From critics to masses, Steven Yeun has become the apple of everyone’s eye. However, the actor made risky decisions after finishing ‘The Walking Dead’ and rejected several lead roles. Keep reading to find out why!
Steven Yeun has become a sought out actor in Hollywood not only because of his impeccable performance skills but also due to his decision-making sensibility. The Asian-American actor precariously turned down many television gigs in which he would have played the lead role. However, the risk turned out fantastic in the end for Steven Yeun’s acting career after ‘The Walking Dead‘.
- Steven Yeun exiting ‘The Walking Dead’
- Why Steven Yeun turned down lead roles
- The consequences of rejecting great projects
AN ADVENTUROUS RIDE
Steven Yeun’s breakthrough role as Glenn Rhee in ‘The Walking Dead’ kept fans coming back for more due to his gorgeous looks and command as an action hero. The actor spent seven years at the start of his career dedicated to the show. When the time for him to exit the series finally arrived, financial, personal and professional stakes were sky-high for Yeun.
Near the time he was saying goodbye to ‘The Walking Dead’, Yeun was turning a page in his personal life too. He had just gotten married, his wife and he were pregnant with their first baby, they had just bought their own place — all of these developments crazily happening within a year. In a conversation with “Entertainment Weekly”, Yeun accurately expressed that this period turned out to be “quite a ride” for his family.
OUT OF THE BOX
These life-altering shifts called for Steven to make some crucial choices about his acting career since he felt that after playing the role of Glenn for seven long years, his reality and identity became intertwined with Glenn’s to an unhealthy extent. He understood that he needed to ponder upon who he really was as a person and as an artist after ‘The Walking Dead’, “especially since (he) needed to be a little bit more solid and concrete” for his incoming baby and flourishing family life.
Steven made up his mind to avoid being typecast. Thus, he pursued diverse roles. This also meant that he had to turn down many desirable projects. Steven Yeun rejected roles in which he was being offered to lead television series because they felt too similar to Glenn from ‘The Walking Dead’.
“The things that came for me after Walking Dead were actually great projects that were asking me to be the lead, they were asking me to lead a television show, but for some reason, when I would read the synopsis, it still felt adjacent to Glenn, the character that I played, and I don’t like staying in one place for too long”.
Although his decisions seem incredibly risky, they did not come from a place of arrogance. Instead, they were sincere attempts to rediscover and shape his artistic life.
LEADING THE WAY FOR SUCCESS
Had Steven chosen to lead TV series, he would not have been able to star in ‘Okja’ directed by Oscar-winning Korean director Bong Joon-Ho or the hit Black comedy ‘Sorry to Bother You’. Steven “jumped” at these projects because these films “didn’t want to put him in a box”, as was his desire.
A stirring and flawlessly acted family drama—and honorary new entry in the NYC apartment horror canon. Watch the trailer for THE HUMANS, coming to theaters and @Showtime this Thanksgiving. pic.twitter.com/6giNVRODpz— A24 (@A24) September 17, 2021
Ultimately, Steven Yeun went on to star in the Korean drama ‘Burning’ which took the globe by storm with its absurdist surrealism. Yeun’s eerie acting in the film stayed with viewers long after the movie got over, continuing to make them uncomfortable and creeped out. If this memorable performance was not enough, with ‘Minari’, a story about first-generation Korean immigrants in America, Yeun became the first Asian-American actor to be nominated for an Oscar for Best Actor in a Leading Role.
All of this happened because he had the courage to say no to the “leading” roles that did not suit his ambitions and turned them down. Steven Yeun’s latest project is ‘The Humans’. Lucky for Yeun, this is just the beginning of his rise to the top in Hollywood. The actor has many more projects coming his way that he can gladly reject.
What is your favourite performance by Steven Yeun? Comment below!