“The 8 Show” Director Han Jae-rim, “I Tried Something Different, Not Influenced By ‘Squid Game’”

Director Han Jae-rim insisted that Netflix's series “The 8 Show” and “Squid Game” are completely different from each other

At a cafe in Samcheong-ro, Jongno-ro, Seoul on May 22nd, director Han Jae-rim of Netflix’s original series “The 8 Show” participated in an interview and talked about various things.

“The 8 Show” is a Netflix series about 8 people who are trapped in a secret space divided into 8 floors and participate in a sweet but dangerous show to earn money by accumulating time. This is the first Netflix series directed by Han Jae-rim, whose works, including “The Face Reader” and “The King”, have been recognized for both popularity and box office achievements.

han jae rim

Director Han Jae-rim adapted Bae Jin-soo’s Naver webtoons “Money Game” and “Pie Game” to create a new story using the theme of “Money Game”. Regarding the reason he changed the title, the director said, “It’s not a survival genre. I think it’s a bit twisted. If it’s a survival series, someone must die. Someone needs to die so that others can live, but ‘The 8 Show’ doesn’t kill anyone. That’s why I don’t want ‘game’ to appear in the title. The word ‘show’ is more accurate because the characters try to entertain the organizers”.

He continued, “Since there are 8 episodes and 8 characters, and the money is their time so I thought about changing the title to ‘The 8 Show’ to portray human desire to have infinite time. It’s hard for the original author to agree to change the title but I was so grateful that he was willing to understand my decision.”

After “The 8 Show” was released, some people commented that it is similar to “Squid Game”. In this regard, director Han said, “I decided to work on this project even before the release of ‘Squid Game’. After ‘Squid Game’ did well, I even thought about stopping the project. I enjoyed watching ‘Squid Game’ but I didn’t know it would be that successful. At that time, only ‘Money Game’ was used and I felt the limitation of the survival genre. I found the rules of ‘Pie Game’ attractive so I came up with the idea of telling a story in which no one would die”.

squid game

He explained, “I wasn’t influenced by ‘Squid Game’. I wanted to go for something different. Looking at the reviews, I think people who expect it to be like ‘Squid Game’ did not find ‘The 8 Show’ interesting, but many people like the series because it’s different from ‘Squid Game’. The survival genre kills people, betrays people and has powerful characters with many twists. However, ‘The 8 Show’ is not a survival series, but a drama that reflects society.”

Regarding the differences between “The 8 Show” and “Squid Game”, the director emphasized, “Since the organizers in ‘Squid Game’ were portrayed as villains, the audience watched the drama comfortably without feeling guilty. Dozens of people die in the drama but viewers don’t feel guilty at all”, adding “In our drama, we don’t see the organizer and the organizer symbolizes the audience. Therefore, even a small amount of cruelty could result in intense emotions, so we were extremely careful about creating such parts”

He added, “In order to prevent the viewers from feeling pleasure we repeated ethical concerns to avoid sensationalism. The creators of this work consider how much entertainment to provide for the audience. The work is filled with metaphors reflecting the concerns of those who create mass media.”

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