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
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,
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
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
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.
DDK: I think that’s all part of holding on too tightly. He loves
desperately and she’s the only thing that matters. Nothing he’s
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;
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
instead of just letting who he naturally is be enough. One thing’s
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
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
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
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
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
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