DURING the seventh and eighth episodes of Squid Game: The Challenge, the remaining players faced one of their tensest tasks yet; the glass bridge challenge.
They each have to make it across a glass bridge with two choices of where to step each time. But players didn’t know which panels were safe, as one opened, with the player falling through and being eliminated.
Or so it seemed. Squid Game: The Challenge bosses have confirmed that no players actually fell from the bridge and clever camera tricks allowed stunt doubles to take over. Their falls were made safe with giant airbags and a few other tricks.
As a viewer, the challenge makes for a very tense watch, especially as the first two players to make a move were eliminated straight away. When they were, it looked as if they fell down from a great height through the darkness below.
In Hwang Dong-hyuk’s original Netflix series, when a player was eliminated, they died. However, the show's bosses took pains to make sure no players would be hurt.
The series has been criticized by some former players for poor living conditions, including disgusting food and inadequate wash facilities. However, The Challenge bosses said safely was always their top priority.
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For that reason, they players didn’t actually fall through the glass bridge.
Executive producer John Hay told Entertainment Weekly: “The fall itself was done by a professional stunt person for the safety of the players. Obviously, that’s paramount for us. There was a large airbag underneath, but that also needs to be done by professionals.”
However, John explained that only the fall was done by stunt doubles who were swapped in at the very last minute, and everything else you see is real. “The order of the pattern of the [glass squares], which is a pass and which is a fail, is all predetermined before they’ve stepped on the bridge,” he explained.
“And their reactions and their peers’ reactions to stepping on a fail door and being eliminated are all real. And then, at the last minute, we swapped them out, and a stunt person did the fall.”
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Stephen Lambert, another executive producer on the reality competition series, added that the stunt people fell from “a safe distance.”
“The way it’s filmed makes it look like it’s further than it actually was,” he said.
But, only the distance of the fall was shortened, the bridge was actually as high as it looked.
“That was important to us that the sensation of being high on a bridge was there, but obviously, the fall had to be a safe distance,” John chimed in.
He continued: “There’s a large airbag underneath that was all tested and checked. It was incredibly important to us that the gameplay was totally authentic. But we have, as Stephen says, made it look like they fall a little bit further than they do.”
The players received no respite while they paused the game to swap in the stunt double, John added, saying it “didn’t in any way break the spell of the game.”
He explained: “It was a very quick swap and fall, and they reacted all the way through that unbroken run. At that stage, they’re quite close to the money, so their elimination really landed with an impact for all of them.”
Eventually, after losing six more players on the bridge, the final 12 made it across.
But, the way they moved across the bridge shocked the producers. The group voted to implement a system that saw each player take a turn by going ahead of the person in front so no one had to go in alone and it was fair to everyone.
This worked for the most part.
“They decided as a group to come up with this system where they would only each have to take a 50/50 chance — with one exception, of course,” Stephen commented, referring to Ashley, better known as Player #278 who didn’t move up when it was her turn, forced Player #301 (Trey) to make multiple jumps. He was eliminated on his third jump, after which Ashley had no choice but to jump. She landed on a safe panel.
Stephen praised the group’s efforts: “That was very clever of them. They did that very quickly, and it wasn’t something we were necessarily expecting, and it actually made it much fairer.”
John agreed, commenting on how they worked as a team rather than as competitors. “One of the most surprising and fascinating aspects of the way that the game played out was that this thing that’s set up to be the war of all against all, in its latter stages actually produces cooperation and self-sacrifice and teamwork.
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“It’s a very interesting insight into human psychology,” he concluded.
Nine episodes of Squid Game: The Challenge are currently available to stream on Netflix. The series finale will premiere on 6 December.
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