The Squid Game Cast Are Beyond Talented, and Their Other Film and TV Roles Prove It
There's no doubt about it: Squid Game is Netflix's biggest series of all time, attracting 111 million viewers globally since its Sept. 17 release. Apart from its thrilling, action-packed storyline, one of the things that made the show so successful is its talented cast, which includes well-known actors like Lee Jung-jae (Seong Gi-hun), Park Hae-soo (Cho Sang-woo), and Wi Ha-joon (Hwang Jun-ho), whose résumés include countless hit series and movies. Newcomer Jung Ho-yeon (Kang Sae-byeok) is also part of the brilliant ensemble, as well as actors O Yeong-su (Oh Il-nam), Heo Sung-tae (Jang Deok-su), Anupam Tripathi (Abdul Ali), and Kim Joo-ryoung (Han Mi-nyeo).
If you fell in love with the Squid Game cast and want to see more of them (because you've already binge-watched all of their interviews on YouTube like me), keep reading to learn more about what other roles the actors are known for.
Interestingly, Lee Jung-jae, who portrays Seong Gi-hun in Squid Game, worked as a fashion model before debuting as an actor in 1993 with the TV drama Dinosaur Teacher. He also appeared in series like Feelings and Sandglass early on in his career, but his breakthrough role came in 1998 when he played Woo-in in the award-winning film An Affair, one of the highest-grossing Korean movies that year. Since then, Lee has starred in many other iconic Korean films, like Il Mare and The Housemaid (which got an American remake starring Keanu Reeves and Sandra Bullock called The Lake House), as well as Deliver Us From Evil and Svaha: The Sixth Finger.
Apart from playing Cho Sang-woo in Squid Game, Park Hae-soo is most well-known for portraying Kim Je-hyuk in the 2017 K-drama Prison Playbook. The series, which marked Park's first leading role, helped earn him best new actor at The Seoul Awards the following year. After his stint in Prison Playbook, Park appeared in films like By Quantum Physics: A Nightlife Venture in 2019 and Time to Hunt in 2020.
Soon, Park can add another title to his already-impressive résumé. He'll be filling the role of Berlin in the upcoming Korean adaptation of Netflix's Money Heist.
If you love watching K-dramas on Netflix, you may recognize Wi Ha-joon (aka police detective Hwang Jun-ho) from Romance Is a Bonus Book or Something in the Rain, both of which are also available on the streaming platform. Wi's also known for his roles in the 2018 horror flick Gonjiam: Haunted Asylum and the 2021 thriller Midnight.
Considering how well she portrays Kang Sae-byeok in Squid Game, it's hard to believe the show marked Jung Ho-yeon's first time acting. Before joining the cast, the only time she appeared on TV was in 2013, when she competed in the fourth season of Korea's Next Top Model, winning second place. Afterward, she walked the runway at New York Fashion Week in 2016, and that same year, she made her debut at Paris Fashion Week, modeling for Louis Vuitton. She's since walked the runway for other top brands like Burberry, Chanel, and Gucci. With how much praise Jung has received for her role in Squid Game, we can probably expect to see her in another series soon.
O Yeong-su, who plays Oh Il-nam in Squid Game, has had a long acting career. He started out in theater, starring in productions like King Lear, The Tempest, and Fathers and Sons. In terms of film and TV, O built a reputation for portraying monk characters, like in A Little Monk and Spring, Summer, Fall, Winter… and Spring, as well as in the 2009 historical drama Queen Seondeok.
Before he starred as Jang Deok-su, Heo Sung-tae made a name for himself by starring in the 2016 period thriller The Age of Shadows alongside other prominent actors like Song Kang-ho and Gong Yoo. The movie was a major success and even won best film at the 36th Korean Association of Film Critics Awards. After that, he starred in other movies like 2019's The Divine Move 2: The Wrathful. In 2021, in addition to Squid Game, he's appeared in series Beyond Evil and Racket Boys.
Anupam Tripathi portrays Ali Abdul in Squid Game, marking his first-ever major acting role. He previously appeared in films like Ode to My Father, The Phone, and Heart Blackened, and can be seen in small television roles in Descendants of the Sun, Hospital Playlist, and Taxi Driver. After the success of Squid Game, Tripathi was invited to make appearances on the popular Korean reality show Home Alone, where he gave viewers insight into his everyday life.
Han Mi-nyeo actress Kim Joo-ryoung began her acting career in 2000 with the film Plum Blossom. She then appeared in other movies like Recalled, Silenced, Collectors, and By Quantum Physics: A Nightlife Venture (which also stars Squid Game actor Park Hae-soo).
In an interview published on Oct. 9, Kim revealed that Squid Game director Hwang Dong-hyuk personally contacted her to join the show after working with her on Silenced and Collectors. "It felt like I was dreaming," Han said of being offered the role. "I was really thankful to director Hwang Dong-hyuk, who boldly believed in actress Kim Joo-ryoung and proposed the role of Han Mi-nyeo without an audition." It seems like it was all meant to be!