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The Goonies' Ke Huy Quan Got Emotional While Visiting The Film's Set For The First Time In Decades

It's been quite a year for Ke Huy Quan. The Vietnamese-American actor had been all but missing from the limelight for decades now, but his performance in the A24 sci-fi sleeper hit "Everything Everywhere All at Once" changed things in a big way. Cast as Waymond, the husband of the film's protagonist Evelyn Wang (Michelle Yeoh), Quan turned in a performance that bristled with feeling, sincerity, vulnerability, and moral strength. As "Everything Everywhere All at Once" went on its massively successful run and became a national pop culture phenomenon, Quan's work as Waymond became widely recognized as the beating heart at the center of the film's heady philosophical and existential musings, with one choice Waymond quote summing up the message that audiences took to so strongly: "Be kind, especially when we don't know what's going on."

The mind-melting film landed Quan high on the list of the year's most universally acclaimed film performances and even earned him Oscar buzz. It's a long-overdue victory lap for a performer whose talent significantly outweighs the number of opportunities he has historically been given by Hollywood — and it's been especially sweet to watch for those who already remembered and loved Quan for his iconic child actor roles in "The Goonies" and "Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom." Quan himself, of course, also has a very deep emotional connection to those movies, as demonstrated by a recent visit of his to the set of "The Goonies" on the Warner Bros. backlot.

Quan posted on Instagram about his visit

In the last few months, Ke Huy Quan has had his hands quite full with the promotion of "Everything Everywhere All at Once," first during the film's incredibly gainful theatrical run, and then even more in recent weeks as the film has parlayed its smashing critical and commercial success into a classic late-year awards tour. But, as reported by Variety, Quan was recently able to take a break from his busy schedule to make a visit to a crucial place from his past: the set of "The Goonies."

The visit made Quan emotional, as he revealed on Instagram. Posting three pictures taken at Warner Bros. Studios in Burbank, which show him in front of the large sign marking the backlot's legendary Stage 16 — also known as the home to films like "Jurassic Park," "My Fair Lady," and "Inception," as well as series like "Kung Fu" and "Shameless" — as well as the inside of the soundstage itself, Quan wrote, "First time back to Warner Brothers' stage 16 in 36 years. This stage is where we filmed the pirate ship scene in 'The Goonies.' I got a bit emotional as all my wonderful memories of my Goonies Gang came flooding back."

The actor, who was 13 years old when "The Goonies" was shot, also took the opportunity to enlighten his followers about a fun bit of Stage 16 intel. "Fun trivia fact: the floor of this stage opens up and goes down 40 ft deep," Quan wrote.

Quan dearly cherishes his role in The Goonies

Ke Huy Quan's character in "The Goonies," Richard "Data" Wang, was in many ways a character in keeping with certain stereotypes for Asians in the American cinema of the time: geeky, ultra-intelligent, and occasionally given to broken English. But, much like Short Round in "Temple of Doom," Data wouldn't have become as iconic as he is if he were nothing but a stereotype. After all, the character was also notable as a then-rare instance of an Asian member within a group of typical American friends being portrayed as a normal, everyday occurrence, with Data as no less crucial a member of the gang than any of the other boys — to say nothing of the inspirational representation he offered to Asian kids across the country as the Goonies' resident genius who repeatedly saved the day with his inventions.

That may explain why, despite the limitations inherent to roles like Short Round and Data, Quan told Yahoo! Entertainment in April 2022 that he is "grateful" to have played both characters. "If you look back, Steven Spielberg and George Lucas were the first ones to put an Asian kid in a big movie in a big role," the actor said. "Over the years, so many people have come up to me and said: 'I wanted to be you when I was growing up.' Those characters are great. I mean, Short Round fricking saves Indy's ass! And Data is one of the gang and has these amazing gadgets."

It's been a winding Hollywood road for Quan

Ke Huy Quan's performances as Richard "Data" Wang in "The Goonies" and Short Round in "Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom" may be iconic within the canon of '80s family-oriented adventure cinema, but, Quan being an Asian actor in 1980s Hollywood, those roles did not lead to as fruitful of an acting career as they ought to have.

"I didn't grow up wanting to be an actor," Quan revealed to The New York Times in April 2022. "As I got older, though, when I realized I wanted to do this, there were just not a lot of offers. When there was one, the role was very stereotypical, and you had every Asian in Hollywood fighting for it. By the time I was in my early 20s, the phone had stopped ringing."

Quan ultimately quit acting, but, since he didn't want to step away from the film industry altogether, he decided to apply to film school at the University of Southern California, from which he graduated in 1999. In the following years, he worked as a stunt crew member and assistant director in both the United States and Hong Kong. Then, in 2018, the success of "Crazy Rich Asians" inspired him to pursue acting again. He called his agent friend and asked if he'd like to represent him; two weeks later, the offer for the part in "Everything Everywhere All at Once" came about. The rest, of course, is this universe's history.