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...
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.