Ahoy, squirts! Quint here to introduce our own Albert Lanier who cornered Daniel Dae Kim in Hawaii and grilled him on LOST-ish stuff. Well, maybe not "grilled" but lightly sauteed. I still am a fan of the show despite the floundering it has been doing since the end of the first season... but how about that Season 3 finale? Loved it! Enjoy the chat!
"LOST" IN WAIKIKI: AN INTERVIEW WITH DANIEL DAE KIM BY ALBERT LANIER Fans-insane or otherwise-who gaze in adoration at the TV drama LOST on a consistent basis know the character of Jin, one of the survivors of a doomed airliner slated to fly from Australia to LA but which ended up crashing on mysterious island filled with jungles, "others" and of course-lots of flashbacks. Fanatic devotees of the show also know that Jin is played by actor Daniel Dae Kim, a performer who has been plying his trade on TV and in films for several years. Kim brings a sensitivity and depth at times to a role that could easily have been an unflattering stereotype if badly written and played ineffectively. This year, Kim served as a Juror at the Hawaii International Film Festival this past October. Kim was a member of the fest's newly christened Documentary Jury in 2007. Kim was asked to serve on the jury by organizers and-in fact- has attended the festival for about 4 years as a member of a LOST panel one year and just as a contented filmgoer in other years. Though Kim made headlines due to a DUI arrest that took place during the festival, what has been ignored by the media is Kim's relaxed, easy going and friendly manner which makes him a highly enjoyable interview subject. The following interview took place on Thursday, October 18, the first day of HIFF and was conducted at the Royal Hawaiian hotel in Waikiki. SPOILER: I did not ask Kim about secrets, stories, plot developments or any other narrative factors relating to LOST's upcoming season scheduled for February (if the writers aren't still on strike). I figured he wouldn't tell me and I quite frankly I don't care anyway. Disgruntled LOST fans will have to cry in their beers for now. ALBERT LANIER: Obviously, you're a fan of the festival. What is it you like about HIFF? What is it that appeals to you especially? DANIEL DAE KIM: I like the international flavor of the whole festival. I think the fact that (Hawaii) is kind of a midpoint between Asia and America makes it a natural crossing point for a lot of the films going back and forth. I get to see a lot of films that I normally wouldn't get to see on the mainland because they're here. AL: In reading your bio, I noticed you had a real passion for acting. You're a graduate of NYU-you got your masters degree there. I'm curious, what attracted you to the acting profession? What was it about acting that drew you in? DDK: Wow. That's a question I haven't been asked in a while. I think a lot of it had to do with a need to tell stories. growing up as one of the only Asian kids in a predominantly middle class area-white middle class area-it made me feel like there were stories that could be told that didn't have a venue and that's why places like HIFF are so important because you're getting stories told from all over the world and different perspectives. I think part of my reason for becoming an actor stems from that. AL: You've done guest shots on a lot of good shows like 24. I'm a STAR TREK fan (and) you were on VOYAGER-I'm very happy about that-CSI, of course. You've done a lot of episodic work. So, I wanted to get a little into LOST. How did you get the role of Jin on LOST? How did that come about? DDK: Well, it was interesting. I had just signed a contract to go to Romania to shoot a feature film. I was all set to go when the audition for LOST came up and I wasn't even going to go in for the show but I ended up going in knowing that I may not participate. I ended up getting the part and (laughs) trying to work something out between both producers and I remember being on the plane with JJ (Abrams) begging him 'Please work out the schedule so I could be part of the show' because I really thought it was something special and its a testament to how great and generous he is as a person that he was able to work out something with the producers of the film and that's how I got here. AL: Were you attracted to the role of Jin as initially written because I heard you at some panel say there were things about the role you didn't care for? DDK: Yeah, that's absolutely true. You know, we didn't have a lot to go on in that first pilot and there's not a lot of Jin and Sun. So, the scenes we did see of ourselves, I found to be a little bit problematic because there was talk about our pilot being aired as a two-hour movie of the week and if that were the case and that's all we saw of Jin and Sun, he was going to be controversial because epople would think of him as being one-dimensional and chauvinistic. Both Yunjin (Kim) and I took efforts to talk to Damon (Lindelof) and JJ at the time to see where the character was going because it was important-not that the character be a good guy, leading man hero necessarily but it was important that the character be fleshed out and become a three-dimensional human character and I'm happy to say he has been. AL: What do you think you have brought to the role of Jin as compared to the way the role has been written in the past 2, 3 seasons and even going into the fourth? DDK: That's a really good question. I think I'm a little bit more outgoing and friendly than Jin is and I think-especially as the seasons go on-you're beginning to see that side of him more and more. That's not to say that I've never been angry or that I don't have an intense side as well but I think that part of the growth and development of his character, that kind of little bit more easy going way about (him). AL: I'm also curious about your initial thoughts about the script for LOST-what you were able to read of the script when you first auditioned for it. What was your take of the show? DDK: I saw the kind of cast they were trying to put together and I think the thing that struck me the most was how ambitious it was. It wasn't like anything I had seen on television. It wasn't like any other pilot I had read that season. I thought the producers were taking a big risk putting on a show like this. I thought it was either going to fail quickly or be a groundbreaking show and happily, it was the latter. AL: What was it about the show that you thought was different from most if not all television shows? DDK: The fact that it was so far-reaching. That it was clearly about big issues. The stakes were very high-life and death. You brought together a cast that was multinational, multiethnic and the scope of the show felt like a feature-not like something that could be contained in a studio and those were all the things that struck me right away. Similarly, it wasn't a proceedural show, it wasn't a cop show and those (kinds of shows) continue to be very popular and there's nothing wrong with them but LOST was not like that. So, in that way, it was definately different from other shows I had seen. AL: You have a lot of episodic TV experience. How much of that prepared you for this role and working on LOST if anything? DDK: I think my experience in episodic was great because it prepared me for the schedule of LOST. We work long hours when we work and we work quickly and I think just having the experience of going back and forth on different shows as a guest star tended to prepare me to do that kind of work. AL: I'm also curious as to where you think the show has evolved over three seasons on the air. What is your take on the show-whether it be as a phenomenon or just as an hourlong drama? What's your take as an actor working on LOST? DDK: Well, it continues to be evolving. When the pilot first aired, it was a story about survivors of a plane crash trying to live together and survive together but-you know-anybody who's followed the show knows its much more than that. Its hard for me to really get a handle on it and I think that's a really good thing. I say this all the time that I think the show's creators and writers are much more clever than Iam and I count on them to take me on a ride as a cast member as well as an audience member. AL: Were you aware of the show's antecedents? For example, the fact that there was a show that came out in 1969-70 called THE NEW PEOPLE that was on ABC which had a similar plot though nowhere near the same structure and nowhere near the same characters as LOST? DDK: Yeah, I've seen it and-its interesting- there's an argument to be made that there are no new stories to tell. Aristotle said that there are only seven basic storylines and LOST would follow definately Man vs. Nature, Man vs. Man, Man vs. Himself-all those things apply. Yeah, I guess in the same way that you would say every piece of music follows something that came before it, maybe this does too but the important thing is the way the story is told and times in which the story is being told-that's very important. AL: What do you think the appeal to the audience is of LOST from what you have seen? DDK: I think its a lot of things I mentioned before. Its really intriguing storytelling. Its serialized drama in a way that's not normally done. I think it requires a lot of investment from the audience but I think the reward is pretty fulfilling for those people who stay with it.