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Lost: Season 2 interview - Daniel Dae Kim (Jin Kwon)

Daniel Dae Kim in Lost

Compiled by Jack Foley

DANIEL Dae Kim (aka Jin Kwon) talks about the second season of Lost, the first half of which has just been released on DVD.

Q. What are your best and worst memories about the shooting of the two first seasons of Lost?
A. I have to say that some of the best memories I have are after a long day on the set with a lot of the cast. We work maybe 12-14 hours and it was hot while we were running through the jungle or doing something physically strenuous. But just coming off work and thinking that I’d worked really hard and had just had an amazing time with this group of people – like the cast, the director, the writers, the crew – and feeling a sense of accomplishment. Most of my fond memories centre around those experiences.

Q. Do you find that your character has changed during the two year working on Lost?
A. I think that if any one of us at the table were to kind of examine the last two years of our lives we would all say: “Yeah, our characters have changed a little bit.” Just from the basis of our experiences. Lost just happens to be a very exceptional experience – our lives changed drastically, so yeah, I would definitely say yes.

Q. I understand you were incredibly taken by the Hawaiian scenery and you bought a place out there, is that so or have I misread that?
A. That’s one of the few things in the press that’s correct. I actually love living in Hawaii and I don’t think I’ll ever breathe cleaner air on a regular basis in my life. I’m surrounded by some of the most beautiful scenery and very friendly people and I have a family and for them I can’t think of a better place to raise children.

Q. Since there’s a lot of tourists on the islands, do they come to try to see you, visit your home, stuff like that?
A. Every once in a while I get a knock on my door and someone will say: “Does Maggie Grace live here?” I’ll say, “no” and they’ll just walk away and go to the next house.

Q. Do you need guards, or stuff like that, because now you have been kind of exposed?
A. One of the great things about living in Hawaii is that it’s away from Los Angeles, or New York, or major metropolitan areas where there are a lot of photographers, so we’ve been a little bit protected from that. But as the show goes on, you know, we’ve been finding long lenses in the bushes and things like that every once in a while and I guess that’s inevitable. I like to think of it as taxes on our wages.

Q. How scary is it to play a character who could be killed off at any time?
A. Well, I think it’s like real life. We are all going to find our last day sometime and it’s a matter of whether or not you choose to think about it every day, or whether you choose to live your life moment to moment – that’s the way I think about my time on Lost.

Q. What’s your family background?
A. I’m Korean.

Q. Did you have to re-learn Korean for part of your role in Lost?
A. Yeah. Korean’s my first language and I was born in Korea and spoke it growing up. But then when I moved to the States and entered elementary school I wanted so hard to be American that I started speaking exclusively English because I wanted to learn it and assimilate. I stopped speaking Korean and it got really rusty. So when I got the job, although I could still understand and comprehend everything in Korean, I wasn’t used to speaking it anymore, so I had to relearn it.

Q. Is Lost popular in Korea now?
A. From what I understand it’s popular. I think the Koreans in general were concerned about the Korean characters being one-dimensional and stereotypical initially, but I think as the characters have grown the audience has grown for the show.

Q. How demanding is it to shoot a TV series like Lost?
A. Every show has its demands. Every job has its demands and it is difficult but, you know what? We’re not digging ditches, we’re lucky enough to be on a television show and I appreciate the opportunity for what it is.