Ke Huy Quan Admits That He’s Worried His Comeback Will Only Be Temporary

March 17, 2023 / Posted by:

At Sunday night’s Oscars, Ke Huy Quan took home the Oscar for Best Supporting Actor for his work in Everything Everywhere All At Once. It was a huge comeback for the 51-year-old, who began his career at age 12. In 1984, Ke starred as Short Round in Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom, and the next year he was in The Goonies. As an adult, Ke struggled to find acting work. You can probably guess why. Eventually, he quit acting and found work as a fight choreographer and assistant director. But, after the success of 2018’s Crazy Rich Asians, Ke was inspired to try acting again. Just a few weeks after he snagged a talent agent, Ke scored the role in Everything Everywhere All At Once. And now he’s a fucking Oscar winner! But, as thrilled as he is, Ke tells Variety that he’s worried his recent success is “a one-time thing.” He’s scared history will repeat itself. Totally valid! As much as Hollywood loves a comeback story, they also love being racist.

Ke tells Variety, via People:

“Everything is still so fresh in my mind. And that’s why moving forward I’m still really scared,” the actor said of the decades he spent struggling to find work as an actor after initially breaking out as a child star in the 1980s.

“Even though I just won an Oscar, I’m still really fearful of what tomorrow brings,” Quan told the outlet. “I had a conversation with my agent, and I said ‘I’m so worried that this is only a one-time thing.’ “

“I’ve been down this road before and I’m so afraid that history is going to repeat itself,” he added. “I said ‘please, whatever you do, please make sure that does not happen.'”

Ke says his wife, Echo Quan, always told him, “Trust me, your time will come.” But he says her assurances frustrated him. He would tell her, “You keep saying that, and it’s never going to happen.” But Echo was right! And she also played a big role in her husband’s comeback movie; she worked as the one-set translator on Everything Everywhere All At Once, and The Daniels have called her “the secret soul to our film set.” 

After his Oscar win on Sunday, Ke told reporters in the press room that he was “so emotional” hearing presenter Ariana DeBose use his full birth name when he won:

“When I started as a kid, it was my birth name, Ke Huy Quan. And I remembered when it got really tough, my manager told me that ‘maybe, you know, it would be easier if you were to have an American sounding name,’ and I was so desperate for a job that I would do anything,” the actor told reporters backstage Sunday.

Quan, who used the names Jonathan Ke Quan and Jonathan Quan at different points earlier in his career, told reporters that when he resolved to return to acting in 2020, “the very first thing that I wanted to do was to go back to my birth given name.”

“Tonight to see Ariana open that envelope and say ‘Ke Huy Quan,’ that was a really, really special moment for me,” he added. “And then immediately I was so emotional.”

At the moment, Ke has three completed projects coming out; he reunites with his Everything Everywhere All At Once co-stars Michelle Yeoh and Stephanie Hsu in the show American Born Chinese, he appears in six episodes of the upcoming season of Loki, and he lends his voice to the upcoming film The Electric State. But, so far, he’s not attached to any upcoming projects. Ya hear that, casting? Get this boy #BookedAndBlessed, STAT!

Here’s Ke talking with Variety and some pics from his photoshoot:

If Ke really wants to impress casting, he should bring the Oscar into the audition room. “Do you mind holding this while I read these shitty sides? Thaaanks.”

Pic: PA Images/INSTARimages

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