Squid Game: How were the challenges filmed? Behind the scenes secrets exposed

Squid Game official trailer from Netflix

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Squid Game has quickly become one of Netflix’s biggest shows of all time, with millions of households across the world watching the nine-part South Korean drama. In the thrilling and horrifying gory programme, 456 players have to fight for survival to win an astonishing amount of money but they have to complete six deadly games. Here is everything you need to know about how these challenges were filmed and how intricate the film crews had to be to capture every angle.

How were the Squid Game challenges filmed?

A lot of Computer Generated Imagery was used to provide the backdrops to some of the tasks, including the game of Tug of War.

However, some of the sets were built purposely for the show to allow the actors to become part of the giant-scale games.

One, in particular, was the fifth challenge in the series in which the contestants were seen having to guess whether the pathway they were walking across was made of real or tempered glass.

On-screen viewers watched as the participants were suspended metres high above the ground and if they failed to guess correctly, they would fall to their deaths.

The actress who took on the role of player 067, or Kang Sae-byeok, Jung Ho-yeon, has provided some details from behind the scenes.

“Filming [the show’s fifth game] Glass Stepping Stones was actually terrifying,” Ho-yeon explained in an interview.

“The set was about one metre above the ground. We put real tempered glass there and ran around on it,” she added, meaning sometimes the actor’s reactions were real.

Director Hwang Dong-hyuk reiterated the actresses sentiments, adding how suspending the game off the floor and using real glass whilst filming allowed for the cast to “express the unnoticed rigidity and fear of the body.”

He continued: “It felt like really jumping off a high bridge. The game was real and they felt real fear. Their bodies showed that fear.”

Actually terrifying

Jung Ho-yeon

“We think that set had the power of realism,” he explained in a behind the scenes video, which was shared as part of a featurette for the show.

Ho-yeon also discussed the second game in which contestants were seen trying to carve a shape out of a piece of honeycomb.

If the shape were to break or if the players ran out of time, they were shot dead by the guards watching over them.

The actress said: “The honeycomb instructor was constantly making the honeycomb in the background [so] the film set smelled like honeycomb all day long.”

Where was Squid Game filmed?

Over the course of four months the nine-episode series was shot, with the cast and crew taking a month’s break in light of the coronavirus pandemic impacting the filming industry.

Although the programme is set on a remote island off the coast of South Korea, the scenes were filmed in studios based in the city of Daejeon.

With a population of 1.5 million people, it is the country’s fifth-largest and there are transport links which make it accessible to the capital of Seoul in under an hour.

The hit series had been in development for almost 12 years but the time filming began, with the writer Dong-hyuk having been turned down several times by streaming services and networks.

Explaining the process, Dong-hyuk said: “When I started, I was in financial straits myself and spent much time in cafes reading comics including Battle Royale and Liar Game.

“I came to wonder how I’d feel if I took part in the games myself. But I found the games too complex, and for my own work focused instead on using kids’ games.”

The series was meant to be one long feature film before redevelopment began to curate it into an eight and a half-hour series.

At the moment, there has been no official announcement on whether season two is going to be put into production.

Squid Game is available to stream on Netflix.

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