“This was a labour of love for everyone involved”: Jin Ha, Anna Sawai, Theresa Kang Lowe and Michael Ellenberg on Pachinko
Pachinko is the new series set to hit Apple TV+, based on Min Jin Lee’s New York Times bestselling novel, which follows the story of four generations of a Korean immigrant family mainly through the lens of matriarch Sunja. Only a young girl when the series opens, she is daughter to a struggling Korean couple living in their country when it was annexed by Japan in the early 20th century, where they face constant mistreatment and abuse.
Ambitious in scope and meticulous in execution, the show then takes its audience on a sweeping journey of love and loss across a timespan of over 70 years in diverse locations including Korea, Japan and America, via multiple languages. It pushes the boundaries of what international productions can achieve, having been impressively conceived in a time before South Korean content had yet to make its mark globally in the way it has in recent years (from the success of Oscar-winning Parasite to Squid Game). Exploring themes of generational trauma, perseverance and the love of family, it’s also at its heart a moving story of absorbing specificity with universal reliability, rendered beautifully and vividly for the screen.
The Upcoming had the pleasure of speaking to some of the cast and creators ahead of the launch of the series.
Jin Ha, who plays investment banker Solomon Baek, and Anna Sawai, who plays Naomi, told us how they connected with the story and their characters and what they hope audiences will take away from watching the show.
Producers Theresa Kang Lowe and Michael Ellenberg spoke about the initial appeal of adapting the book, the opportunities and challenges of such an ambitious project, working with their cast and two very different directors, and how the series was a “labour of love” for all involved.
Pachinko is released on Apple TV+ on 25th March 2022. Read our five-star review here.
Watch the trailer for Pachinko here: