TORONTO - South Korean native Daniel Dae Kim says skirting Asian stereotypes is something that's been important to him since he started his acting career, first onstage in classic plays and improv comedy and then in onscreen projects including the film "Crash" and TV's "Lost."
And it's a goal he feels he's continuing with "Hawaii Five-0," which is into its fourth season on Global and CBS.
"One of the things I'm proudest of on 'Hawaii Five-0' is the fact that we have so much minority representation, and it's not done in a token way, it's not done in a stereotypical way," Kim, 45, said in an interview.
"All of us have interesting characters to play, and that is a great direction for television to go in."
The police drama, which airs Fridays, stars Kim as Det. Chin Ho Kelly, who made a career comeback after wrongful corruption allegations and is fiercely loyal to his job as well as his family.
He's also a skilled motorcyclist, which Kim wasn't when he signed on to the series.
"The very first day we had a little mishap, just because I was so focused on so many different things at once and it was kind of a car chase/motorcycle chace, and we had to come to a screeching halt and I forgot to put the stand down on the bike," he said.
"A Harley is about 600 pounds and so the bike started leaning over and I was supposed to be running away, but I wasn't going to let that bike hit the ground so I ended up doing my best to make sure it stayed up."
The physicality of the role is one Kim said he adapted to just fine, having already lived an active lifestyle prior to signing on to the series.
"When you live in Hawaii and you're able to be outdoors year-round, it's easy to maintain," added the strapping star, who grew up in New York and Pennsylvania and was named by People magazine as one of the Sexiest Men Alive in 2005.
"I love to run, I'll play tennis, I'll get to the gym when I can. And it's nice that the other guys on the show are similar, so we'll all just kind of stay in shape together."
Those other guys include Scott Caan as Det. Danny (Danno) Williams and Alex O'Loughlin as task force leader Steve McGarrett. Also starring is Vancouver's Grace Park of "Battlestar Galactica" fame as officer Kono Kalakua.
The series is a remake of one that had a remarkable life span, from 1968-80.
Kim said he isn't sure if this current incarnation will last as long.
"For any show to last 12 years in today's entertainment landscape is a rarity. If we get to that milestone, I would be very grateful. It's a great gig, it's a great job and it's nice to have stability for an actor."
Stability is also particularly important to Kim, given he has two children, and it's something he's been able to achieve with this series and the now-ended "Lost" both being filmed in Hawaii.
"The fact that they've been able to grow up in one place for as long as I have, it's a blessing," said Kim, whose other credits include the films "Spider-Man 2" and "The Adjustment Bureau" and the TV series "CSI" and "24."
"Ten years in Hawaii. I think I'm pretty lucky."
This Friday's episode of "Hawaii Five-0" features guest star Jorge Garcia, who co-starred with Kim on "Lost," as a conspiracy theorist who helps the force on a double murder case.
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