[TV] ABC's "Lost" - "Color-Conscious Casting"
- You'll find a racially diverse cast on ABC's 'Lost'
By Ellen Gray
Philadelphia Daily News
Television executives like to talk about "colorblind casting," a
process that more often than not produces series pilots that are
Occasionally, that's followed, an episode or two later, by the
addition of a minority actor or two, after the show's safely sold.
So how did ABC's "Lost," whose plane-crash scenario didn't make it
conducive to parachuting in actors later on, manage to create one of
TV's most diverse casts right from the beginning?
"I don't think it was colorblind ... I think it was color-conscious"
casting, suggests actor Harold Perrineau ("Oz"), who plays Michael,
a father getting to know his son (Malcolm David Kelley) for the
Besides the African-American father and son, the show's core cast
includes an Arab character (played by Naveen Andrews, a British
actor of Indian descent) and a Korean couple, all stranded together
on an island after a flight from Australia crashes. Plus, there's
actor Jorge Garcia, whose character, Hurley, may not be Latino but
certainly adds some diversity of his own as one of the larger
characters on TV.
"Hey, that's what the world looks like. It doesn't look like 'The
O.C,' " said Perrineau in an interview in Los Angeles this summer.
"From my point of view, the world looks like the island."
"What's cool about that, actually, is that on an international
flight, you have people from all different countries, so it doesn't
feel forced at all," agreed Daniel Dae Kim ("24," "Angel"), a Korean-
born, American-reared actor whose "Lost" character, Jin, speaks no
Kim owes his job in part to Yunjin Kim, the Korean-born actress who
plays his wife, whose audition for another role in the show "blew us
away," executive producer Damon Lindelof told reporters this
summer. "We realized that she spoke fluent Korean decided that we
should have a Korean character on the island. And maybe it was a
husband and wife."
Lindelof's fellow executive producer, J.J. Abrams, added that "one
of the things we were talking about before then was we knew we
wanted to have a couple that didn't speak English."
For Daniel Dae Kim, it's "an opportunity because I haven't had a
chance to speak any Korean in any of the projects I've done. And
I've really made it a point to try and take roles that are as
assimilated as possible, so this is a real great chance to explore a
whole different side of my career."
Perrineau, meanwhile, is happy to be part of another large ensemble.
"I'm really interested in the overall of a thing. So to be part of
this project that overall I think has the potential for something
great, it's OK if I lay back and wait and let the character develop
slowly while other characters develop, because I think the overall"
impact is what matters, he said.
"It was the same with 'Oz' _ you had a kajillion characters, but the
impact of the piece is bigger than what my impact is going to be ...
I didn't need it to be about me."