Ke Huy Quan interview: ‘Everything Everywhere All at Once’
“I don’t take for granted for a second, what a privilege it is to do what you love,” reveals Ke Huy Quan. Due to a lack of opportunity for Asian actors in Hollywood, Quan took a roughly 30 year hiatus from acting. He received a script for “Everything Everywhere All at Once” just two weeks after deciding to return to the business and landed the part of Wymond Wang. The film has served as Quan’s triumphant comeback vehicle and his role is one of the most consistently recognized performances of awards season, culminating in an Oscar nomination for Supporting Actor. “It’s so surreal. I’m so happy,” admits Quan as he reflects on his whirlwind journey which has thrust him back into the spotlight decades after his beloved performances in “Goonies” and “Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom.” Watch the exclusive video interview above.
“None of this was ever on our minds,” exclaims Quan when asked about the nominations that have flowed his way. “We all got together because we loved the story and we believed in the Daniels,” he says, “all of this has been just unbelievable.” Thankfully, he has mastered the art of being in the moment which allows him to appreciate every amazing reunion (like the viral image of him hugging Harrison Ford at this year’s D23 expo) or act of kindness that the movie has brought into his life. “I try to take it one day at a time and at the same time feel very grateful,” Quan explains, “I didn’t think I would ever be in a position like this.”
SEE SAG Awards nominee profile: Ke Huy Quan (‘Everything Everywhere All at Once’) can make history as first Asian male film winner
The Daniels’ script resonated deeply with Quan due to its accurate portrayal of the immigrant family at the core of the story. ”I knew what that was like because my parents gave up everything they had to get my entire family immigrated here safely to the United States in 1979. And I see the struggles that they went through, and the hardships that they put up with to provide food for all of us,” describes the actor. It’s the type of story that Quan has been dying to tell for decades in Hollywood. “I wanted a role like this for the longest time and I just didn’t think this would happen. And here we are!”
It’s a bit of kismet then, that Quan’s scene partner for much of “Everything Everywhere All at Once” is Michelle Yeoh. The actor reminisces about her early days in Hong Kong cinema, noting: “I saw her first movie and I followed her career…and I always hoped I would get to work with her.” Indeed, Yeoh’s smash hit “Crazy Rich Asians” was the catalyst for Quan’s return to performing. He describes Yeoh as “easy to love” and the pair quickly developed an effortless chemistry. With so many dreams coming true at once, Quan was filled with many emotions as filming commenced. “I remember stepping in front of the camera for the first time and all of a sudden I just felt so alive,” he exclaims. ”I felt like ‘wow this is where I belong. This is where I always wanted to be.”
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The Oscar nominee has some simple but powerful advice for other actors who, like he once did, are struggling to create a life in front of the camera. “Be patient. Prepare yourself. Don’t give up. Believe in yourself,” states Quan. “One day, that opportunity will come knocking. And when it does, give it your all.”
Quan has already won the Gotham, Critics Choice and Golden Globe Awards for his performance in “Everything Everywhere All at Once.” He is also nominated at the upcoming BAFTA, SAG and Academy Awards.