Squid Game VIP hits back at jibes about bad acting on the hit Netflix show
The U.S. actor who stars in the Netflix hit Squid Game has hit back at jibes about bad acting by the show’s much-derided VIPs in the show.
Geoffrey Giuliano, who plays the eccentric gay billionaire who tries to seduce a waiter, said everything had been done ‘exactly as the director wanted’.
Despite the incredible success of the gruesome drama – becoming the biggest ever Netflix show – fans have mocked the roles of the VIPs with jokes that were ‘dragged in off the street’ and the scripts sound like they were written with Google Translate.
Speaking today from his home in Thailand, Geoffrey reacted furiously to suggestions that the actors were at fault for the bizarre portrayals of ‘depraved rich Western men’, who director Hwang Dong-hyuk said were inspired partly by Donald Trump.
The 68-year-old author and actor – who was the only VIP to be unmasked in the show – said: ‘This wasn’t just a director, he was the writer-director so he had a vested interest in seeing his vision on the screen and that’s what he got.
‘We didn’t deviate one grain of rice from what he wanted to what we did. I think the performance was fine, absolutely fine, better than fine.
‘We did what the director asked us to do and don’t second guess this director, because he just made 900 million dollars for a lot of people who have their hands in that pie and he’s a genius, he’s a lovely guy.’
Squid Game director Hwang Dong-hyuk famously spent 10 years being rejected while trying to get his script produced before it was finally aired by Netflix in September.
The show follows people struggling with crippling debt as they enter a twisted competition to win a life-changing 45.6 billion won prize (38 million USD). It became the number 1 most streamed show in 94 countries, with an estimated 142 households worldwide watching and already generation 900 million USD for Netflix – more than 40 times its 21 million USD budget.
However, critics have lambasted the roles of the VIPs – rich foreigners who are invited to bet huge sums of money on which of the players will survive the show’s sadistic children’s games
One recent headline asked ‘Why is Squid Game’s English-language acting so bad?. While others have said the acting is ‘stilted and mannered’, according to the Guardian.
Actor Daniel C Kennedy, who plays VIP two, even mentioned his ‘extreme clinical depression’ and said he had been ‘gutted by the comments’ which had pushed him into ‘some honest self-reflection’.
However, buoyant Geoffrey explains that much of the criticism comes from a lack of understand of the show and Korean culture, as it was not intended to please a Western audience and the VIPs were portrayed like that to cater to ‘Korean sensibilities’ and their view of foreign men.
He draws parallels between the cartoon-like exaggerated roles of the VIPs and those in Stanley Kubrick’s Clockwork Orange.
He added: ‘It was a Korean series written by Koreans, directed by Koreans, funded by Koreans, for Koreans in the Korean language in the country of Korea. It’s not Godfather Two and was never intended to be.
‘This was a Korean project created by Korean minds for Korean sensibilities, not for America. The fact that America and all these other western countries like it is a bit of a mystery to me.
‘The director sought me out from thousands of people to fly me in from Hollywood to do this part, which also dispels the myth that we were picked up off the streets, like Im somme sort of ex-pat English teacher. Nothing wrong with that, but I’m a professional actor.’
Geoffrey also defended the cringe-worthy 69 jokes that VIP 4 made while watching players cross a bridge made from glass, explaining that the portrayal worked for the Korean audiences the show was intended for.
He added: ‘You need to understand that the awkward juxtaposition of a loud obnoxious American voice into that Korean drama with Korean sensibilities was the director’s choice, vision and mandate, so what’s the problem? This is like a complaint in search of a problem. We did what we were paid to do, we did the script as it was written.
‘Others in the cast have had problems with millions of people lodging some kind of complaint, which I feel is baseless. I’ve watched that thing wit ha jaundiced eye and thought ‘where did I go wrong’ but no, it’s fine. Either I’m crazy of they’re wrong, but there’s no problem on my end .
‘I’m in the most popular film in the history of television, it’s like the Beatles, its like Titanic, its like some crazy phenomena, like an asteroid hitting the earth and I’m riding this thing all the way to my next job.’
Geoffrey said the director initially wanted him to do ‘full frontal nudity’ in the scene where he propositions a waiter, who is actually an undercover cop. However, he negotiated at the production team agreed that he could wear a robe and only reveal his backside.
Amusingly, Geoffrey said the sight of seeing himself naked on screen had encouraged him to lose 15 pounds.
He added: ‘If you don’t lose weight after that, you’ll never lose weight. Being mortified in front of the whole world.’