'Pachinko': K-wave star Lee Min-ho joins cast, fans thrilled over his Hollywood debut in Apple's first K-drama

Lee will be playing the role of Koh Hansu, a character who is enigmatic and mysterious in the book by Min Jin Lee

                            'Pachinko': K-wave star Lee Min-ho joins cast, fans thrilled over his Hollywood debut in Apple's first K-drama
Lee Min-ho (Getty Images)

It is no secret that Korean dramas have overtaken the world in recent times. With nothing but time and a Netflix subscription, many of us have turned to the often one-season dramas from South Korea to be entertained during the pandemic. While Netflix has been dipping its toes in the K-drama world for a while, other American streaming services are only just turning their attention to the potential of the Korean Wave.

Apple is the latest to join that trend and they will do so with a trilingual adaptation of Min Jin Lee's 'Pachinko'. The Korean-American writer's second book has been raved about on social media since it was released and has been featured on multiple book lists. It was even picked by 'Harry Potter' actress Emma Watson for her intersectional, feminist, bi-monthly book club 'Our Shared Shelf'.

'Pachinko' follows multiple generations of a Korean family who immigrate to Japan during Japan's colonial occupation of their country. At the center of the story is Sunja, who was born in Busan, Korea, and moves to Osaka, Japan, with her new husband, Isak. Spanning nearly 100 years, 'Pachinko' is a tale of exile and immigrants and the choices they are forced to make.

Epic in scope, intimate in tone, the story begins with forbidden love and crescendos into a sweeping saga that journeys between Korea, Japan and America to tell the unforgettable story of war and peace, love and loss, triumph and reckoning. The Apple TV+ series will be told in three languages: Korean, Japanese and English.

The excitement over Apple's first K-drama is already high, but it just skyrocketed with the recent news that Hallyu star Lee Min-ho had been cast in a key role in the upcoming adaptation, along with Jin Ha ('Devs', 'Love Life'), Anna Sawai ('Fast & Furious 9', 'Ninja Assassin'), Minha Kim ('Call, After Spring'), Soji Arai ('Cobra Kai', 'Legacies') and Kaho Minami ('Angel Dust', 'Household X').

Min-ho is best known for his work in 'The Heirs', 'Boys Over Flowers' and, more recently, 'The King: Eternal Monarch' where he played the titular character. The actor-singer is considered one of the premiere Hallyu (K-wave) stars and his role with the Apple series has his fans excited for his big Hollywood debut.

One fan tweeted, "he has been receiving hollywood offer since 2015 & now finally in 2020 he officially will start a new chapter of his career journey as an actor in Hollywood! THE ONLY GLOW UP THAT MATTERS! WELCOME TO HOLLYWOOD SIR! #Leeminho #Pachinko." Another wrote, "HATERS WILL ALWAYS GONNA HATE, BUT HIS SLAP YOU WITH HIS WAY TO HOLLYWOOD. PROUD FANS #LeeMinHo #Pachinko."




Lee will be playing the role of Koh Hansu, whom we first meet when he seduces teenage Sunja in her village in Yeongdo. Not much is known about Hansu initially, but when Sunja gets pregnant with his child, she learns that he is already married with three children in Japan. We then meet Hansu much later in the novel, when it turns out that Hansu has not entirely left Sunja's life as his love for her had led to him using his nefarious connections to manipulate her and her family's lives.

One fan said, "All the very best for your new project @ActorLeeMinHo Koh Hansu is a challenging character and I'm sure that you'll do justice to him. We're all super excited. #Pachinko #LeeMinHo." Another wrote, "It was my ardent wish to watch Minho play a gangster or something similar to that post Gangnam Blues. Hansu's character description has me intrigued. #Pachinko #LeeMinHo." A fan tweeted, "#Pachinko officially listed in leeminhoโ€™s wikipedia and appletv in france. this is not a drill guys! leeminhoโ€™s hollywood debut is coming next year. get ready minoz!"






Production on 'Pachinko' is set to begin October 26 on multiple continents. 'Pachinko' is written and executive produced by Soo Hugh ('The Terror'), who also serves as showrunner and created the vision for the series. The show is expected to launch on Apple TV+ in late 2021 or early 2022.

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