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Yunjin Kim as Sun


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The new voice of 'Lost' taps into Korean roles


Los Angeles Times

HOLLYWOOD - The hit ABC series "Lost" is threaded through with story lines - there are more than 13 characters in the ensemble portraying crash survivors on an island in the Pacific - and Yunjin Kim's demure Sun has been one of the highlights. At the outset, Sun and her possessive husband, Jin-Soo (Daniel Dae Kim), spoke only in Korean and isolated themselves from the rest of the survivors. Recently, though, Sun revealed that she speaks English and proved that she possessed more inner strength than anyone, including her husband, had imagined.

Kim, 31, grew up on New York's Staten Island but has called Seoul, South Korea, home for the past eight years. She's appeared in numerous miniseries and movies, including the international hit Korean thriller "Shiri."

Q: Wasn't the reaction from the Asian community rather negative to Sun and Jin-Soo?

A: In the very beginning, we were sort of portrayed as a bad stereotype of an Asian couple - the subservient wife and domineering husband. But I kept on saying that you have to watch the characters because they will continue to grow, and you will see the reason why he is treating her that way and why she is reacting that way. In the beginning I was really concerned that the whole Asian community would be turned off.

Every character on "Lost" is an archetype, and ... once they are in motion, they break away (from the archetype).

Q: Sun's defining moment was defying Jin-Soo by wearing the bikini.

A: I got more response from coming out in a bikini. I thought it was really silly. They thought it was very symbolic, and I thought it wasn't like just a girl in a bikini - it had a meaning. It was Sun finally putting her foot down and saying, "I am going to go and take a swim."

Q: You were born in South Korea but attended the High School of Music & Art and Performing Arts in New York. How did you end up back in Korea as a working actress? Was it just lack of decent roles in America?

A: No. When I graduated from Boston University, colorblind casting was in fashion, so I didn't have too many problems getting roles onstage. I was always constantly busy, and then back in 1997 I got cast in a Korean miniseries. It was just a random thing. I was in New York, and I had a friend who knew a producer who was coming to New York to shoot a miniseries. It was like 15 episodes, and they were going to shoot three episodes in New York and then go back to Korea. I got cast on the spot. Before I knew it, I was in Korea shooting this miniseries. And it took off. It was crazy. If you can believe it, half of Korea was glued to the TV.

Q: What was the miniseries about?

A: It was a very kind of trendy miniseries about a cosmetics company. I played this sassy woman. I sort of had an American accent in my Korean, but it kind of worked with the character. People responded to the character. And then I got cast in this movie called "Shiri."

Q: Was your character in the film anything like Sun?

A: I was playing a "La Femme Nikita"-type role - a North Korean spy who falls in love with her enemy. From then on I played every cool girl with a gun. My nickname in Korean is "Woman Warrior."

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Korean actress Yunjin Kim finds a home on 'Lost'

By Kate O'Hare

"Lost" star Yunjin Kim, who plays the distaff half of a troubled Korean couple on the ABC castaway hit, recently found herself owner of a new condo in Hawaii, where the show is filmed. She'd considered buying a beachfront house but thought better of it.

"I'm alone," she says, "unless I have visitors. I get a lot of visitors, just because I'm in Hawaii. I thought, 'What am I going to do with four bedrooms in a beautiful beachfront house? I can invite people over, but I have to clean up after them.'"

At least Kim has a nice place to lay her head after shooting all day on the beach or in the show's cave sets in a former Xerox office building in Honolulu -- where a copy-machine repairman murdered seven of his Xerox co-workers in 1999.

"He shot a lot of people," Kim says. "The building just has a bad history. We didn't know it in the beginning, so we had to bless the set to make sure it let us work in there safely. We went through this Hawaiian ritual. It was the building nobody wanted to go into."

Born in South Korea but raised mostly in New York, Kim made a name for herself in Korean cinema before being cast on "Lost," currently in its second season of following the adventures of plane-crash survivors on a mysterious and dangerous Pacific island.

As someone who's lived in both cultures, Kim initially wasn't that happy about the relationship between her character, subservient wife Sun, and her controlling, angry husband, Jin (Daniel Dae Kim). Sun secretly learned English as part of a plan to leave her husband, but she relented and stayed with him at the last minute, boarding the doomed Sydney-to-Los Angeles flight.

During their time on the island, Sun has asserted her independence, but she and Jin appeared to come to an accommodation just before he set off on a raft with some of his fellow survivors at the end of last year.

"It's complicated," Kim says. "It's not my ideal of a relationship. It started out being very stereotypical in the beginning, and I was concerned about that. You know, Korean men are not like that anymore. That was back in the 1950s.

"You're fighting with stereotypes of many things. But the reason why we went that way, it was for Sun to start out a certain way, and for her to make some kind of transition. J.J. (Abrams, the executive producer) knows. He knows Asian women. So he took her as far as he could at the end of the episode, so he could bring her back.

"First season, we saw her changing. I got to wear a bikini, something I never would have imagined in the pilot."

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Feeling Lost? Here's Our Guide to Sun Kwon

by Mario DiMaio

Friday, January 18, 2008


Yunjin Kim as Lost's Sun

Our favorite castaways thus far have been on the island a few months, but for Lost fans, it's been more than 260 days since Jack's super-freaky flash-forward. As the Jan. 31 season premiere (finally) draws closer, TVGuide.com is offering daily profiles

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