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How Everything Everywhere Got This Famous Actor To Come Out Of Retirement - Exclusive

One of the most surprising –- and delightful –- aspects of the new movie "Everything Everywhere All at Once" is its amazing cast. In addition to leads Michelle Yeoh and Jamie Lee Curtis, the film co-stars Ke Huy Quan as Waymond, the sweet-natured yet somewhat downtrodden husband of Michelle Yeoh's character, Evelyn.

If you're not familiar with his name, that's because Quan hasn't acted in 20 years – but as a child, he starred in two of the most famous movies of the 1980s: "Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom," where he played Indy's sidekick Short Round, and "The Goonies," where he portrayed the techy whiz kid Data.

"[We were] frustrated by the fact we couldn't find someone who was good at action, good at Cantonese, Mandarin, and English, who could do drama and comedy, but who was also a true sweetheart, kind of a dopey character, just like the character we had written," says Daniel Kwan, one of the writers and directors of "Everything Everywhere." He adds, "We saw a picture of Short Round online and were like, 'What's that guy up to?'"

After not appearing on the screen for the better part of two decades, Quan had seen the 2018 hit "Crazy Rich Asians" and realized that there were more roles emerging for Asian or Asian American actors than there had been for years. "We did the math and we're like, 'I think he's the right age,'" continues Kwan. "So we reached out just as he was coming back in."

Kwan tells Looper that Quan was "so excited" about doing his first audition in the United States in years and was especially thrilled about the script, recalling, "After that first audition, we couldn't get him out of our heads, because he's such a specific human being that worked perfectly for this role."

Ke Huy Quan threw himself into his role

Daniel Kwan remembers Ke Huy Quan saying that the role of Waymond was "made for [him]," and fellow director Daniel Scheinert says that the actor lived up to that statement from the moment he got the job. "Right from the get-go, he was incredible," Scheinert tells Looper. "But then he also put in so much work and it showed and he really took the project so seriously."

"Everything Everywhere All at Once" takes place across multiple universes, with Michelle Yeoh and the rest of the cast all playing multiple versions of themselves. For his first major role in more than 20 years, Quan had to portray three different versions of Waymond, each distinct from the others. In addition to the good-hearted but defeated original, he had to play an action-oriented resistance leader type as well as a smooth, confident iteration who is a successful movie star.

"He put himself 100% into it," says Kwan. "He reprioritized his whole life around this film. He hired a voice coach, a body movement coach, and an acting coach just to remind himself how to do all these things. But he also had to step up to the fact that this movie required him to play multiple versions of himself. It's a very technical thing to be able to switch on a dime between those, within one performance. He knew that. To his credit, he put in the work, and it shows."

"Everything Everywhere All at Once" is now playing in limited release and will expand on April 8.