Steven Yeun and Ali Wong are facing off in Beef, a new revenge-filled dark comedy from Silicon Valley writer Lee Sung Jin. This marks Yeun’s return to live-action television following his departure from The Walking Dead, as most of his major roles since have either been in films like Minari or animated shows like Invincible. For Wong, the series pushes the comedic actor, who led 2019’s Always Be My Maybe with Randall Park, into a heavier setting. While not much has been revealed about the plot of Beef thus far, here’s everything we do know about the new Netflix comedy.
The dark comedy from A24 follows the aftermath of a road rage incident between strangers Danny Cho (Steven Yeun) and Amy Lau (Ali Wong). The two come from opposite worlds; Danny is a struggling contractor with a chip on his shoulder, while Amy is a wealthy, self-made entrepreneur. Despite their striking differences, they both become consumed by this feud, and their lives converge. The series will explore themes such as revenge, familiar pressure, and existential dread.
During an interview with Vanity Fair, showrunner Lee Sung Jin revealed that the story was based on a real-life road rage event. “I wasn’t in a particularly bad mood that day, but I sort of was like, You know what? That’s not okay to do, and I’m going to follow you home,” said Lee, who trailed a car after being screamed at. Although nothing happened, it was enough to inspire an entire show around the instance.
During an interview with The Wall Street Journal, Yeun spoke about drawing from his childhood experience of growing up attending church. The show features a scene where Danny enters a Korean-American church, hears choir voices singing, and breaks down into tears. When describing his filming experience, he said that after “hearing people singing this praise song, I was like, ‘Oh, I’m there. Just turn the camera on me when you’re ready to go.’”
The scene became difficult when the show decided to isolate the sound, and Yeun had to search for emotion without hearing any singing. He realized that the “core crux of what makes Danny cry” is in fact the silence: “He’s not isolated, he’s enveloped by a sense of security and letting go,” said Yeun. “That’s probably the safest he’s felt in a long time.” So when the extras were asked to sing again, the actor was easily able to find the tears.
All 10 episodes will be available to stream April 6 on Netflix. Beef is also set to make its debut at the closing night of the 2023 SXSW Film and TV Festival, which will take place from March 10 to 19.
In addition to Yeun and Wong (who are also both executive producers), Beef’s cast is rounded out by David Choe as Isaac, Young Mazino (Prodigal Son) as Paul, Joseph Lee (Searching) as George, and Patti Yasutake (Star Trek franchise) as Fumi.
Also set to recur on the series are Ashley Park (Emily in Paris) as Naomi, Justin H. Min (The Umbrella Academy) as Edwin, Maria Bello (NCIS) as Jordan, Andrew Santino (Dave) as Michael, Mia Serafino (Smiley Face Killers) as Mia, and child actor Remy Holt as June.
(Photos courtesy of Netflix)
Dianna Shen is a TV Writer at Primetimer based in New York. Her work has been featured in Paste Magazine and Decider, among other outlets.
TOPICS: Beef, Netflix, Ali Wong, Lee Sung Jin, Steven Yeun, A24