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74-Year-Old Singaporean Triumphs A Spot in Netflix’s ‘Squid Game: The Challenge’ After Nearly Missing Casting Call

In Singapore, where scam cases are on the rise, it’s generally prudent to be wary of suspicious phone calls, particularly those with foreign country codes.

This caution nearly cost 74-year-old Mr Danny Yeo a unique opportunity.

He initially disregarded a call with a “+44” country code, suspecting it to be a scam.

However, this call was actually a casting invitation from the Netflix reality series “Squid Game: The Challenge”.

Squid Game: The Challenge draws its inspiration from the critically acclaimed South Korean thriller series Squid Game, which earned 14 nominations and secured 6 awards, celebrating achievements in directing, acting, and ensemble performance.

In this reality TV version, the dystopian elements of the original show were vividly recreated.

Image: YouTube (@Netflix)

This includes the iconic masked guards, training suits, set designs, and a faithful rendition of the “Red Light, Green Light” game.

Notably, the show employed black dye-pack canisters instead of real guns to simulate eliminations in a non-lethal, yet dramatic fashion.

Scam Prevention Uncle Became Squid Game Uncle

Mr Yeo, a retiree who retired in 2015 with a penchant for acting, discovered the casting call in a Facebook group for actors in June 2022.

Despite not fully understanding the show’s concept, he was intrigued by the lack of restrictions on age, race, or gender and decided to audition.

He submitted a one-minute video and thought little more of it until he received the unexpected call from the UK.

Initially dismissing the call as a potential scam, Mr Yeo only realised its significance when the British production companies, Studio Lambert and The Garden, sent follow-up text messages.

He then understood that the call he had responsibly ignored was, in fact, from the Squid Game: The Challenge production team.

Aware he would be among the oldest of the 456 contestants, Mr Yeo started watching “Squid Game” only after applying.

Image: Shin Min Daily News

He enthusiastically pursued the opportunity.

After multiple interviews, a health check-up in Singapore, and a virtual psychiatric evaluation, he was selected as player No. 164 in December 2022.

He had outshined some 81,000 applicants and became one of the oldest participants, and the only participant from Singapore.

Image: Netflix

Had the production team not sent a follow-up message, Mr Yeo might have missed his chance.

And of course, he is also the face of the National Crime Prevention Council’s scam prevention campaign in Singapore.

Image: National Crime Prevention Council

The filming process was shrouded in secrecy.

Mr Yeo had to travel to London for the shoot, unable to disclose the reason even to his family.

During filming, he was cut off from the outside world, surrendering his phone to prevent any leaks.

Participating in the show wasn’t easy, especially for the elderly.

Contestants faced challenges like enduring long hours in freezing temperatures, clad only in tracksuits.

BBC reported that the filming of just the Red Light, Green Light game took more than seven hours, with a team of adjudicators meticulously ensuring fairness.

Image: YouTube (@Netflix)

The demanding conditions sparked controversy over the participants’ well-being, as some required medical attention during filming.

Mr Yeo was eliminated in the first round, but his participation itself was an admirable feat.

Image: Netflix

As he noted in an interview with The Straits Times, the conditions were particularly harsh for older contestants, speculating that the game’s difficulty was intentionally heightened in the initial rounds to ensure a sufficient number of eliminations.

Reflecting on his experience, Mr Yeo expressed immense enjoyment and the opportunity to embody his personal philosophy, which he whimsically termed “YODO” (“You Only Die Once”), a variation of the more familiar “YOLO” (“You Only Live Once”).

You can catch the 10-episode Netflix series, which is now streaming on Netflix.

Or you can watch this video to find out more about the show:

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