughts, and eventually turn it into a nine-episode series.

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Director Hwang Dong Hyuk had to sell his laptop while writing the script for 'Squid Game'
Instagram/netflixkr

But even after his idea was accepted by Netflix, director Dong Hyuk was still under pressure. He knew that gambling on this drama will either be a hit or a miss, and the stress was real. In an exclusive interview with The Korea Times, he shared what the experience was like: "Each night before filming, I would always think about ways to make the scenes better and revise the scripts. The level of stress that I was under was a full 100 percent, which hit me hard. I've always considered every work as a challenge, but this piece had a much higher risk, so I put all my effort into making it a good one."

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Director Hwang Dong Hyuk had to sell his laptop while writing the script for 'Squid Game'
Courtesy of Netflix

Now that Squid Game has been labeled a gamechanger not just in South Korea but also around the world, director Dong Hyuk still can't believe that the drama *really* became a hit: "The production crew and I would joke about our series starting a dalgona craze, like how Netflix's Kingdom did with the gata traditional Korean hatbut I'm astounded that it actually happened."

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Director Hwang Dong Hyuk had to sell his laptop while writing the script for 'Squid Game'
Instagram/netflixkr

One important life lesson we learned from him: With perseverance, nothing is impossible. Congratulations, director Dong Hyuk!

You can watch episodes of Squid Game on Netflix.

Follow Hanna on Instagram.

LOVE SQUID GAME? HERE ARE MORE STORIES ABOUT THE NETFLIX DRAMA:

'Squid Game' Took 13 Years Before It Was Created Into A Series

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8 Things You'll Love To Know About 'Squid Game' Actress Jung Ho Yeon

5 K-Dramas And Movies By 'Squid Game' Creator Hwang Dong Hyuk

This story originally appeared on Cosmo.ph.

* Minor edits have been made by the Candymag.com editors.

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