de Lily Alice, Maio 22, 2024

Director Han Jae Rim drew a line at the comparison of The 8 Show to Squid Game, stating that while the two dramas may seem similar, they are quite different. The director also explained how the K-drama sparks commentary on what entertainment is and the direction cinema is going. Read on to know his thoughts.

On the morning of May 22, director Han Jae Rim sat for an interview with local reporters at a café in Seoul to commemorate the release of his Netflix series The 8 Show.

The 8 Show is a story about eight people trapped in a studio divided into eight floors. They participate in a sweet but dangerous game where they earn money as time accumulates.  

The K-drama is adapted from the webtoons "Money Game" and "Pie Game" by author Bae Jin Soo. After the release of the series, some pointed out it's quite similar to another Netflix series Squid Game, released in September 2021. The setting of the K-dramas where people participate in a game for a large sum of money, the bizarre stage, the uniforms of the characters, and referring to them with numbers are some of the aspects noted as identical.  

Responding to whether he was inspired by the concept and story of Squid Game, director Han explained, "Actually, I received the offer for this drama before Squid Game was released. But, as Squid Game did so well, I began to think if I should proceed with the project because Squid Game became such a classic. So, initially, the story was adapted only from 'Money Game', but later 'Pie Game' was added. A game where no one is supposed to die. Instead of being influenced by Squid Game, I actually tried to go in a different direction."  

It is also important to note that "Money Game" started serialization in November 2018. 

He continued, "While the two dramas may seem similar, the conflicts are entirely different. We weren't influenced [by Squid Game]." 

Director Han further stated, "Squid Game falls under the survival genre. In this genre, things such as who kills whom and including a strong character are important. But The 8 Show is more of a social experiment show, and in a way, a meta-commentary on what entertainment and fun are." 

He added, "Another thing is that there had to be logic. People say that the concept of the outfits is similar, but our concept of the outfits was 'real-like fake.' In our story, numbers represent rank. The organizers [of the games] are also fundamentally different. The organizers in Squid Game are bad people, making it easy for the audience to watch without guilt. But [in The 8 Show] we don't show the organizer, which makes the audience feel like they are the organizer." 

Director Han also mentioned that he was cautious in creating violent and provocative scenes. He said, "I was very careful when making violent or provocative scenes. I put a lot of ethical thought into avoiding such sensationalism so as not to make the audience get pleasure from such scenes. The organizer [in the drama] symbolizes the audience. (1-8 floors) These people have to do entertaining things to be loved by the audience, so I wanted to create a work that raises questions about such things."

He added, "I think the difference is whether showing violence gives pleasure or discomfort. I believed the violence should cause discomfort, so I portrayed it as briefly as possible. I thought it was right from my moral perspective." 

Ironically, however, the K-drama had many violent and provocative scenes.  

Director Han continued, "From a creator's perspective, this drama raises questions. We creators worry a lot about to what extent we should go to make the content entertaining for the audience." "For instance, we can predict what kind of scenes the audience would find entertaining, but we question if those scenes are necessary and if it's right to entertain them with such scenes."

He added, "Among the comments [The 8 Show received], there was a comment that said, 'Why don't you show the scene when Chun Woo Hee and Park Hae Joon do a talent show?' The audience would have said it was fun if we showed that scene, but the drama criticizes such ideology, so I thought it shouldn't be shown." 

Director Han expressed his concerns about the course cinema is taking, saying, "People tend to seek provocative and 'fun' content, which leads to the regret that cinema is losing its essence." 

Regarding deciding on the title The 8 Show, he said, "As we combined 'Money Game' and 'Pie Game,' I wondered if the title 'Money Game' was still appropriate. This drama does not fall under the survival genre, and no one is supposed to die. So I thought it would be better not to include 'game' in the title."

Director Han stated, "I thought of it as a meta-commentary on what entertainment and fun are. That's why the word 'show' [and not game] is important. We [creators] try hard to entertain," he repeatedly emphasized. He continued, "[The concerns of the characters in the K-drama] are similar to my concerns and the concerns of entertainment [industry]. Trying to gain the audience's love makes us think a lot." 

Sources (1)(2)