As Lost fever grips the nation, there's a sinking feeling among fans that it's almost over. Ditto goes for the ensemble cast, a relative group of unknowns who have become some of the business' biggest stars. Actress Yunjim Kim, who plays Sun on the ABC hit, feels it too.
In person, Kim isn't really at all like Sun, who we've seen in two flavors: as a sheltered wife of a dominating Asian man and a down-to-business, driven woman who will stop at nothing to achieve her goal. In real life, Kim falls somewhere in between: confident yet graciously accommodating. Over a fancy juice concoction (her) and a beer (me), we chatted about Sun's origins and what little Kim can say about Season 6.
TV.com: It's the final season. What's the mood like on set?
Yunjin Kim: Right now, we're just trying to finish the day. I'm very involved in this particular episode we're working on right now [editor's note: they were filming episode 13]. All of us, the crew the cast, we come to work and try to do the best we can under the circumstances we have, go home, get some rest, and do it all over again the next day.
Do you think that the fact the show is ending is going to hit you all at once?
It'll probably start around two weeks to [the end of shooting]. We're all going to have separate end dates for actors, we'll probably have a big party afterward, but on that day, when it's "Martini Time" for Yunjin forever, I'll be bawling. It better be an emotional scene, because I'm going to keep on crying.
Sun arguably had the greatest transformation of all the characters. Which have you enjoyed playing more, the demure Sun or the proactive Sun?
Oh definitely Sun right now. She was a very mysterious, very veiled, subservient Korean wife, but you knew there was something more to her. And as the seasons went on, every time we'd flash back or flash forward to Sun and Jin's story, you got to find out more and more about her. It's been a thrilling ride for an actress to start with someone completely different and end up with where she is right now, I feel like they're two different characters. I'm certainly enjoying Sun taking fate into her own hands, she's in control of her own destiny.
What was the audition process like? Did they ask you to read as Sun from Season 1 or as the Sun we know now?
Actually when I went in to read for them, Sun wasn't even in the pilot. After the meeting—I was very flattered—they created Sun. They already had 12 characters, but they decided to add another character. J.J. [Abrams] thought, "Wouldn't it be interesting to have a character who didn't speak English, but that was a lie. But who is she going to talk to?" So they created Jin, and that's how that character came about. It was the biggest compliment.
There's so little the cast of Lost is allowed to say about Season 6, but I'll ask anyway. What's in store for Sun?
You are going to see a different side to Sun, and how she relates to... how do I say it? She's... hmmm... she still has the same intentions, she's there to find Jin on the island. But then there's a different storyline. We had flash-forwards and flashbacks, now we have flash-something else, and in this storyline, I have a very different relationship with Jin.
Who is Sun's biggest antagonist now? Is it still Benjamin Linus?
I think we're okay now. [laughs] I think there is a bigger element... a bigger HUGE element that we will find out about.
When did you learn Sun would be more than just the subservient Korean wife?
I was very concerned about the type of character I was going to play. I signed on knowing they were going to create [a certain] character, but when I finally got the pilot script, I said, "Wait a minute, she's such a stereotypical character and that's not how it was described to me." So I got on the phone with J.J. right away. I was very concerned, especially having a career back in Korea and coming to America, I wasn't going to represent an Asian woman in a wrong light. That's not going to happen in my life. J.J. said, "I know, I know. Don't worry about it, we're doing it on purpose. We're pulling you back so far so you can go forward. Trust me, you're going to be a very different woman by the end." And he kept his promise. All the characters are that way, they're stereotypical in some way—the good doctor, the drug addict, the criminal—but they will become a three-dimensional character that hopefully everyone will fall in love with. But I trusted J.J., and I'm glad I did.
One of the things I love about Lost is the diversity of the cast.
It means everything to me. I know when I was growing up in New York, whenever I turned on the television, I never saw a face that looked like me. Whenever there was an Asian person on television, it would be a huge event, me calling to my older sister "There's an Asian person on television!" It was unheard of back then. Now, after Lost, it just happened with all these other shows—Grey's Anatomy, FlashForward, Heroes. It's not unusual to see an Asian American on television anymore. That was never the case before Lost. I'm not saying Lost made it happen, but timing-wise, it was Lost in 2004, then Grey's Anatomy in 2005. We're looking at a different blend of what America wants to see and accepting what America is all about. Diversity.
Lost airs Tuesday nights at 9pm on ABC.