15 Interesting Facts About Netflix's 'The Circle' We Didn't Know

Nicole Pomarico | Apr 3, 2020 TV
15 Interesting Facts About Netflix's 'The Circle' We Didn't Know
Image: Netflix

'The Circle'
Netflix

We've always loved Netflix Original series, but lately, we think they've really been hitting it out of the park when it comes to their reality shows. Not only was Love is Blind seriously addicting, but there was also The Circle, which made us think about social media and the world of influencers in a totally new way while also entertaining us for hours on end. The concept of the show is pretty simple: Contestants are all living in separate apartments and can only communicate by using the Circle, which allows them to chat with each other and judge each other based on their individual profiles.

It's totally different from anything we've seen, so no wonder it became so popular so quickly... 

But even with the show being a huge success, there was still a lot we didn't know about it and the way it was filmed, especially since it's so unlike other reality shows out there. Fortunately, this is where the internet (and cast interviews) come in handy.

We're learning surprising secrets about The Circle and what went on behind the scenes while the show was filming. As it turns out, there are a lot of things we didn't know about this show, from the country it was filmed in (nope, it wasn't America), to the way the Circle itself actually worked. (This stuff is mind-blowing!)

Read on for all the interesting facts about The Circle that even the show's biggest fans may not have already known. Having all this intel is definitely making us that much more excited for season two, so our fingers are crossed that it premieres ASAP. 

We need more! 

  • It Didn't Start on Netflix in the US

    1

    Even though it may seem like a new concept to us, The Circle has actually been around in the United Kingdom for more than two years now. Originally, it's been airing on Channel 4 in the UK, and the show was so popular that a US version was made -- followed by a Brazilian edition (which is already on Netflix,  and a French edition (which is headed to the streaming platform April 9). 

  • More Than 20 People Make the Show Possible

    2

    According to what creator Tim Harcourt told Vulture, the show runs via a control room where a staff of over 20 people make everything possible. He said:

    "We ran all the wires from that building into this -- it was like a disused college university campus opposite [the building]. In there, we had a huge control room, which at any time would have between 20 and 30 producers and camera ops working, recording, logging everything that was going on, and also studying the game and sending all the messages from the Circle. It’s like sort of a bit like being a general in an army, I suppose."

  • Karyn & 'Mercedeze' Are Now Real-Life Friends 

    3

    Remember how Karyn created a character named Mercedeze on The Circle who she gave her own personality to in order to fool the others? Well, the woman whose photos she used did consent to the show, but she and Karyn didn't know each other in real-life until afterwards. 

    "She actually DM'd me and was like, 'Hey!'" Karyn told Oprah Magazine. "And when I saw the message I replied to her so quickly, like 'Thank you so much. I really hope I did you justice.' With that conversation we've actually become pretty cool."

  • Therapists Were Available 

    4

    As Shubham told Cosmopolitan in an interview, everyone may have been isolated, but they did have access to a therapist to keep their mental health in check while filming. 

    "Production-wise, [the producers] were the nicest people possible," he said. "There was a therapist you could see whenever you wanted. They have people constantly giving us food, doing the room."

    Honestly, we can think of a lot of reality TV shows that could benefit from this kind of thing! 

  • There Were a Lot More Contestants Than We Thought 

    5

    We only got to know a few select people competing on The Circle, but it didn't start out that way. As Harcourt told Vulture, the show had a pool of 20-25 people on hand so they'd be ready when it came time to eliminate someone. This is pretty common when it comes to reality TV, but it's still surprising to know that many people were hanging out, hoping for their chance to jump in. 

  • The Series Filmed in the UK

    6

    Yeah, we know everyone on the show was American, but filming still took place in the UK, where the original series was based. The apartments that people stayed in were in England, and so far, every iteration of the show has been filmed in them, even though they've changed up the decor a bit.

    "We filmed all four versions of the show in the same apartment block in a town called Salford in Manchester in the United Kingdom," Harcourt said. "And for each version -- the Brazilian, the American, the French, the British version -- we had to sort of design personal touches that made it feel like home for everyone who was living in there."

    We never would have known! 

  • It Includes Exterior Shots From the US

    7

    Harcourt said that he didn't want The Circle to seem like it was set in any particular city, so they used exterior shots that tried to establish the show's location as anywhere in America, keeping things vague. He didn't want to confuse viewers by using UK shots, since everyone on the show was American, so instead, he did his best to really conceal the location for everyone watching at home. 

  • The Voice Activation Doesn't Work Quite Like We Think

    8

    Another behind-the-scenes secret that Harcourt shared? Yeah, the apartments aren't voice activated the way they seem. That's where that large staff in the control room comes in! 

    "When you talk to the Circle, there’s a producer who’s transcribing what you say. Instantly, that gets pushed to the next room," he explained. "So there is some humanity in the app, and that’s a couple of producers whose job it is to take dictation from the players."

    It would have been really cool if it was voice activated, though.

  • Filming the Show Meant Two Weeks of Isolation

    9

    The cast we met at the beginning of the series actually ended up staying in isolation for 14 days, and for those of us social distancing right now, we know what a toll that can take on a person. However, it's important to remember that these cast members were totally alone ... and they didn't have Wi-Fi to reach out to the outside world. Fortunately, they were still able to talk to producers, according to what Harcourt told Decider

  • The Lights in the Apartment Were Bright

    10

    As Joey told Vulture in an interview, he wore sunglasses indoors a lot not because he thought he looked good, but because the lights for filming were super bright! 

    He said:

    "People said, 'Dude, why are you wearing your sunglasses inside, you tool?' And I'm like, 'Look, I get it, but there's tons of lights in there and you can't leave and your eyes start hurting! The sunglasses are staying on!' I'll take the 'tool' comment all day long as long as my eyes aren't killing me."

  • Joey & Shooby Are Still BFFs

    11

    If nothing else came out of this show, this beautiful friendship did! As Insider pointed out, anyone who's been following both of these guys on social media probably already knows that they've stayed friends long after The Circle stopped filming, and have definitely reunited a time or two since then. It's good to see they're still staying close, especially after such a crazy experience.

  • They Couldn't Chat Whenever They Wanted 

    12

    This makes sense now that we know that the voice activation wasn't a real thing! After all, people in both the house and the control room needed to sleep at some point, right? So at night time, chat was no longer an option. 

    "We had to allow for people to sleep and have their rest, so chats were regulated … we couldn't chance bugging people during their beauty sleep!" Harcourt told Decider

  • They Couldn't Keep Anything They Got in the Apartment 

    13

    As Sammie said in an interview with Screen Rant, unfortunately, contestants weren't able to keep anything they got, and there were plenty of restrictions on