Apple to adapt Korean American novel ‘Pachinko’

‘Pachinko’ by Min Jin Lee was a finalist for the National Book Award for Fiction in 2017. — Handout via AFP
‘Pachinko’ by Min Jin Lee was a finalist for the National Book Award for Fiction in 2017. — Handout via AFP

LOS ANGELES, Aug 9 — In the wake of Crazy Rich Asians, another Asian American novel is to be adapted, this time as a TV series. Apple Video has ordered a first season inspired by the novel Pachinko by Korean American Min Jin Lee, published in 2017. The cast for the drama series will largely consist of Asian actors.

Apple won’t go down without a fight in the streaming platform wars. According to The Hollywood Reporter, the company has just acquired the rights to the novel Pachinko, which it plans to transform into a TV series for Apple Video. The Cupertino giant is counting on the project, based on the bestseller by Min Jin Lee, to increase its share of the growing Asian streaming market.

The epic historical novel, which was ranked by the New York Times as one of the 10 best books of 2017, tells of the hopes and dreams of four generations of Korean migrants. The four-generation story begins with a secret love story and rises to a crescendo with the accounts of the characters’ lives in Japan and America. Apple plans to attribute a generous budget to the project, as Netflix did for The Crown. The drama will be dubbed in Korean, Japanese and English.

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At the helm of the project, Soo Hugh (The Terror) will take charge of the screenplay, and act as producer and showrunner alongside HBO veteran Michael Ellenberg, who is also collaborating on Reese Witherspoon and Jennifer Aniston’s latest production. The author Min Jin Lee will be part of the team of producers.

The adaptation of the Korean American novel follows hot on the heels of the cinema adaptation of Crazy Rich Asians, which features an almost exclusively Asian cast. The film version of Kevin Kwan’s bestseller, due to release on August 17, could mark a turning point for the marketing of American films in Asia.

If it does, it will be a success that Apple aims to emulate. The cast of Pachinko will also be almost exclusively comprised of Asian actors. No release date has been announced for the series.

Pachinko is just one of several high-profile Apple projects drawing on the talents of such luminaries as JJ Abrams, Damien Chazelle, Reese Witherspoon, Steven Spielberg and M. Night Shyamalan. — AFP-Relaxnews

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