If you’ve watched Netflix’s hit series “Round 6”, innocent children’s games like tug of war and red light, pranks can now take on a whole new meaning for you.
For their creator Hwang Dong-hyuk, they were part of his childhood in South Korea. “All of us, at some point, played those simple, childish games,” he tells CNN.
Among those Hwang played as a child was starter “Round 6,” a team game involving attackers pushing their way through a squid-shaped area, with defenders trying to stop them.
“It was very physically demanding, so every time we played, someone would get hurt, have their clothes torn or cry,” he said. “It would always be the last game of the day.”
“Having grown up to become an adult, the question ‘what would it be like to go back and play those childhood games again?’ it was the beginning of the creation of the entire series”, he said.
Released in September, “Round 6” – about indebted contestants battling a series of deadly children’s games – is currently on its way to becoming Netflix’s most popular series, having reached number one in 90 countries, including the United States.
For Hwang, the show’s narrative reflects the “competitive society” in which we live today. “This is a story about losers,” he said – those who struggle with the challenges of everyday life and are left behind while the “winners level up”.
It’s also a personal story. The two main characters, Seong Gi-hun and Cho Sang-woo, are named after his old friends, and he calls them his “inner clones”.
“They represent my two sides. Like Gi-hun, I was raised by a single mother in a financially challenged environment in Ssangmun-dong,” he explained. “At the same time, as Sang-woo, I went to Seoul National University and my entire neighborhood praised me and had high expectations of me.”
Producing the series was an intense experience, with Hwang losing six teeth during filming because of stress. But that didn’t detract from the idea of producing a second season.
“Writing, producing and directing a series on my own was really a tough job. When I think about doing the same for season two, personally I get a little worried,” he said. “There’s nothing confirmed at the moment, but so many people are excited that I’m actually thinking about doing this.”
(Text translated, read original in English here)