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Ke Huy Quan Doesn't Agree With Those Temple Of Doom Criticisms

When Ke Huy Quan looks back on his time filming "Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom," part of what he remembers is a dynamic that — as one of nine siblings — he definitely didn't feel at home. "On Indiana Jones I was the only kid, so I got all of the love and attention," Quan recalled to The Guardian. It felt like a family, with the cast and crew eating dinner together and hanging out. Harrison Ford even offered to teach Quan how to swim. "That's how we bonded. Everybody was so friendly. That was the kind of set that George [Lucas] and Steven [Spielberg] would run," Quan said. "There was never any screaming. There was always laughter and peace."

Quan landed his life-changing role by simply being in the right place at the right time, telling Looper that the casting director decided to try Chinatown in L.A., and "they held an open casting call in my elementary school." The dark second film in the "Indiana Jones" series was met with love from critics and viewers, earning $333 million worldwide (via IMDb). In the four decades since the film's release, many have criticized the film for sexist and racist themes, something Quan is not shy about refuting.

He thinks Short Round was a step forward for Asians on-screen

While it's been noted that the inspiration behind "Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom" is partially based on a very real part of history, there are other aspects related to the characterization of minorities and women that have been called racist and sexist in the preceding years. Quan scoffs at this, telling The Guardian, "We're talking about something that was done almost 40 years ago. It was a different time. It's so hard to judge something so many years later."

He also disagrees strongly that his Short Round character was an offensive racial stereotype, arguing that at that time in Hollywood, "Short Round was a groundbreaking character. Spielberg was the first person to put an Asian face in a Hollywood blockbuster. Short Round is funny, he's courageous, he saves Indy's a**." Quan feels that Short Round was a step in the right direction for Asians on-screen, but it didn't last. "For many years after that, we were back to square one," he said.

Quan knows a bit about Hollywood stereotypes, telling The Guardian that he quit acting in his twenties because he got tired of auditioning for the role of "the marginalised character or the person who shows up and gets killed." Thirty years later, he's getting accolades for his performance in "Everything Everywhere All at Once," and has upcoming roles in "Loki" and "American Born Citizen." Now I understand that everything needed to happen the way it did," Quan said. "Just don't give up."