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‘Squid Game’ stars aren’t getting Hollywood offers, despite it’s Global Success

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‘Squid Game’ stars aren’t getting Hollywood offers, despite it’s Global Success


Lee Jung-jae, a well-known South Korean actor, is relishing the boost to his already illustrious career that has resulted from the global popularity of Netflix’s popular survival game TV series “Squid Game.” He claims, though, that the phone isn’t ringing off the hook with new Hollywood offers.

With Netflix’s Squid Game on its way to shattering streaming records, we think Lee Jung-jae, the show’s star, should be called up faster than you can say “Red Light, Green Light.”

Many people may have assumed that because “Squid Game” has become the most popular TV program on the planet, its South Korean stars are being swamped with employment offers from Hollywood.

“No proposals or requests have come my way,” he told Variety. “But, if the right one came along, I’d be happy to be in an overseas production. It could be fun.”

For those unfamiliar with the survival drama, Lee portrays Seong Gi-hun, a divorced father with a serious gambling addiction and a proclivity for self-indulgence. He’s then offered the chance to play in a mystery game that may help him pay off his mounting debt.

His affability and meticulously written history make him an easy-to-like protagonist who is up against a wicked organization that is actually messing with the lives of people.


The only snag? Participants who do not finish each round successfully will be eliminated permanently.

It was a part Lee eagerly accepted after a more than two-decade career in which he had previously been cast as austere princes, killers, and crooks. “Il Mare,” “The Housemaid,” “New World,” and 2020’s “Deliver Us From Evil” are among his credits.

With over two dozen film credits under his belt, the Seoul-born actor is a veteran of the Korean entertainment industry.

Lee sprang to prominence in the late 1990s as the star of a series of South Korean romcoms, and he has been in the public eye ever since. Because of his leading role in “Squid Game,” he is now “the most bankable actor in Korea,” according to Variety.

For far too long, Lee may have been playing against type. “He thoroughly deserves the success he’s enjoying with ‘Squid Game.’ It couldn’t happen to a nicer person,'” says independent producer Jonathan Kim, who has known Lee since he was 19.

“I didn’t expect this kind of success at all when I first boarded ‘Squid Game’ as a project. But when I read the script, I understood that it contained elements that could resonate with everyone and work outside of Korea,” says Lee.

Viewers will see Gi-hun’s transformation into a respectable and kind man throughout the course of this traumatic journey.

Lee isn’t sitting around waiting for a call from Hollywood.

He told the newspaper, “I’ve decided to only do one job at a time.”

“For now, I don’t have any plans to do an overseas project. But if a good opportunity presented itself, of course I’d be open to it.”

Lee was also drawn to “Squid Game” by writer-director Hwang Dong-hyuk’s outstanding track record, which includes the historical action drama “The Fortress” and the much-remade body-swap musical comedy “Miss Granny.”

“[Hwang’s] success comes from being very detailed about explaining the characters, their roles and their feelings. Sadness wears many different faces and [in ‘Squid Game’] the characters’ different sadnesses can easily be felt by viewers,” says Lee. “[Hwang] is very capable of building characters from the ground upwards, which is why when the characters have to take big decisions, they are believable. And it is why the audience is willing to believe in the show’s climactic ending. It is actually touching.”

According to Ted Sarandos, Netflix’s co-chief executive officer and chief content officer, Squid Game is on track to become the streamer’s “biggest non-English-language show” worldwide.

Lee is only one of the “Squid Game” cast members who has suddenly become a household figure, with over 3.3 million Instagram followers.

Since the series began streaming three weeks ago, his co-star, HoYeong Jung, 27, has amassed over 15 million Instagram followers.

In addition, the aspiring actress has signed lucrative modeling contracts with Louis Vuitton and Adidas.

Lee Jung-jae dismisses the notion that “Squid Game” has profoundly changed him.

“Nothing much has changed for me as an actor. But Gi-hun’s character changes a lot over the course of the show. It has a large spectrum, which any actor would want to try out at least once in his career. This was possibly the first time I’ve played a character with such a range,” says Lee.

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