Netflix's Beef: Show's Creator Calls Steven Yeun's Choices As An Actor Brilliant

Netflix's binge-worthy black comedy, "Beef," is a show full of surprises. But what shouldn't have come as a surprise to anyone was the stellar performance given by Steven Yeun as hard-working contractor Danny Cho. And still, the "Minari" and "Nope" star had some surprises up his sleeves. 

"Beef" creator Lee Sung Jin and executive producer Jake Schreier spoke with Entertainment Weekly about the show, where the outlet asked if the final episode "Figures of Light" contained any ad-libbed one-liners. Schreier shared that Yeun, while always sticking to the page, gave his own special spin that ultimately elevated the material. "Steven's line, 'You got to get away from me, man. You got to get away from me.' That line is in the script. It's not exactly in that form," Schreier said, referring to a moment in the finale shared between Yeun and Young Mazino's Paul Cho. 

Another moment in the episode "The Drama of Original Choice" also stood out to Schreier, who explained, "The way Steven says, 'What you did was not nice' in episode 8, that is scripted, but that's not how I imagined that being; it's much better." The team were pleasantly surprised by the line read, with Sung Jin commenting, "No one expected that. That's the brilliance of Steven." It doesn't take more than one watch of "Beef" to understand this sentiment. But even then, Yeun brought more to the table than his acting chops.  

Steven Yeun really sang Amazing Grace

Steven Yeun's Danny Cho has plenty of mad moments in "Beef," but the one place his character is always at peace in is the Korean church he joins, where he grows to become one of its most beloved members. One early moment from Episode 7, "I Am a Cage," sees Cho performing a rock version of "Amazing Grace." And yes, those are really Yeun's glorious pipes performing the number. 

For Yeun, it was easy to connect to Cho's attachment to the place of worship, given the actor's past experiences leading praise at church. He revealed this in an episode of the "Skip Intro" podcast, where he explained, "As an immigrant kid growing up in the Midwest, that was really my only real safe space. There was another reality happening [in Korean church] where maybe the ways in which we couldn't assert ourselves in wider America, we could at least feel for ourselves in that particular place." 

Similarly, performing the song sequence itself wasn't especially difficult for the Oscar nominee, who simply tapped into his past feelings rather than approaching things technically. "Because it wasn't a calculated thing," he said at around the 19-minute mark of the podcast. "It was just like, 'What will it be if I just try to go back to what I used to do back in high school, and let's just see what that looks like on camera.' That's what you get." Yeun made the energetic moment look easy, but that's simply part of his brilliance.