Steven Yeun Sheds Light on How Much Harder Asians Have it in Hollywood
In a recent interview with Vanity Fair, “The Walking Dead” alumnus Steven Yeun expressed how his character Glenn “never felt like he got his fair due.”
The beloved character, who was brutally killed off by villain Negan (Jeffrey Dean Morgan) in last year’s season seven premiere, has become a fan favorite among the show’s cast members.
In fact, many die-hard fans of the show were not too happy about his death, which later earned AMC some backlash in the months to come.
As for the 33-year-old actor, he feels like the character may not have gotten the treatment that it deserved.
Yeun revealed that even he did not realize the connection he made with Glenn until he was taken away.
“I loved being on that show. Internally, it was incredible. Externally, it was tough sometimes because I never felt like he got his fair due,” he explained.
“I never felt like he got it from an outward perception. I don’t say this as a knock on anything. He always had to be part of something else to legitimize himself. He was rarely alone. And when he was alone, it took several years to convince people to be on his own.” Yeun’s character, which was given secondary status on the show, apparently also received the “secondary” treatment in the press.
In the interview, Yeun addressed the fact that while his castmates Norman Reedus, Andrew Lincoln, and Danai Gurira have all been featured on the cover of Entertainment Weekly. While still being alive on the show, he was only given his cover right after his character was killed off.
“I didn’t think of it as racism, where it’s like, Oh, this is racist,” Yeun said. “I caught it in a way of Oh, this is how we’re viewed all the time – as part of some glob, some amorphous, non-individualistic collective.” As for the brutal manner of how Glenn was killed, Yeun said he did not feel that it was overly done.
“I don’t feel like it was too much. I’ll be honest with you and put a full disclaimer here: I might not be objective, but I truly feel like people didn’t know what to do with Glenn.”
“They liked him, they had no problems with him, and people enjoyed him. But they didn’t acknowledge the connection people had with the character until he was gone.” He further explained that fans’ connection with his TWD character may have made the death more brutal than it actually is as there have been several other deaths in the series which can be described as even more violent.
“This one felt gratuitous because one, it kept going, and two, I think they took away someone that I didn’t realize I had made such a connection with until they took him away.”
Since leaving the show, the Korean-American actor revealed that he has been offered to play some lead roles in other shows but turned them down.
“They weren’t for me, and I stress me. A greater part of the argument is that we have to find this balance of the beauty of the collective of our Asian-American-ness, and wanting to show that in its best light, but also, not painting yourself without the broader stroke of who you are.” Yeun stars alongside Tilda Swinton and Jake Gyllenhaal in the recently released Netflix original film “Okja.”
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