Squid Game VIP Actor Responds to Actor Criticism

John D. Michaels, who plays VIP 1 on Netflix’s hit Squid Game, responds to criticism of the show’s infamous VIP characters.

John D. Michaels, who plays VIP 1 on Netflix’s recent hit show Squid game, responds to criticism of the show’s VIPs. Since its release a month ago, Squid game broke audience records to become Netflix’s greatest original series of all time. Critics and audiences alike have overwhelmingly praised the series for its incisive comments on the class disparity, as well as the many memorable performances by the series’ star-studded cast. However, one aspect of the show that is constantly criticized is the performances of the mustache-twirling antagonists known as VIPs.


In an otherwise entirely Korean cast, the VIPs featured in episode 7 are the only English-speaking characters in the entire series. Their inclusion suggests that death game tournaments may be a global phenomenon hosted by the mysterious global elite, which is where Squid game the criticisms of capitalism are starting to become evident. However, critics pointed out that Hammy’s performance by VIPs was one of the weaker aspects of the show. A popular (and somewhat petty) joke that has been circulating about VIP actors is that the show’s casting directors randomly snatched them off the street.

Related: The Best Idea Of Netflix’s Squid Game Season 2 Is A Front Man Prequel

Michaels recently opened in an interview with The Guardian, where the actor frankly discussed the challenges of working as an English-speaking actor on a Korean-language production. He says that “Non-Korean artists often act with dialogue translated by a non-native – sometimes even by Google Translate – so it may seem unnatural.” While performers are allowed to tone down coarser dialogue, “It often happens at the last minute and comes with a lot of restrictions.” Check out the actor’s full comments below:

“I think the first thing to dispel is this myth that they pick us up from the streets,” Michaels says, noting that every role he’s played has come at the end of a long audition process. Along with her on-screen work, Michaels also writes and directs, and has years of experience as a performer.

“It’s different for every show, but non-Korean artists often act with dialogue translated by a non-native – sometimes even by Google Translate – so it may seem unnatural,” he says. While actors have the freedom to fix awkward dialogue, it often happens at the last minute and comes with a lot of restrictions. “And a lot of times we don’t have the scripts for the rest of the series,” he adds. “We’re only given our scenes, so we have no idea what the tone is.”

Kennedy says this problem has been exacerbated on Squid Game. Not only did the VIPs surrender their scenes without context – which meant they had to make up their own stories for their characters, whom they described to me as “total idiots” and “millionaires of dirt bags” – but “We all wore very heavy plaster masks, and sat on sofas at least 20-30 feet from the nearest VIP. We all must have vaguely yelled our lines in the air, which added to the odd tone of the delivery.

Squid Game VIP Elevator

Above all, Michaels wants to set the record straight for himself and his VIP co-stars. He wants “dispel […] this myth that they just looked for us on the street. “ Claims like this ignore the work actors like Michaels put into securing such a role; Michaels himself had a pretty substantial resume as a writer, director, and performer before his involvement in Squid game.

Given the open nature of Squid game final, it is highly likely that the VIPs will return to Squid game season 2. Perhaps the show can hire dedicated consultants to oversee the portrayal of non-Korean cultures – not just English-speaking cultures necessarily, but non-Korean cultures in general (the show’s portrayal of Anupam Tripathi’s character , Ali Abdul, also garnered some reviews online, albeit to a lesser extent compared to VIPs). Now that Squid game gained a global audience, these considerations should be a priority.

More: Squid Game: Why VIPs All Wear Animal Masks

Source: The Guardian

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