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Daniel Dae Kim Dishes 'Hawaii Five-0,' Big Guest Stars, 'Lost' Reunions & More (VIDEO)

Maggie Furlong


If you're in Hawaii for a TV assignment, your priorities look something like this: 1) Enjoy some sun, 2) enjoy some sun while doing your TV assignment, and 3) meet up with Daniel Dae Kim.

The 'Hawaii Five-0' star has become a fixture on the island since shooting 'Lost' there, and he's lucky enough to still be working in paradise. But do he and his fellow cast members get to take advantage of their beautiful surroundings? "When we're shooting somewhere near a surfbreak, half of the crew and some of the cast will disappear and go surf," he admitted.

Best. Job. Ever.

Kim also talked about how he's getting to do things now that he was never able to do as Jin (he speaks more English, for starters) and how 'Five-0' is attempting to get audiences even more hooked.

Then he dished about big upcoming guest stars -- including Dane Cook and Sean "Diddy" Combs -- and which of his old 'Lost' pals he'd love to work with again.

 


Daniel Dae Kim Dishes 'Hawaii Five-0,' Big Guest Stars, 'Lost' Reunions & More (VIDEO)

Why Is Hawaii Five-0 So Popular? SLATE Theories...

Earlier this year, the New York Times reported that CBS's Hawaii Five-0 is the most popular new show of the 2010-11 TV season. It isn't an offshoot of a blockbuster franchise like CSI, it isn't a criticaldarling, and characters don't make a habit of bursting into song. How to explain the success of this old-fashioned procedural?

Some of its draws are obvious. It's a reboot of a TV classic, so most viewers understand the premise as soon as they see the title. As in theoriginal, which ran for 12 seasons from 1968 to 1980, the action centers on a special task force empowered by Hawaii's governor to investigate serious crime. Thecinematography is gorgeous, and the scenery is stunning—a viewer recently wrote to TV Guide complaining that the show's creators were unnecessarily enhancing the islands' beautiful colors, only to be assured that no retouching had been done. But the show isn't all tracking shots of pristine beaches and lush greenery; often the series cannily sets the action in places that viewers who have vacationed on Oahu would likely have visited: a hotel luau, the U.S.S. Missouri, the shave-ice stands of Waikiki.
The actors aren't hard to look at, either. There's no shortage of attractive people in prime-time, but Hawaii's sun and sand provide ample opportunities for the buff Five-0 cast to strip down to theirswimsuits: Kona "Kono" Kalakaua (Grace Park), a former pro surfer who is now a rookie cop, gets to ride the waves in itsy-bitsy, teeny-weeny bikinis, and the scriptwriters don't have to stretch too far to give Alex O'Loughlin, who plays Steve McGarrett, an excuse to show off his hairy chest and oversized shoulder tattoos. (Oddly, he often keeps his cargo pants on when he hits the ocean.) Even when they're fully clothed, there's a likable insouciance to the squad, with their casual attire and, in the case of the haoles, several centimeters of stubble.
The cast is also fabulously diverse, which allows a good chunk of the viewing public to recognize itself on-screen. Although Park and Daniel Dae Kim, the actor who plays Chin Ho Kelly, a disgraced ex-cop whom Steve recruits to the team, are of Korean descent, their characters are more vaguely multicultural. Like many real Hawaiians, their ethnic roots are mixed and slightly mysterious: Chin can read enough Chinese to decipher a restaurant menu, and Kono has a cousin in Kyoto, Japan. The supporting cast, meanwhile, is more multiracial than the riders of the R train to Queens—Asian, Caucasian, African-American, Latino, Pacific Islander, and Canadian First Nations actors have all earned a paycheck on the show. It's also probably the most physically diverse series on television, with more plus-sized characters than The Biggest Loser. For viewers craving a little exoticism, the show also provides a carefully calibrated dose of Hawaiian culture—the episode titles are Hawaiian-language phrases, and the characters occasionally deploy theshaka sign and speak "bird" (though the pidgin rarely extends beyond endless repetitions of "brah," "da kine," and "howzit?").
Of course, there's more to the series than pretty people hanging out in pleasant places. It also does an impressive job of appealing to the interests of men and women alike. For the guys, there are fast cars (and in a bit of everyman appeal, these vehicles are shockingly ordinary and domestic—seeing bad-ass good guys drive a common Chevy in decidedly uncommon ways will reassure viewers that you don't need a Ferrari to be a hero), motorbikes (no helmets, of course), helicopters, and speedboats. Although there are none of the slick "this is how the bullet ruptured his spleen" reconstructions you see onCSI, that doesn't mean viewers are denied their fix of tech porn. Five-0doesn't skimp on the gadgets, including iPads, smartphones, and table-top surface computers with monitors the size of movie screens. McGarrett, a Navy SEAL, can even call up old friends on aircraft carriers in the Persian Gulf and access top-secret satellite feeds.

