Steven Spielberg gave Ke Huy Quan his first film role at the age of 13 when he was cast as Short Round opposite Harrison Ford in 1984’s Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom. Fast forward 38 years and Spielberg is still sending Quan a Christmas present every holiday. Quan, who is currently doing the awards press rounds in support of “Everything Everywhere, Everything At Once,” revealed the heartwarming tidbit in a new interview with The Guardian.
“He gave me my first job, and after many years he didn’t forget me,” Quan said. “Whenever I’ve needed help, he’s always there.”
Spielberg kept Quan’s child acting career bright by giving him another “Indiana Jones” role in 1985’s “The Goonies,” where Quan played James Bond-loving Data. The Spielberg boss produced the adventure film directed by Richard Donner.
“I was an only child on ‘Indiana Jones,’ so I got all the love and attention,” Quan told The Guardian. “I was one of seven on ‘The Goonies,’ so I was constantly fighting for attention. But it was something I was very familiar with—my parents had nine kids. It was a lot of fun, especially the amazing sets. Going to work was like going to the playground.’
Earlier in the interview, Quan added, “Spielberg was the first person to put an Asian face in a Hollywood blockbuster. Short Round is funny, it’s brave, it saves Indy’s ass. It was a rarity back then. For many years after that, we were back to square one.’
Earlier this year, Quan went viral for meeting Harrison Ford for the first time since their “Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom” days. The two actors were photographed together at D23, where Ford was on hand to promote the fifth “Indiana Jones” movie and Quan was promoting “Loki” Season 2.
“We were at the D23 event and I was told Harrison was going to be there,” Quan told The New York Times last month about the reunion. “We’re in this green room with so many actors and producers and directors, and the person assigned to help me said, Harrison Ford is right in front of the green room. Would you like to go say hello?’
“As I approach, he turns and points his finger at me and has that classic, famous, grumpy Harrison Ford look,” Quan continued. “I’ll say, ‘Oh my God, he must think I’m a fan and tell me not to go near him.’ But he looks and points at me and says, ‘Are you short?’ I immediately flashed back to 1984 when I was a little boy and said, ‘Yes, Indy.’ And he said: ‘Come here’ and hugged me tightly.
Quan returned to the cinema this year with his role in Everything Everywhere at Once, for which he is in the running for an Oscar nomination for supporting actor. Spielberg is also in contention for an Oscar for his latest directorial effort, “The Fabelmans.”