Ke Huy Quan came to fame following his childhood role in Indiana Jones, a role that many now see as somewhat problematic. Despite the uproar in recent years, Quan himself doesn’t look back on the role with any negativity.
Speaking to The Guardian, Quan was asked about the 1984 Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom, a film that, while widely seen as a classic, has been accused of racism and perpetuating the white savior trope in recent years. Among its many complaints are scenes like Jones eating chilled monkey brains, as well as things like Kate Capshaw’s Willie — a love interest in the film — being overly worried about breaking nails during their adventures.
Quan — who played Short Round in the film — didn’t have anything bad to say about the film when prodded. Instead, Quan attributed the many issues to the fact that the film is now nearly 40 years old.
“We’re talking about something that was done almost 40 years ago,” Quan said. “It was a different time. It’s so hard to judge something so many years later. I have nothing but fond memories. I really don’t have anything negative to say about it.”
As far as his portrayal of Short Round (which has also come under scrutiny occasionally), Quan said that he views the role as “a huge step forward for Asian representation,” and credits director Steven Spielberg with being inclusive to the Asian community when many in Hollywood weren’t.
“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 ass,” said Quan. “That was a rarity then. For many years after that, we were back to square one.”
Despite Quan’s iconic role in the Indiana Jones franchise and his love for it, it doesn’t seem like he’ll be returning to the series for the upcoming Indiana Jones 5. In an interview with the New York Times earlier this year, Quan talked about finally reuniting with Indiana Jones star Harrison Ford during the 2022 D23 Expo.