Ke Huy Quan found early success as a child actor, co-starring as Indiana Jones’ sidekick Short Round in Steven Spielberg’s Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade, and as nerdy inventor Data in the Generation X cult classic kids’ adventure film The Goonies. However, as he aged, he found that Hollywood has no time for love, and his career slowed. Forced to give up the acting dream, he became one of only three percent of applicants admitted into USC’s prestigious School of Cinematic Arts, marking him upon graduation as one of the elite of the entertainment industry in a behind-the-scenes capacity.
However, as he explained in a recent Hollywood Reporter article, it was with the unlikely help of a former costar that he was able to make his fairy tale comeback as the costar, with Michelle Yeoh and Jamie Lee Curtis, in last year’s critically acclaimed Everything Everywhere All At Once. He began his story by explaining his motiviation to get back into acting:
“I didn’t think that one day I’d revisit that dream. It felt so distant and far away — until a movie called Crazy Rich Asians came out [in 2018], and I realized that Hollywood had changed dramatically, that they were giving more opportunities to a wider group of people. It was really then that I said, ‘Ah, maybe I should try acting again.’ I was 49, about to turn 50, and I was so worried that I’d reach my 60s and look back and have regrets. So I had a conversation with my wife: ‘Should I do this?’ As you all know, it’s tough to be an actor. You’re rejected again and again. It’s OK to face those rejections when you’re younger, but to do that when you’re a middle-aged man is something else.”
As the panel, which included fellow comeback kid Brendan Fraser as well as stars Colin Farrell, Jeremy Pope, and Adam Sandler, praised Quan’s courage, he continued his story explaining that the once-rotund Jeff Cohen, who played “Chunk” in The Goonies, truffle-shuffled his way into the production office to help Quan negotiate his deal:
“Jeff Cohen, who was in The Goonies with me — he was Chunk — is all grown now and he’s an entertainment lawyer. (Group bursts out in laughter.) 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. Anyway, then I did the whole thing, too — hired an acting coach, a dialogue coach, a voice coach — because I’m playing three different versions of the same character. I also hired a body-movement coach, and he’d pick different animals for me to practice as. One was a squirrel. I watched countless videos of nothing but squirrels on YouTube. I was on all fours trying to move like a squirrel.”
Now that we’ve seen a partial Goonies reunion, perhaps the long-rumored reboot will materialize.