Wi Ha-jun on 'Squid Game's' Cruelest Task—and Which Challenge He Would Have Aced

From mass shootings to contestants falling from deadly heights, the extreme survival games that unfold in Squid Game are all shockingly grim, one horrifying bloodbath after another.

Eerily themed after traditional Korean children's games, each seemingly innocent, nostalgic task comes with fatal consequences.

But if one had to choose the cruelest game of them all, the stepping stone bridge comes to the forefront for Squid Game actor Wi Ha-jun, who plays police detective Hwang Jun-ho in the series.

Jun-ho infiltrates the game facility disguised as a staff member, gaining a unique third-person perspective on the competition and a front row view of the bloody games.

Reflecting on the series in his first interview with a major U.S. publication, Wi explained to Newsweek the glass stepping stones felt like the cruelest of the tasks in the competition, for the gravity of the psychological distress imposed and the sheer immediate horror witnessed.

Wi said: "For me personally, the stepping stone bridge was the cruelest because your chances of succeeding can only be increased with the sacrifice of those in front of you.

"The thought of someone having to die right in front of your eyes and that only by such a sacrifice can one move forward, one step at a time, is cruel and scary," the actor explained.

Wi Ha-jun in "Squid Game."
Korean actor Wi Ha-jun as Hwang Jun-ho, a detective who infiltrates the game facility disguised as a staff member in "Squid Game" on Netflix. Netflix

The game sees contestants attempt to walk across an elevated bridge made of glass panels, some of which are made of stronger, tempered glass, while others are made of the weaker, normal glass. So depending on which type of panel they step on, the players could plunge to their death.

While the most savage may have been the glass bridge challenge, the Squid Game actor believes he would have aced a couple of other rounds due to his physical agility.

"I would have done best in "the mugunghwa flower has bloomed" game [Red Light, Green Light] and the Squid Game [the final round of the competition]," he claimed.

"Squid Game" actor Wi Ha-jun
Wi Ha-jun in "Squid Game" on Netflix. Netflix

Red Light, Green Light, the first round of the contest, set the devastatingly dire tone of the games, with players left utterly shell shocked by the hundreds of unexpected deadly eliminations.

The competition's final round, Squid Game, which series director/writer Hwang Dong-hyuk recalled was the most competitive of the games he'd played as a child, entails two people (or teams) combat each other within a grid drawn on the ground, that roughly looks like the outline of a squid.

Wi thinks he would have excelled at the Squid Game and Red Light, Green Light rounds "because I'm pretty adept at utilizing my body and I'm just better at these more dynamic type games."

A still from "Squid Game" on Netflix.
A scene featuring the stepping stone bridge round of the deadly contest in "Squid Game" on Netflix. Netflix

Among other matches that left an impression on the Squid Game actor was the Marbles round, which Wi said "led many people to tears."

"The most moving scene in the series for me was the story between [Oh] Il-nam and Gi-hun in Episode 6 during the Marbles game round," Wi said.

The Marbles game unfolds in the episode titled "Gganbu," during which Oh Il-nam (contestant No. 001, the old man played by Oh Young-soo) says that he and Gi-hun (player No. 456, played by Lee Jung-jae) are "gganbus," explaining that a gganbu is "a good friend with whom you share everything."

This deep friendship and bond with Gi-hun leads the old man to forfeit his last marble to player No. 456, allowing Gi-hun to make it to the next round alive.

A still from "Squid Game" on Netflix.
A scene from portraying the Squid Game, a traditional Korean children's game featured in the Netflix series of the same name. Netflix

The players face the most frightful challenges of their lives during the contest, but Wi also had to conquer his own real-life fears during the shooting of Squid Game.

Towards the end of the series, Jun-ho goes diving under water before a dramatic showdown with the Front Man, the mysterious character played by Lee Byung-hun who manages the survival competition and is later revealed to be Jun-ho's missing brother.

"I have a fear of water, so the underwater scenes were the most challenging and required a lot of preparation," recalled Wi, who said he tried to overcome his fear by taking regular swimming lessons.

"While I didn't completely conquer the phobia, we still managed to safely film the underwater scenes," the actor said. "Thanks to the help of the director, staff members as well as the underwater filming experts on hand, I was able to get through those shoots."

Squid Game is available to stream on Netflix.

Wi Ha-jun in "Squid Game."
Wi Ha-jun in a scene from "Squid Game." The actor was challenged to face his fear of water for the shooting of the series. Netflix