Because the characters and their struggles were so important to nailing the nuance and purpose behind “Squid Game,” the casting on the show was especially important. This was doubly true for one of the most complicated characters, Il-Nam (Oh Young-soo), a duplicitous contestant who stands behind the games despite his easy, non-threatening demeanor. In order to achieve these many different aspects of the character and make him believable, creator Hwang Dong-hyuk insisted that an unknown actor be cast for the role. “We wanted Il-nam to be unknown so that he felt like the actual character on the show,” the creator explained in an interview with Netflix.
Since the actor behind Il-Nam has to be able to play the character charmingly distant, lopsided and timid, and calmly pragmatic, the role is quite challenging. Luckily, Young-soo was able to capture the nuances behind the character and make him a memorable addition to Squid Game even before his true identity was revealed in the final installment.
For his part, Young-soo commented on how you can learn aspects of a person’s character by playing with them in real life. “I was reminded of my childhood playing the game,” the actor recalled. “And if you look at the marble scene, you can see the lie and the truth in people. The game reveals a player’s humanity, and especially towards Gi-hun, the main character.” There is definitely truth to Young-soo’s observation, as the pivotal episode revealed shocking new layers for almost every character in Squid Game.