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Before Squid Game became one of the most popular streaming shows in 2021, breakout star Jung Ho-yeon was afraid that she actually ruined the show. The model-turned-actress landed the her first-ever acting role on the massively popular (and massively violent) series, which earned her critical acclaim and several award nominations. But after she watched herself on screen for the first time, Jung actually apologized to the director for her performance.
In a new roundtable interview with the Hollywood Reporter, Jung is accompanied by other iconic women of Hollywood, Sandra Oh, Emmy Rossum, Rosario Dawson, Lily James and Christina Ricci, who reflect on their triumphant roles from the last year. The Squid Game star, who played the resilient Kang Sae-byeok, recalls that she was not confident about her character and her acting skills after watching the final cut.
JUNG We watched Squid Game before it came out. The actors did because we had to do promotion and events and stuff, and I thought … am I allowed to swear?
JUNG I thought I f*cked up.
JAMES Oh my God, you’re great.
JUNG I thought I totally messed up. My first message to director Hwang after I watched Squid Game was, “I am so sorry. And thank you so much for casting me.” I’m going to cry. It was so stressful. I was trying to prepare for the bad reactions and everything.
Jung then got emotional describing her anxiety and life after the show. “I’m reading a lot of scripts and just starting to educate myself. Like, do you want to tell people about this woman’s life? Or this woman’s life? And then the other side, I’m thinking, ‘I just want to try everything so that I can have more of a sense of what I like, what I want to do.’”
The actress added, “But for now, I just have to keep going even though I make mistakes. Even though I just cried right now. I don’t even know why I cried, but I just have to fight with my anxiety and keep learning and trying.”
Now, Jung has a SAG award and worldwide praise, so she can coast for a little while. Next up, she is set to star in A24’s The Governesses, and an upcoming Apple TV series Disclaimer alongside Cate Blanchett. Most importantly, though, she starred in a music video for The Weeknd earlier this year, which is the mark of a true superstar. Just ask Jim Carrey!