Steven Yeun for Backstage Magazine pic.twitter.com/VOF7MnMLCQ— Film Updates (@FilmUpdatesBU) January 21, 2021
Steven Yeun has done an interview and photoshoot for Backstage magazine for Minari's Oscar race.
- When he started in the industry, only John Cho was really mainstream. Steven is hoping with Parasite's big Oscar win, more doors will open.
- Regarding this year’s Golden Globes classifying Minari as a foreign film (rendering it ineligible for their best picture prize), Steven says: "We’re chipping away at that,..one particular thing I think means well, and works—I’m not trying to bash it—is the phrase ‘specificity is universality.’ I know the intention of that phrasing, which is: Tell it specific and tell it true, and that will unlock the universal. But it puts the labor of essentialized authenticity onto it. And then you’re busy trying to police it for its cultural authenticity…. That still puts the onus on the creator to explain themselves to the audience. [I prefer:] Humanity is universality."
- The main way he was able to prepare for his role in Minari: "The journey of Jacob for me, personally, was understanding I am my father. Yes, my father and I are separate people who lived in different eras and had different conditions. But the core feelings are still the same: of a family, and what you must do as a father, and the desires to uphold your family, and the feelings of your own ego that you must contend with, and the inner connectivity of the whole family unit. It was really humbling to understand that there is no real divide."
- He's learned to be more personal with his performances rather than to overanalyze and over-prepare.
As with every Steven interview, it's worth a read.
Steven Yeun discusses how his new film, 'Minari,' hit close to home for him during LA Times' 2020 Oscar Roundtable photoshoot.
“We’re in a pandemic, and who are the people upholding society? It's the gap people, the people caught in between, immigrants, minorities, women.” @SteveYeun talks to @CathyParkHong about that red hat—and what #Minari means in this American moment. https://t.co/O9UULiVcLk— A24 (@A24) January 19, 2021
Minor Feelings author Cathy Park Hong and Steven Yeun talk about the white gaze, Korean parents, and Minari’s subtle MAGA side-eye (VERY WORTH THE READ).
- Steven feels Minari recontextualizes the American dream, especially considering the racism and divide of the past administration. "We’re in a pandemic, and who are the people upholding society? It's the gap people, the people caught in between, immigrants, minorities, women. These are the people upholding society’s structures, and yet the conversation usually isn’t about them, which is bullshit."
- Steven was annoyed a red hat fit him best in the film, thinking, "Man, Trump really fucked up red hats for everybody." He never considered it to be a subliminal message of 45 supporters, saying it portrayed his character's hiding of the deep fear and pain that pervades the soul of him.
- The decision to have the characters speak both Korean and English fluently was a conscious decision, to remove this family from the American gaze, or the white gaze.
- There was a final voice over which was a love letter to our parents’ generation, thanking them for their sacrifice and suffering. It was cut to leave the parents' humanity in tact, without martyring them.
And finally, Sandra Oh moderated a roundtable for Minari!
"This is a deeply American film and it speaks to the immigrant experience in a way that i've never seen before. And... American dream aside, [the film is] about people who just want to live well. That's universal." -Sandra Oh— Nancy Wang Yuen (@nancywyuen) January 14, 2021
Steven Yeun talks about (and tears up!) portraying a character like his own father, how he had "to overcome the gaze of my own internalized understanding of my parents. To overcome the romanticization, lionization, even the infantalization of them." #Minari pic.twitter.com/h9iF08EME7— Nancy Wang Yuen (@nancywyuen) January 14, 2021
Sources: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6