Steven Yeun On Joining Marvel’s Thunderbolts: ’The Intentions Of The Character Were Very Clear’ – Exclusive

Steven Yeun

by Ben Travis |
Published on

Ever since bowing out of The Walking Dead with one of the most infamous character deaths of all time, Steven Yeun has continued to go from strength to strength – with stellar performances in the likes of Burning, Minari, and last year’s Jordan Peele sci-fi blockbuster Nope.  And soon, he’s about to join the ranks of the MCU – recently announced as the latest addition to the cast of Phase 5 closer Thunderbolts. The film, as we know, will unite the likes of Bucky Barnes, Yelena Belova, Taskmaster, Red Guardian and more in a not-so-heroic team-up, now with Yeun somewhere in the mix too.

For the actor – whose Thunderbolts role is currently under wraps – it was an opportunity to re-team with director Jake Schreier, whose upcoming Netflix series Beef stars Yeun in a leading role opposite Ali Wong. “I don’t know if it was explicitly on my bucket list,” Yeun tells Empire of joining the MCU. “It was more the story, getting to work with Jake Schreier again, who directed Beef, and what his intentions were. The intentions of the particular character that they wanted me to play were very clear, and that’s what drew me to the film.” But who will that be? A villainous role? Someone in the orbit of Harrison Ford’s Thunderbolt Ross? A fresh recruit of Julia Louis-Dreyfus’ Val? Stay tuned…

Before then, we’ll see Yeun in Bong Joon-Ho’s long-awaited Parasite follow-up Mickey 17 – his second time working with the Oscar-winning filmmaker, following Okja. “I really learn so much from him,” says Yeun. “There’s this camaraderie that he allows me to participate in with him that I really appreciate. At the end of filming [Mickey 17], I remember turning to him as we shot my last scene, and I was like, ‘I learned a lot… and thank you.’” The results, he promises, will be special. “It was a killer set to be on.”

Empire – May 2023 – Spider-Man: Across The Spider-Verse cover

Read Empire’s full Steven Yeun interview – talking Beef, his MCU debut, and his upcoming roles – in the Spider-Man: Across The Spider-Verse issue, on sale Thursday 16 March. Become an Empire member now to access the issue in full on launch day, or pre-order the issue online now here. Beef comes to Netflix on 6 April.

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