Toronto Star

It’s more than a game

Cast member Giuliano spills secrets from Netflix’s Korean blockbuste­r ‘Squid Game’


No one could have predicted the global phenomenon that “Squid Game” became, not even some of its cast members.

Geoffrey Giuliano was one of them. He was also one of the only North Americans featured in the hit Korean blockbuste­r on Netflix. Giuliano plays the character VIP4” one of the morally bankrupt but fiscally full financiers of a game that allows the downtrodde­n to brutally compete against each other for a cash prize.

Despite the worldwide success, the 63-year-old actor from Rochester, New York said that the production’s location coupled with his background combined for some early learning curves.

“The challenges were the language and the script,” Giuliano admitted. “There was very minimal communicat­ion between what the director’s thoughts were and what I was to do. I had the bread crumbs or the trail of a script with no explanatio­n of what went on before and was to come after.”

The minimal informatio­n was the production’s philosophy of keeping the plot of “Squid Game” under wraps, but Giuliano believes that being told that his character was inspired by a former U.S. president could only have added to his performanc­e.

“I found out after I did the part that the role was modelled after Donald Trump. It would have been nice if the director or somebody would have told me that. 25 per cent of the planet has seen my performanc­e and many have made it known to me that they were unable to distinguis­h the character from the actor.”

The performer, who spent some time in Toronto in the early ’80s starring in Burger King and McDonald’s commercial­s, believes he knows why the show has struck the chord that it has. He says a general fascinatio­n with impending doom led to the show’s success.

“Hopelessne­ss has become kind of ingrained into the fabric of our lives. For some, it’s like watching some kind of shooting or an accident where the car is on top of somebody. It’s kind of a fascinatio­n with our own mortality.”

He likened the situation to shopping on a big sales day.

“It speaks to the consumer-driven folly of the mindless acquisitio­n of money as a pursuit. What people are more than willing to do when they have those Black Friday sales and there’s a stampede at Walmart just to get $100 off on a big-screen TV.”

Giuliano, who has also written 32 books, is now getting to reveal even more of the show’s secrets in a new audio book titled “Surviving Squid Game: I Am VIP 4.”

“It’s everything that happened to me and all the secrets that I know. What happened before, what happened during and what is now happening after with all the cataclysmi­c changes that are in my life. I get into my relationsh­ips with the people in the cast. I don’t think they quite understood they hired a journalist and an author to do this part, so I was always writing things down.”

The actor offered a couple of early teases, suggesting the “Squid Game” sequel will extend past its Korean borders.

“Netflix has delivered a mandate. What I hear through the grapevine is that because it was such a hit in the Western world, we will tip our hat there a little more. One of my original lines that was given to another character at the last minute was ‘well, it’s lovely to see the games in Korea this year.’ That connotes that the games are somewhere else in other years.”

The actor also referenced his own return. “Of the 14 stars of ‘Squid Game,’ I am one of the very few that’s still alive. When I’m knocked unconsciou­s at the end of my big scene, someone asks if my character VIP4 is dead. Why would you ask that? That’s number one. Number two, when the policeman comes in he drops a cellphone into the sleeve of his shirt and takes a video of me. What is that video for?”

Giuliano believes this means he is a sure bet to be asked back. He also said that he isn’t concerned about offering a peek behind the curtain of secrecy.

“I’ve been doing publishing contracts since 1983. It (the confidenti­ality clause) says that I am not allowed to discuss the show until it airs. It’s already aired,” he said. “Everybody has the right to talk about the facts of their life and their experience­s. They didn’t buy me.”

I don’t think they quite understood they hired a journalist and an author to do this part, so I was always writing things down.


 ?? NOH JUHAN NETFLIX ?? Geoffrey Giuliano plays VIP4 in "Squid Game" on Netflix.
NOH JUHAN NETFLIX Geoffrey Giuliano plays VIP4 in "Squid Game" on Netflix.
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