Here's a guide to Squid Game's cast and characters. Netflix's explosive new seriesis backed by a stellar cast of South Korean actors, each well-suited to play their respective characters. Squid Game's characters arepitted against hundreds of highly desperate and indebted people in a series of playground games for children. And in each game, the price of failure is death. Set in and around modern day Seoul, South Korea, Squid Game puts its own uniquely horrific twists on familiar gaming elements from Battle Royale, TheHunger Games, and the Saw movies.
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Every member ofthe Squid Game castof main characters loosely represent a slice of modern society. In this nine-episode dystopian drama, rich and poor Squid Game players alike compete for the ultimate prize: billions of Korean won – more than enough to pay off their debts and start anew. The players form alliances, betray each other, and do whatever they need to survive and win.
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So who are the main players onSquid Game's cast? What are their backstories and why are they in the game?And of course, where have you seen the actors who make up Squid Game's cast of players before?
Lee Jung-jae (이정재) as Seong Gi-hun
The lead of Squid Game’s cast is protagonist is Seong Gi-hun, a divorced persistent gambler who needs money in order to gain custody of his daughter. After finding out that his mother has diabetes and needs surgery, Gi-hun has even more reason to join and win the games. Seong Gi-hun'sSquid Game characteris not entirely unlike Adam Sandler’s Howard Ratner from Uncut Gems. The model-turned-actor Lee Jung-jae, who plays Gi-hun, was also in the 2013 historical drama The Face Reader as Grand Prince Suyang, as well as 2000’s Il Mare, which inspired The Lake House.
Park Hae-soo (박해수) as Cho Sang-woo
Seong Gi-hun’s childhood friend Cho Sang-woo is the local neighborhood’s success story. After graduating from a prestigious university and making the right business investments, Cho Sang-woo gets caught stealing money from his clients, and is on the run from the police. As one of the smarter playersamong thecast ofSquid Game characters, Sang-woo’s quick thinking and knowledge of children’s games gives him an edge over other players and makes him a useful ally to Gi-hun. The actor Park Hae-soo is most famous for his starring role in 2017’s Prison Playbook. He is also in the Korean adaptation of the Netflix drama Money Heist.
Jung Ho-yeon (정호연) as Kang Sae-byeok
Kang Sae-byeok needs Squid Game’s prize money in order to get her mother and the rest of her family out of North Korea. She also wants to use it to create a nice life for her little brother, who lives in an orphanage in Seoul. Apart from being a North Korean defector, Sae-byeok is a skilled pickpocket who’s also knows her way around a knife. Squid Game is the first onscreen acting role for the young model-turned-actor Jung Ho-yeon. Previously, she was one of the contestants in the South Korean version of America’s Next Top Model.
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Tripathi Anupam (아누팜 트리파티) as Abdul Ali
Played by one of the only non-Korean actors on theSquid Gamecast, immigrant Pakistani worker Abdul Ali lost several fingers to a factory accident, for which he was never compensated. This leads him to go back to the factory and accost his former boss, who loses his own fingers in the confrontation, prompting Abdul to take his money and run. Desperate to earn a future not just for his wife and child in Seoul, but also for the rest of his family back home in Pakistan, Ali volunteers to join Squid Game. The Indian-born actor Tripathi Anupam is a rare non-Korean presence not just in Squid Game, but in the country’s television industry. While Squid Game is considered his first breakthrough role, he previously had a small role in the Korean Netflix drama Space Sweepers.
Oh Young-soo (오영수) as Oh Il-nam
Also known as Player 001, the oldestSquid Gameplayer is Oh Il-nam, for whom Gi-hun feels some responsibility. However, old man Il-nam is not as helpless as he seems. The veteran actor Oh Young-soo is known mostly for playing monk roles in 2003’s A Little Monk and Spring, Summer, Fall, Winter... and Spring.
Wi Ha-joon (위하준) as Hwang Jun-ho
After following clues which he believes might lead him to his missing brother, Seoul police officer Hwang Jun-ho tries yet fails to get more clues from Gi-hun. This prompts Jun-ho to go undercover as one of the staff who organizes the games in order to get a closer look, triggering a neo-noir detective story arc within the dark comedic drama. The actor Wi Ha-joon has an extensive filmography, including the 2018 found footage horror movie Gonjiam: Haunted Asylum, romantic drama Something in the Rain, and 2021 thriller Midnight, wherein Ha-joon steps into the role of a serial killer.
Heo Sung-tae (허성태) as Jang Deok-su
As a gangster in Seoul, Squid Game player Jang Deok-su did well for himself by dipping his fingers in the pockets of his underlings in the criminal underworld. But when he gets greedy enough to steal from his boss – alongside garnering massive gambling debts – he also gets desperate enough to compete in Squid Game. It’s no surprise that actor Heo Sung-tae can play the archetypal real life gangster so well, considering his previous role in 2021’s Beyond Evil as a ruthless businessman. The diverse actor has also played the coach of a kids’ badminton team in Netflix’s Racket Boys.
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Kim Joo-ryung (김주령) as Han Mi-nyeo
Very little is revealed about Squid Game player Han Mi-nyeo, except that she’ll do or say whatever it takes to survive. The quirky and surprisingly capable Mi-nyeo is played by actor Kim Joo-ryung, who was in the 2012 drama Sleepless Night, and played a small role in the 2018 historical drama Mr. Sunshine.
Lee Byung-hun (이병헌) as In-ho
In-ho, also known as The Front Man, is the enigmatic masked leader who runs Squid Game. Aside for his work as part of the Squid Game cast, actor Lee Byung-hun is a well-known veteran in the industry. He has appeared in some of the highest-grossing films in the Korean drama and entertainment scene, including Master, The Good, The Bad, The Weird, Masquerade, Inside Men, and Joint Security Area. Unlike his fellow cast members, Byung-hun has several Hollywood films under his belt, including The Magnificent Seven, G.I. Joe, and Terminator Genisys.
Supporting Squid Game Cast Members
Gong Yoo (공유) as The Salesman – Playing the small but memorable role of The Salesman, who convinces Gi-hun and other players to join Squid Game, Gong Yoo is most famous for playing Kim Shin in the highly successful serial drama Coffee Prince, Kim Go-eun in Goblin, also known as Guardian: The Lonely and Great God, Seo Geon in One Fine Day, and Seo Suk Woo in the critically-acclaimed zombie film Train to Busan.
Lee Yoo-mi (이유미) as Ji-yeong – Ji-yeong, whom Sae-byeok recruits for the tug-of-war game, is played be Lee Yoo-mi, a young actress who appeared in the sci-fi gem 365: Repeat of the Year.
Yoo Sung-joo (유성주) as Byeong-gi – The doctor Byeong-gi conspires with some of the Squid Game staff in order to cheat and win – in exchange for his services. He is played by Yoo Sung-joo, a stage actor who had supporting roles in the movies Times and Search.
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