What you should know about AppleTV’s Pachinko adaptation

Since October of 2020, news about Apple TV’s adaptation of the best-selling novel Pachinko has been making rounds on the internet. Earlier confirmations were about the lead stars, Lee Min-ho (The King: Eternal Monarch) and Youn Yuh-jung (Minari).

Pachinko, which is written by Min Jin Lee, revolves around the multi-generational saga of a Korean family in the early 1900s. Set in the wartime Korea and Japan, it tells the story of an immigrant family who experienced political turmoil during the Japanese colonization and the eventual division of two Koreas.

Youn Yuh-jung will play the main character Sunja, the family matriarch whose life is marred by poverty and sacrifice. Sunja, who runs a modest boarding house in Yeongdo island with her mother, falls in love with Koh Hansu, a wealthy merchant raised by a Japanese family. Little did she know, Hansu is a married man who offered her to be his mistress upon learning about her pregnancy. Sunja refused Hansu’s offer and instead married the warm-hearted but sickly minister Baek Isak whom she met as a guest in their lodging house. The story sets off when Sunja moves to Osaka, Japan after marrying Isak and lived with Isak’s brother Yoseb and sister-in-law Kyunghee.

Lee Min-ho has been confirmed for the role of Koh Hansu while stage actress Kim Min-ha (Partners for Justice, After Spring) will play the teenage Sunja. In an interview with GQ Korea for its February issue, Lee Min-ho even revealed that he had to audition for the role, which was his first in 11 years.

Jung Eun-chae (The King: Eternal Monarch) has also been confirmed to play the role of Kyunghee. Other confirmed actors are Jung Woong-in (Delayed Justice), Korean-American actor Jin Ha (Devs, Love Life), Japanese-New Zealand actress Anna Sawai (Fast & Furious 9, Giri/Haji), and Japanese actors Soji Arai (Cobra Kai, Legacies) and Kaho Minami (Angel Dust, Household X).

Soo Hugh (The Terror) is confirmed as the showrunner of the eight-episode series while directors Kogonada (Columbus) and Justin Chon (Ms. Purple) will direct four episodes each. Both directors will also serve as executive producers alongside author Min Jin Lee herself.

As of writing, the broadcast date has yet to be confirmed.

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