Here’s a guide to the Squid Game cast and what else the actors have taken part in. Netflix’s explosive series is backed by a stellar cast of South Korean actors, each well-suited to play their respective characters. Squid Game’s characters are pitted 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, The Hunger Games, and the Saw movies.
Every member of the Squid Game cast of main characters loosely represents 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. So who are the main players on Squid Game’s cast? What are their backstories, and why are they in the game? And of course, where have audiences seen the actors who make up Squid Game’s cast of players before?
Lee Jung-jae (이정재) as Seong Gi-hun
The lead of the Squid Game cast is protagonist Seong Gi-hun, a divorced gambler who needs money 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. The model-turned-actor Lee Jung-jae was also in The Face Reader as Grand Prince Suyang, as well as Il Mare, which inspired The Lake House. He can currently be seen on one of the best K-dramas on Netflix, Chief of Staff, and recently directed his own spy-thriller Hunt, in which he plays Park Pyung Ho. He will reprise his role in Squid Game season 2.
Park Hae-soo (박해수) as Cho Sang-woo
Seong Gi-hun’s childhood friend Cho Sang-woo is the local neighborhood’s success story in the Squid Game cast. After graduating from a prestigious university and making the right business investments, Cho Sang-woo gets caught stealing money, and is on the run from the police. As one of the smarter players, 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 and the Netflix original crime thriller The Accidental Narco.
Jung Ho-yeon (정호연) as Kang Sae-byeok
Kang Sae-byeok needs the prize money 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. Sae-byeok of the Squid Game cast is a skilled pickpocket who also knows her way around a knife. Squid Game is the first onscreen acting role for Jung Ho-yeon. Previously, she was one of the contestants in the South Korean version of America’s Next Top Model. Her time on Squid Game has afforded her plenty of opportunities, as she’s currently working on Joe Talbot’s The Governess and Alfonso Cuarón’s Disclaimer.
Tripathi Anupam (아누팜 트리파티) as Abdul Ali
Played by one of the only non-Korean actors on the Squid Game cast, 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. He can be seen in a number of Korean dramas, such as one of the best medical Korean dramas Hospital Playlist, Strangers From Hell, Revolutionary Love, and Descendants of the Sun.
Oh Young-soo (오영수) as Oh Il-nam
Also known as Player 001, the oldest of the Squid Game cast is Oh Il-nam, for whom Gi-hun feels some responsibility. However, old man Il-nam is not as helpless as he seems. Responsible for Squid Game‘s most shocking twist of all, Oh Il-nam was both Gi-hun’s gganbu (partner in challenges) and made it through the dalgona candy challenge, in particular, with very little effort. 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. In addition, he can be seen in one of the best K-drama romance series, Chocolate.
Wi Ha-joon (위하준) as Hwang Jun-ho
After following clues that he believes might lead him to his missing brother, Seoul police officer Hwang Jun-ho of the Squid Game cast 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 horror movie Gonjiam: Haunted Asylum, romantic drama Something in the Rain, and Midnight, wherein Ha-joon steps into the role of a serial killer. He most recently starred in the K-drama Little Women, The Worst Evil, and will be in the upcoming TV series Gyeongseong Creature.
Heo Sung-tae (허성태) as Jang Deok-su
As a gangster in Seoul, Squid Game cast member 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. He starred in six projects in 2022 alone, and can be seen in Decoy and Big Bet.
Kim Joo-ryung (김주령) as Han Mi-nyeo
Very little is revealed about Squid Game cast member Han Mi-nyeo, except that she’ll do or say whatever it takes to survive. Throughout the game she manages to team up with a number of people, most of whom end up betraying her in the process. However, she ends up joining G-hun’s team for the remainder of the games. 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. Since Squid Game, she has starred in Sabotage City, Monstrous, Revenge of Others, and Big Bet.
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. Along with Lee Jun-jae, he will also be reprising his role for Squid Game season 2.
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 by Lee Yoo-mi in the Squid Game cast, a young actress who appeared in the sci-fi gem 365: Repeat of the Year. She starred as Lee Na-yeon in the Netflix zombie hit All of Us are Dead, as well as New Normal and the television show Mental Coach Jegal.
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. In addition, he stars in one of the most popular Korean dramas based on a webtoon, Mystic Pop-Up Bar.
Which Squid Game Cast Members Are Returning For Season 2
Hwang Dong-hyuk, creator of Squid Game, has confirmed that Squid Game season 2 is a go — and two members of the Squid Game cast are confirmed to reprise their roles. It’s not at all surprising that Squid Game is getting another installment. The show became an international success and garnered critical acclaim. In addition, it was the first Korean drama to top Netflix’s top ten most-watched programs globally. According to Dong-hyuk’s interview with Deadline, Lee Jung-jae’s Gi-hun will be back for season 2, along with Lee Byung-hun’s The Front Man. As of now, these are the only confirmed actors in the Squid Game season 2 cast.