Ke Huy Quan hadn’t been on the big screen in decades. And yet, the actor has been sweeping this year’s awards season for his comeback performance in Everything Everywhere All At Once. Quan is the odds-on favorite to win the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor at the 95th Oscars. And as it turns out, he has one of his old co-stars to thank for helping him close the deal to star in his new movie.
Ke Huy Quan starred in a pair of classic 1980s movies
Quan memorably made his film debut as Short Round in 1984’s Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom. That Steven Spielberg-directed hit seemed like a surefire ticket to stardom. Yet, despite another memorable role as Data in the following year’s Spielberg-produced adventure comedy The Goonies, Quan didn’t exactly see his star burn bright for too much longer.
The actor appeared in a half-dozen or so movies over the next 15 years, with 1992’s Encino Man his only major Hollywood hit of the bunch. And after a long while, Quan finally decided to step away from the business, believing the roles just weren’t there. But that all changed after he saw 2018’s Crazy Rich Asians, the first major Hollywood movie with a prominently Asian cast in 25 years.
Jeff Cohen’s role in Ke Huy Quan’s 2022 comeback
Crazy Rich Asians opened Quan’s eyes to the possibility that he could give acting another shot. And it was directors Daniel Kwan and Daniel Scheinert, collectively known as the Daniels, who thought of him for the role of Waymond Wang in Everything Everywhere All At Once. Quan landed the part. And former actor and entertainment lawyer Jeff Cohen — who played Chunk in The Goonies — worked out the details of his deal.
“Jeff Cohen, who was in The Goonies with me — he was Chunk — is all grown now and he’s an entertainment lawyer,” Quan told The Hollywood Reporter. “When the producer of our movie was trying to make my deal, he said he never imagined that he’d have to talk to Chunk and Data for his movie.”
‘Everything Everywhere All at Once’ at the Oscars
Once the deal was done, Quan committed completely to the role. In Everything Everywhere All At Once, he plays three versions of the same character. So he hired an acting coach, dialogue coach, voice coach, and body-movement coach to get into character as three very different Waymonds. And with many pundits predicting Quan’s first Oscar win later this year, all that work appears to have paid off.
Thanks to Everything Everywhere All At Once, Quan is officially back as a major Hollywood star. He’ll appear in 2023 in two Disney+ series: Quan will play an as-yet-unnamed TVA worker in Loki Season 2 and will reunite with his Everything Everywhere All At Once co-stars Michelle Yeoh and Stephanie Hsu on American Born Chinese, based on the graphic novel.