Netflix’s Squid Game has taken the world by storm for its depiction of one man going up against incredible odds for the chance of winning big or losing it all. And it turns out the real story behind the show’s creation is very much similar to that plotline, as ComicBook reports (minus the deadly schoolyard games, of course).
Squid Game tells the story of people on the brink of financial ruin getting recruited by a mysterious organization to a life-or-death contest involving children’s games, in which the grand prize is a life-altering sum of money.
The show’s creator, Hwang Dong-hyuk, apparently also went through a monumental struggle before reaping the massive success of the series, which is on track to become the most popular show on the streaming platform.
As The Numbers Game explains, Dong-hyuk actually wrote the show back in 2009 but was rejected by studios for a decade. At one point, he had to stop writing the script and sell his $675 laptop due to money struggles. His perseverance paid off, however, because today it is the number one show in 90 countries.
Dong-hyuk saw previous success in filmmaking with a social message, with his second film, The Crucible (Silenced). The film was about a scandal at a school for the deaf in South Korea in which students faced abuse as part of a long tradition, including sexual abuse of minors. The film was a box office hit and helped spark a conversation in the country that lead to major reforms.
Here’s hoping Squid Game, which Dong-hyuk described in a recent interview as an allegory for the cutthroat state of our late-capitalist world, can similarly spark a broader conversation about class inequality.