Alan S. Kim Talks About His First Movie Role in ‘Minari’

Alan Kim and Steven Yeun star in MINARI — Courtesy of A24

An unexpected delight on this year’s festival and awards circuit has certainly been 8-year-old Alan Kim. The charmingly precocious star of Lee Isaac Chung’s Minari brings smiles and joy to every interview, conversation, and Q&A. And in his first movie, he is also a very talented young actor.


With his smart yellow bowtie and a whole lot of energy, Alan Kim graciously sat down with me recently (via Zoom) to talk about books, Legos, and his great work in Minari.

Alan Kim and Youn Yuh-jung star in MINARI — Courtesy of A24

Karen Peterson/We Live Entertainment: What made you decide you wanted to be an actor?

Alan Kim: My mom was like, “Come on, let’s do a movie.” So I’m like, “Okay, I guess I’ll have a chance to do movie. So I found Minari and I did the audition and got in.

KP: What was it like going to your very first audition?

AK: It was really nice. I got to meet Steven [Yeun] and [Lee Isaac Chung]. I met Steven and the casting director [Julia Kim] and Christina [Oh]. I already met, Isaac in FaceTime.

KP: Were you nervous?

AK: No, it was much more of a fun day than nervous day.

KP: When you found out that you were going to be in the movie, were you really really excited?

AK: Yes. I was really excited to be in the movie.

KP: What did you do to celebrate?

AK: We went on a cruise that went to Mexico, but I was kind of scared on the boat and my sister got kind of seasick.

KP: Oh, no! Were you more nervous about the boat than you were about the movie?

AK: Yes, the boat, I was scared that it might sink. Like the Titanic. So I was like, “I’m too young to die!” {laughs}

KP: You are! But you got to do the movie. Can you talk a little bit about what it was like the first day?

AK: The first day I didn’t film. The first day I went to take some pictures and I got to eat ice cream. That was really good. Noel [Cho] ate her ice cream fast enough but I was slow. My mom’s like, “Quickly! Eat up! You can’t eat the ice cream forever.”

KP: It’s always a good day when there’s ice cream, huh?

AK: Yeah!

KP: How was it getting to know Noel, who plays your sister?

AK: It was really good. On the first day she gave me this coloring pad.

KP: What about Steven and Yeri as your mom and dad?

AK: It was really good. Steven, gave me jokes. And he was really funny. He also gave me a book, The Neverending Story, and it was really nice.

KP: That’s a great book. Have you read it yet?

AK: No, but… I guess I’m planning to.

KP: What was it like when you got to film your very first scene?

AK: My very first scene. It was when I said, “Mom, have you looked outside?” where the big, red tractor and Paul (Will Patton) and Steven there. They got to drive. I didn’t get to drive that. We also took some pictures on it which was really fun.

KP: Did you have a very favorite scene?

AK: My favorite scene was when I gave pee to grandma. It was so fun. I’m not sure if anybody else was there, the other cast mates. But I think it was just the grandma and me and I ran away. And that was really fun.

KP: You have some great scenes with her. Can you talk about working with Youn Yuh-jung as your as your grandma?

AK: Working with her was very nice. She was so kind. And I really it was really good.

KP: What was the hardest part for you?

AK: There was no hard part except the heat wave in Tulsa, Oklahoma. It was the summer it was way too hot.

KP: The movie started at Sundance last year. Did you get to go?

AK: Yes. It was the totally opposite of Tulsa, Oklahoma in the summer, so I liked it.

KP: So now that you’ve done this movie, is this what you want to do? Do you want to be an actor? 

AK: I plan to be an actor.

KP: What are some types of movies you’d like to do?

AK: Any kind of movie as long as it’s a movie.

KP: When you were making Minari, can you tell me about going to the creek? 

AK: Yeah, I got to go to the creek three times.

KP: Three times? That’s cool.

AK: Yeah. One time with when I go with the grandma, me and Anne. The second time is just me and the grandma. And me holding the net, I was actually trying to catch some fish because there was tiny fish in there. But they just swim all through the net holes.

KP: Aw, so you didn’t get any fish?

AK: No.

KP: Can you tell me about when you filmed the part when you go to the doctor’s office?

AK: In the doctor’s office, I was so tired that I accidentally fell asleep on Steven’s elbow so Steven’s just like, “Boo!”

KP: When I was talking to Yuh-jung who played your grandma, she told me that one of her favorite scenes with you was when you said she smelled like grandma smell.

AK: Oh. “Grandma smells like Korea?” That part?

KP: Yeah, that part. What does Korea smell like and what does what is grandma smell?

AK: Grandma smells like… a grandma? And Korea smells like Korea.

KP: Have you ever been to Korea?

AK: When I was a baby, but I can’t really remember.

KP: What’s something you learned from Isaac when you were doing the movie?

AK: He says like, “Don’t rush or don’t overreact.” Because if you rush to might make a mistake, or the words won’t come out properly. And don’t overreact it, just be yourself. Because if you overreact, it’s not really you.

You can see Alan S. Kim in his debut performance, Minari, everywhere you rent movies.

Written by
Karen Peterson is the Awards Editor for We Live Entertainment. She previously worked as the Assistant Editor at Awards Circuit, now owned by Variety. Her work can also be found at Citizen Dame and at the Watch and Talk podcast. Her non-awards season hobbies include Angels baseball, taking pictures of other peoples' pets, and tweeting about The Bachelor franchise.

Your Vote

0 0

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Lost Password

Please enter your username or email address. You will receive a link to create a new password via email.