Lee Min Ho Takes A Gamble With Pachinko

Posted by Stephanie on October 27, 2020

Casting News

This falls under news I’m still trying to wrap my brain around. I know I saw the book Pachinko, I know I probably should read it and yet… I didn’t. Now that Lee Min Ho has signed onto an adaptation? Well, it will still probably stay on my should read list, I’m just going to feel guiltier about giving it a pass.

But hey, Lee Min Ho signed onto a new show and a pretty big one too!

Please read big as ‘important’. Pachinko was a New York Times Bestseller and a National Book Award finalist which tells the story of a single-family through the years as they move from Korea to Japan. From Amazon:

In the early 1900s, teenaged Sunja, the adored daughter of a crippled fisherman, falls for a wealthy stranger at the seashore near her home in Korea. He promises her the world, but when she discovers she is pregnant–and that her lover is married–she refuses to be bought. Instead, she accepts an offer of marriage from a gentle, sickly minister passing through on his way to Japan. But her decision to abandon her home, and to reject her son’s powerful father, sets off a dramatic saga that will echo down through the generations.

Richly told and profoundly moving, Pachinko is a story of love, sacrifice, ambition, and loyalty. From bustling street markets to the halls of Japan’s finest universities to the pachinko parlors of the criminal underworld, Lee’s complex and passionate characters–strong, stubborn women, devoted sisters and sons, fathers shaken by moral crisis–survive and thrive against the indifferent arc of history.

It says that Lee Min Ho will be playing the character of Hansu, which, if you read the more involved Wikipedia break down, seems like a real bad guy. I’m sure there’s a context in there I’m missing, but all the things he’s linked to seem pretty bad. Could Lee Min Ho be playing his first bad character? (Well, I guess that depends where you put Boys Over Flowers or Heirs in that list). I think he could completely pull this off, and it would actually be an interesting take for him.

I could see him stepping outside of the box for this as  Pachinko is not going to be your typical kdrama, no, this show is actually being done by Apple.TV. Does Apple.TV put on shows? Turns out they do and have gotten some pretty big names for their shows too, like movie actor big, so it makes sense that they snag Lee Min Ho for their adaptation of such a large project.

Since this story does seem to span decades and continents, I wonder if they are going to try and catch the whole book? If they are going to cut it down? Focus on a particular storyline? The series version will be 8 episodes, which seems short, but could be distinct branches in time or parts of the book. On top of that, there will be four different directors, each one of them directing two of the episodes.

This is me making a face. Is it just me or is does this just scream more and more of a “statement piece”? Since the book was so huge I’m sure a lot of people, just Kdrama fans are going to check it out, but am I going to be one of them? As an android girl…. probably not. But I applaud the effort and home Lee Mi Ho does really well!




  • Reply TinkerFrost October 28, 2020 at 11:20 am

    This book keeps creeping into my radar. I’ve been tempted to read it several times, but for some reason I’ve never picked it up.

  • Reply Nic October 28, 2020 at 2:05 pm

    I’m reading Pachinko right now, and I’d say Hansu is more of a flawed character than a bad guy. I think Lee Min Ho is perfectly cast, but how are they going to do the language? I thought that this was going to me an American adaption, as the author is Korean American.

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