Steven Yeun, known for playing Glenn in The Walking Dead, has admitted that the character “seeped into [his] reality and identity”, so he avoided similar roles after he left the show.
Speaking at a virtual discussion to promote his latest movie The Humans at the Toronto International Film Festival, Yeun said (via Entertainment Weekly): “When I was leaving The Walking Dead, I had just gotten married, I was about to have my first child, and we just bought a house, and we did it all within the context of one year. God bless my wife, Jo, but we went on quite a ride.”
“I spent seven years post-college doing this incredible journey and ride of The Walking Dead,” he continued. “I hadn’t realised how much of that experience seeped into my reality and my identity.
“When I left, I had to take some time to figure out who I was, especially now that I needed to be a little bit more solid and concrete for an incoming life that I needed to support.”
Yeun starred in The Walking Dead from 2010 until 2016, playing Glenn Rhee, a pizza delivery boy who fell in love with and later married Maggie Greene. However, Glenn was killed before their child was born by Negan, who brutally bludgeoned him to death at the start of season seven.
After he left the show, Yeun moved on to movie projects, starting with Korean action film Okja in 2017, alongside Tilda Swinton, and black comedy Sorry to Bother You in 2018, alongside Tessa Thompson and Lakeith Stanfield.
“These two opportunities presented themselves and I just jumped at it, because it felt like things that didn’t want to put me in a box,” Yeun explained.
“The things that came for me after Walking Dead were actually great projects that were asking me to be the lead, they were asking me to lead a television show, but for some reason, when I would read the synopsis, it still felt adjacent to Glenn, the character that I played, and I don’t like staying in one place for too long.”
Since those projects, he has starred in numerous successful films, including Minari for which Yeun was nominated for an Academy Award, and this year’s Space Jam: A New Legacy.
His upcoming film The Humans, which Yeun is currently promoting, premiered at the Toronto International Film Festival on Sunday (September 12).
The movie was adapted from a Tony Award-winning play of the same name, that follows a family’s Thanksgiving celebrations at their apartment in New York’s Chinatown. Alongside Yeun, it stars Richard Jenkins (The Shape of Water, Burn After Reading), Beanie Feldstein (Booksmart, Lady Bird) and Amy Schumer (Trainwreck, I Feel Pretty).
The Walking Dead airs on AMC in the US. Meanwhile, UK viewers can now watch all episodes via STAR on Disney+.
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The Walking Dead’s Steven Yeun turned down “great” TV shows following Glenn’s death