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‘Beef’ first look: Steven Yeun and Ali Wong feud in Netflix dark comedy

Steven Yeun and Ali Wong in "BEEF"
via Netflix

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    Netflix has released official first look photos of its new series “Beef,” starring and produced by Steven Yeun and Ali Wong. 

    The dark comedy, which consists of ten 30-minute episodes, explores the aftermath of a road rage incident between two strangers whose ensuing feud increasingly consumes their lives.

    Yeun plays Danny Cho, a failing contractor struggling to make ends meet who chases after a driver who flipped him off in a parking lot. Wong plays Amy Lau, the other driver and a wealthy entrepreneur with a seemingly perfect life who, in reality, is battling unseen pressures and inner turmoil. 

    via Netflix
    via Netflix

    “Beef” was inspired by an actual road rage incident experienced by Lee Sung Jin, the series’ creator. 

    In an interview with Vanity Fair, Lee says he was stopped at a traffic light in Los Angeles when an angry man in a SUV pulled up next to him and started honking and screaming at him. Lee, like Yeun’s character, followed after the man for a while before driving off.

    Lee says that the incident made him pause and reflect on the subjectivity of his reality and how he was projecting his own perceptions onto the other driver. 

    via Netflix

    As for casting, Lee says Yeun and Wong were a natural fit having already worked together on Netflix’s animated series “Tuca & Bertie.” “Steven’s very heady and philosophical with themes, and he just found himself just naturally gravitating towards the idea,” Lee explained.

    The character opposite Yeun’s was originally intended to be a Stanley Tucci type, but once Wong called about the project, the dynamic changed. 

    “I think a lot of times for casting, if you just feel something true about the person, I generally tend to believe that you can find it,” Lee said. “You can just see that [Ali Wong] has such command over her body and voice, and there’s great precision.”

    via Netflix
    via Netflix

    Beyond its two lead actors, the show boasts an impressive roster of Asian American talents.

    Rounding out the cast are “Searching” star Joseph Lee, “Emily in Paris” actor Ashley Park, artist David Choe, Young Mazino from “Glass,” Patti Yasutake of “Star Trek” fame and “Umbrella Academy” actor Justin H. Min

    via Netflix

    The significance of the Asian American cast is not lost on Lee, who stressed that the characters always come first.

    “It does feel nice, honestly,” he told Vanity Fair. “I never thought when I started 15 years ago that we would be in a place where we could just write these types of characters.”

    Lee added: “Honestly, we try to always lead with character. So if it bled through into the show, it’s just natural, because these characters happened to be Asian American. We were just kind of trying to chase what felt real.”

    “Beef” premieres on Netflix on April 6.

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