Indiana Jones’ Short Round Actor Ke Huy Quan Opens Up About Why He Stepped Away From Acting For So Long

In the scope of great child actor careers, it’s tough to beat Ke Huy Quan's, as he starred as a young sidekick to Indiana Jones in Steven Spielberg’s Temple of Doom in 1984, and also played Data in Richard Donner’s The Goonies. However, after the ‘90s, the actor pretty much disappeared and retired from acting. With an exciting movie on the way again, the former Short Round has shared why he hasn’t pursued more roles over the years. 

Ke Huy Quan played a role in his first movie in nearly 20 years just last year with Netflix’s Finding ‘Ohana, which had some Goonies vibes and a lot of Keanu Reeves references. He’s now also set to star in A24’s adventure comedy Everything Everywhere All At Once. Quan opened up about why he’s been greatly out of the Hollywood picture with these words: 

Those two characters are not your typical stereotype Asian characters. Short Round is courageous, he saves Indy’s life. Data is one of the gang. But as I got older, there were not a lot of offers, and even when there was one, it was very stereotypical. It wasn’t fun to audition for those.

The Indiana Jones actor, who is now 50 years old, is sharing an unfortunate wrinkle in the Hollywood machine to Empire. He apparently dealt with a lot of auditions for stereotypical Asian characters, and he felt disheartened to continue to act. 

Over the years, Ke Huy Quan has remained close to film, but down some different avenues. The actor has worked as an assistant fight choreographer and stunt rigger in projects such as 2000’s X-Men. He also did editing and cinematography for a 1999 short film called Voodoo. The Chinese-American actor is speaking to a larger issue people of color often face when trying to get strong roles in movies and TV. 

Ke Huy Quan in Everything Everywhere All At once

Ke Huy Quan in Everything Everywhere All At Once, coming March 25. (Image credit: A24)

Thankfully, Ke Huy Quan has an exciting new role in the upcoming film Everything Everywhere All At Once, which also stars Michelle Yeoh, Jenny Slate, Jamie Lee Curtis, James Hong and Harry Shum Jr. The upcoming 2022 movie is about a Chinese immigrant (Yeoh) who gets swept up in an “insane” adventure where she is tasked with saving the world by exploring other universes that connect with the lives she could have led. Quan recalls his reaction to the script: 

I started reading it at 1am and I didn’t finish until 5am. I laughed so hard and so long, I woke up my wife. And by the time she came out, I had tears running down my cheeks. She said, ‘Are you okay?’ I said, ‘I love this script. And I think this role is written for me.’

Ke Huy Quan gets to return to the big screen with what sounds like a really exciting project. During the interview, the actor reminisced about being on set with George Lucas, Steven Spielberg and Harrison Ford, calling it like “you’ve died and gone to heaven.” Can you imagine the behind-the-scenes Indiana Jones moments he got to witness? 

While the actor has not found a place within Hollywood in a real dynamic sense for the past two decades, his time on Everything Everywhere All At Once seemed to have reawakened his love for acting. Ke Huy Quan said this: 

As the days went by, I realized, I definitely belong here. And I want to be here.

It’s so cool to see the member of the Goonies cast getting back into the groove of things with this new movie. Funny enough, Harrison Ford is wrapping up his last time playing Indiana Jones this month. Everything Everywhere All At Once hits theaters this March 25. 

Sarah El-Mahmoud
Staff Writer

YA genre tribute. Horror May Queen. Word webslinger. All her writing should be read in Sarah Connor’s Terminator 2 voice over.