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    21 "Squid Game" Behind-The-Scenes Facts About The Cast That Are Simply The Best

    Squid Game is actually the first time Jung Ho-yeon has acted in a TV show or movie.

    1. First, director Hwang Dong-hyuk had Lee Jung-jae and Park Hae-soo in mind for the roles of Gi-hun and Sang-woo from the beginning.


    He said all he had to do was "wait for their answers" and hope they said yes.

    2. Anupam Tripathi, who plays Ali, came to Korea from India to study acting, and director Hwang Dong-hyuk said it was hard to find foreign actors in Korea to play the role, but Anupam came in to audition and was perfect for the role.


    Talking about casting Anupam, Hwang Dong-hyuk said, "Anupam Tripathi appeared out of the blue. He was fluent in Korean and he could act. His emotional acting was amazing too."

    3. When Anupam Tripathi first received the Squid Game script, he read it all "in one sitting" and said he found the life and death stakes in the show really compelling.

    Anupam's character looking shocked

    "The biggest hook for me was how characters would live or die through a series of childhood games," he explained. "As you go deeper into the script, you’ll notice that each character has their own personal conflict."

    4. Jung Ho-yeon, who plays Sae-byeok, is a famous model who competed in Korea's Next Top Model in 2013 and placed second in the competition.

    Jung Ho-yeon walking down a catwalk
    Peter White / WireImage / Getty Images

    She's walked in several international fashion shows since, and she became recognizable because of her red hair.

    5. Squid Game is actually Jung Ho-yeon's first major acting credit, and before this she had only starred in a few music videos, like 100's "Beat."

    6. In fact, Ho-yeon sent in an audition tape for Squid Game while she was in NYC for fashion week. This was the first script she received and her first audition ever.


    She recalled the experience, saying, "The first audition was a video audition that I took when I was in New York and the director wanted to see me in person. I did the second audition after coming to Korea, face to face, and I got the part right away."

    7. Before Squid Game, Wi Ha-joon, who plays police officer Jun-ho, was mostly known for his work in rom-coms, and he's enjoying transitioning to "a bit more serious" roles.


    He said, "I’m a fan of the darker genres, so the transition to Squid Game was the time for me to take advantage of my strengths."

    8. Gong Yoo, who appears as the salesman, studied theater at university and never thought about becoming an actor. He's now one of the biggest and most well-known South Korean actors.

    Gong Yoo's character clapping

    He says he loves acting because he loves "losing [himself] in front of the camera" and he likes focusing on the characters instead of himself. Gong Yoo is known for several roles, including his work in Train to Busan, The Age of Shadows, Guardian: The Lonely and Great God, Coffee Prince, and more.

    9. Jung Ho-yeon had just over 400,000 Instagram followers before the show dropped on Netflix, and now she has 16.5 million and counting, making her the most followed South Korean actress on Instagram.

    10. When the cast first arrived on the Squid Game set, they spent a lot of time taking pictures because they were amazed by the set design and scale of every single room and game.


    Lee Jung-jae explained, "I was so full of curiosity about how the set would be arranged every time I went to film. Whenever we got there, the set would be done so well that we would all be busy taking photos before filming."

    11. In order to get Gi-hun and Sang-woo's friendship to come across as authentic as possible onscreen, Lee Jung-jae and Park Hae-soo hung out together a lot off set.

    The two actors discussing a scene with the director

    Hae-soo said, "I went to Lee Jung-jae’s house, where we drank wine and conversed a lot. He gave me plenty of advice about acting and where to go from here. I was very glad to work with him."

    12. Meanwhile, Jung Ho-yeon and Lee Yoo-mi also "connected" while filming and talked through their scenes together a lot so that they could make Sae-byeok and Ji-yeong feel like BFFs.

    13. In real life, Jung Ho-yeon is really good friends with Blackpink's Jennie. In fact, Jennie visited set while Ho-yeon was filming in 2020.

    14. For Park Hae-soo, one of the most important scenes in Squid Game was when Sang-woo decides not to warn Gi-hun about the honeycomb game.


    "It was a big scene for me," Hae-soo said. "I remember discussing a lot with the director about how that scene should progress."

    15. Lee Jung-jae said the cast improvised a lot while filming, and one of his favorites was when Gi-hun tries to put the straw back in Sae-byeok's coffee and keeps failing. Jung Ho-yeon was laughing so hard that she couldn't lift her head up.


    In fact, the scene was originally just an outtake, but they decided to add it to the final cut. 

    16. Squid Game is #1 on Netflix in 90 countries, but Park Hae-soo said he realized the show was "so big" when he was invited to be on The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon alongside Lee Jung-jae, Jung Ho-yeon, and Wi Ha-joon.

    NBC / Via

    He elaborated by saying, "I am so thankful that so many folks are watching this through so many media outlets. But I feel it even more at this very moment; it's real — I feel it in my bones."

    17. While in the military, Wi Ha-joon says he watched New World, which stars his costar Lee Jung-jae "30 times," and he considers it one of his favorite films.


    He also said Marriage Story and Misaeng were hugely impactful films for him too.

    18. Since Sae-byeok was a North Korean defector in Squid Game, Jung Ho-yeon studied with actual North Korean defectors in order to get her dialect correct.


    She explained, "[Sae-byeok] speaks specifically the 함경북도 사투리, which is the Northern Hamgyŏng province dialect. So, I tried to practice that."

    19. Park Hae-soo and his wife welcomed their first child the day Squid Game premiered on Netflix, and his friends gave his son the nickname "Baby Squid."


    Hae-soo explained, "It was quite amazing because the premiere of Squid Game was at 4 p.m. KST, and the first time I got to meet my son was at 3:50 p.m. So he is my lucky charm and a bundle of blessing for me."

    20. Lee Jung-jae and Lee Byung-hun, who plays the Front Man, have been friends since they started their acting careers, and they always said that wanted to work together.


    "We’ve been close since our debuts. We were even under the same agency for a few years. Our friendship is unique. Somehow, we just never had the opportunity [to work together]," Jung-jae said. "With me, we only met for one scene. If there were a Squid Game [Season] 2, I’d obviously want to work with Lee Byung-hun [more]."

    21. And finally, Anupam Tripathi got to keep his Player 199 green tracksuit after filming wrapped.