Squid Game Cast: all the characters and actors in the series


Squid Game, literally “The Squid Game,” is a South Korean television series conceived, written, and directed by Hwang Dong-hyuk. The series has found tremendous success since its release on the Netflix streaming platform, starting Sept. 17, 2021.

The first season of the successful series, consisting of nine episodes, frames the story of 456 people who risk their lives in a deadly game of survival in which 45.6 billion won, or about 33 million euros, is up for grabs.

It was conceived by Hwang Dong-hyuk on a biographical basis, drawing inspiration from the difficulties he encountered in his younger years. In fact, Hwang was born and raised in Seoul, the capital of South Korea dramatically scarred by socioeconomic inequality and disparity. The award-winning director of Squid Game was born about twenty years after the Korean War, a conflict in which an estimated 2,800,000 were killed, wounded and missing, half of them civilians.

The script was first written in 2008, a full 13 years before the official release. The author initially struggled to find producers willing to finance the work, which in some ways represents a true social and political denunciation of the South Korean situation. The real breakthrough came when streaming platform Netflix showed interest by acquiring the rights so as to expand its entertainment offerings from foreign countries.

In this article we will briefly go over the plot of the TV Series that depopulated Europe during the lockdown caused by the Covid-19 pandemic, being careful not to make spoilers, and then focus on the squid game cast.

Squid game plot

The story of Squid Game begins when a divorced and debt-ridden man, Gi-hun, is invited by a man he met by chance to participate in a series of traditional children’s games with a chance to win a large sum of money.

Gi-hun accepts the offer by calling the number on the man’s business card, hoping to heal a sad family situation in which her mother is ill and her daughter Ga-yeong in the care of her mother and her new partner. The protagonist finds himself in an unknown place along with 455 other people, all with financial problems similar to his own. Everyone wears the same jumpsuit with an assigned number, and all of them are kept under constant watch by a number of red-clad guards, who respond to the orders of a masked man, the “Front Man.”

In the room with the other prisoners, Gi-Hun makes the acquaintance of several characters: number 001, a sick, elderly man with a brain tumor; Ali, a Pakistani boy; and young Sae-byeok. Here he also meets Sang-woo, an old childhood friend of his who was considered one of the smartest people in his neighborhood.

The guards announce that 6 games will take place: whoever passes them will take home a huge cash prize. The participants also sign an agreement that includes 3 specific clauses. These require them not to leave the games unless a majority vote is taken. In addition, those who refuse to play will be eliminated.

Players soon discover that being eliminated has no metaphorical meaning: the loser is brutally killed and each death adds 100,000,000 won to the final prize pool of 45,600,000,000 won. Gi-hun teams up with other players, including his childhood friend Cho Sang-woo, to survive the brutal challenges presented by the games.

Squid game cast – Main characters

Seong Gi-hun (no. 456)

Played by Lee Jung-jae, voiced by Gianfranco Miranda.
A middle-aged man deep in debt and pursued by loan sharks chooses to participate in Squid Game to pay off his debts, provide for the care of his mother with diabetes, and reunite with his daughter, who is in the process of moving to the United States with her divorced mother and wealthy stepfather.

Hwang says he chose Lee Jung-jae for the role of Gi-hun, a character inspired by organizers of the 2009 SsangYong Motor labor strike against mass layoffs, to “destroy his charismatic image portrayed in his previous role.”

The South Korean actor began his career as a model before moving on to television and film. He has appeared in many South Korean series and films, including The Face Reader, The Last Witness, Typhoon, and The Sea of 2000, which was the inspiration for Sandra Bullock and Keanu Reeves’ The Lake House.

Cho Sang-woo (no. 218)

Played by Park Hae-soo, voiced by Andrea Moretti.
Head of an investment firm and an old childhood friend of Gi-hun’s, he was regarded in the neighborhood and by his own mother as the one who had managed to climb the static Korean social hierarchies. It soon becomes clear, however, how the entrepreneur’s success was only cosmetic, as he too is overwhelmed with debt. As the ruthlessness of the games progresses, he becomes increasingly determined and unscrupulous in the face of victory.

