Take it from Squid Game’s creator Hwan Dong-hyuk, who wrote the first treatment for the script in 2008: any reality show based on the premise isn’t actually going to be life or death. Brandishing his newly-won directing Emmy, Dong-hyuk shared in a post-awards interview panel with Variety that he’s aware of a brewing reality adaptation of his series—and he’s remaining hopeful.
“I actually met with the creator yesterday and they had many questions for me,” Dong-hyuk shares via a translator. “What I hope is that they will be carrying on my vision and intention as much as possible for the show.”
The adaptation, which was first announced back in June, unites 456 players to play a series of challenges for a prize of 4.56 million dollars. Despite the initial horror of a real-life Squid Game, a casting website for the project assures potential players that “in this game the worst fate is going home empty-handed.” The reality series has been touted by Netflix (naturally) as “the biggest reality competition series ever,” a clear attempt to chase Squid Game’s status as the streamer’s biggest premiere ever.
“I think that even though our show does carry quite a heavy message, and I know that there are some concerns of taking that message and creating it into a reality show with a cash prize... I feel like when you take things too seriously that’s really not the best way to go for the entertainment industry,” Dong-hyuk muses. “It doesn’t set a great precedent.”
Even as a creator who worked tirelessly for years to get big-budget notice, Dong-hyuk isn’t threatened or offended by the idea of an expanding cinematic universe, whether it’s Squid Game’s bloody playground or any other “reproduction” of a series.
“I would say that reproductions of such efforts are going to bring new meaning to the industry,” Dong-hyuk concludes, “and I hope that this is going to be a great new direction for the industry overall.”