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Lost: Season 6 - Daniel Dae Kim interview

Daniel Dae Kim in Lost

Compiled by Jack Foley

DANIEL Dae Kim talks about filming Lost in Hawaii, his experience of playing Jin-Soo Kwon and what the sixth and final season meant to him as a way of bringing the show to a fitting finale.

Q. How much did you enjoy working in Hawaii on Lost?
Daniel Dae Kim: Hawaii is an amazing place. It’s beautiful and we were very lucky to be working outside in the open for so long. Who wouldn’t relish the opportunity to work on a show like that? It was great fun. I had a blast.

Q. Did you have any idea how long Lost would last when you first signed up for the show?
Daniel Dae Kim: I’ve done enough television and film to know that you can never guarantee success and you can never expect success. I prepared to be in Hawaii for 10 or 11 episodes, but I didn’t have a clue what was going to happen after that. To be honest, I kept all of the boxes from my move to Hawaii just in case I needed to move back. I’m glad I didn’t need to use them.

Q. How does Lost compare to your other TV jobs?
Daniel Dae Kim: Lost has been the best TV job I’ve ever had. I’ve done a lot of television, but I was able to go to knew depths with my character on Lost. I was playing this guy for six years and the longevity and the scope of the story that we were telling was unmatched. I miss Lost immensely now that it’s gone.

Q. How much did you enjoy playing Jin-Soo Kwon?
Daniel Dae Kim: I think of Jin like a brother. After six years, I could slip in and out of his character very easily and that’s a unique and interesting experience for an actor. When I work on a play or work on a film, I work very hard to find the character and build him up as time goes on – but it became very easy to switch on to being Jin by the sixth season of Lost. It was really interesting. When the cameras weren’t rolling, most of the cast were ourselves and it was very jovial on set, but as soon as the cameras start to roll, everyone could slip into their character very quickly.

Q. What it difficult to act in another language?
Daniel Dae Kim: It was difficult at times. English is the language that I’m most comfortable with, so there was a sense of challenge when I had to speak in another language. But that doesn’t mean I wasn’t glad for the opportunity. It was a great chance for me to stretch myself as an actor.

Q. Your character had some violent moments over the course of six seasons. Did you ever feel uncomfortable about anything the writers made Jin do?
Daniel Dae Kim: I was uncomfortable with some of the things in Season One. I had some difficulty in the pilot episode during a scene at the beach where he slaps his wife’s hand. His general attitude towards his wife in the first season was hard for me because I’m not like that at all. At the same time, the producers had told me that he was going to move on from there and grow as a character. That was really significant for me to know in the beginning because I found it very difficult to act some of his emotions and actions towards Sun.

Q. When you started work on Season Six, did you think that Sun and Jin would live happily ever after?
Daniel Dae Kim: I certainly hoped so. One of the themes that ran through our show was redemption. Jin found redemption on the island and I think that gave their relationship a second chance.

Q. Did you become worried during Season Five when Jin didn’t get much screen time?
Daniel Dae Kim: I was fine with that. There were so many stories to tell and so many characters to service that I would sometimes look forward to the time off. Over the course of a lifetime, certain people come in and out of your life and seasons change. It’s the same for Lost.

Q. Did you ever worry that the show ran for too long?
Daniel Dae Kim: No, I never felt that – but I do feel like it ended at the right time. I did feel like it needed to end after the sixth season.

Q. You’ve done a lot of sci-fi work in the past. Are you a fan of the genre?
Daniel Dae Kim: I like sci-fi. I wouldn’t say I like it more than any other genre, but I love the way that sci-fi shows and movies are very color blind when it comes to casting. There is something about society in the future that assumes a kind of open mindedness that perhaps doesn’t exist today – and it’s great in terms of color blind casting. I think it all started from Star Trek. Gene Roddenberry created a cast where people were of different races and it wasn’t a big deal. I think that’s a wonderful vision for the future.

Q. What are your favorite sci-fi movies and programmes?
Daniel Dae Kim: I just saw Ridley Scott’s Alien again recently. I think that’s a phenomenal movie, so I’m a big fan of that. I would also say that The Empire Strikes Back is a real favourite of mine, along with Star Trek 2: The Wrath Of Kahn. What else do I enjoy? Blade Runner is one of my favorites, as well as Brazil. Every one of those movies is in my DVD collection.

Q. How do the Lost fans react to you in Hawaii?
Daniel Dae Kim: The relationship between Lost and Hawaii was different to anywhere else in the world. We worked in Hawaii and we lived there, so the Hawaiians treated us like part of the community. They all knew who we were and they all knew our names, but they didn’t really ask about the show or the plotlines. I would always find it extremely interesting to go to a restaurant and be greeted by the staff as if I was an old friend. I would walk into new restaurants for the first time and they would say, “How are you today, Mr. Kim?” We were part of the community and that felt really nice.

Q. Have you experienced any bizarre fan encounters?
Daniel Dae Kim: I’ve been chased down the street by a gaggle of teenagers in Soho, London. I was mobbed at the airport in the South of France where I thought nobody would know about the show. I’ve also been sat in a car where fans have rocked it back and forth. I’ve had my fair share of bizarre fan encounters, but it’s been wonderful on the whole.

Q. What was the worst aspect of working in Hawaii?
Daniel Dae Kim: The worst thing was the jet lag because Hawaii is so far away from everywhere. I shot a movie in New York City and I had to fly between Hawaii and New York for a bit, which was very gruelling. A flight from New York to Hawaii is an 11-hour trip at best. If you’ve only got limited time to make that trip, then the jetlag is a killer.

Q. Have you learned any jetlag cures on your travels?
Daniel Dae Kim: I wish I had. I haven’t learned a thing about curing jetlag. If you’ve got a cure, please tell me. I would love to use it.

Q. Do you plan to stay in Hawaii now that Lost has finished?
Daniel Dae Kim: I’ve started work on a new show and it’s filming in Hawaii [Hawaii Five-O], so we’re staying here for now. My family really loves it here, so it was the perfect opportunity for us.

Q. Did you used to work in the hiatus between seasons or would you take a break?
Daniel Dae Kim: I would often work. Before the start of Season Six, I went to London for the summer to work on a production of The King And I, which was a fantastic experience. It was such a breath of fresh air to be away from Lost. The character was so different and I’ve never done a musical before – but I was performing this in front of 5,000 of my closest friends every night at the Albert Hall in London. I started my career on stage and it was nice to go back to something that was comfortable but new.

Q. Was it hard to get back into the Lost schedule after being away? Was it hard? Not at all. I had about three weeks between the close of The King And I and the start of Season Six of Lost. I really took full advantage of those three weeks, but I was glad to be back. I’m extremely happy that I got to be part of the final season of an amazing show. It will be sorely missed.

Lost: The Complete Season 6 is released on DVD and Blu-ray on Monday, September 13, 2010.