Home Entertainment News ‘Squid Game’ Changes the Game ‘Completely,’ Says Spielberg at PGA Awards Panel

‘Squid Game’ Changes the Game ‘Completely,’ Says Spielberg at PGA Awards Panel

Comic-Con San Diego Steven Spielberg
Steven Spielberg speaking at the 2017 San Diego Comic Con International, for "Ready Player One", at the San Diego Convention Center in San Diego, California. (Via Gage Skidmore/ Flickr)

According to Steven Spielberg, Netflix's hit Korean Squid Game was a game-changer for the industry. Spielberg was on a panel Saturday Morning at the Skirball Center in Los Angeles discussing the Zanuck Award with other nominees for the PGA Awards.


Squid Game comes along and changes the math entirely for us,” Spielberg said. “Thank you, Ted [Sarandos].”


During his speech, Spielberg addressed the crowd. His comment about Squid Game was part of a larger conversation regarding film stars' importance in . Spielberg remarked on the cyclical nature of the system, pointing to the Netflix CEO for allowing non-famous people to anchor series.


“A long time ago, it was domestic stars that brought the audience into movies,” Spielberg said. “Today, it's interesting; unknown people can star entire miniseries, can be in movies.”


Steven Spielberg was just nominated for producing West Side Story. The worldwide market still demands recognized stars, according to him. Netflix's Squid Game, released in 2021, sparked a wave of interest in Korean shows and their actors.


On the panel were cast members, including Nicole Kidman and Javier Bardem's Being the Ricardos director Todd Black. Though his film has Nicole Kidman and Javier Bardem in prominent , Todd Black is a well-known actor who may assist a less-known cast.


“What's interesting is you can mix and match them also,” Black said. “It's really wonderful to be able to say, ‘Okay, I'm going to have a star in a smaller role. I'm going to have an unknown in the lead role.'”


Black has produced the Servant series for Apple TV+, which stars Harry Potter's Rupert Grint, Lauren Ambrose, Toby Kebbel, Peacock's Dr. Death, starred Alec Baldwin, Christian Slater, and Alec Baldwin Joshua Jackson.


“Now, you can go to the streaming service or the studio and say, ‘Okay, well, I'll get name the name to play for three days in this role, but I'm going to go with a total unknown,'” Black said. “Nine times out of 10, if the script is good enough and the budget is small enough, you can pull that off.”


Spielberg noted that landing a big celebrity might be beneficial in selling a studio or streamer on alternative casting.


“They do need an anchor,” Spielberg says. “If there's an anchor they're familiar with, you can surround them with lesser-known faces.”

The panel included CODA producer Philippe Rousselet, Dune producer Mary Parent, King Richard producer Tim White, Licorice Pizza creator Sara Murphy, tick, tick… BOOM! Producer Julie Oh in person, and Power of the Dog's Tanya Seghatchian via Zoom. Kevin Messick and Belfast director/producer Kenneth Branagh were also attending Zoom Meeting.


According to writers/director Paul Thomas Anderson, the film was written with Alana Ham in mind. He'd directed Haim's before. Murphy said he tried for a long time to convince himself not to pick Cooper Hoffman until he couldn't do it any longer.


“They did audition a bunch of kids for the Gary role,” Murphy said. “It was funny because originally it was written to be quite younger. Alana had chemistry reads with kids, and nothing was feeling right. It was kind of awkward. Paul got the idea of Cooper and avoided it and avoided it and avoided it.”


Murphy claims that when Hoffman was asked to read lines with Haim, the chemistry they created encouraged him to offer him the part.

The film has a deaf family in CODA, which stars Marlee Matlin, Troy Kotsur, and Daniel Durant. It was crucial to cast real people in the tale of a deaf household with one hearing kid (Emilia Jones). Keeping the budget low allowed them to hire those actors.


“We decided to make the film the most authentic way possible,” Rousselet said. “That meant shooting the with deaf actors, that meant shooting the movie in an area of the country where it's not easy to shoot in Massachusetts. Basically, it was a very challenging process for all of us, but what an outcome.”


The Producers Guild of America's (PGA) annual ceremony is tonight.


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