Hollywood is replete with stories of actors and actresses whose careers have shit the bed harder than Goldilocks after a 4 day tequila bender and for most of them, they’ve got about as much chance of finding rocking horse shit than they have seeing the big screen again. Such was the case for Ke Huy Quan, or at least it was until he entered the orbit of known legend Michelle Yeoh.
Arguably and perhaps only known for playing Short Round in Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom, Quan’s IMDB page makes for some aggressively depressing reading with the actor basically dropping off the face of the Earth after only a handful of sporadic film appearances following his debut.
For anyone curious about why Quan disappeared the reason he would later give was depressingly predictable, lack of opportunities for Asian actors that weren’t either a bit part, racist or a bit racist. Considering this guy played the archetypal 80’s Asian sidekick we’re going to consider him something of an expert on the subject.
Anyway, following his unceremonious departure from Hollywood, Quan spent a couple of years working behind the scenes, moonlighting as, amongst other things a martial arts choreographer on films like X-Men and Jet Li vehicle The One. The latter being something we’re only mentioning so that more people are aware of the fact there’s a film out there where CGI Jet Li kicks the fuck out of infinite criminals atop a Predator pyramid.
Despite working on a handful of films, Quan was largely disillusioned with Hollywood until the release of Crazy Rich Asians and he, like many people was all like, fuck yeah Michelle Yeoh.
Specifically, Quan was excited to see an Asian led film perform so well at the box office and set about returning to acting. Which is where this story starts to sound about as unrealistic as one of the film Quan had choreographed because at the exact moment he decided to return to acting because of Michelle Yeoh, the directors of Yeoh vehicle, Everything Everywhere All At Once, had stumbled across a GIF of Quan on Twitter and become obsessed with finding out what the fuck had happened to him.
The coincidences don’t stop there though because Everything Everywhere All At Once was originally written with Jackie Chan in mind, with the directors later changing their mind and deciding that Yeoh should be the star. So much so that the main character was actually called Michelle in the script until Yeoh herself insisted they change it to Evelyn Wang. Which the directors did because you don’t argue with a woman who can make having hotdogs for fingers look cool.
These two events eventually dovetailed into Quan being offered a role in the film, which he immediately accepted because Yeoh was the whole reason he’d even considered becoming an actor again. If you don’t think this is coincidental enough, it’s worth noting that all of this happened within the space of two weeks. Which makes us think someone, somewhere really wanted this film to exist, which makes sense because it whipped more shit than a blender in the sewer.