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Steven Spielberg called out after praising Netflix for casting ‘unknown’ actors in Squid Game

Fans of the hit Netflix show pointed out that many of ‘Squid Game’s’ lead cast were already huge names

Roisin O'Connor
Wednesday 23 March 2022 06:57 GMT
Trailer for Netflix thriller Squid Game
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Steven Spielberg has been criticised for claiming that Netflix’s hit series Squid Game is proof that TV shows can be successful despite casting “unknown actors”.

The 2021 South Korean dystopian series, about a group of people invited to join a mysterious contest in order to win a vast fortune, was one of the streaming giant’s biggest hits last year.

Appearing on a PGA Awards panel on 19 March, Spielberg praised the show and congratulated Netflix for taking a chance on a series without any “known stars”, Deadline reported.

“A long time ago it was domestic stars that brought the audience into movies,” the West Side Story director apparently said. “Today, it’s interesting, unknown people can star in entire miniseries, can be in movies.

Squid Game comes along and changes the math entirely for all of us,” he added, pointing to Netflix’s co-CEO and chief content officer Ted Sarandos. “Thank you, Ted.”

On social media, Spielberg has been criticised for his remarks by Squid Game fans who have pointed out that the show in fact stars a number of veteran Korean actors.

Included among them are Lee Jung-jae, one of South Korea’s biggest stars, and O Yeong-su, who began his acting career in 1967.

“LOL just some of the most famous actors in Korea,” one fan said, responding to Spielberg’s comments.

“Another day, another American thinking the world revolves around them,” another tweeted.

“‘Unknown.’ Poor choice of words,” one person said. “I get that Spielberg may have been making a point about having a more ‘known’ (to many Western audience members) actor be an anchor in a new piece of work, but this is a case for when people need to express themselves clearly and not offend.”

“Unknown????? Western exceptionalism rotting everyone’s brains lmfao,” another joked.

Spielberg’s West Side Story is up for seven nominations at this year’s Oscars. See the full list of nominees here.

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