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AICN's Moon Yun Choi Chats Up LOST Star Daniel Dae Kim!!

I am – Hercules!!

Ain’t It Cool is everywhere. Check out that contact list: Harry Knowles has correspondents in Europe, Asia, South America and Africa. He’s even got the lovely Moon Yun Choi, AICN’s eyes and ears in the Pacific Islands.

The great Daniel Dae Kim plays Jin on the smash ABC hourlong “Lost” now, but to me he’ll always be Wolfram & Hart sleazeball Gavin Park.

This is Moon Yun signing in from Hawaii where I interviewed Daniel Dae Kim of LOST. This is my favorite new show of the season. I love watching it so I was especially excited to meet Daniel. He’s a very nice, affable and down to earth guy. My girlfriends who are fans of show refer to him as the “hot Asian guy” on LOST and yes he was every bit as handsome in person as on the show. Now here’s the interview...

AICN: Having traditional Korean parents, what were their reactions when you told them you want to be an actor?

DDK: Well, my mom and dad had a traditional upbringing in Korea, and my dad’s a doctor, so I think they hoped I’d become a professional as well. After college I actually was going to go to law school or work on Wall Street like all good Korean-American children [laughs]. I got offers from a couple of firms, but I decided I couldn’t go through with it. Yeah, there was some friction (with my parents) for a few years, and that was tough. But when I decided to go back to NYU to get my master’s degree (in acting), they realized I was serious about my career choice. I’m happy to report they’ve been fans ever since.

AICN: What is it like for you to film in Hawaii?

DDK: I really like it. At first I was a little hesitant because LA is where our business is centered, but I think being away from all of the hype has actually been helpful for the show. Being here has brought us all together as a cast and we’ve all become friends in a way that we probably wouldn’t be in L.A. There, we each have our own circle of friends, but here we’re our own best friends. We hang out with each other all the time. I also have to say that being able to go to the beach in the middle of February is fantastic! This whole experience has been an opportunity that most actors don’t get, so I really appreciate it.

AICN: Can you tell me about Jin’s character?

DDK: I would describe him as someone who commits 100% to the things he believes in, but being stranded on this island has caused him to question every one of those things I think the loss of everything he held dear makes him terribly frightened, insecure, xenophobic and very protective of his wife. His love for her is the only thing left that he’s still sure of, so he’s holding on to her with everything he can. I think that’s the source of a lot of their problems.

AICN: Critics have pointed out that Jin is too rough with Sun. What’s with him?

DDK: I think that’s all part of holding on too tightly. He loves her desperately and she’s the only thing that matters. Nothing he’s worked so hard for back in Korea matters anymore - that includes all the sacrifices he’s made. She also represents all that’s left of his identity and I think he’s trying hard to hold on to that. Also, I think he knows that because neither of them can speak English they’ve got to stick together. She’s the only person he can communicate with and vice versa - or so he’s been led to believe…

AICN: As an actor playing the Jin character, can you describe Sun?

DDK: Sun represents everything Jin’s ever wanted in a woman; someone who’s caring, intelligent, comes from a good family and offers him things that probably could never have –emotionally and materially. I don’t think Jin is a gold digger though, by any means. I think they truly love each other. In fact, I think her family’s status actually gets in the way of their relationship. His awareness of her position causes him to try and live up to an ideal of what a husband should be, instead of just letting who he naturally is be enough. One thing’s for sure, losing Sun would be devastating.

AICN: Is he going to get back together with Sun?

DDK: I really don’t know. There are so many ways the characters could go and still have interesting storylines. For instance, if they separated, what would Jin’s journey be if he had no one he could communicate with? Would that force him to learn English, or would he become more and more isolated? Or if they got back together they’d be the only married couple on the island. There’s also a lot of dramatic potential there. Showing the different dynamics of a long term, monogamous relationship could be really appealing. I’m sure that whichever way the writers choose, they’ll make it interesting.

AICN: Can you explain the rivalry between Jin and Michael?

DDK: I think he sees Michael as a potential rival for his wife’s affections. Whether it actually develops into something real, I’m not sure, but I think Jin senses something is going on beyond just friendship. I also think that Jin thinks Michael butts in where he’s not wanted. After all, that was the reason they fought in the last episode (episode 17 which focuses on Jin). On the other hand, from Michael’s perspective I’m sure Jin’s a monster that he can’t stand the sight of. We’ll see what changes this raft brings and how their relationship develops as they build it together.

AICN: Has things changed for you since LOST has become so popular?

DDK: In so many ways. One cool thing is that lately I‘ve been asked a lot to get involved with issues involving Asian Americans. From emceeing events to commenting on certain issues, LOST seems to have raised my profile in the community. It’s a role I’m happy to take on, though. I’m as proud to be Korean as I am to be American. It’s an honor to be asked to contribute.

AICN: Tell me about the action film CAVE.

DDK: It’s a movie about a team of expert scuba divers who are sent to explore a newly discovered set of underwater caves. It’s about their journey and what they discover. Somewhere in the middle of the film they find out they’re not the top of the food chain, and then… Well, let’s just say the rest of the movie is about getting OUT of the cave. I play a guy named Alex Kim who’s documenting the entire mission on film. It’s set for an August release.

AICN: Can you tell me about “Over the Shoulder”?

DDK: It’s an incredible book by Leonard Chang, a Korean American from the Bay Area. It’s a noir thriller…a suspense novel that happens to have a Korean American as the protagonist. One of the things I love about the book is that it’s not just about being Asian American. It’s first and foremost a crime mystery, a genre that already has widespread appeal, but it also manages to wrap issues of identity and family history into the plot. It appealed to me on a lot of levels. We’re working on finishing the screenplay right now.

AICN: Will you be playing the lead role?

DDK: That depends on how long it takes [laughs]. The character is in his mid-thirties. If it takes more than a few years to make and I get too old to do the part, I’d be happy to sit back and produce it. This is a story I’d like to see on screen, regardless of whether I play the character.

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