The Squid Game actors who starred as the sordid VIPs on the hit Netflix drama have reacted to the backlash over their English-language acting skills, with one stressing that they weren’t just ‘picked up off the street’.
Since its launch last month, South Korean thriller Squid Game has become the most-watched series ever on the streaming platform.
It follows a group of hundreds of people in extreme financial ruin who are enlisted to play in a series of games for the chance to win a fortune, the catch being that if they lose, they are killed.
In the seventh episode, a group of VIPs arrive at the compound, each wearing gold masks designed to look like different animals as they watch the players take part in a death-defying challenge.
Numerous Squid Game viewers have criticised the portrayals of the billionaire VIPs, with one person tweeting: ‘Once the VIPs came in I was ready to stop the show lol I hated the English dialogue so much.’
‘The VIPs are so annoying idk if it’s the accent, their lines themselves or the way they sound as a voiceover but they are annoying me and ruining the episode,’ someone else remarked.
In response, a few of the actors in question have spoken out, with Geoffrey Giuliano, who plays VIP four, the only one to be unmasked, saying that he’s ‘not complaining’ about the attention he’s receiving.
‘I’m in the hottest show in the world. I got fanmail. Just today I got a woman who said: “Send me your autograph.” So I did, and two hours later she sent me a photo where she had “Geoffrey Giuliano, VIP four,” tattooed right across her forearm. There have also been some sexual invitations, from males and females,’ he told The Guardian.
Daniel C Kennedy, who plays VIP two, has found the criticism more difficult to deal with, explaining that he suffers from extreme clinical depression.
‘Initially, I was gutted by the comments but, with time and distance and some honest self-reflection, I’ve been better able to filter the feedback into the stuff I can use to improve next time, versus the stuff that is bound to come when you’re part of a project that gets global recognition,’ he said.
John D Michaels, who depicted VIP one, stressed that the show’s creators didn’t ‘just pick us up off the street’, explaining that when non-Korean actors star in Korean shows, they may sometimes be given dialogue that has been translated by Google Translate, which can result in the lines sounding ‘unnatural’.
He added that on some occasions, the actors don’t receive scripts for the entire series, and so ‘we have no idea of the tone’.
David explained that in the scene where the VIPs are all sitting in the room watching the game, they were all wearing their masks and were sitting far away from each other, which made it harder for them to communicate with one another.
‘We all had to yell our lines vaguely into the air, which added to the weird tonality of the delivery,’ he stated.
Squid Game is available to watch on Netflix.