Steven Yeun Begged The Walking Dead to Let Glenn Kill Somebody

Cue the “Steven Yeun can murder me” thirst tweets. Photo: Cindy Ord/Getty Images

Steven Yeun has the range, but he knows it doesn’t show during his time on AMC’s The Walking Dead. After seven seasons, his character, Glenn, was brutally killed off in 2015, but by then, Yeun had been nursing a “nagging feeling” that Glenn’s time was up. In his new GQ cover story, Minari daddy Yeun recalls how he and Glenn were underestimated with one-dimensional arcs. “I felt I had expanded beyond that and I was internally frustrated,” he said. “I felt like I was servicing a concept of goodness, as opposed to engaging with Glenn’s humanity.” The actor said he wanted his character to be “more conflicted,” like his zombie-apocalypse comrades. “Glenn has evil thoughts, I’m sure,” Yeun pushed. “I remember season three, when Glenn thinks that the governor assaulted Maggie, and I remember I campaigned hard. I was like, ‘Yo! Give me a story line where I go to kill this guy.’” But Yeun wasn’t given an opportunity to express all the facets of his character. “To be quite honest, as an Asian person, sometimes accessing your own humanity when you’re outside in the world is not that easy,” he continued. “Because you’re usually kind of just shrunken down into your label. To not have that in my real life and to not have that in my show life was frustrating. And so I think it just started this journey of just, like … dude, I can’t. I’ve got to feel full. I’ve got to feel real.”

That feeling led him to projects like Lee Isaac Chung’s Minari, a critically acclaimed all-American story primarily in Korean. Unfortunately, the industry’s prejudice persists. This year’s Golden Globes deemed Minari ineligible for Best Motion Picture Drama due to a rule that states the film must have over 50 percent of its dialogue in English, the same rule that deemed Lulu Wang’s The Farewell ineligible last year. “I wasn’t surprised,” Yeun commented. “I have no desire to try to massage both sides in this situation, but it really just comes down to the idea that rules and institutions can never capture real life. And it can never really understand that what builds a place like America and what makes it great is all the people that are contributing to it. If this is the thing that helps to expand these institutions and rules? Cool. That’s why we make this stuff.”

Steven Yeun Begged Walking Dead to Let Glenn Kill Somebody