The morning of January 11 brought joy and pride to the Vietnamese audience when, for the first time, a Vietnamese name was called up at the Golden Globe Awards. Quan Ke Huy won a spectacular victory, surpassing Brad Pitt in the Best Supporting Actor category – cinema thanks to the work “Everything Everywhere All at Once”.
After 4 decades of ups and downs, seemingly giving up, Quan Ke Huy was once again given the opportunity to return by Hollywood, and the actor did not disappoint.
Child stars changed their lives thanks to Steven Spielberg
Quan Ke Huy is a son of Vietnam, born in 1971 in a family of Chinese origin in Ho Chi Minh City. At the age of 8, his whole family immigrated to the US, which was also the beginning of his desirable acting career.
At the age of 12, the original child star caught the eye of the great director Steven Spielberg thanks to his dynamic and witty appearance. He was given the role of Indiana Jones’ (Harrison Ford) assistant boy Short Round in Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom. Thanks to this role, Quan Ke Huy became a sought-after name in Hollywood, especially in works with bold adventure imprints. The Goonies is the next work that contributes to bringing him far in this fertile market.
Although he only played a small role in the entire Indiana Jones series, Quan Ke Huy left a deep impression. He shared that even though many years have passed, Steven Spielberg has never forgotten the existence of the name Quan Ke Huy. The two still keep in touch, even Quan Ke Huy sends Christmas gifts to the director every year.
He’s not forgotten by Steven Spielberg, but Hollywood has certainly betrayed him for four decades…
40 years forgotten by Hollywood
After The Goonies, Quan Ke Huy continued to play a number of other projects such as Passenger, It Takes a Thief… but the success of Indiana Jones was gone. Thanks to Taekwondo experience when playing Steven Spielberg’s masterpiece, Quan Ke Huy has some more opportunities to collaborate with projects outside the US market such as Japan, Chinese language… He even returned to Vietnam to participate in the film. Hong Kong Pirates produced by Hong Kong and Vietnam, paired with many famous names such as Truong Ngoc Anh or Ly Hung.
Quan Ke Huy in his youth.
But all that effort still did not make Quan Ke Huy’s situation brighter. The older he gets, the harder it is to get quality roles because Hollywood has “framed” him into the image of a vibrant child star. In 1991, Quan Ke Huy played his first lead role in Breathing Fire. But the film became a “bomb”, wasting his bright opportunity.
With increasing age and seeing that perhaps his fate with the screen was over, Quan Ke Huy decided to give up acting in 2002 to retire behind the scenes. He worked as a martial arts director and set designer, continuing to nurture his passion silently. On the other hand, thanks to this job, he met the idol Wong Kar-wai, and eventually became a part of Jet Tone – director Vuong’s company when “encroaching” on Hollywood.
A historic win at the Golden Globes and a bright future
Working at desk jobs, behind the scenes for a long time, but in the heart of Quan Ke Huy, acting is still the biggest desire. By 2021, the call from A24 changed his life forever. Quan Ke Huy became a supporting actor in the “multiverse” project Everything Everywhere All at Once. At first, he almost played with Jackie Chan, but in the end, Duong Tu Quynh became the main character. Many people think that if Jackie Chan was chosen that time, perhaps the role of Quan Ke Huy would be different or even non-existent.
In Everything Everywhere All at Once, Quan Ke Huy plays Waymond – Evelyn’s husband (Duong Tu Quynh). If in the main universe, Waymond is quite gentle and clumsy, in other universes, Waymond is quite cool and interesting. The action scene in which he used a crossbody bag as a weapon was praised by the audience and experts.
Thanks to his impressive acting and martial arts skills, Quan Ke Huy made history at the 80th Golden Globe Awards in the Best Supporting Actor category. When receiving the award, he cried all his tears but did not forget to thank the first benefactor – Steven Spielberg, and the latest benefactor – A24 and the family of Everything Everywhere All at Once.
2022 is definitely the year that Quan Ke Huy enjoys and is happiest. He was able to participate in the blockbuster with Duong Tu Quynh, had the opportunity to reunite with Harrison Ford, win the prestigious Golden Globe Award, and soon also act for Marvel. At Disney’s project announcement event in Singapore, the name Quan Ke Huy appeared on the big screen, in the Loki series season 2 alongside the male lead Tom Hiddleston.
At the age of 51, Quan Ke Huy shed tears as the opportunity opened up again for him, and for actors of Asian descent in general in Hollywood. The actor once shared on the show Jimmy Kimmel Live that: “The opportunities for Asian actors in Hollywood at that time were too few, so I chose to stick with behind-the-scenes work to maintain my passion. So. Now, I’m glad to see Hollywood has changed, and Asian-American actors have a chance to shine.” Surely right now, Hollywood has no reason to forget about Quan Ke Huy anymore!
Photo: Getty Images, Golden Globes