Netflix’s suspenseful thriller series “Squid Game” (오징어 게임) is on track to be the streaming giant’s most popular non-English show. Milestones is set for the drama as the new dystopian horror show is currently dominating Netflix, instantly gaining worldwide viewers at a remarkable speed that could even surpass current record holders “Bridgerton”, Deadline reported.
The record breaking series not only gained popularity for its addictive and violent survival drama but also its lineup of talented cast. From the lead cast to supporting actors, viewers worldwide have nothing but praises for the convincing and perfect acting skills portrayed by the cast members.
Many were surprised that among the lineup of cast include several rookie actors that nonetheless managed to charm audiences with their brilliant performances. It comes to no surprise that many of the newbie actors emerged as the biggest beneficiaries of the hit drama and eventually rose to stardom. Among the actors who rose to fame after appearing in “Squid Game” are actress Jung Ho Yeon, Wi Ha Jun and Lee Yu Mi who portray their characters exceedingly well, proving their capabilities.
Rookie actors who have shot to stardom
These instances occur in many of Netflix’s original K-dramas which feature many newcomers and relatively unknown actors including “D.P.” and “Sweet Home”. Previously, “Sweet Home” was the streaming site’s most successful original K-drama series with Song Kang, who is one of the most notable rookies these days, following his debut in “Love Alarm”. The series also features many previously relatively new actors and unknown names such as Lee Do Hyun and Kim Nam Hee who eventually reach the peak of their popularity.
Netflix’s “D.P.” also features newbie actress Won Ji An who gained popularity after his “D.P.” acting debut. Another popular teen, crime drama series “Extracurricular” also centred on newcomers and talented young actors. The series’ lead cast Kim Dong Hee, Park Ju Hyun and Nam Yoon Su were newcomers aside from Jung Da Bin, who was a former child actor.
This poses the question – why is Netflix particularly inclined to involve rookie actors and no-name actors as the star in their show? Netflix did not immediately employ the newbie-focused casting strategy when it first entered the Korean market. In the case of “Kingdom”, the series centred a lineup of A-list stars such as Ju Ji Hoon and Bae Doona with only Kim Hye Jun as a rookie cast.
When Netflix entered Korea and had started to produce their list of original dramas, the priority for Netflix at the time was to settle in the Korean market. Hence, they really needed a lineup of convincing A-list celebrities with clear ticket power to attract viewers. However, after Netflix established its footing in the local market, they started to venture on getting their original K-dramas known worldwide.
“Netflix values the power of storytelling as we believe it appeals beyond borders and across genres. So, we intend to continue to deliver Korea’s high-quality storytelling to our audiences worldwide,” Netflix told The Korea Times.
In particular, although there are several established Hallyu stars well known abroad, they are still a very small percentage and many of them are still considered unfamiliar faces outside of Korea. Netflix emphasises on the acting skills rather than fame, so newbie actors who are well-prepared and actors that have experience in plays or musicals are much more competitive and highlighted in the Netflix market as it also helps reduce the production cost.
For that reason, there have been many instances where newcomers who appeared in Netflix’s K-dramas found popularity along the way, and this trend by Netflix is expected to continue. From the perspective of these actors, Netflix offers a platform that isn’t just limited in Korea but they are able to achieve global popularity.
Netflix places importance in acquiring well known directors and writers rather than prioritising A-list actors as the cast lineup. It is a method of securing directors and writers with proven ability to create masterpieces and providing maximum outcome for the show. The selection of Netflix Original K-dramas includes famous writers and directors that have been thoroughly verified and approved in the film and drama world.
With this kind of strategy, it is no wonder that Netflix is able to produce such masterpieces and quality content over the years.