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Choosing It All
Article written by Christine Berni

THERE IS MUCH MORE to Daniel Dae Kim than his good looks and charm. This up and coming actor has talents ranging from the stage to the big screen, from teaching to directing, from Science Fiction to Shakespeare.

THE YEAR 2001 was a busy one for Korean American actor Daniel Dae Kim. In the last half year alone, he had guest appearances on TV in Charmed and CSI, landed a recurring role as an evil lawyer on the popular WB series Angel (see box), and has just finished shooting a movie called Sin with Gary Oldman and Ving Rhames. Not bad at all for someone who had taken the previous year out to do a job in the business world.

Short "DDK" Biography

Daniel Dae Kim
Daniel Dae Kim

Excerpt of a detailed biography at http://www.danieldaekim.org

Daniel Dae Kim was born in Pusan, Korea. His family immigrated to the US when he was two years old, and he grew up in Pennsylvania.

He earned a Bachelor of Arts degree from Haverford College/Bryn Mawr College in Theatre & Political Science, and spent a semester studying at the National Theatre Institute at the Eugene O'Neill Theater Center in Waterford, Connecticut during junior year.

In 1993, Daniel started the MFA acting program at NYU's Tisch School of the Arts, and graduated with a Masters in Acting in 96. While in New York, he performed in original comedies that he co-wrote and performed in while part of an improv group.

After moving to Los Angeles in 1997, he immediately began finding work in television and film, appearing in over twenty projects in two years.

Some of his idols are Paul Scofield, Gene Hackman, Robert DeNiro, Jonathan Pryce, Sidney Poitier, Gene Kelly, Denzel Washington, and Robert Duvall. He loves sports, including tennis, football, skiing and Tae Kwon Do.

Daniel is married and has one son.

WHEN AS A YOUNG ADULT, Daniel decided to pursue acting, his parents were initially less than thrilled. When I asked if he could give any advice to young people who want to pursue a career that their parents don’t agree with, Daniel’s answer was, "Communicate. Relationships with parents are fragile, precious things, and I can't imagine my life without their support. I also think that ultimately what every parent wants is for their children to be happy, so if the child's choice is truly well thought out, sometimes just communicating that in an honest way that can serve as a beginning to a resolution. I don't want to preach, though. It's a very tricky issue - I know from experience!

IT MUST HAVE BEEN especially difficult for Daniel, since even though he’d chosen Theatre as his second major at Haverford College/Bryn Mawr College, he hadn’t really considered an acting career: "At the time I didn't think I absolutely had to be an actor. When I was actually faced with offers from investment banks and law firms though, I knew it didn't feel right. Looking back at it now, I still think it was the right choice - and I know I would have regretted not choosing acting had I gone into one of those other disciplines. On the other hand, life is long. Who knows where any of us will be in ten years, right?

Gavin Park (recurring character on Angel)

Daniel Dae Kim in Angel episode
Angel episode "Over the Rainbow"

Fans of the popular TV series Angel were introduced to Daniel Dae Kim late in the show’s second season. In the episode "Over the Rainbow", he played Gavin Park, lawyer at the demonic law firm Wolfram & Hart. Though he only had one scene, the Angel creators apparently were impressed enough with Daniel’s performance to bring him back for the third season, where he’s so far appeared in six out of ten episodes.

There’s not a lot that we know about Gavin Park yet: Gavin makes his second appearance in the episode "That Vision Thing". By this time, he has been moved from the Real Estates department to the more ominous Special Projects division. That is also when he first clashes with co-worker and already established Angel nemesis, Lilah Morgan. From that moment on, the two of them have been constantly trying to one-up each other in persecuting Angel. But if the situation requires it, they actually work together quite well.

Daniel Dae Kim in Angel episode
Angel episode "Billy" (with Stephanie Romanov)

It says a lot about Gavin’s inventiveness that he managed to get a surveillance system installed at the old hotel where Angel lives, which gave Wolfram and Hart crucial inside information. We can be sure that Gavin will come up with yet more devious plans in the future.

So far, it’s not clear where Angel’s creators are going with Gavin Park, but hopefully they will reveal more about him as the season and the series go on.

Gavin Park Quotes:

"Very well. We'll contact your real estate company and notify them of your noncompliance. They should send you a notice of obligation and, after that, if you still refuse to cooperate, well, I'm sure that somewhere in your lease agreement, there must be one or two loopholes to be ... exploited."
"You're a tough one. I know I'm gonna have to earn your respect. But give me a little time, you'll see I'm a creative guy."
"We? There is no 'we'! I decided it was time you understood the full scope of what I've been doing these past few months."

HIS GROWING FAN BASE surely hopes that "DDK’s" career will continue to prosper. But if things go according to Kim’s wishes, that career may not be in acting alone. In spring 2001, he ran a workshop on acting in Shakespeare, and subsequently directed a production of Hamlet in Los Angeles. Daniel was able to draw on his extensive theatre experience, both as actor and director. "I love teaching, and I love directing for the stage. It's exhilarating. Somehow I find that I have much more energy as a director than as an actor. It's definitely something I hope to continue."

SO IF A GOOD FAIRY offered him a free choice and guaranteed life-long success at whatever he chose, would Daniel prefer to act, direct, or teach, or all of the above? "Ahhh, if only... Actually, I would choose all of the above, and since we're fantasizing here, I'd also ask the fairy to help me be a success as a son, a father, a brother, a husband, and a friend as well."

DANIEL DAE KIM'S largest role so far is as Lieutenant John Matheson on the Babylon 5 spin-off, "Crusade". The series is no longer on the air, though there is a viable effort to convince the Sci-Fi Channel to pick it up to go with its Babylon 5 screenings. Babylon 5 and Crusade's creator, J. Michael Straczynski, did not have a great deal of time to flesh out Lieutenant Matheson's character before Crusade was cancelled. Crusade ran a total of thirteen episodes.

CRUSADE is the story of a desperate search. After a failed attempt to destroy Earth, the mysterious Drakh "poisoned the well" - they seeded Earth with a deadly plague. Thankfully, the Drakh did not have the time to set the virus for human biology, so it is having to adjust itself. It is estimated that the virus will wipe out all life on Earth within five years. Earth was placed under strict quarantine and the best ship in EarthForce, the Excalibur, was given the impossible task of trying to find a cure before the five years are up. Among the crew members of the Excalibur are its Captain, Matthew Gideon, and his Executive Officer, John Matheson.

WHILE HIS CHARACTER is still becoming clear, there are some things that we do know about Lieutenant John Matheson. John is the first Telepath to be allowed into EarthForce since the disbanding of the Psi Corps. He has wanted all his life to be in EarthForce and is determined to succeed, both as an individual and as an example of how telepaths can work alongside "normals".

"THIS IS LIKE A TRIAL PROGRAMME," explains series creator J. Michael Straczynski, "and if it works, they'll keep it going. There are a lot of senators who are very suspicious about this whole thing who are saying, 'If it doesn't work, we're putting everything back; we'll just control it better this time!'" (Quote from Spectrum Magazine)

JOHN IS VERY LOYAL to Captain Gideon, at least in part because Gideon gave him the chance to prove himself as an officer. He served as Gideon's First Officer on his previous ship.

To continue, click HERE.

Go to Part 3 by clicking HERE.

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