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First look: Apple’s Pachinko arrives this March

Staff Writer

Apple will officially bring the bestselling novel Pachinko to our screens this March.

The international drama told in three languages — Korean, Japanese and English — begins with a forbidden love and crescendos into a sweeping saga that journeys between Korea, Japan and America to tell a story of war and peace, love and loss, triumph and reckoning.

It begins in Yeongdo, Korea, in 1911. In a small fishing village on the banks of the East Sea, a club-footed, cleft-lipped man marries a 15-year-old girl. The couple have one child, their beloved daughter Sunja. When Sunja falls pregnant by a married yakuza, the family face ruin. But then Isak, a Christian minister, offers her a chance of salvation: a new life in Japan as his wife. Following a man she barely knows to a hostile country in which she has no friends, no home, and whose language she cannot speak, Sunja’s salvation is just the beginning of her story.

The series stars Soji Arai as Mozasu, Jin Ha as Solomon, Inji Jeong as Yangjin, Minha Kim as teenage Sunja, Lee Minho as Hansu, Kaho Minami as Etsuko, Steve Sanghyun Noh as Isak, Anna Sawai as Naomi, Junwoo Han as Yoseb, Jung Eun-chae as Young Kyunghee, Jimmi Simpson as Tom Andrews, Yu-na Jeon as young Sunja, and Academy Award-winning actress Youn Yuh Jung as older Sunja.

It is written and executive produced by Soo Hugh (The Terror, The Killing), who created the series and serves as showrunner. Kogonada and Justin Chon are executive producers and directed four episodes each, with Kogonada directing the pilot. Michael Ellenberg and Lindsey Springer executive produce for Media Res; Theresa Kang-Lowe executive produces for Blue Marble Pictures; and Media Res’ Dani Gorin co-executive produces along with Richard Middleton, David Kim and Sebastian Lee.

“They say there are those projects that come along and change the very core of who you are as a filmmaker and a person. Undoubtedly, Pachinko is that project for me,” said Soo Hugh. “Not only is this a story of my forebears, it’s my tribute to them — to all of the Sunjas buried deep in all of our family’s history. It’s been an incredible honor to bring this series to life with this dedicated and gifted cast and crew.”

The series will premiere on 25th March, with the first three episodes arriving together – followed by weekly episodes running until 29th April.

Apple acquires rights to Pachinko

11th August 2018

Apple has acquired the rights to Min Jin Lee’s Pachinko.

The bestselling novel, published last year, spans eight decades and four generations to tell an epic story of family, identity, love, death and survival.

It begins in Yeongdo, Korea, in 1911. In a small fishing village on the banks of the East Sea, a club-footed, cleft-lipped man marries a 15-year-old girl. The couple have one child, their beloved daughter Sunja. When Sunja falls pregnant by a married yakuza, the family face ruin. But then Isak, a Christian minister, offers her a chance of salvation: a new life in Japan as his wife.

Following a man she barely knows to a hostile country in which she has no friends, no home, and whose language she cannot speak, Sunja’s salvation is just the beginning of her story.

With its multi-generational, globe-trotting scale, it’s easy to see the story’s appeal for adapting into a multi-Season TV series. Indeed, Deadline reports Apple fought off competition to snap up the rights to the book.

The planned project will be produced by Michael Ellenberg’s Media Res and will be written and executive produced by Soo Hugh (The Terror, The Whispers), who will also serve as showrunner. Min Jin Lee is also on board as an executive producer.

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