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‘Squid Game’ VIPs respond to acting criticism

“We are only given our scenes, so we have no idea of the tone"

By Hollie Geraghty

Squid Game VIPS
The 'Squid Game' VIPs are masked billionaires who bet on the live games. (Photo: Netflix).

Actors from the hit Netflix show ‘Squid Game’ have responded to criticism of their acting in the roles of the VIPs.

In the show, the VIPs play masked billionaires who are invited to watch and bet on the live Squid Game challenges, delivering some of the only English speaking lines in the show. 

However they have faced backlash for their poor performances compared to their South Korean co-stars. 

In an interview with The Guardian, the VIPs responded to the claims of “dire, stilted” performances.

“I ain’t complaining, baby!” actor Geoffrey Giuliano said, the only VIP to remove their mask in the series.

“I’m in the hottest show in the world. I got fanmail. Just today I got a woman who said: ‘Send me your autograph.’ So I did, and two hours later she sent me a photo where she had ‘Geoffrey Giuliano, VIP four,’ tattooed right across her forearm.”

He added: “There have also been some sexual invitations, from males and females.”

Another actor, Daniel C Kennedy, who plays VIP two, said it was a “bit of a challenge” due to suffering from “extreme clinical depression”. He added: “Initially, I was gutted by the comments but, with time and distance and some honest self-reflection, I’ve been better able to filter the feedback into the stuff I can use to improve next time, versus the stuff that is bound to come when you’re part of a project that gets global recognition.”

John D Michaels, who played VIP one and has been acting in Korea for the past five years, explained the process working with a translated script.

“It’s different for every show, but non-Korean performers often act with dialogue that is translated by a non-native – sometimes even by Google Translate – so it can sound unnatural.

“And often we don’t have the scripts for the rest of the show,” he adds. “We are only given our scenes, so we have no idea of the tone.”

Kennedy agreed that the VIPs were given scenes without context, requiring them to do their own character research. He added: “We were all wearing very heavy plaster masks, and sitting on couches that were at least 20-30ft away from the closest VIP. We all had to yell our lines vaguely into the air, which added to the weird tonality of the delivery.”

Michaels added that in the wider context, sometimes poor takes could slip through the post-production process if it was being edited by someone who doesn’t speak English as a first language.

Despite the negative reactions, the actors still spoke highly of the overall quality of the show.

“To me, the show was expressing the feeling that we are all just a bunch of have-nots who are being pitted against each other, fighting over crumbs while all these giant corporations and billionaires hoard all of the wealth as the world is dying. I feel the show expressed that really well,” Michaels said.