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The Invisible Korean Behind U.S. Hit Drama

2006/01/02 Source

If Kim Yunjin and Daniel Dae Kim are the front-of-house Koreans on "Lost", the U.S. show just nominated for a best drama Golden Globe for the second year running, Christina Kim can be said to toil unseen in the kitchen.

Kim joined last June for the show's second season. After majoring in English at Georgetown University, she did her post-graduate work at the University of Southern California, where she studied screenwriting, before making her debut on "Lost".

She modestly attributes getting a writing job on the show to pure luck. "I never imagined that my first work would be on a drama as big as 'Lost'," she told the U.S. edition of the JoongAng Daily. "I guess that since there are Korean characters in the show, they needed someone who knew about the language and culture".

"In the first season, we weren't able to show what a real Korean couple is like", she says. "But in the second season, along with interpreting for her husband, Kim Yunjin's character will take on a more independent existence".

The show's producers always come straight to Kim for advice on anything concerning Korea. For example, the window of Daniel Dae Kim's home in the show, supposedly looking out on Seoul, actually showed Singapore. "After looking at the pictures, it seemed like it definitely wasn't going to work, so we decided to do away with the background altogether. But in the end, we went to great lengths to find a picture of Seoul and put it in", Kim explains.

More important are the cultural nuances. "In the original version of the script, there was a scene where Jin" -- Kim's character -- "goes to the office of a bad-tempered superior to confront him, but after I explained some about Korean culture, where one must be modest towards one's superiors, they changed the scene", she recalls.

Kim, who was born in Chicago but attended middle school in Korea, found a dream job on "Lost" since it combines TV, which she has always liked, and writing.

For the future, she is already developing a thriller that will feature a strong female character against the backdrop of the Korean War.


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