15 years after the series premiere of “Lost,” Daniel Dae Kim, who played series regular Jin-Soo Kwon, still remembers his first encounter with the smoke monster. He didn’t know what it was, but he was directed to treat it like “the scariest thing you’ve ever seen.”
“We were all supposed to gather around the wing of the plane and look off into the jungle,” Kim told TheWrap. “The note was ‘There’s something out there, and you don’t know what it is — but it’s the scariest thing you’ve ever heard.’ That was my introduction to the smoke monster.”
Though he and his castmates had “a lot of questions” about that infamous column of smoke, the writers kept them in the dark about any explanations until “season five or six,” he recalled. “It was as big a mystery to us as it was to the audience.”
So, before we had the “security system” explanation for the ticking, ratcheting, murderous, shape-shifting Man in Black, the actors were left to come up with their own theories.
“I remember thinking that the smoke monster must be some kind of mirror of your consciousness, and your goodness as a human being,” Kim said. “The idea that I was playing with was that, if you were good inside, you would be safe. And if you were not, it would be the harbinger of your doom.”
He also recalled the scene from the fifth episode of Season 5, “This Place is Death,” in which Jin, while unstuck in time, tries to help the recently-shipwrecked Danielle Rousseau and her team before the smoke monster grabs one of the men by his feet and drags them down into the hole that leads to its underground lair.
“I tried to think about who was taken by the smoke monster and why, and just making deductions. That’s what I went into thinking about it in that scene. We’re acting to nothing — we’re acting to the air. There was always something unknown to Jin a little bit on that island. It wasn’t hard to find a space for not knowing what the smoke monster was.”