‘Squid Game’ stars talk about their No. 1 Netflix series on Jimmy Fallon show

Published October 8, 2021, 12:14 PM

by Jonathan Hicap

Stars of the global Netflix hit series “Squid Game” appeared on the “The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon” and talked about their show’s success.

“Squid Game” is currently the No. 1 show on Netflix worldwide, peaking to the top spot in 83 countries, according to streaming analytics website FlixPatrol.

(From left) Wi Ha-jun, Jung Ho-yeon, Park Hae-soo and Lee Jung-jae and their “Squid Game” roles (Instagram, Netflix Korea)

Lee Jung-jae, Park Hae-soo, Wi Ha-jun, and Jung Ho-yeon were guests on the Oct. 6 episode of the Fallon show.

“My next guests are the stars of the biggest television show in the world, ‘Squid Game,’” said Fallon.

Lee Jung-jae, who plays the lead role of Gi-hun, said “Squid Game” tells the story of people with their own pain and struggles.

“Squid Game’ is a show about Gi-hun and various characters who come together for a mysterious survival game that has the cash prize of 45.6 billion won [about $38.2 million]. So it’s a story about all those people coming together each with their own pain and struggles and each must win the first prize in this game no matter what, putting their lives on the line to become the winner,” he said.

“Squid Game” has become a global sensation that Ted Sarandos, co-CEO of Netflix, predicted that it is poised to be Netflix’s biggest show ever.

“Squid Game will definitely be our biggest non-English language show in the world, for sure,” he said during a trade show last month. “It’s only been out for nine days, and it’s a very good chance it’s going to be our biggest show ever. It’s enormously popular”

Sarandos said “Squid Game” was surpassing Netflix’s non-English shows like “Money Heist” and “Lupin.”

“Squid Game” was produced with a budget of 20 billion won ($16.9 million), according to Korean media.

When Fallon asked Park Hae-soo, who plays the role of Gi-hun’s friend Cho Sang-woo, when he realized “Squid Game” became so big, the 39-year-old actor said, “I am so thankful that so many folks are watching this through so many media outlets. But I feel it even more at this very moment, it’s real, I feel it in my bones.”

Lee Jung-jae, Park Hae-soo, Wi Ha-jun and Jung Ho-yeon on “The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon” (Screeshot from “The Tonight Show” video on YouTube)

Park Hae-soo revealed that his son was born before “Squid Game” premiered and called him his lucky charm.

“It was quite amazing because the premiere of ‘Squid Game’ was at 4 p.m. KST, and the first time I got to meet my son was at 3:50 p.m. So he is my lucky charm and a bundle of blessings for me. My friends and many people around me call him ‘Baby Squid,’” he said.

Wi Ha-jun, who plays the character of police officer Hwang Jun-ho, said part of the appeal of “Squid Game” is the Korean children’s games on the show.

“I definitely think part of the appeal is the Korean children’s games. That can be very original, refreshing and also shocking at the same time to the global viewers. I also feel like we did a good job expressing the true human nature of raw greed and human nature that took place inside the games,” he said.

Lee Jung-jae said there were many improvisations during the filming of “Squid Game” and remember his first scene with Jung Ho-yeon (who plays Sae-byeok).

“There was definitely a lot of improv during the shoots but one thing I remember is the scene where Sae-byeok and my character Gi-hun run into each other for the first time. I bump into her and actually make her drop her 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. Like this,” he said.

The stars of “Squid Game” saw their Instagram followers increase by millions.

Jung Ho-yeon now has 16.6 million followers from more than 400,000 last month to become the most followed Korean actress on Instagram.

Lee Jung-jae and Park Hae-soo, who both opened their Instagram accounts last Oct. 2, now have 2.3 million and 1.4 million followers, respectively. Wi Ha-jun has 6.7 million followers.