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Daniel Dae Kim spoke up to ‘Lost’ producers about Asian stereotypes, wasn’t supposed to survive past first season

  • TAYLOR JEWELL/INVISION/ASSOCIATED PRESS
                                Daniel Dae Kim posed for a portrait, in Jan. 2020, to promote the film “Blast Beat” at the Music Lodge during the Sundance Film Festival in Park City, Utah. Kim is revealing little known nuggets about the breakthrough role that put him on the map.

    TAYLOR JEWELL/INVISION/ASSOCIATED PRESS

    Daniel Dae Kim posed for a portrait, in Jan. 2020, to promote the film “Blast Beat” at the Music Lodge during the Sundance Film Festival in Park City, Utah. Kim is revealing little known nuggets about the breakthrough role that put him on the map.

Daniel Dae Kim is revealing little known nuggets about the breakthrough role that put him on the map.

The award-winning actor gained fame through his beloved character Jin-Soo Kwon on J.J. Abrams and Damon Lindelof’s Emmy Award-winning ABC supernatural drama “Lost,” a big hit during the mid-to-late aughts.

But according to Kim, the role of the South Korean-born doorman-turned-waiter-turned-enforcer had an alternate fate.

“There were maybe one or two of us that really had job security,” the 52-year-old New York University alum revealed to Vulture. “From what I understand, it was planned for me to be killed off in season one. I was not a very sympathetic character, so it would have been easy for me to get killed off without the show missing a beat.”

Currently starring on “The Good Doctor,” Kim credits writer Monica Macer for saving his character and, furthermore, being the force behind his role that lasted through the entire run of the series.

“She is African American and Korean American. She lobbied for me,” he shared, and also credited another Korean American writer, Christina Kim, for working on creating his character’s memorable dialogue.

“The way the dialogue was put together was they would write it in English and then I would go to someone in Hawaii and translate it together with that person. Then I would learn it in Korean,” he explained, saying he is “grateful” that he was able to learn the language for an American television show.

The married father of two — who was born in South Korea and raised in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania — also shared how “Lost” was groundbreaking because he was able to have open dialogue about subverting Asian stereotypes with the showrunners.

“When I read the script for the pilot, I knew this was a land mine,” Kim said about the roles. “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.”

Jin and his wife Sun-Hwa Kwon — portrayed by co-star Yunjin Kim — drew early criticism on for falling into the Asian stereotype of the overbearing husband and his submissive wife.

“While we were shooting, I remember sitting down with Damon Lindelof and J.J. Abrams and saying, ‘Guys, this character cannot progress in this same way.’ They basically said, ‘Trust us.’ I did, and it turned out for the best,” he shared.

“As an Asian actor, you’re just looking to get hired. It’s about working within the system to try and change it when you have the opportunity. The character grew to a place where I don’t think you’d call him a stereotype by the end.”

Winning 11 Emmys and a Golden Globe, “Lost” — about survivors of a plane crash in the South Pacific Ocean — ran for six seasons between 2004 and 2010.

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