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‘Physical: 100’ creator Jang Ho-gi looks to find top ‘global’ physique

By Lee Si-jin

Published : Feb. 7, 2023 - 15:48

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"Physical: 100" (Netflix)
Jang Ho-gi, creator of Jang Ho-gi, creator of "Physical: 100," poses for photos before a press conference at Community House Masil in Myeong-dong, central Seoul, Tuesday. (Netflix)

Jang Ho-gi, the man behind global streamer Netflix’s latest reality competition “Physical: 100,” said he wants to scour the world to find a contestant in top physical shape.

“Though our show sought to find the fittest among 100 contestants of different gender, race and age, deciding the proportion of foreign-born contestants was difficult. Defining a foreign-born contestant itself was complicated as well,” Jang said in a press conference held at Community House Masil in Myeong-dong, central Seoul, Tuesday.

The creator shared that he received many emails and messages recommending future contestants and expressing a wish to participate in a possible second season from around the world.

“‘Physical: 100’ was an original Korean show. And we decided to cast foreign-born personalities who live in Korea and are able to communicate in Korean. As a director, my hope is for the series to develop on a bigger scale, allowing me to produce ‘Physical: 100’ in different countries and continents,” Jang told The Korea Herald, adding that he wishes to find the world's fittest contestant.

The director said that curiosity about the winners of best body and man of the month at his fitness center inspired him to produce the real-life “Squid Game.”

“When I looked at the bulletin board in our gym, some contestants seemed more deserving of the title of best body. And I wanted to do this right and figure out the fittest. A total of 1,000 people applied to the show. We whittled it down to 500 participants for interviews. After a physical examination and a check on mental status, 100 contestants were chosen for the show,” he said.

Jang explained that he tried to exclude sob stories, background information and pop-up subtitles -- additional subtitles commonly embedded in Korean variety shows -- as much as possible.

“Many viewers, nowadays, are willing to spend their time to learn about a person who stars in a specific show or project online. I wished for the viewers to grow more interested in the show and participants by looking up participants of their choosing,” Jang added, sharing that this allowed him to focus more on the competition.

Jang felt that the most important feature of his show is the losers smashing the sculptures of their own torso.

“In many survival-themed dramas and films, failure means death. Announcing a loser’s name or removing the cast’s name tag was not enough for the viewers, who were mesmerized by the bloody survival in shows like ‘Squid Game.’ I felt we needed something flashier,” the creator said.

Jang wished to take away something dear to the contestants. After learning that the body meant everything to the participants, he decided to make the cast sculptures of their torsos.

“It was like a ceramics master breaking his own pottery. Many people seemed pained when they were left to smash their torsos. Some even asked if they could pretend to break the sculpture and take it home,” Jang added.

“Whereas the previous episodes focused on individuals and their performances, the upcoming parts present unexpected events and results. The series will develop with interesting stories,” Jang said.

“Physical: 100,” a reality competition that aims to discover the competitor with the strongest physique, releases two episodes on Netflix every Tuesday.