Apple TV Plus releases first look at 'Pachinko,' starring Youn Yuh Jung and based on Min Jin Lee novel

Apple TV Plus announced the global premiere date for its highly anticipated drama series adaptation of Min Jin Lee’s “Pachinko,” which is set to premiere on March 25.

The backstory

Based on the New York Times bestselling novel and National Book Award finalist of the same name, the story follows a fisherman’s daughter, Sunja. She falls in love and becomes impregnated by a wealthy stranger before marrying a minister who whisks her off to Japan.

The book gained critical acclaim for its complex exploration of the Korean diaspora and the inescapable impacts of history on everyday people, focusing on a family bound by pride but perpetually denied dignity. Spanning across several generations of Korean Japanese people displaced during the Japanese occupation of a once-unified Korea, the film is expected to be released in three languages — Korean, Japanese and English.

The cast

The film stars Youn Yuh-jung, whose historic Academy Award win in 2021 for her performance in “Minari” gained her international attention, as the older Sunja. She shares the role with breakout actresses Kim Min-ha and Jeon Yu-na, who play younger versions of the character. Lee Minho of “The King: Eternal Monarch” plays Sunja’s wealthy lover Hansu, while second generation Korean Japanese actor Arai Soji plays her son Mozasu. Also among the cast are Ha Jin as Solomon, Jeong Inji as Yangjin, Minami Kaho as Etsuko, Steve Sanghyun Noh as Isak, Anna Sawai as Naomi, Han Jun-woo as Yoseb, Jung Eun-chae as Young Kyunghee and Jimmi Simpson as Tom Andrews.

Notably missing from the film’s cast is Sunja and Hansu’s first-born son in the book, Noa, already suggesting some deviations from the original source material. Some speculate the series will be more focused on the perspective of later generations looking back on history.

The series’ creators

The series’ creator, writer and executive producer is Soo Hugh of the critically acclaimed “The Terror” and “The Killing.” Fellow executive producers Kogonada and Justin Chon each directed four episodes.

“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 in a released statement. “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 first three episodes of the eight-part series are scheduled to debut on March 25 on Apple TV Plus, which will be followed by a weekly release of the proceeding episodes.

Images via Apple TV+

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