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Opinion | Hit Korean family saga ‘Pachinko’ starts filming in Hamilton



A downtown landmark will be featured in Apple TV Plus’s acclaimed Korean family saga that shoots in three languages — Korean, English and Japanese.

“Pachinko” took over Denninger’s Foods of the World at King Street East and Spring Street last week to shoot scenes for its second season.

The show — which features Lee Min-ho, South Korea’s answer to Brad Pitt — is also filming in Toronto and Mississauga. It is set to shoot until April and then move to Japan for three months.

Min-ho has posted pictures on social media of him shopping at Shoppers Drug Mart and Walmart, and also walking in a parka along a Toronto beach.

The show also stars Youn Yuh-jung, who won the 2020 Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress for her role as the grandmother, Soon-ja, in the critically acclaimed film “Minari.” She has won many other awards during her five-decade career

For its first season, it shot in British Columbia, including in Richmond where it created locations to look like 1915 Korea and pre-war Japan. Korea was a colony of Japan between 1910-1945.

The show occupied Denninger’s between Feb. 19-22, which coincided with Family Day on Monday, Feb. 20. Filming inside the store, with its aisles of European imports and other food stuff, took place on Tuesday, Feb. 21.

“Pachinko” is about the hopes and dreams of a Korean immigrant family across four generations, as they leave their homeland in a quest to thrive, survive and better their lives. It is told through the eyes of matriarch Sunja (Yuh-jung), who faces all types of challenges.

The show also stars Kim Min-ha, Jin Ha, Noh Sang-hyun, Jung Eun-chae and Anna Sawai.

It is based on a 2017 novel by Korean-American, New York City writer Min Jin Lee, who is also one of the show’s writers. The book covers the period from 1910-1989. The show was created by another writer for the show, Soo Hugh

The first season consisted of eight episodes and it premiered on Apple TV Plus on March 25, 2022. It received much critical acclaim and was renewed by Apple in April for a second season.

The show was nominated for an Emmy for Title Design and its theme is by the Grass Roots — ‘Let’s Live Today.’ The show won the award for Best Foreign Language series at the 2023 Critics Choice Awards.

A pachinko is a Japanese gambling machine. The show’s name reportedly is a metaphor representing that the life of Sunja and her family is a gamble; you win sometimes, and sometimes you lose.

The Hamilton-filmed sitcom “Pink Is In” has made it to Amazon Prime.

The streaming service, also known as Prime Video, is now carrying the show about the goings-on at the Chatsworth Hamilton Women’s Prison, but only in the United States and Great Britain.

That means viewers there can watch the 12 episodes that make up three seasons. It’s not available in Canada because the show is shown on Bell Fibe TV 1 here and is under contract to Bell Canada.

Still, producer-writer Kim Lombard, who also plays loopy prison CEO Pip Barnett, says he’s thrilled.

“It’s all very exciting,” he told The Spectator. “The Amazon Prime thing is awesome. They’re already shocked at how many people are watching it.”

He said he has heard from friends in Los Angeles and England who have watched the show and told him “they loved it.”

There is no word yet on a fourth season, but Lombard said cast and crew remain optimistic.

“Bell has backed us from Day One and has given us free reign,” he said.

A BlackBerry docudrama made in Hamilton last summer had its world premiere in Germany.

“BlackBerry” played the 73rd annual Berlin International Film Festival Feb. 17. It stars Jay Baruchel and Glenn Howerton. The movie filmed scenes at Empire Steel, FirstOntario Centre and the Russell Williams restaurant in Aldershot. It stood in for a diner in Kitchener.


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