Actor Steven Yeun of Walking Dead fame recalled to Backstage the time he auditioned for a show on the Chicago stage.
He did a Ferris Bueller-like character and nailed his audition. Then the producers asked him to add an Asian accent. That’s when he knew the producer didn’t want Ferris Bueller, they wanted the racist Asian caricature Long Duk Dong from Sixteen Candles.
Yeun got the part, but turned it down.
“All the power to anybody that takes work, because getting work in this business is hard as hell,” he says. “So you get work and you take it. There’s nothing wrong with that. But for me, I just couldn’t do it. I knew I couldn’t do a good job because I just didn’t believe in it.”
Now he co-stars in a hit show and plays an Asian character with a romantic interest.
But the part of Glen almost wasn’t the positive Asian American male character it is now. You can read about that in Backstage.