There was no way the pandemic was going to keep Alan Kim from becoming a star. Kim was just 7 when he joined the cast of Minari—studying lines in both Korean and English to play David, the youngest member of a South Korean family that moves to a small farm in 1980s Arkansas. Many of his scenes are with David’s grandmother (Yuh-jung Youn), and their chemistry is a large part of why Minari is making such a splash this awards season. Of course, it doesn’t hurt that Kim is simply adorable. For W’s annual Best Performances issue, the third-grader shares his experience at the Sundance Film Festival and hints at his future.
Did you have to audition for Minari?
Yes. I did some of the lines—like, I didn’t want to drink the medicine that the grandma gave me, and some other parts that I can’t remember.
Was it easy to go back and forth from Korean to English in the film?
Kind of. Korean was my first language. And then English.
Do you dream in English or Korean?
Where did you film Minari?
In Tulsa, Oklahoma. I’m never going there in the summer again because it's way too hot.
Was acting something that you were always thinking about?
I was kind of planning it, but I didn’t know it would go this far.
Did you go to the Sundance Film Festival?
Yes, it was really fun. When we were done watching Minari and doing the Q&A, we would play in the snow or watch TV and drink hot chocolate.
Are you planning to stick with acting?
Do you have a favorite actor?
I like Sonic the Hedgehog.
What about a favorite song?
“Sugar,” by Macaroon 5.
By Maroon 5?
What was your favorite birthday?
The one where I got a hoverboard, because I just liked it so much. It’s not scary. I've fallen only, like, once or twice.