The K-drama is the hottest show in the world – so why do its English speakers sound like they’re reading off Google Translate? We meet the men accused of dire, stilted acting to see how they’ve found being catapulted to fame

Squid Game is a sensation. A violent Korean drama that mixes childhood nostalgia with vast amounts of death, the series has surpassed all expectations to become the most successful show in Netflix history. It has made global stars of its main cast overnight. That is, with a few notable exceptions.

‘Why is Squid Game’s English-Language Acting So Bad?’ demanded one recent headline, echoing the sentiment of hundreds of tweets and memes. The culprits are the “VIPs” – four English-speaking, mask-wearing billionaires who watch the action from afar, placing bets on the outcome of the carnage. To the naysayers, the VIP acting in Squid Game is stilted and mannered, and pulls them out of the show. But who are the people behind the masks?

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