Steven Yeun: ‘I Felt Cramped’ Playing Glenn on ‘The Walking Dead’November 5, 2018
Getting real. Steven Yeun, who is best known for portraying Glenn Rhee on The Walking Dead for six years, opened up in a new interview and revealed that he felt “beige” while on the AMC drama, something that he often feels when he lands roles.
“I won’t speak for other Asian American actors, because I don’t know what they’re being offered. But for me, it’s like: nice guy, dependable, supportive, benign. Beige. And as a Korean man, I am not beige,” he told Slate magazine in an interview published on October 25. “I felt beige with Glenn. That was a little bit of the frustration that I could never explain to the wider society, to fans of the show.”
He added that he was “incredibly grateful” for the show, but didn’t really have room to grow.
“I wouldn’t take that experience back at all. I made lifelong friendships. I got to learn so much. But I will say that I felt cramped,” he revealed. “I felt like there wasn’t space for me to fully spread all of who I was, and that was partly due to me, too, because when I started, all I was trying to do was to work within the parameters that they were giving me. And then, over time, I just outgrew it.”
He continued: “That’s why it was beige. Because he was meant to be the heart of that show. When you look back, you go, ‘That’s great, everyone wants to be represented that way. Why wouldn’t you want to be a perfect being?’ But I don’t wanna [play] perfect, because we’re not perfect. And that’s a thing that I wasn’t able to feel for a while, because I was holding up this ideal that was way bigger than me, way larger than any single human can possibly do. I became less and less interested in doing that.”
Yeun appeared in seasons 1 through 7 of The Walking Dead and was killed by Negan (Jeffrey Dean Morgan). His last appearance was during the season 7 premiere.
The Walking Dead airs on AMC Sundays at 9 p.m. ET.