Ke Huy Quan Returned to Acting Because ‘Crazy Rich Asians’ Gave Him ‘Serious FOMO’

The "Everything Everywhere All at Once" star was focused on working behind the camera until he saw Jon M. Chu's film.
EVERYTHING EVERYWHERE ALL AT ONCE, Ke Huy Quan, 2022. © A24 / Courtesy Everett Collection
"Everything Everywhere All at Once"
Courtesy Everett Collection

One of the many highlights of “Everything Everywhere All at Once” is the return of Ke Huy Quan, who gives a heartbreaking (and stunt-laden) performance as Waymond Wang in the Daniels’ hit multiverse film. Quan was best known as a 1980s child star, having famously played Short Round in “Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom” and Data in “The Goonies,” but decades had gone by since his last acting role.

Quan kept busy in the film industry, working as an assistant director for Wong Kar-Wai and choreographing fight scenes for a variety of Asian films. But in a new interview with GQ, Quan revealed he was inspired to return to acting after seeing how much success “Crazy Rich Asians” had with a cast of Asian actors.

“For a long time I thought I was at peace with it, but something was missing, and I really didn’t know what it was until ‘Crazy Rich Asians’ came out,” he said. “I saw my fellow Asian actors up on the screen, and I had serious FOMO because I wanted to be up there with them.”

After seeing the film, Quan quickly signed with a new agent and began pursuing acting roles again, starting with “Everything Everywhere All at Once.” As he basks in his film’s success, Quan finds it delightfully ironic that the actors who looked up to him as kids helped pave the way for his return to acting.

“Over the years, I’ve met a lot of Asian talent now working in Hollywood. They always thank me and say, ‘Man, it was so great to see you up there on the screen, because I was able to see myself. Thank you for paving the way for us to be here.’ And, of course, it’s really interesting because they’ve paved the way for my return,” he said. “My return to acting is the direct result of the progress made by them.”

While Quan is thrilled with the success that Asian performers have found in Hollywood, he believes there is much more on the horizon.

“It proves how important it is for not just Asian, but for all groups of people to be represented in entertainment, because like you said, until you see yourself, until you see it, visualize it, you still can’t believe that it could also be you up there on the screen,” he said. “So that’s why I am so grateful for what has happened the last few years. It’s happened gradually, but I’m very optimistic and very hopeful about where things are going.

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