Squid Game has become one of Netflix’s biggest series since its release in late September 2021. The South Korean survival drama has attracted a huge worldwide audience with its mix of thrills, horror, and fascinating characters.
Over the course of nine episodes, audiences have been captivated by the plight of the 456 contestants competing in a series of twisted children’s games. Only one player can win the prize that equates to $38.7 million, but to do so, they’ll have to be the last player standing.
Writer and director Hwang Dong-hyuk has created a streaming smash. Aside from its superb pacing, running cliffhangers, and extreme tension, it’s also brilliantly cast.
Who are the stars of Squid Game?
English-speaking audiences can watch Squid Game in either Korean with English subtitles or dubbed English. The dubbed translation has been criticized for missing the series’ nuanced writing, but there’s no doubt that the dubbing cast put a lot of effort into the material, even if their slightly more stylized performances are not to everyone’s taste.
Here are the actors and actresses that bring the show to life.
Lee Jung-jae as Seong Gi-hun (456)
Central character Seong Gi-hun is a down-on-his-luck gambling addict at risk of losing all contact with his daughter. The mysterious game offers him the chance to put his past behind him and pay his mother’s medical bills.
Actor and model Lee Jung-jae has appeared in many South Korean series and films since his 1998 breakthrough in An Affair. He later starred in Il Mare, which inspired The Lake House starring Sandra Bullock and Keanu Reeves.
Park Hae-soo as Cho Sang-woo (218)
Cho Sang-woo is an apparently gifted and successful investor who grew up with Seong Gi-hun. The reveal of his dark secrets makes for one of the most remarkable journeys of any player in Squid Game, and it’s not a pleasant one.
Park Hae-soo has impressed audiences since he made his debut in musical theatre in 2007 and quickly established a career on stage before moving to television. In 2017, he won Best New Actor at The Seoul Awards for his role in Prison Playbook.
HoYeon Jung as Kang Sae-byeok (067)
Kang Sae-Byeok is one of Squid Game’s most mysterious characters. The North Korean defector is bright, resourceful, but also stoic. She competes for the prize money to support her younger brother and help the remaining members of her family leave North Korea.
Unbelievably, Squid Game is HoYeon Jung’s acting debut. After finishing second in the fourth series of Korea’s Next Top Model in 2013, she has appeared in several high-profile commercials and has featured on the covers of magazines worldwide.
Oh Young-soo as Oh Il-nam (001)
The oldest player in the game tugs at viewers’ heartstrings from the moment he tells Seong Gi-hun that he joined the game after he was diagnosed with a brain tumor. A smiling, gentle presence who seems to enjoy his participation, his relationship with Gi-hun is at the heart of the series.
Veteran actor Oh Young-su came to the profession quite late, gaining his first credit in 2002. He’s most famous for playing monks in the films A Little Monk and Spring, Summer, Fall, Winter… and Spring.
Heo Sung-tae as Jang Deok-su (101)
One of the bad apple contestants, gangster Jang Deok-su joins the game to escape the crime lord he is indebted to and is behind some of the series’ most unsettling moments.
Heo Sung-tae is a familiar face from South Korean TV, taking a role in many series, often as a villain. His breakthrough role was 2016’s The Age of Shadows, and he has also starred in Netflix’s Racket Boys and The Fortress.
Kim Joo-ryung as Han Mi-nyeo (212)
One of Squid Game’s best sources of comic relief, Han Mi-Nyeo is a player determined to survive the game at any cost. While not much about her rings true, she shows determination in everything she does, including smuggling cigarettes into the game.
Kim Joo-ryung has starred in many South Korean dramas, most noticeably the hugely successful Mr. Sunshine.
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Anupam Tripathi as Abdul Ali (199)
Migrant worker Abdul hails from Pakistan, and as several missing fingers suggest, he hasn’t enjoyed a great experience in South Korea before entering the game.
Anupam Tripathi is an Indian actor who’s picked up several credits since 2014, but Squid Game is his first major role.
Lee Yoo-mi as Ji-yeong (240)
Ji-yeong throws up one of the show’s most disarming moments during one of its most fascinating games. The bond she forms with Kang Sae-byeok is, in turn, unexpected, heart-warming, and heart-breaking.
Before Squid Game, Lee Yoo-mi had notched up an impressive number of appearances in television, web series, and films since her debut in the 2010 thriller The Yellow Sea.
Yoo Sung-joo as Byeong-gi (111)
Grumpy scheming doctor Byeong-gi is the key to one of the series’ most intriguing subplots. His actions are crucial in proving the rules of equality at the heart of the brutal games.
Yoo Sung-joo is a successful South Korean actor of stage and drama, with screen roles including SKY Castle and The Great Show.
Lee Byung-hun as The Front Man
Sporting the most dapper and scary mask in Squid Game, the ruthless Front Man is in charge of keeping all the games running smoothly.
You may recognize Lee Byung-hun as one of the most high-profile actors in the mini-series. He has starred in some of South Korea’s biggest films across multiple genres. He’s also taken high-profile roles in Hollywood blockbusters, including Storm Shadow in G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra and G.I. Joe: Retaliation and the T-1000 in Terminator Genisys.
Wi Ha-joon as Hwang Jun-ho
Undercover Seoul policeman Hwang Jun-ho brings much of the tension to the series outside the killer games. As the Front Man says at one point, he’s pretty good, but can he possibly be good enough to find out what’s going on?
Model and actor Wi Ha-joon has amassed an impressive number of credits since his debut in 2015’s Coin Locker Girl.
Squid Game English dub cast
Here are the actors and actresses who lend their voices for the English dubbing in the series:
Greg Chun as Seong Gi-hun
Stephen Fu as Cho Sang-woo
Vivian Lu as Kang Sae-byeok
Hideo Kimura as Oh Il-nam
Paul Nakauchi as Jang Deok-su
Stephanie Komure as Han Mi-nyeo
Rama Vallury as Abdul Ali
Yuuki Luna as Ji-yeong
Brian Kim as Byeong-gi
Tom Choi as Front Man
Donald Chang as Hwang Jun-ho
Squid Game is currently streaming exclusively on Netflix.