Daniel Dae Kim Gets Ready for 'King and I' Challenge

      June 15, 2009 09:40

      Daniel Dae Kim (right) and Maria Friedman star in the musical "The King and I." /Courtesy of Daniel Dae Kim

      He is remembered as Jin, husband of Kim Yun-jin in ABC hit drama "Lost" and was voted one of the sexiest men of 2005 in People magazine. Now Daniel Dae Kim (40) is appearing as the King of Siam in the musical "The King and I" in the 3,000-capacity Royal Albert Hall in London.

      The role comes with some baggage. "Yes, I've seen the movie, and Yul Brynner is legendary. He performed the role over 4,000 times on stage. In fact, so many people think of him as the king that they believe every actor who plays him should be bald. Actually, the real King Mongkut of Siam had hair. It was only Yul Brynner who was bald," Kim told the Chosun Ilbo in an e-mail interview. "I'm not thinking about Mr. Brynner's performance though. Like the many actors who play roles like Hamlet, each person must make the role his own. I look forward to the chance to create my own king."

      Born in Busan, Kim moved to the United States with his parents shortly after his first birthday. He was mesmerized by the world of acting after he was introduced to it in university. "To my parents, there were only three jobs in the world -- doctor, lawyer and garbage man. When I told them I wanted to be an actor, it was almost the same as being a garbage man," he says. "Now though, they are happy and very supportive."

      Kim, who has a graduate degree in acting from New York University's Tisch School of the Arts, is making his musical debut with "The King and I." He did not hide his excitement about singing live in a prestigious venue like the Albert Hall. "Yes, this is my first musical. I studied singing when I was at NYU, while I was getting my Master's Degree, so I had some experience, but I'm excited to sing for the first time in front of a live audience."

      Known as DDK by his fans, Kim has appeared in numerous TV dramas and films such as "CSI," "ER," and "Star Trek." When asked why he has appeared in a lot of science fiction, Kim said, "I like science fiction, but no more than I like other genres. I think many Asians appear in science fiction shows because in that genre, the vision of the future is one where all races and nationalities exist peacefully side by side. It's a very positive message, and one that I hope turns out to be true."

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