Indiana Jones: Ke Huy Quan defends the Temple of Doom against racist allegations

Ke Huy Quan became famous after his childhood role in Indiana Jones, a role that many now see as somewhat problematic. Despite the tumult of recent years, Quan himself does not look back on the role with any negativity.

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Talking to The GuardianQuan was asked about 1984 Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom, a film that, while widely regarded 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 far too worried about breaking nails during their adventures.

Quan – who played Short Round in the film – had nothing bad to say about the film when he was propped up. Instead, Quan attributed the many problems 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 good memories. I really don’t have anything negative to say about it.”

As for his portrayal of Short Round (which has also been scrutinized on occasion), Quan said he considers the role “a huge step forward for Asian representation” and credits director Steven Spielberg for being inclusive of the Asian community when many in Hollywood it wasn’t.

“Spielberg was the first person to put an Asian face in a Hollywood blockbuster. Short Round is funny, he’s brave, he saves Indy’s ass,” Quan said. “That was a rarity back then. For many years after that, we were back to square one.”

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Despite Quan’s iconic role in Indiana Jones franchise and his love for it, it doesn’t look like he’ll be returning to the series for the upcoming one Indiana Jones 5. In an interview with New York Times earlier this yearQuan spoke of finally being reunited with Indiana Jones star Harrison Ford during the 2022 D23 Expo.

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