Daniel Dae Kim Reflects on Becoming One of Lost's Key Players

By Steve Heisler

Apr 30, 2010

As Lost prepares to end its final season, a certain amount of reflection is in order. Few characters have changed as much as Jin Kwon, who went from an angry outsider to one of the show's most beloved core players. And after reuniting with Sun a few weeks ago, it looks like we'll be getting a hell of a lot more Jin in the coming weeks. I snagged a few minutes with actor Daniel Dae Kim to discuss his character's growth and his odd metaphor for his fellow islanders.

Are you satisfied with the way your character ends his run?

Yes. The things Jin got to do as a character, and the amount of growth and evolution he underwent, was really satisfying. No matter how the series ends, it will be a great ride for him.

How has your working relationship with Yunjin Kim developed over the six-season run?

Yunjin is one of the most professional actors I've ever worked with. She's always on time and ready… no overly dramatic behavior. In the same way our characters have grown, we've grown. Any time you work with someone for as long as we have, a certain shorthand develops. We know what to expect when we step on the set with each other.

Jin has gone from being an outsider in Season 1 to a being central part of the island developments now. When did you see that shift come about?

It's a very welcome shift, and it had a direct correlation to when Jin started speaking more English. He was able to participate in the group discussions and this made a difference as to how he could contribute.

What a strange metaphor for living in America: Learn English, then you can hang out with us.
[Laughs] Especially with what's going on in Arizona.

The show has had multiple opportunities to kill off your character...

[Laughs] O…kay?

No no, that's definitely not a bad thing. It can happen to anyone on Lost. Why do you think Jin has stuck around? What does he bring to the show in this final season?

The best way I can put it is that the core characters represent parts of the body. Sayid is the muscle, Jack is the head, Jin and Sun represent the heart.

What parts of the body do Nikki and Paolo represent?

[Laughs] That's a tough one. I really felt bad for the actors. No one is sure what to expect on the show. Sometimes you get happy endings like Michael Emerson, and other times you have a Nikki and Paolo situation.

What has been your experience working on Lost, where you don't have 100 percent of your character's information, given your work in film and theater, where it's all there in the script?

It took some adjustment. Television is the only medium where the character unfolds week to week. In the beginning, I was really hungry for information so I could inform my choices. At a certain point I let go and said, "You know what? This is how life is. We know who we are when we wake up every day, but we don't know what's going to happen to us and how we're going to react to that.

How was the character originally pitched to you?

To be fair, it wasn't so much "pitched" as it was released on a breakdown. In reality, they were looking for a Korean speaking actor, and, you know, I auditioned.

What attracted you to the new Hawaii Five-O remake?

First and foremost, the creative team is made up of people I respect. The script was ambitious and big. The cherry on top was that I got to stay in Hawaii.

You'll never escape the island.
The island won't let me leave yet.

Lost returns from its short hiatus on Tuesday at 9pm on ABC.

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  • LITTLEHEN3 May 09, 2010

    The best way I can put it is that the core characters represent parts of the body. Sayid is the muscle, Jack is the head, Jin and Sun represent the heart. WHAT A WONDERFUL STATEMENT, AND SO RIGHT. AND SAYWER IS THE HUNK

  • Snafuperman May 06, 2010

    What a strange metaphor for living in America: Learn English, then you can hang out with us.


    Um...how about, it's a metaphor for living in ANY country with a different language. Have you ever tried to live in another country, where they speak a different language? They respect you a heck of a lot more if you speak their language. If you read any article or book on living in a foreign country, each and every single one will tell you to learn the language.

  • rivas_ju May 04, 2010

    Cool interview! :)

  • novembernicole May 04, 2010

    Daniel Dae Kim is so cool. It's hard to imagine any of the main Lost actors on a different show so soon. It will seem weird, but I will definitely check out his new show.

  • joostin_cdn May 03, 2010

    Nikki and Paulo are more like the colon I think. Apendeix might come in handy on the island since they eat a lot of veggies lol. Colon is for cavemen.

  • LibbySarah May 03, 2010

    Nikki and Paulo were the appendix: they were kinda useless... ;)

  • ginaanne May 03, 2010

    Classy guy, nice cheekbones. Honestly I'm behind on season 6. I buy every season on dvd because I have a hard time catching up because I don't get ABC .

    But I like how his character has progressed. I really hated him in season 1..lol... He's come far & can be a bad ad* when called for!

  • jumpermom May 02, 2010

    Daniel is a great actor. But to be honest, they all are great actors and actresses. I don't see how they could have cast this show any better.

  • dickhuston May 02, 2010

    Great interview. I loved the Jin & Sun storyline...even during the lull in season 3 they kept that story strong & I think it could have been its own series (of course if we're talking spin-offs i have to go with a show about Mr. Eko's years as a crime boss in africa). Yunjin Kim is an amazing actress and the chemistry they have was always really compelling, from their first meeting by the river, to the alt-verse non-married version, all the way to the long awaited reunion . Im going to miss LOST.

  • hockeyrick May 02, 2010

    Daniel is the coolest. seen him in other things and nice to see he will be a big player in 5-0, just not sure how it will go down!

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