While known for its desolate story and quirky characters, you wouldn’t think Squid Game had a lot of room for improvisation. Apparently, that’s not the case, as lead actor Lee Jung-Jae recently shared on The Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon.
The talk show host had the main characters from the hit series on his show and grilled them about the experience of filming it.
Lee Jung-jae, who plays crestfallen gambler Gi-hun on the show, said there was a lot of improv happening on set. In fact, he said, the first scene he meets Jung Ho-yeon, who plays Kang Sae-byeok in the show, was actually improvised as well.
Gi-hun, after winning a large sum of money, runs through the horse track and runs into Sae-byeok, who pickpockets him after she spills 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,” he said. “I tried to do it multiple times. That made Ho-yeon crack up so hard that she couldn’t lift her head up.”
He then did an impression of her shaking and laughing.
Wi Ha-joon, who plays Jun-ho in the show, said the contrast between the children’s game motif and the stark violence is part of what makes the show so popular.
“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, which I believe resonates with a lot of the audiences.”
The show debuted on Sept. 17 and quickly became incredibly popular all over the world, with Netflix saying it could be the platform’s biggest show ever.