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The Squid Game creator responded to comments made by the NBA superstar during a press conference exchange with fellow Los Angeles Lakers player Anthony Davis. James’ comments weren’t made directly to Hwang, who conceived the South Korean series, but made their way to the director during a recent Guardian interview.
When asked about what he thought about the producer and professional athlete’s assessment of his ending, Hwang said that James “is cool and can say what he wants” and that he both respects that opinion and is “very thankful he watched the whole series.” But he’s going to agree to disagree with the NBA star.
“I wouldn’t change my ending. That’s my ending,” Hwang said. “If he has his own ending that would satisfy him, maybe he could make his own sequel. I’ll check it out and maybe send him a message saying, ‘I liked your whole show, except the ending.’”
The series’ ending essentially opens the door to a second season, which James acknowledged, by having the lead character and game-winner Gi-hun (Lee Jung-jae) stay in Seoul rather than go to the U.S. to see his daughter and publicly reveal the existence of the deadly game. That was ultimately what the NBA superstar said he didn’t like about the season one finale.
“I know they start it off with a season two, but like, get on the fucking flight and go see your daughter, bro. Like what are you doing?” he said in a clip recorded during the press conference.
During the Guardian interview, Hwang also spoke about his paycheck for the series, which he lost six teeth while making due to the stress. The director shared that not only was the process of producing the show “physically, mentally and emotionally draining” due to his constant revision of episodes, but clarified that “he’s not that rich” following his show’s breakout success.
“I do have enough. I have enough to put food on the table. And it’s not like Netflix is paying me a bonus. Netflix paid me according to the original contract,” he said.
He noted later in the interview that might change, though. “It’s possible that I have to do season two to become as rich as Squid Game’s winner,” he said, laughing.
He also addressed two other Netflix-related issues: whether he’d watched any of his streaming competition, like Bridgerton, and if working with the international entertainment corporation was contradictory to Squid Game‘s critique of capitalism.
When it came to other Netflix series, the director said that he’s only watched two shows through to the end: Breaking Bad and Mind Hunter. “People said Bridgerton was very good so I tried watching episode one, but I gave up in the middle,” he admitted. “I’m not really into TV romance stories because it’s been six or seven years since I was in a relationship. I find it really hard to relate to.”
As for his showing being funded by Netflix, he laughed, before answering, “Oh, the Guardian, asking profound questions! Well, Netflix is a global corporation but I don’t think it is aggravating inequalities. I don’t think there is a contradiction.”
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