For the rest of us, “Squid Game” is our newest favorite binge-watch. For Carlo Aquino, it’s one giant "what if”.
Earlier this week, it was revealed that the Kapamilya actor was supposed to be part of the hit Netflix series, but pulled out due to COVID-19 travel restrictions.
“Nanghihinayang ako, eh. Nakakalungkot na hindi natuloy dahil sa pandemic,” he said in an interview with Star Magic.
In June 2020, he posted a handwritten note from “Squid Game” director and writer Hwang Dong-hyuk, saying he’s looking forward to working with Carlo.
Apparently, Dong-hyuk saw him in the 2019 film “Isa Pa With Feelings” and offered him the chance to audition for the series.
“Nag-message sa akin si Tita Cris (Tapang), ‘yung handler ko, na, ‘Oh, may gusto magpa-audition. Napanood ka sa ‘Isa Pa With Feelings’, baka gusto ko mong gawin. It’s a Korean series. ‘Yung direktor napanood ka.’ Sabi ko, ‘Gagawin ko ‘yan talaga!’ Sayang naman ‘yun.”
“Ta’s nandun na sila sa usapan na, ‘Hi, Carlo. This is the schedule: Shooting days is 45 days, but for your character Ali, it’s 37 days.’ I have it here, talagang hinanap ko ‘yung e-mail, kasi ‘yung script, dinelete ko na. ‘Yung parts lang kasi ni Ali ‘yung pinadala sa akin. Dinelete ko na kasi ang sama ng loob ko. Sabi ko, ‘Bwisit na ‘to, hindi natuloy.’”
Fast forward to present times, Carlo hopped in on the “Squid Game” hype and watched it along with millions all over the world, without realizing it was what he auditioned for. Until he reached a pivotal scene in Ali’s character, which ultimately went to Anupam Tripathi.
“Pinanood namin, tapos nakita ko si Ali, ganyan. Tapos siguro mga episode four or five, sabi ko, ‘Parang alam ko ‘tong sinasabi nitong taong ‘to.’ Hindi ako makatulog nung gabi. Kinabukasan pagkagising ko, pinanood ko ‘yung eksenang parang naipit ‘yung kamay ng boss niya. Sabi ko, ‘Ito ‘yung in-audition ko! Ito ‘yung pumupunta pa ‘ko sa ABS para gawin!’”
Carlo didn’t hide how bad he regrets not being part of the show, saying, “Hinayang na hinayang din naman ako. Siyempre, ‘di ba? Trending ang ‘Squid Game’, eh. Sayang. Tsaka ang galing na makagawa ka ng istorya na nasa malaking-malaking warehouse lang ‘yung shoot, pero sobrang engaging ng series, eh. Kaya siguro ako hindi natuloy dahil nagkaroon ng lockdown sa Korea, ayaw nila magpapasok. So siguro ‘yung mga available artists na lang doon sa Korea ‘yung mga kinuha nila.”
He is, however, glad that fellow Filipino actor Christian Lagahit made it. “Sobrang happy ako para sa kanya, kasi siyempre nagkaroon siya ng recognition.”
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