“I want to break away from my image,” “Pachinko” Lee Min-ho first audition in 13 years after “Boy Over Flowers” and first role as a cheating man

Actor Lee Min-ho expressed his thoughts on taking the first global step with “Pachinko.”

In Los Angeles (LA) on the morning of Mar 18th (KST), an online video interview was held with Lee Min-ho (playing Han-su) and Kim Min-ha (playing the young Seon-ja), the main characters of Apple TV+’s new original series “Pachinko.”

Pachinko” is based on the bestselling book of the same name of the New York Times by Lee Min-jin. The story begins with a forbidden love story, and goes back and forth between Korea, Japan, and the United States, drawing unforgettable epic stories about war, peace, love, separation, victory and judgment.


Lee Min-ho stepped up his full-fledged global move by entering the OTT platform for the first time through “Pachinko”. In the series, he appears as an attractive person who would shake up the life of the young Seon-ja. Lee Min-ho tried to transform himself into a different actor that had never been seen in any work before, expressing not only Han-su’s irresistible fatal charm but also his complex inner side of the conflict between ambition and love.

On this day, Lee Min-ho said, “I really wanted to participate in “Pachinko” because it is a scenario where I deeply feel the power of the story. In fact, I felt even more that the current era is demanding content of a global standard as I talked to local people about many things during my schedule this time. Therefore, I think I will be more aggressive in the future if I need good content, if I have a work that I can do well, and if I have a chance in Hollywood.”

In particular, Lee Min-ho said “Pachinko” was the first audition he took since the drama “Boys Over Flowers” (2009), which is the first time in 13 years. He added, “By the time the audition for ‘Pachinko’ began, I was filming the drama ‘The King: Eternal Monarch’ (2020) so I received the audition offer quite late”. Lee Min-ho emphasized, “It reminded me of myself 13 years ago”, adding, “I felt like I was reborn more passionately because I was in the position of being directly evaluated and selected”.

The actor shared, “As an actor, ‘Pachinko’ is a new experience to me and a work that has an extraordinary meaning”, adding, “Of course, my job is to express every project realistically. In the case of ‘Pachinko’, this work contains such a different depth”.


Regarding his attempt to trie acting romance and love affair with a different resolution in “Pachinko”, Lee Min-ho said, “In my perspective, I also think I have played a lot of romantic characters within a good framework”. He continued, “I think this work is not just about love at first sight, but also about the strong attraction between humans and the love in which Han-su looks back on his inner emotions through Sun-ja. That’s why the kiss scene is not as romantic as it used to be. Whether it is at the sea or in the mountain, it seems to have become a basic and straightforward expression of love.”

In the meantime, Lee Min-ho showed off his passion for acting, “This is the part where I was greedy as an actor to break my previously refined image through ‘Pachinko’. But I thought it would be possible if I melted into this work and felt the character rather than wondering ‘What should I do?’ I tried to exclude other things as much as possible and feel Han-su as he is. I also tried to sympathize with Han-su by asking myself ‘Why is he talking like this?'”


Lee Min-ho raised viewers’ expectations, “Although OTT didn’t change the set very much, it was certainly overwhelming in terms of scale and detail. I watched the first episode at the theater yesterday. It was very cinematic and I felt like I was enjoying a movie.”

He also mentioned how he felt about recording a fresh index of 100% on the global review site Rotten Tomatoes. Lee Min-ho expressed his bewildered feelings, “There were no negative comments from foreign media and critics about ‘Pachinko’, so I was suspicious. I would have to accept it if there were bad reviews, but I was surprised and had a lot of doubts since there were only good evaluations.”


He continued, “Isn’t the era we are living in a global one? Yesterday we watched Spanish dramas, and tomorrow we can watch American dramas. Even if we don’t want to pay much attention, I think we’re living in an era where we can enjoy and sympathize with the cultures and stories of other countries. In that respect, Korean content is known all over the world, and the fact that we have been working with Koreans’ passion for a long time seems to be appreciated.”

Pachinko” consists of a total of 8 episodes, starting with the release of 3 episodes on March 25th, and one episode every Friday until April 29th. It is only available on Apple TV+.


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