(Credit: Netflix)

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‘Our Beloved Summer’ actor explains the impact of ‘Squid Game’

At 31, South Korean actor Choi Woo-shik boasts of a burgeoning character in the film industry. Having transcended the barriers with Bong Joon-ho’s Parasite in 2019, Choi Woo-shik is currently starring in the Netflix romantic drama Our Beloved Summer. The actor recently opened up about the impact of the recent Netflix K-Original Squid Game and how it changed the course of Korean content against the cinematic landscape in recent times and has helped propel subsequent interest in Korean arts and culture. 

Starring in the rom-com alongside Kim Da-mi, Choi Woo-shik plays a heartbroken man forced to meet his ex-lover to recreate a documentary they shot back in high school. This leads their complicated feelings to resurface with other uncomfortable truths and past secrets.   

Choi has been a popular face in the South Korean film industry, having starred in various popular K-Dramas and films, namely Okja, Train to Busan, Set Me Free and more. He will be seen in the upcoming Netflix film Wonderland, besides Choi Min-jae’s thriller The Policeman’s Lineage

Having starred in an Award-winning film like Parasite, Choi had the fortune of being directed by Bong Joon-ho, one of the most acclaimed directors in cinema history. Bong has often spoken up about the language barrier on multiple occasions, passionately exclaiming, “Once you overcome the one-inch tall barrier of subtitles, you will be introduced to so many more amazing films.”

While people have shied away from foreign content for quite some time, it was the enormous success of the latest Netflix release, Squid Game, that made it a sensation. The series introduced the Korean Wave to the western world, that has piqued interest in South Korean language, culture, entertainment and more. 

Directed by Hwang Dong-hyuk, starring Lee Jung-jae, Park Hae-soo, Wi Ha Jun and Jung Ho Yeon, among others, the show has paved the way for the streaming giant to indulge in the creation of more Original foreign content, especially Korean productions. Choi opened up about how Squid Game’s unimaginable success was a step “forward to the future”. 

“I think the power of over-the-top [streaming] media services are immense. People abroad are interested in Korean content and are even interested in past works as well,” he said. 

Talking about himself, he said, “As an actor, I have a new mindset when reading scripts. I think of things like how people all over the world can enjoy this when reading them. I think this is a good change. Unlike the past, people can easily approach Korean content and that’s exciting.”

Choi Woo-shik, a Canadian citizen, is fluent in both English and Korean. He opened up about how he expected to receive more global offers after Parasite but unfortunately did not. He credited Squid Game for helping him decode what the “Hollywood dream” actually meant. 

Expressing his glee at the prospect of the “doors [of the film industry] re-opening again” after the pandemic, he said, “I wondered about what the ‘Hollywood dream’ entails. I think Squid Game answered that question for me.”

Watch Our Beloved Summer on Netflix now.