The tropes borrowed from the buddy-cop playbook are likely also a draw for male viewers. The scriptwriters always manage to squeeze in five minutes of barely relevant banter between Steve and his partner, Danny "Danno" Williams. If you watch 10 episodes in a row, as I did, this bromantic back-and-forth (frequently conducted in a fast-moving vehicle) can get a little wearying, but it does provide a welcome dash of levity. McGarrett is dour and brooding—at various points in the series, characters have described him as "tall, dark, and uptight" and have commented on his "constipated look" and his "aneurysm face"—but in combination with charming cut-up Danny (the surprisingly compelling Scott Caan), he comes across as a good guy who's having a hard time dealing with his dad's recent death.
If McGarrett sounds like unsmiling Jack Bauer, that's because there's also a lot of 24 in the newHawaii Five-0: McGarrett's task force is separate and superior, isolated from the corrupt influences the fictional Honolulu PD is susceptible to. Hawaii has always been a global crossroads, and the original Five-O squad battled its share of international master criminals, but the 21st-century team is on the front lines of the war on terror. So far this season, they have taken on Chinese human-traffickers, Irish and Filipino terrorists, Japanese yakuza, and Italian-American mobsters fomenting war between Chinese Triads and Samoan gangs. As in 24, the good guys don't always have time for the niceties of proper police procedure—they fire real bullets at bad guys, and they seldom shoot to wound. When the clock is ticking and they need information, they're as likely to throw a suspect into a shark tank or hang him over the side of a tall building as they are to duck into an interview room. For better or for worse, American viewers seem to prefer these improvised methods, at least when it comes to prime-time entertainment.
And what does the series offer the ladies? Surely a desire to appeal to the female audience explains the show's focus on family. Kono and Chin are cousins, and Steve agreed to interrupt his Navy service so that he could investigate the murders of his parents. (As if that isn't bad enough, his sister also gets kidnapped in one episode.) Danny moved to Hawaii from New Jersey because his ex-wife remarried and relocated there along with his daughter, Grace, whom he feels driven to protect. The Five-0 team has a lot of discretion about which cases they take on, and in almost every episode their decisions are driven by parent-child relationships: a son left fatherless by a careless criminal, a quest for justice for a bereaved mother and child. In one episode, Danny asks Steve, "Why is it that every time somebody's father is involved, you get all goofy?" Even the bad guys are motivated by family concerns: Career criminal Sang Min twice cooperates with the cops for the sake of his wife and son.
Modern procedurals are usually emotionally cold—Law & Order turned cops and lawyers into interchangeable cogs in a story-telling machine—but for all its fast cars and hand-to-hand combat,Hawaii Five-0 is dripping with sentimentality. The sappy bits are also typically the clunkiest—as when Kono tells Danny about a murder victim who was also a father figure to her: "Surfing was more than just a sport to him. It was the Earth, and the sun, and the sky, and the water, and the heart. It was everything." But just because those speeches are as wooden as a ukulele, that doesn't mean they aren't effective. I've found myself rolling my eyes at the very same moment I was swallowing a lump in my throat.
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Why Is Hawaii Five-0 So Popular? SLATE Theories...

The Morning Call - Kelly Ripa Declares Daniel Dae Kim 'Ambassador of Hawaii'

By Jodi Duckett

Freedom High School grad Daniel Dae Kim was a dapper guest on "Live with Regis & Kelly" this morning, where he talked about being lucky to have a starring role in "Hawaii Five-O," about being happy with the ending of "Lost" and about life with his family in Hawaii.

The Morning Call - Kelly Ripa Declares Daniel Dae Kim 'Ambassador of Hawaii'

 

Freedom High School grad Daniel Dae Kim was a dapper guest on "Live with Regis & Kelly" this morning, where he talked about being lucky to have a starring role in "Hawaii Five-O," about being happy with the ending of "Lost" and about life with his family in Hawaii.

Heaping praise on Kim for his career, Ripa announced, "I hereby declare you the ambassador of Hawaii."

"I feel like one of the luckiest men on the planet," said Kim, who spent six years filming the hit show "Lost" in Hawaii and won the role of Det. Chin Ho Kelly on the new CBS remake of the cop show immediately after "Lost" ended. That allowed Kim to stay in Oahu, Hawaii, where he moved his family after living in Los Angeles.

Regis asked Kim about his parents, Doo and Jun Kim, who were in the audience, and they waved when the camera found them. Asked where he was from, Kim said "Easton," although his family lives in Bethlehem Township, parts of which have an Easton mailing address.

 

Kim said his father just retired so his parents often visit him in Hawaii. "We play golf and they hang out at the house," he said.

 

Kim said he doesn't remember "Hawaii Five-O" as a child because it aired in the 1970s when he was just a tot, but he does remember the catchy theme song and "Jack Lord's hair."

