South Korean drama Squid Game arrived on Netflix in September and quickly became one of the most popular shows to come out of 2021, with countless fans getting their Squid Game costumes ready for Halloween and making the infamous dalgona cookies.
Now Netflix's biggest series ever, Squid Game has catapulted its stars – many of whom were well known in South Korea – to global fame, with Lee Jung-jae leading the cast as Seong Gi-hun, a chauffeur with huge gambling who's invited to play a series of children's games for the chance to win a large amount of prize money.
However, Gi-hun and his fellow tournament contestants soon learn that losing the game results in losing your life and those that survive continue through the various Squid Game rounds in an attempt to leave with a life-changing amount of money and avoid the incineration room.
Read on to find out more about the stars of Squid Game and which films and shows they've previously appeared in.
Lee Jung-jae plays Seong Gi-hun
Who is Seong Gi-hun? Seong Gi-hun is a divorced gambling addict whose financial woes are getting in the way of gaining custody of his daughter. He lives with his mother in a modest abode and soon finds out she has diabetes and needs surgery. When he hears about the secret game and its substantial cash prize, he decides to take part so he can settle his debts and pay for his mother's medical bills.
Where have I seen Lee Jung-jae before? The South Korean actor began his career as a model before transitioning to television and film. He has appeared in many South Korean series and films, including The Face Reader, The Last Witness, Typhoon and 2000's Il Mare, which was the inspiration for Sandra Bullock and Keanu Reeves' The Lake House.
Park Hae-soo plays Cho Sang-woo
Who is Cho Sang-woo? Cho Sang-woo grew up poor alongside Seong Gi-hun. A gifted student, Cho Sang-woo eventually graduates from Seoul National University and becomes the head of an investment team. Unfortunately, he gets caught stealing money from his clients and is wanted from the police, so he decides to enter the game with Seong Gi-hun.
Where have I seen Park Hae-soo before? Hae-soo's career began in musical theatre before he got his breakthrough in the 2017 drama Prison Playbook, which earned him a Best New Actor win at The Seoul Awards. He also appears in the Korean adaptation of Money Heist.
HoYeon Jung plays Kang Sae-byeok
Who is Kang Sae-byeok? A North Korean defector, the resourceful Kang Sae-byeok joins the game in a bid to secure the money she needs to get the rest of her family out of North Korea and help her little brother, who is in an orphanage in Seoul. She is good with knife and a skilled pickpocket, both of which come in handy in the arena.
Read more about who 067 is here.
Where have I seen HoYeon Jung before? Squid Game marks Jung's first acting role, with the newcomer rising to fame after appearing in Korea's Next Top Model and walking the catwalk for the likes of Chanel and Louis Vuitton.
Anupam Tripathi plays Abdul Ali
Who is Abdul Ali? He is a migrant worker hailing from Pakistan who loses several fingers during an accident in the factory where he works. He was never compensated, and he volunteers to take part in Squid Game to provide for his wife and child and the rest of his family in Pakistan.
Where have I seen Anupam Tripathi before? Indian-born Tripathi is one of the few non-Korean actors in Squid Game. Much like Jung, Squid Game is his first major acting role, though he has appeared in Space Sweepers, also on Netflix, and in the film Ode To My Father.
Oh Young-soo plays Oh Il-nam
Who is Oh Il-nam? The eldest player in Squid Game, Oh Il-nam, also known as player 001, joins the game after being diagnosed with a brain tumour. He soon strikes up a friendship with Gi-hun, who feels responsible for the Old Man in Squid Game – but he's not as helpless as he may seem at first glance.
Where have I seen Oh Young-su before? Oh Young-su played a monk in both A Little Monk and Spring, Summer, Fall, Winter... and Spring.
Heo Sung-tae plays Jang Deok-su
Who is Jang Deok-su? Seoul gangster Jang Deok-su has amassed quite the gambling debt and is on the run from his crime lord boss when he joins the game. He is not to be messed with, in case you didn't guess that from the picture above.
Where have I seen Heo Sung-tae before? Heo Sung-tae is no stranger to playing villains, having appeared in series Beyond Evil as ruthless businessman Lee Chang-jin. He rose to fame in 2016's The Age of Shadows and has had roles in Netflix's Racket Boys and The Fortress.
Kim Joo-ryung plays Han Mi-nyeo
Who is Han Mi-nyeo? Not much is known of the mysterious Han Mi-nyeo when she enters the game, other than the fact she's a poor single mother – and intent on surviving at all costs.
Where have I seen Kim Joo-ryung before? Fans of Korean dramas will recognise Kim Joo-ryung from her roles in Korean dramas Kingmaker: The Change of Destiny and When My Love Blooms. She also appeared in 2012's Sleepless Night and Mr Sunshine.
Wi Ha-joon plays Hwang Jun-ho
Who is Hwang Jun-ho? Hwang Jun-ho is a Seoul police officer whose missing brother is connected to the game. After an encounter with Gi-hun, Jun-ho goes undercover as a guard in the game.
Where have I seen Wi Ha-joon before? The prolific Wi Ha-joon has starred in a string of popular Korean films and dramas, including found footage horror Gonjiam: Haunted Asylum and thriller Midnight, and dramas Romance Is a Bonus Book and Something in the Rain.
Lee Byung-hun plays The Front Man
Who is The Front Man? The Front Man is in charge of running the whole game. Like all those who work on the game, he wears a mask to maintain strict anonymity, with viewers not finding out who is beneath until episode eight.
Where have I seen Lee Byung-hun before? The face under the mask is perhaps one of the most well-known among the Squid Game cast, with actor and singer Lee Byung-hun appearing in some of the highest-grossing films in Korea, including Inside Men, Master and The Good, the Bad, the Weird. He has also portrayed T-1000 in 2015 Terminator Genisys and has appeared in The Magnificent Seven and G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra.
Lee Yoo-mi plays Ji-yeong
Who is Ji-yeong? Another cash-strapped player – number 240 to be exact – Ji-yeong forms an unlikely bond with Sae-byeok. It is revealed she was in prison for killing her abusive father.
Where have I seen Lee Yoo-mi before? The actress has had roles in the likes of 365: Repeat of the Year, Hostage: Missing Celebrity, and Doctor John.
Squid Game English dubbing actors
- Greg Chun as Seong Gi-hun
- Stephen Fu as Cho Sang-woo
- Paul Nakauchi as Jang Deok-su
- Hideo Kimura as Oh Il-nam
- Vivian Lu as Kang Sae-byeok
- Rama Vallury as Abdul Ali
- Tom Choi as Front Man
- Donald Chang as Hwang Jun-ho
- Stephanie Komure as Han Mi-nyeo
- Yuuki Luna as Ji-yeong
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