fb-pixel Skip to main content

Min Jin Lee’s ‘Free Food for Millionaires’ in development at Netflix

The Amherst College writer-in-residence wrote the pilot script adapting her 2007 debut novel.Suzanne Kreiter/Globe staff/file

Min Jin Lee is having one heck of a 2021.

First, she was tapped by Penguin to introduce its reissue of “The Great Gatsby.” Now the Amherst College writer-in-residence (and former Seaport resident) is in the development stages of adapting her 2007 debut novel, “Free Food for Millionaires,” for Netflix. “Master of None” co-creator and “Tigertail” director Alan Yang has signed on as executive producer.

Lee told the Globe this week that “Millionaires” “would be the first one-hour realistic drama series with an Asian-American-led cast in Hollywood history.”

The novel centers on Casey Han, daughter of Korean immigrants working in a dry cleaner in Queens. According to Lee, Casey enters into rarefied American society due to effort and scholarships. Fresh out of Princeton with a popular white boyfriend, Casey sets out to carve a space for herself in New York City — but at what cost? The novel examines the difficulties of aspiration and growth while retaining one’s complex identity.

“I’ve been asked to adapt my own work on numerous occasions, and I wanted very much to adapt my first novel. I was introduced to Alan Yang, whose work I love, and we both felt that Netflix would be the ideal place to share this story because of its global audience,” said Lee, who wrote the pilot script adapting her novel.


“I’m unable to provide further details at this time, but we hope to have more news to share soon,” added Lee, who teaches essay and fiction writing at Amherst.

Yang tweeted this week: “Couldn’t be more excited to be working with @minjinlee11 on this show. It’s a one-hour Asian-American drama set in the 90s, what could be better?!…”

Meanwhile, another Lee novel is getting the screen treatment. Apple TV has reportedly started production on an adaptation of her 2017 best-selling, Obama-recommended National Book Award finalist, “Pachinko.”


Lauren Daley can be reached at ldaley33@gmail.com. She tweets @laurendaley1.

Lauren Daley can be reached at ldaley33@gmail.com. Follow her on Twiiter @laurendaley1.