The phenomenal success of Netflix’s Squid Game came seemingly out of nowhere, catapulting its writer-director, Hwang Dong-hyuk, and cast to global stardom and making them the hottest commodity in Hollywood. That has created a stampede among the major agencies to sign Hwang and the actors, the vast majority of whom have no Hollywood representation.
That includes Hwang who recently met with the heads of the major talent agencies, CAA (soon-to-be-merged with ICM), WME and UTA, sources said. He is said to still be mulling who to sign with. The cast, led by Lee Jung-jae, Jung HoYeon and Park Hae-soo, also have been taking agency/management meetings this week, sources said.
Hwang and the actors are all in town; they flew in for the big press junket Netflix held for the show on Monday following its breakout success.
Signing the show’s creator and stars would be very lucrative as Netflix is looking to do a second season, which Hwang confirmed is coming on the red carpet at the Monday event. Season 1 was made on a modest budget, reportedly $2.4 million per episode ($21.4 million in total), while projected to generate $900 million value for the streamer, according to data cited by Bloomberg.
The cast and Hwang had no-frills contracts typical for local-language Netflix productions.
“I’m not that rich,” Hwang recently told The Guardian. “But I do have enough. I have enough to put food on the table. And it’s not like Netflix is paying me a bonus. Netflix paid me according to the original contract.”
That is all expected to change, with top Hollywood agents stepping in to negotiate big raises for the creator and stars in their contracts for Season 2. Additionally, the actors’ and creator’s new Hollywood reps will try to capitalize on the success of Squid Game to line up feature and other opportunities for them.
The cast of the series also includes Wi Ha-Joon, Oh Yeong-su, Heo Sung-tae, Anupam Tripathi, Greg Chun and Kim Joo-Ryung.