Other Places You’ve Seen the Actors


The last handful of years have seen an increase in global recognition of Korean media – and rightfully so. First, Parasite swept up the top prizes at the Oscars during its year, making history by winning Best Picture and Best Director for Bong Joon-ho. Then, Minari became a critical hit for its portrayal of first-generation Korean-immigrant experience in America. As a result, it was only a matter of time before interest in South Korean television blew up, and, last year, Squid Game managed to do just that. Setting new records left and right, Squid Game has become Netflix’s biggest launch of all time with a reported 111 million accounts streaming the drama series.

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What’s more, Squid Game‘s actors are making history along with the TV series itself. After O Yeongsu (Oh Ilnam) won a Golden Globe Award for Best Supporting Actor in a Series, Miniseries or Television Film, Lee Jung-Jae and Jung Ho-Yeon joined him by receiving the top SAG awards for Best Actor and Actress, historic wins for both their categories. The cast is full of an amazing talent; here are other places you’ve seen the actors.

Related: Best Movies By Asian-American Directors You Can Stream Right Now

Gong Yoo


Gong-Yoo-As-The-Salesman-In-Squid-Game-Playing-Ddakji

A global havoc broke out after Gong Yoo’s brief appearance as The Salesman, who recruits people for the game. For many around the world, this was probably their first encounter with the actor, but he is one of the most renowned actors in South Korean film history. A majority of Korean drama (or K-drama) actors have a cameo at some point into the show, hence why they’ve used such a big name for two scenes only. Guardian: The Lonely and Great God (2016-17) is one of the most popular K-dramas to this date with Gong Yoo as the main star. The self-indulgent show has become a re-watchable piece of media for Hallyu (Korean Wave) lovers. But if you want to cry your eyes out rather than laugh, watch Gong Yoo play a father in an apocalyptic world in Train to Busan (2016) and The Silent Sea (2021) available to stream on Netflix.


Park Haes-oo


Squid-Game-Park-Hae-soo-Cho-Sang-woo-

Park Haes-oo plays a character who, as many have argued, is the most realistic one of the show: Cho Sang-woo. Hate him or love him, the actor has done an amazing job portraying a character who got what he wanted when re-entering the games. Where can you see him again? You can definitely start with Park Haes-oo’s first ever lead role in Prison Playbook (2017-18), which has become one of the highest ranked Korean dramas ever. You’ll be surprised how selfless his character is as a convict, especially in comparison to Sang-woo. If you want to check out something more recent, have a look at Time to Hunt (2020), a dystopian action movie streaming on Netflix.

Lee Byung-hun


Lee-Byunghun-As-The-Front-Man-In-Squid-Game

Lee Byung-hun is arguably the biggest star among the Squid Game cast and yet, his face is hidden throughout the entire season as he stars as The Front Man. Those new to the Hallyu world probably had no idea who hid under the mask, but for many it took very little to realize the filtered English voice belongs to none other than Lee. Why, you ask? If you’ve an avid K-drama watcher, you’re very well aware of the impact that Lee’s TV series has Mr. Sunshine had on South Korea’s entertainment industry, as it’s the sixth-highest ranking drama in Korean’s cable history. If not for his Korean projects, you may also know him as Storm Shadow in Hollywood’s GIJoe: The Rise of Kobra (2009) and Han Cho Bai in Red 2 (2013).


Lee Yoo-mi


Lee-Yoomi-As-Jiyeong-In-Squid-Game

It’s safe to say that Lee Yoo-mi’s character of Jiyeong in Squid Game is indeed her breakout role in the industry. Yes, she did make her acting debut back in 2010 with Yellow Seabut it was not the break that she needed to be offered any remarkable roles – at least not until now, when thanks to her role as Jiyeong, she has gained 365,000 followers on Instagram in record time. The role also secured her another offer for a major Korean project, which has recently been released on Netflix. If you’re up for a zombie apocalypse series, watch her play the role of Nayeon in All of Us Are Dead.

Related: 7 Shows to Watch Next If You Liked All of Us Are Dead

Wi Ha-joon


Wi-Ha-joon-as-Hwang-Jun-ho-in-Squid-Game-K-drama

Wi Ha-joon is the one that portrayed the role of Jun-ho; a determined detective who gets things done. This role has brought him the international attention that he deserves, but there’s a lot more to this actor than Squid Game. Feel free to watch everything he is in because he’s an amazing one, especially Gonjiam: Haunted Asylum (2018), if you are capable of handling found-footage horror. If you’d like to watch some of his recent projects, Midnight (2021) is a must-watch, if you want to see Wi play a serial killer playing hide-and-seek with a deaf woman. Or if you want to have a good laugh watching the actor play a charismatic detective fighting against corruption, have a look at Bad and Crazy (2021).


Lee Jung-jae


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Netflix

Finally, we can talk about the main character Seong Gi-Hun, who got scouted into the games because of his gambling problems. It is played by the one and only Lee Jung-jae, who has recently secured himself a win for Best Actor for his Squid Game performance at the SAG awards. You may have heard about him thanks to Squid Game, but just like Gong Yoo, he is one of the most successful actors in South Korea. His acting in the City of The Rising Sun (1999) won him the Blue Dragon Film award. The movie follows two characters struggling through their 20s. Another one of his critically acclaimed movies is the erotic thriller Housemaid (2010), in which he plays a man with unexpected behavior. Or, if you’re up for an espionage thriller, definitely check out Assassination (2015).


Jung Ho-yeon


Jung-Ho-yeon-As-Kang-Sae-byeok-In-Squid-Game

This may come as a surprise to many, but Squid Game was Jung’s acting debut. Her role as the North Korean defector Kang Sae-byeok was her debut, and she already managed to win the SAG Award for Best Actress with it. Long before she stepped foot into the acting world, Jung was globally known as “red-haired Asian” in the modeling world. She walked at the Seoul Fashion Week as well as New York Fashion Week and appeared in the Korea’s Next Top Model. If she has managed to dominate the world with a single role, imagine what awaits us in the future.



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