Ke Huy Quan’s 39-year journey from child star to Oscar nominee

Ke Huy Quan: His 39-year journey from child star to Oscar nominee.  (Alamy/Getty/A24)

Ke Huy Quan: His 39-year journey from child star to Oscar nominee. (Alamy/Getty/A24)

It’s not easy being a young star in Hollywood, but in 2022, Ke Huy Quan made a big comeback and is making a name for himself again – some 39 years after he started.

Quan has come a long way from being Steven Spielberg’s golden boy starring in Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom and The Goonies, but he wasn’t always a hot property. The actor dropped out of Hollywood for 20 years because he didn’t think there were enough roles for Asian actors.

After his breakout and triumphant turn in Everything Everywhere All at Once, Ke Huy Quan is on the rise thanks to his Academy Award nomination for Best Supporting Actor.

Read more: The Everything Everywhere All At Once awards boom is explained

From child star to Oscar-nominated beau, here’s Ke Huy Quan’s surprise comeback and why fans can’t get enough of him, explained in 12 points.

From Vietnam to USA. Born in Vietnam in 1971, Ke Huy Quan fled the country in 1978 and ended up in a refugee camp in Hong Kong with his father and five siblings. His mother and other siblings were reunited when they all immigrated to the United States in 1979.

Ke Huy Quan with Harrison Ford in a scene from Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom from 1984. (Alamy)

Ke Huy Quan with Harrison Ford in a scene from Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom from 1984. (Alamy)

Breakout role. Quan’s first role is one of his most famous roles, with Harrison Ford in Steven Spielberg’s Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom. He was only 12 years old at the time, and the casting was taking place in the same school that his brother also attended.

United States of America.  Corey Feldman and Ke Huy Quan in a scene from the film & Warner Bros.: The Goonies (1985).  Quest: A group of young misfits called The Goonies stumble upon an ancient map and embark on an adventure to find a legendary pirate's long-lost treasure.  Ref: LMK110-J6911-271020 Provided by LMKMEDIA.  Editorial Only.  Landmark Media is not the copyright owner of these Film or TV images but provides a service to recognized Media outlets only.

Corey Feldman and Ke Huy Quan in a scene from The Goonies (LMK/Alamy)

The next steps. He continued his child star success by playing inventor Richard “Data” Wang in Richard Donner’s The Goonies, which also starred household names such as Josh Brolin and Corey Feldman. Quan is still friends with co-star Jeff Cohen (Chunk), who is now an entertainment lawyer.

Getting behind the camera. Quan struggled to find work after his original success, admitting to the Guardian that he gave up acting for almost 20 years due to a lack of roles for Asian actors. Instead, he turned his hand to choreography and contributed to films including X-Men and The One.

Crazy Rich Asians 2018 Real Jon M Chu Selena Tan Janice Koh Michelle Yeoh.  The Christophel Collection © Dath Forsa / SK Global / Warner Bros

Selena Tan, Janice Koh, and Michelle Yeoh in Crazy Rich Asians 2018. (Warner Bros./Alamy)

Back in business. It was 2018’s Crazy Rich Asians that convinced Quan to get back into acting, with the star telling People, “I had serious FOMO… I wanted to be up there with my fellow Asian actors!” Ironically, the film co-starred Everything Everywhere. Michelle Yes.

Everything everywhere all at once (A24)

Ke Huy Quan as Waymond in Everything Everywhere All At Once. (A24)

Come back even Oscar. Everything Everywhere All At Once has grossed over $100 million and is the highest grossing A24 film to date. It has 11 Oscar nominations making it the most nominated film of the 95th Academy Awards.

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Quan has already won over 50 awards for his portrayal of Waymond Wang.

Secret movie. Despite being the first role he auditioned for in his comeback, Quan told the Happy Sad Confused podcast that he kept Everything Everywhere All At Once a secret from his family: “I did the whole movie without them knowing.” He was worried that he might get fired from the film.

Right place, right time. Playing three versions of Waymond in the spin-off, Quan admitted to People that he doesn’t think he could have played the role 15 years ago: “Looking back at my life, all the highs and lows , I reached deep within me to pour. my whole life into these three different characters.”

The Golden Globes. Speaking at the 2022 Golden Globes, Quan thanked Everything Everywhere directors Daniel Kwan and Daniel Scheinert for “remembering” that little boy from Temple of Doom. His impressive win made him the first Vietnamese-born actor to win in the Supporting Actor category.

US-Vietnamese actor Ke Huy Quan presenting the award for Best Supporting Actor - Motion Picture for

US-Vietnamese actor Ke Huy Quan poses with his Golden Globe, 2023. (AFP via Getty Images)

Entering the MCU. Quan plays a mystery character in Loki Season 2, joining Owen Wilson, Tom Hiddleston, and Sophia di Martino. Quay said Hiddleston was keen to work with Short Round, and also confirmed to Josh Horowitz that Kevin Feige personally called to invite him into the MCU.

The Goonies 2 . He always dreamed that The Goonies 2 would be his career again, saying that there were many scripts but nothing that could top the original. He said that while he’s happy to revisit Details, losing director Richard Donner is less likely.

Harrison Ford in the first look image from Indiana Jones 5. (Lucasfilm/Disney)

Harrison Ford in the first look image from Indiana Jones 5. (Lucasfilm/Disney)

Playing Short Round again. No word on whether Quan will be back as Short Round for Indiana Jones and the Dial of Destiny, but he recently posed with Ford at D23. The star also said he would love to return as Dr. Jones’ sidekick if Disney wanted him back for a Short Round spin-off.

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