Park Hae-soo’s career began in musical theater 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.

Hwang Jun-ho

Played by Wi Ha-joon, voiced by Marco Briglione.
An undercover policeman, who becomes suspicious of the occurrence of strange events related to the squid game, steals the identity of the corrupt guard n. 029 to find his missing brother, assailed by the doubt that he may have participated in this devious game. As the plot develops it will play an increasingly important role.

The prolific Wi Ha-joon has starred in a number of popular Korean films and dramas, including the found footage horror Gonjiam: Haunted Asylum and the thriller Midnight, and the dramas Romance Is a Bonus Book and Something in the Rain.

Kang Sae-byeok (no. 067)

Played by Jung Ho-yeon, voiced by Sara Vitagliano.
A North Korean refugee who wants to win the prize money so that her mother can emigrate to South Korea and be reunited with her brother, who currently lives in an orphanage. Despite his quiet and unsociable nature, he will bond with Ji-yeong during the fourth game.

Squid Game marks the first acting role for Jung, who rose to fame after appearing on Korea’s Next Top Model and walking the runway for the likes of Chanel and Louis Vuitton.

Oh Il-nam (No. 001)

Played by Oh Yeong-su, voiced by Gianni Giuliano.
An elderly man, suffering from a brain tumor, who agreed to participate in the game rather than wait to die from the tumor. He shows himself to be very good in all games, although he sometimes has lapses in memory.

Oh Young-su played a monk in both A Little Monk and Spring, Summer, Fall, Winter … and Spring.

Jang Deok-su (No. 101)

Played by Heo Sung-tae, voiced by Stefano Alessandroni.
A gangster who participates in the game to get money he owes Filipino dealers. Within the Squid Game he creates his own gang and offers protection to the doctor in exchange for information. He initially has a sexual relationship with Han Mi-nyeo, promising to finish the game together.

Heo Sung-tae is no stranger to playing villains, having appeared in the Beyond Evil series as ruthless businessman Lee Chang-jin. He rose to fame in 2016’s The Age of Shadows and has had roles in Racket Boys and Netflix’s The Fortress.

Ali Abdul (no.199)

Played by Anupam Tripathi, voiced by Matteo Costantini.
A Pakistani immigrant who, in order to provide for his family, chooses to participate in the game because the owner of the factory where he worked had not paid him for months.

Tripathi, born in India, is one of the few non-Korean actors in Squid Game. Just like Jung Ho-yeon, with Squid Game he has his first starring role, although he has appeared in Space Sweepers, also on Netflix, and the film Ode To My Father.

Han Mi-nyeo (no. 212)

Played by Kim Joo-ryoung, voiced by Vanina Marini.
A mysterious woman who claims to be a poor single mother. He participates in the game because he sees it as a better alternative to the life he would lead in the outside world. She falls in love with Jang Deok-su and has sexual intercourse with him in the bathroom in which she asks him to promise her eternal love and to finish the games together.

Kim Joo-ryung has played various roles in well-known Korean dramas such as The Change of Destiny and When My Love Blooms. She also appeared in Sleepless Night and Mr. Sunshine of 2012.

Recurring characters

Front Man

Played by Lee Byung-hun, voiced by Francesco De Francesco.

He is in charge of managing the entire game. Like everyone working on the game, he wears a mask to maintain strict anonymity, with viewers not finding out who is underneath until episode eight.

The face under the mask is perhaps one of the best known in the Squid Game cast, with actor and singer Lee Byung-hun having appeared in some of the highest-grossing films in Korea, including Inside Men, Master, and The Good, the Bad, the Weird. He also played T-1000 in 2015’s Terminator Genisys and appeared in The Magnificent Seven and G.I. Joe: Rise of Cobra.