 

Asked by Regis if he was happy with the ending of "Lost," Kim said, "I was, I don't know if you were." Regis said he had no idea what was going on with the ending. So Kim explained that the idea was to convey the theme that "everyone dies eventually," either unexpectedly or after a long life. "Some of us died on the island and some of us lived our lives and died." He made it clear that life on the island was real  -- not a dream. And the ending, where all the cast members were together was intended to be a kind of "waiting room," where all the people from the island waited to greet each other when they died.

 

The short segment ended with a clip from "Hawaii Five O," which had Kim fishing with Alex O'Loughlin as Steve McGarrett, the head of the team of detectives played by Jack Lord in the original series.  

 

(First Look) Hawaii Five-O Hits the Beach - TV Guide Magazine

Alex O'Loughlin and Daniel Dae Kim hit the beach last week as they continued filming the pilot for CBS' Hawaii Five-O remake on the island of Oahu. Joining the two leads to complete the crime-fighting team are actors Scott Caan, who will play Danny "Danno" Williams, and Battlestar Galactica vet Grace Park as Kono Kalakaua.

(First Look) Hawaii Five-O Hits the Beach - TV Guide Magazine

http://www.tvguidemagazine.com/news/hawaii-five-o-hits-the-beach-4452.html

Alex O'Loughlin and Daniel Dae Kim hit the beach last week as they continued filming the pilot for CBS' Hawaii Five-O
remake on the island of Oahu. Joining the two leads to complete the
crime-fighting team are actors Scott Caan, who will play Danny "Danno"
Williams, and Battlestar Galactica vet Grace Park as Kono Kalakaua.

Daniel Dae Kim's Guide to Eating Local (Honolulu Style) - TGIF Honolulu Advertiser

If you spend any time out on the town in Honolulu, chances are you've spotted Kim at one of his favorite hangouts. What you might not know about Kim is that he's kind of a foodie. Here are his favorite places to eat, drink and be merry...

Daniel Dae Kim's Guide to Eating Local (Honolulu Style) - TGIF Honolulu Advertiser

http://www.honoluluadvertiser.com/article/20100319/ENT/100318024

March 19, 2010

By Kawehi Haug

If you spend any time out on the town in Honolulu, chances are you've
spotted Kim at one of his favorite hangouts. What you might not know
about Kim is that he's kind of a foodie. Here are his favorite places to
eat, drink and be merry.

Side Street Inn: "I love this place a lot," Kim said, referring to
Side Street Inn, where we met for the interview. "I love the food. I
love the portions. I love that there's a wide variety of food ? local
food, Asian food and even fried chicken." His favorite Side Street
dishes: kim chee yakisoba, poke, fried chicken and the signature fried
pork chops.

Jimbo Restaurant: Kim and his kids, ages 8 and 13, love Jimbo for house-made udon and the "low-key, casual" atmosphere.

Yuchun Korean Restaurant: "We love Yuchun's Korean cold noodles. So good."

Imanas Tei Restaurant: For family-style Japanese, Kim and his family like Imanas Tei for the diverse menu.

Sis Kitchen: Kim says he was a fan of the original Sis Kitchen, and
was happy to find the Kaimuki Korean eatery had recently reopened.

FINE DINING

Nobu Waikiki: "When we want to be fancy, we always go to Nobu. The
food is inventive, and the staff is great." Kim also likes Roy's
Restaurant, La Mer and Michel's at the Colony Surf for upscale dining.

TO ENTERTAIN OUT-OF-TOWNERS

Town: "Kaimuki has great restaurants," Kim said. "Town is one of my favorites. Ed Kenney does a great job."

12th Ave Grill: "When I have out-of-town guests, I'll take them to
12th Avenue Grill or to Town. They aren't on the beach, there are no
palm trees ? they're kind of urbane, and it's a nice change of pace."

FOR LUNCH

Nordstrom Marketplace Cafe: Kim says he likes Nordstrom Cafe for a
quick lunch. "It's not a full sit-down place, but it's not fast food,
and they have a great menu."

FOR BRUNCH

Orchids at the Halekulani: "I've had brunch at the Four Seasons in
Beverly Hills and at The Peninsula in New York, and the Halekulani has
the best brunch, bar none."

FAVORITE DISHES

The dungeness crab ramen at Sansei Seafood Restaurant & Sushi
Bar, the ikura at Sushi Izakaya Gaku, the blue crab roll at Sushi
Sasabune and, for a good steak, Morton's Steakhouse.

FOR DRINKS

For a good cocktail, Kim says he heads downtown to thirty-ninehotel
and NextDoor. "I guess because of my time in New York, I always
associate going out with being among tall buildings and concrete."

Kim says he also likes RumFire in the Sheraton Waikiki.

And to throw back a beer? "Honestly, the best place for a beer is my
living room." Kim says his favorite is a Japanese rice beer he first
tried at Tokkuri-Tei called Echigo. (Kim says he buys the beer at
Marukai Wholesale Mart.)

- KH

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