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Scenes from Squid Game, Netflix’s breakout South Korean series from Hwang Dong-hyuk, are getting the ax thanks to an unexpected wave of pranks callers dialing up a very real phone number featured in the show, The Hollywood Reporter has confirmed.
In the trailer and early episodes of the survival drama about a deadly competition with a million-dollar prize, a card with a phone number on one side is given to the game’s 456 participants. To begin their journey — a series of children’s games with violent twists — and earn a chance to free themselves of their steep financial debt, each must call that number.
But unlike other productions that have created fictionalized numbers to help promote or market their shows, Squid Game uses an actual number, to the detriment of the South Korean who owns it. As a result, the streamer and local production company Siren Pictures have made the decision to edit various scenes with the numbers in question in hopes of putting a stop to the prank calls, THR has learned.
According to Reuters, the owner of the phone number spoke to local broadcaster SBS about the experience of being inundated with calls, with those on the other line stating they wanted to participate in the Squid Game. In addition to showing several of the messages they had received, they also revealed they couldn’t change their number because of client contacts.
In a Wall Street Journal report, which seemingly identifies the individual’s gender differently, the person revealed they had received upwards of 4,000 calls a day.
The Korea Times has also reported that another individual, whose number is only one digit different from the one featured in the series, has also been inundated with calls and messages. Meanwhile, the WSJ identified a 26-year-old Seoul-based office worker whose number differs from the one featured in the show by just two digits as another person seeing an increase in phone calls and messages.
The nine-episode Squid Game was a surprise international hit for Netflix after premiering Sept. 17. The streamer’s co-CEO Ted Sarandos stated at a recent conference that there was “a very good chance it’s going to be our biggest show ever.”
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