The Walking Dead’s Steven Yeun on Struggle to Find Roles As Asian Actor
Movie studios should be stalking the cast of The Walking Dead like hungry walkers. The AMC show is a huge hit, and the biggest hit in terms of the coveted 18-49 demographic. You’d think each cast member would have scripts piled up to film during the off-season. But weirdly enough, even after kicking massive butt (and looking massively hot) as Glenn Rhee since Season 1, Steven Yeun still struggles to find acting parts.
“People ask, ‘So, how are the roles now? You must be getting so many,’” Steven told TheWrap. “And it's like, I don't know if you know, but I'm Asian still.'" He laughed, adding, “It's not a complaint, that's just how it is now, and I have to forge my own path through it and see that through. I think that if I had not been Asian, I probably would have a whole plethora of roles, at least to audition for, but it's just not what has been written." Come on, Hollywood, broaden your minds!
So Steven has had to blaze his own trail — including working to adapt Kang Chol-Hwan's memoir The Aquariums of Pyongyang. Steven will executive produce and star in the film. He told The Wrap he’s also working on some comedy, cartoon and film ideas. “I just want to definitely stretch that muscle, because you can't just wait for other people to give it to you."
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True, but it’s not like he has nothing going on. His role as Kenny in the new film I Origins is described as smart and slick, providing a lot of comedic relief, as opposed to a stereotypically nerdy sidekick role. He was also announced as voicing the lead role in Chew, an animated feature adaptation of the comic book. He also got to narrate World Cup packages for ESPN. It doesn’t get much cooler than that!
But Steven has tweeted support for TWD alum Jon Bernthal, saying he’s “killing it” with his many amazing film projects. Bernthal is a beast, and he has more free time away from TWD (RIP Shane!), but it would be nice for the current TWD stars to get the best of both worlds. You shouldn’t have to die off this wonderful show to find other roles to stretch your acting/directing/producing muscles.
Walking Dead producers Robert Kirkman and David Alpert just worked with Norman Reedus (Daryl Dixon) on AIR, so maybe for their next movie they should cast Steven … and Melissa McBride. They need more scenes together!
The Walking Dead Season 5 premieres in October on AMC.