Squid Game’s HoYeon Jung says the evil robot doll was inspired by a kids’ story


The Squid Game cast was on Fallon Wednesday night, and they mostly spoke Korean with subtitles, which was cool. I appreciated that the translation was right on the screen to maximize interview time. Lee Jung-jae (Seong Gi-hun), Park Hae-soo (Cho Sang-Woo), Wi Ha-Joon (Hwang Jun-Ho) and HoYeon Jung (Kang Sae-byeok) appeared virtually, where they talked about the show and did some cute kids games together like rock paper scissors. On a superficial level, Jung-jae is a beautiful man. He was such a hapless character on Squid Game that he didn’t seem attractive to me until a certain point in his character’s arc. (No spoilers and I don’t mean the end part!) Of course all these actors are incredibly attractive. It turns out that both Jung-jae and Jung are models, with Squid Game being Jung’s first acting role. She’s so amazing in this that you can’t tell at all, and her star is definitely on the rise. She got 15 million Instagram followers in just three weeks after the show started airing! In their interview, they talked about the popularity of the show, the character the evil robot from the first episode is based on, and the fact that Park became a father right before the series aired. Here are some quotesvia The LA Times and the video is below.

Park Hae-soo on the success of the show
“I’m so thankful that so many folks are watching this through so many media outlets, but I feel [the success] even more at this very moment. It’s real. I feel it in my bones.”

Wi Ha-Joon on Squid Game’s appeal
“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.”

HoYeon Jung on the inspiration for the evil robot
“When we were at school [in South Korea], there were characters [in textbooks] — one is a boy and one is a girl. The boy’s name was Chulsoo, and the girl’s name was Younghee, and she’s the one” upon which the “Red Light, Green Light” doll is based.

Park Hae-soo on becoming a father
“It’s 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 blessing for me. My friends and many people around me call him ‘Baby Squid.’”

[From The LA Times, headers added]

The website KoreaBoo.com has more information about the 70s-80s children’s book series the evil robot doll is based on. It’s called The Text Book and the characters are Chulsoo and Younghee as Jung mentioned. They’re described as similar to Jack and Jill.

The interviews on The Tonight Show’s YouTube channel typically have from around 40,000 to 300,000 views depending on how popular the celebrity or performer is. The interview with the Squid Game stars was just posted yesterday and it already has over 3 million views! That’s how popular the cast and this show is, which is now number one in 90 countries and is set to be the most-watched series on Netflix ever. We just heard from the creator/director Hwang Dong-hyuk that he’s theoretically open to a sequel but that he wants to work on other projects first. In the mean time, I’m sure we’ll be seeing all of these actors more, and I hope this means a lift for South Korean and other foreign language films. We don’t need to have everything in English, we just want good shows!

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Photos credit: Youngkyu Park/Netflix and via Instagram

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14 Responses to “Squid Game’s HoYeon Jung says the evil robot doll was inspired by a kids’ story”

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  1. Bibliomommy96 says:

    I think a season 2 right away would lose integrity, and it would be rushed. I wouldn’t mind waiting for it.

  2. Bookie says:

    I watched it but had to fast forward through most of the games. It was a little too disturbing for me.

  3. detritus says:

    Okay, this makes total sense to me.

    I have watched until episode 2, and I’m like why is everyone so attractive?!? Jung specifically is breathtaking, incredible presence and voice.

    Jung-Jae is also gorgeous. His hair is glorious too. No hate on the casting of Cowboy Bebop but after seeing him I think he’d be a better Spike.

    I bet rich man and I want my money man also clean up really well. And cop. Why is everyone so attractive.

  4. M says:

    Goodness what attractive people! It’s a very cool show, but a little too much in the violence department for me.

  5. Willow says:

    I’ve only watched halfway through the first episode so far. The background music is all music that you would hear played in old fashioned children’s wind-up toys. Like a jack- in-the-box. I thought that was clever since they play children’s games.
    Apparently Jung-jae, is very well known in SK and normally only acts in movies, but liked the script so much he decided to do it. He played up the main character’s silly/goofy side so people would have a reason to root for him.

    • blisteringsun says:

      i love lee jung jae. he’s so good in everything i’ve seen him in. he can do comedy, action, drama. if you like gangster movies, he’s in on of the best: new world with a bunch of other very highly rated korean actors.

  6. Lila says:

    Always glad to have more good K dramas out there, especially those that break the mold. I’m currently obsessed with Crash Landing on You.

  7. JJ says:

    Got totally sucked into this show and then rewatched it with my family and finished that last night. It is crazy to watch the second time! Took everything I had not to spoil it…

    I am so impressed by HoYeon Jung, she really sucked me in! What a great actress and after hearing she was on next top model korea, I’m only somehow more impressed. (No offense to models, but models who can act really well are rare! (and I loved ANTM the first decade (but problematic!))

  8. Leah says:

    I wouldn’t say she’s an evil doll, she has rules unlike Annabelle.

    I still can’t believe that HoYeon Jung had no acting experience before this, acting comes naturally to her because she was really good in that role as the NK defector.

  9. Gingerly says:

    Normally can’t watch gory violence but this one has me hooked. It’s the character development and the acting. And the fact the violence is actually integral to the plot. I’ve made it to episode 6 and the scenes are so poignant.

  10. Erin says:

    Loved The Squid Game. Loved the cast. Loved the message. It was pretty gory, so that was a bit tough to watch bc of that sometimes.

    That said, Jimmy Fallon is the worst interviewer and so fake. He’s hard to watch, too

    • Lyds says:

      I agree re: Jimmy! It’s weird to see a grown man giggle and chortle all on his own. It made it awkward for me and I couldn’t finish the interview either. At least he didn’t mess up their names.

  11. Natalie_K says:

    I realize you don’t generally cover Korean celebrities, so you might not know, but Korean names are family name first and then given name. The actors in this article are referred to in this way but Jung Hoyeon is not. They are listed correctly on IMDB if that helps.

    Also FYI Koreaboo is a tabloid site.

  12. why says:

    imagine my shock seeing wi hajoon and jung hoyeon as header pic for this post.
    except for jung hoyeon, the other casts has a good filmography in case you want to watch more of them. especially wi hajoon who has 2 new movies this year.