Netflix is making a real life Squid Game – and you can compete for $4.5m

Apparently, no humans will be murdered in the making of this game show

Matthew Singer
Written by
Matthew Singer
Film writer and editor

Calling all gambling addicts, refugees, old men with terminal diseases, laid-off Netflix employees and other financially desperate folks: Netflix wants to cast you to compete in a real-life Squid Game.

In a dystopian twist straight out of a very meta Black Mirror episode, the streaming platform is literally turning its most-watched original series – which, as you might recall, involves a competition in which players perform a series of kids’ games, with the losers being murdered on the spot – into an actual reality show.

Like the fictional Squid Game, Squid: The Challenge will involve 456 contestants competing for a sum of money: in this case, $4.56 million – supposedly the largest prize in TV history. Netflix is calling it ‘the biggest reality competition series ever,’ while also ominously referring to it as a ‘social experiment.’  

‘As they compete through a series of games inspired by the original show – plus surprising new additions – their strategies, alliances, and character will be put to the test while competitors are eliminated around them,’ reads the Netflix statement. ‘The stakes are high, but in this game the worst fate is going home empty-handed.’  

The casting page notes that ‘win or lose, all players will leave unscathed’, which is a relief to hear. Still, creating a ‘real’ Squid Game seems like a rather audacious misreading of the show’s critique of the Korean class system and capitalism in general. Then again, this isn’t the first time someone with a bunch of money completely misunderstood the message of the show. 

Either way, creator Hwang Dong-hyuk has apparently signed off on the idea, perhaps just for the irony of having his point made for him.

The announcement comes as the not-real Squid Game recently confirmed it will be returning to Netflix for a second series.

The real show will shoot in the UK and is currently looking for English-speaking competitors from around the world. Got student loan debts? Is your home about to get foreclosed on? Is there an angry bookie looking for you? Are you really confident in your marble skills? Then go here to audition.

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