Steven Yeun And Ali Wong Talk Netflix’s ‘BEEF’, Filming Intense Scenes & More – SXSW 2023 Interview
A24 has a proven track record of producing excellent content, and their latest television venture, BEEF, only adds to their impressive streak. Created by Lee Sung Jin (known for his work on Dave and Silicon Valley), the series boasts direction from Thunderbolts director Jake Schreier, who is also an executive producer on the show. Geeks of Color had a chance to talk with the cast and crew at the SXSW red carpet to discuss the series.
Now streaming on Netflix, BEEF follows the aftermath of a road rage incident between two strangers. Danny Cho (Steven Yeun), a failing contractor with a chip on his shoulder, goes head-to-head with Amy Lau (Ali Wong), a self-made entrepreneur with a picturesque life. The increasing stakes of their feud unravel their lives and relationships in this darkly comedic and deeply moving series.
Steven Yeun and Ali Wong are both accomplished actors with impressive resumes. Yeun rose to fame with his breakout role as Glenn on the hit television series The Walking Dead, and has since gone on to star in critically acclaimed films like Minari, Burning, and NOPE. On top of being an actress, Wong is a seasoned comedian known for her stand-up specials and appearances in television shows like American Housewife and Fresh Off the Boat, as well as her breakout hit Netflix film, Always Be My Maybe.
Check out the interview with Steven Yeun & Ali Wong for BEEF below:
After watching the trailer, it was clear that there were intense scenes throughout BEEF. Curious about the creative process, I asked Yeun about his experience on set. He said, “It was so fun to be able to work with Ali and Sonny and the whole cast and crew. You’re kind of in this really awesome safe space together. I don’t know if I can swear, but like just fucking around is the best. I love just fucking around.”
During my conversation with Wong, she began by expressing her admiration for Yeun’s past work and said, “Obviously, I was so excited to work with Steven. But I was sort of intimidated because, you know, he’s been nominated for an Oscar and he’s done incredible work. I mean, in terms of batting average, there are very few people who have accomplished what Steven has. Everything he does is so good, and his performances are always so good.”
Once the cameras stopped rolling, Yeun and Wong shared many laughs. Yeun elaborated on what it was like working with Wong and shared, “She’s the best. And we have this great opposite energy that both of us thrive and embrace between each other. That’s what’s fun. It feels welcoming and safe and loving, so that you can go to these gnarly places where you’re screaming at each other and telling each other to fuck off, and that’s a dream.”
Wong added, “Even though we go up against each other in this series, we are very close. And what you don’t see is in between takes, when the camera is not rolling, we would unplug our mics and then we would just go off into a corner and giggle and gossip. It was really a joy.”
When discussing Wong’s emotional scenes throughout the series, I asked her what headspace she had to go into. She said, “I don’t think the yelling and the cussing was so hard. Maybe once or twice before, I’ve gotten really emotional on camera and gotten really sad and truly upset, versus angry. So, getting to that place always felt a little scary and vulnerable for me. Going there is something very new for me.”
Lastly, we couldn’t let Yeun go without asking about his upcoming MCU project, Thunderbolts. BEEF‘s creator, Lee Sung Jin, was recently confirmed to be rewriting the script, and when asked about it, Yeun said, “I can’t say too much, but I get to work with the homies again. Sung is rewriting the script, Jake is directing, and we’ve got Grace Yun as production designer and Harry Yoon editing. It’s just a cool gang. So I’m excited!”
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