Byeong-gi (No. 111)

Character Played by Yoo Sung-joo and voiced by Antonino Saccone.
A medical player who allied himself with some guards devoted, secretly, to organ trafficking in exchange for game information. He is discovered by the Front Man who kills him, along with the corrupt guards, for breaking the rules of player equality.

Ji-yeong (no. 240)

Played by Lee Yoo-mi and voiced by Lucrezia Marricchi.
A young player just released from prison for killing her abusive father who murdered his wife.

The actress has had roles in: Repeat of the Year, Hostage: Missing Celebrity and Doctor John.

N. 244

Played by Kim Si-hyun and voiced by Fabrizio Russotto.
A man guided by a strong Catholic faith, which he manifests by praying often. He will die at the hands of player 407, who pushes him off the glass bridge since, instead of proceeding, he starts praying.

Do Jung-soo (No. 017)

Played by Lee Sang-hee and voiced by Daniele Valenti.
A former glazier with 30 years of experience, he helps the three protagonists by guiding them through the fifth game.

N. 069

Played by Kim Yun-tae and voiced by Roberto Certomà.
A player participating together with his wife, no. 070, who, however, commits suicide by hanging himself in the dormitory even before the fifth game begins since in the previous game (marbles) he had to sacrifice his wife (since in the game whoever paired up with someone later became his opponent and thus only one of them had to survive) and since none of the contestants (urged by Cho Sang-woo) wanted to accept his request to take a vote to leave the game he despairs to the point of suicide.

N. 070

Played by Lee Ji-ha and voiced by Alessandra Chiari.
A female player participating together with her husband, no. 069, who, however, dies in the fourth game (for the reasons mentioned above).

N. 278

Played by Kwak Ja-hyoung and voiced by Stefano Starna.
A player who becomes a henchman of Deok-su, however, in the game of marbles, reveals that he became his lackey only for protection, showing himself rather arrogant and vulgar toward him. However, Deok-su manages to win against him in a twisted turn of events.

N. 276

Played by Christian Lagahit.
A Pakistani immigrant, just like Ali, who is recruited by the latter for the tug-of-war. Dies in the game of marbles against player 021.

Oh Mal-soon

Played by Kim Young-ok and voiced by Graziella Polesinanti.
Gi-hun’s mother who appears only in the first two episodes and the final episode of the first season. In the first episode it is revealed that he supports his son financially by working very hard, and during the evening he warns the protagonist of his ex-wife’s new partner’s decision to leave for New York. During the second episode, however, the mother becomes angry with Gi-hun since he has disappeared for days without telling her anything, and it turns out that the mother has a tumor in her foot and that unfortunately both of her feet need to be amputated, but the operation is very expensive, however, the mother refuses despite her son begging her to accept the operation. His mother scolds him by pointing out that he did not care for her before and only after he returned does he become concerned.

Eong Ga-yeong

Played by Cho Ah-in and voiced by Sofia Fronzi.
Gi-hun’s daughter. He appears only in the first two episodes of the series.

Kang Eun-ji

Played by Kang Mal-geum and voiced by Fabiana Bruno.
Gi-hun’s ex-wife and mother of Seong Ga-yeong who appears only in the first two episodes. She despises her ex-husband (Gi-hun) so much that she gets angry if the latter is near her daughter.

Sang-woo’s mother

Played by Park Hye-jin and voiced by Cristina Aubry.
She is convinced that her son is staying in America and has a huge salary (since her son tells her numerous lies on the phone since he is actually still in town on the run from the police), she will acquire an important role toward the season finale.

Kang Cheol

Played by Park Si-wan and voiced by Cristiana Esposito.
Sae-byeok’s brother. In the second episode he is bullied by children because of his North Korean ancestry. Toward the end of the first season he is entrusted to Sang-woo’s mother by the protagonist following a promise from his sister.