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Netflix, Alan Yang Developing Min Jin Lee’s ‘Free Food for Millionaires’ for TV

Courtesy of Min Jin Lee

On the heels of the popularity of “Bridgerton” and “The Queen’s Gambit,” Netflix is developing another period piece, albeit one set in 1990s Manhattan.

“Tigertail” filmmaker and “Master of None” co-creator Alan Yang is teaming up with author Min Jin Lee to adapt her critically acclaimed 2007 novel “Free Food for Millionaires” as a television series, Variety has learned exclusively. Lee is penning the screen adaptation, with Yang serving as non-writing executive producer.

Lee’s novel centers on Casey Han, a “strong-willed, Queens-bred daughter of Korean immigrants who is addicted to a glamorous Manhattan lifestyle she cannot afford.” The series will explore the world of haves and have-nots in ’90s New York City through a distinctly Asian American lens, with Casey “determined to carve a space for herself in the glittering world she craves while desperately trying to make her parents proud, but at what cost?”

“It’s a premium Asian American family drama told primarily through a Korean American woman who is at this crossroads in her life, as she graduates from an Ivy League school and is kind of straddling two worlds,” said Netflix’s head of drama development Jinny Howe.

The story personally resonated with the development exec, who spoke with Variety exclusively in her first press interview since being elevated to vice president of original drama series development at Netflix last fall.

“I’m very excited,” Howe said. “I feel this is unlike anything else we have on the slate right now.”

“Free Food for Millionaires,” which marked Lee’s literary debut, made several best-of lists in 2007, including the Times of London and NPR’s “Fresh Air.” Her second novel “Pachinko,” published in 2017, was on the New York Times Book Review’s 10 Best Books of 2017 list, in addition to being a finalist for the National Book Award for Fiction. Lee’s work has also been featured the New Yorker, NPR’s “Selected Shorts,” the New York Review of Books, the New York Times Magazine, the Times of London and the Wall Street Journal.

Variety's Elaine Low contributed to this post.


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