Apple TV Plus appears to be making its entry into the South Korean market with Pachinko, the platform’s upcoming drama offer, and has reportedly cast no less than Korean superstar Lee Min-ho to lead it.
An insider from the entertainment industry told Sports Chosun on October 19, “Lee Min-ho will be the main character in the dramatization of “Pachinko,” a best-selling novel by Korean-American writer Lee Min-jin. It is among the projects that are slated for release on Apple TV Plus.
Set during the Japanese Empire, Pachinko will tell stories of how Korean citizens endured racism and stereotypes in an unfamiliar territory. It is said to follow one particular family as they move and live in Japan at the height of its occupation of Korea. The original novel was published in 2017 and was incredibly well-received due to its realistic historical narrative. It went on to bag a spot in The New York Time’s list of 10 Best Books of 2017 and even made news headlines after former US President Barack Obama recommended the novel to avid readers in 2019.
Following news of Lee Min-ho’s unconfirmed involvement as the male protagonist in the TV production, the world is now left waiting for an official announcement from his side. Lee, 33, is a multi-talented Korean celebrity who initially gained widespread fame for his unforgettable role in Boys Over Flowers, a 2009 Korean drama adaptation of the Japanese shōjo manga series “Hana Yori Dango.” His career took off from there, and he has since been pulled in to lead popular dramas, including City Hunter (2011), The Heirs (2013), and The Legend of the Blue Sea (2016–2017). Most recently, Lee melted numerous hearts for his excellent portrayal of a parallel-world Korean emperor in the romantic fantasy drama The King: Eternal Monarch (2020).
Meanwhile, Apple TV Plus is an ad-free subscription video-on-demand web television service by Apple Inc., a gigantic American technology company. After its debut in November 2019, the platform has been releasing exclusive and licensed content that are viewable through the Apple website and via their TV application. Compared to its toughest competitor Netflix, which is available to over 190 countries worldwide, Apple TV Plus is only accessible to about 100 countries. This could be one of the driving factors behind their rumored plans to expand into the South Korean market. Considering the massive possibilities that Apple TV Plus could explore in the East Asian nation, they are on the right track for tapping someone as celebrated as Lee Min-ho, who is not only among the country’s best-performing male actors but also the most followed Korean celebrity on social media today.