Trailer for Netflix thriller Squid Game
Netflix

Steven Spielberg has found himself in hot water after calling the cast of Netflix smash Squid Game “unknowns”.

The director made the comments while praising the show during the recent PGA Awards panel, discussing the series creators’ decision to cast actors supposedly unfamiliar to audiences.

He gestured to Netflix SEO Ted Sarandos as he said during the event: "Squid Game comes along and changes the math entirely for all of us. Thank you, Ted.”

Spielberg continued [via Deadline]: "A long time ago it was domestic stars that brought the audience into movies. Today, it's interesting, unknown people can star [in] entire miniseries [and] can be in movies."

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The comments led to criticism online, with many pointing out that lead actors Lee Jung-jae, Lee Yoo-mi and Gong Yoo were all established stars in Korea long before the series arrived - with Lee Jung-jae one of the biggest named in Korean TV and film.

HoYeon Jung was, however, unknown before finding fame with the role of Kang Sae-byeok in her first television role.

“The world doesn't revolve around America, Spielberg,” one disgruntled social media user wrote after the comments. “They're "unknown" to you because you haven't watch any of their work prior to Squid Game.”

One more said: “I need Spielberg and everyone else to realize the film industry in the US is not the end all be all. This man has had a career for decades! Unknown is not the adjective you should be using.”

The director was criticised onlineGetty/Netflix

Another added: “While I’m sure Spielberg probably meant ‘unknown’ in the US, giving him the benefit of the doubt. I think everyone in general is just tired of Americans in media continuously saying Asian actors are unknown when rlly they don’t know them.”

Squid Game became Netflix’s biggest TV show launch of all time last year after dropping on the platform on September 17.

The series explores a dystopian reality, in which a mysterious organisation recruits people in debt to compete in a series of deadly childhood games for the chance to win a life-changing amount of money.

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