The dystopian thriller "Squid Game" has officially become the most-watched Netflix series of all time.
In less than a month, the new Korean language drama has become a cultural phenomenon with 111 million viewers on the streaming platform.
Writer and director Hwang Dong-Hyuk of the hyper-violent show told "Good Morning America" that he always envisioned the global appeal of "Squid Game" but even he's surprised by the off-the-charts success.
"If you look at the cast of characters, you have the elite member of society, Sang-woo. You have the blue collar, middle-class man, Gi-hun. You have the migrant worker, Ali. You have Sae-byeok and you have Il-nam, who sort of represents the senior class," he said. "They may seem very specific to Korea, but I think they constitute the minority in any country in the world."
Dong-Hyuk wrote the original script for "Squid Game" over 10 years ago when he said he was broke at 38 years old and still living off his mom, just like the main character, Gi-hun.
The production during COVID got so intense that the director said he lost sleep and six of his teeth due to the crushing stress.
"The first game -- was the most difficult and scary thing to film. It was like seeing 456 characters all move according to choreography, like watching a K-Pop band. Because all these people had to move and stop in unison," he said of the intricate scene."I wanted the audience to feel a little bit confused. 'Should I be sad? Should I be shocked? Is this funny? Is this beautiful?'"
The hit show has reached No. 1 in 94 countries and has been translated into over 30 languages, but Dong-Hyuk said "please, please watch the subtitle" version.
"Because if you don't see -- the acting, the performance from the real actor, then you're not seeing anything," he reasoned. "You're missing -- most of [the] Squid Game fun."
The director also knows that audiences are already clamoring for a second season and while his sheer exhaustion creating the first one gave him an initial pause, he's gotten inspiration from many fans and their creative plot lines on social media.
"Some of them was like -- really brilliant, you know?" he said. "So maybe I'll go through the -- all the YouTube again if I have to write -- season two. Then I'll steal the ideas from the fans," he added with a laugh.