Skip To Content

    Daniel Dae Kim Approached The "Lost" Writers About Asian Stereotypes

    "Guys, this character cannot progress in this same way."

    Daniel Dae Kim is an accomplished film and television actor, and you definitely know him as Jin-Soo Kwon in Lost.

    Daniel Dae Kim at the New York City Entertainment Weekly and People upfronts in May 2017
    Brian Killian / WireImage

    In a recent interview with Vulture, Kim talked about being wary of Asian stereotypes when it came to how his Lost character was written — as well as his own discussions with the writers about the subject.

    Kim sits down with a bloody leg in Lost
    Mario Perez / ABC / courtesy Everett Collection

    “When I read the script for the pilot, I knew this was a land mine," he explained.

    A promo image of Kim in Lost
    Art Streiber / ABC / courtesy Everett Collection

    "My greatest fear was that the pilot of Lost would air but the series would not — because if you were to see the pilot as the totality of my character, you would have been left with that stereotype."

    Kim in a suit in the TV show Lost
    Mario Perez / ABC / courtesy Everett Collection

    Kim says he approached Lost co-creators J.J. Abrams and Damon Lindelof during shooting and said, "Guys, this character cannot progress in this same way."

    Kim sits in a car in the TV show Lost
    Mario Perez / ABC / courtesy Everett Collection

    “They basically said, ‘Trust us.’ I did, and it turned out for the best."

    A promo image of Kim from the TV show Lost
    Bob D'Amico / ABC / courtesy Everett Collection

    Kim also talked about the fan response to his portrayal of Jin-Soo's Korean accent.

    Kim carries a net and fish on the beach in the TV show Lost
    Mario Perez / ABC / courtesy Everett Collection

    “It is a funny thing about my accent," he explained. "It’s not standard Korean, because I speak Busan satoori. The standard Korean pronunciation, pyo-jun-uh, comes out of Seoul. So when we first started, because Yunjin spoke standard Korean, it was decided that I was going to try and change my Busan to standard Korean.”

    A promo image of Kim from the TV show Lost
    Art Streiber / ABC / courtesy Everett Collection

    “So that, plus thinking about the acting of it and realizing I did have an American accent — it became this weird mix of things. The greatest benefit of it all was that my Korean was never better."

    A promo photo of Kim from Lost
    Art Streiber / ABC / courtesy Everett Collection

    "The opportunity to be able to learn Korean on an American TV show is once in a lifetime. So I’m grateful for it.”

    Kim has a would tended to in the TV show Lost
    Mario Perez / ABC / courtesy Everett Collection

    Kim admitted that criticism of his handling of the accent "stung," but that ultimately he was proud of what Lost accomplished when it came to representation.

    Kim sits by plane wreckage in the TV show Lost
    Mario Perez / ABC / courtesy Everett Collection

    “I know that not every representation is 100 percent something we can stand behind all the time," he said, "but I choose to look at things as whether they’re moving the needle of progress on a larger scale."

    Kim yells with his hands over his hands in the TV show Lost
    Mario Perez / ABC / courtesy Everett Collection

    “I don’t think you can question the positive effect Lost had on representation. You could even argue it has had an effect on the way we cast now if you look at the copycat shows that came out as a result of Lost.”

    Kim in a promo image for the TV show Lost
    Bob D'Amico / ABC / courtesy Everett Collection

    And as Lost's legacy has lived on, Kim's continued charting his own impressive acting career as well.

    Kim at the after party for the Sylvie's Love premiere in January 2020
    Michael Kovac / Getty Images

    BuzzFeed Daily

    Keep up with the latest daily buzz with the BuzzFeed Daily newsletter!

    Newsletter signup form