‘Squid Game’: How the Director Lost Six Teeth After Filming the K-Drama

Director Hwang Dong-hyuk has spent the majority of his professional career making movies. Squid Game was his first-ever Korean drama, and it came with some challenges. Hwang developed the storyline over 10 years from financial troubles to rejections from major production companies. Besides exhaustion, fans will be surprised to learn making Squid Game into reality also caused the director to look some teeth.

Director Hwang Dong-hyuk of 'Squid Game' accepting award
Hwang Dong-hyuk accepts an award onstage during the 2021 Gotham Awards | Jemal Countess via Getty Images

Hwang Dong-hyuk had more experience developing screenplays instead of K-dramas

The Squid Game director was more widely known on the big screen before embarking on the journey with Netflix to develop his first K-drama. His debut was with the 2007 movie My Father tackling the topic of adoption. In 2011, Hwang’s film Silence became a massive success in South Korea. The storyline is about the real-life events that took place at Gwangju Inhwa School, where deaf students were sexually assaulted.

In 2017, Hwang’s movie The Fortress was also a success and starred Lee Byung-hun, who plays Front Man in Squid Game. The 2021 Netflix K-drama was inspired by Hwang’s financial troubles and views on a broken capitalist society. Squid Game is the director’s first K-drama and first time making a screenplay into a full-blown episodic script.

The ‘Squid Game’ director lost six teeth after filming the K-drama

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Making the shift from the big screen to the TV screen is no easy task. Making Squid Game came with its own challenges as Hwang has never written a script and storyline to be told in multiple episodes. The director previously mentioned in a Variety interview the idea of developing a season 2 is “quite tiring just thinking about it.” That is not all, as the Squid Game director told Vulture how he lost six of his teeth after the K-drama.

“I had to write and direct all nine episodes by myself. It was a physically long process, and mentally and emotionally, I felt immense pressure and a huge responsibility,” said Hwang. The needed dedication to Squid Game also required him to cut down on sleep. But six of his teeth were already in bad shape while he was filming The Fortress.

Devoting all his time to the Netflix K-drama did not allow Hwang to visit the dentist to get them properly treated. “I saw the dentist after Squid Game production was over, the doctor said I had to have all six removed. It would have been better if I had not lost my teeth, but I would have been very sad if the show had flopped.” Hwang admits the love and praise Squid Game has received makes up for losing his teeth.

Will there be a ‘Squid Game’ Season 2?

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Director Hwang has confirmed he has plans to develop a Squid Game Season 2. While he is still in talks with Netflix, he promises Seong Gi-hun (Lee Jung-jae) will return for a new season. The director already has some ideas for the next storyline.

In an interview with The Times, Hwang expressed he would like to further explore Front Man’s backstory. But fans have their own theories they want to see fleshed out. Many viewers want to know the guards’ backstories and if the Games still take place.