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15 Surprising Facts About The Walking Dead’s Steven Yeun

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15 Surprising Facts About The Walking Dead’s Steven Yeun

I’ve been a die-hard Walking Dead fan since the show came out, and it’s completely normal to get attached to the characters. People get emotionally invested in a character and their lives, especially when they’ve been there from the beginning and survived seven seasons. It’s a mistake, though, for a horror-based TV show because people are dying all the time. Still, you don’t expect a beloved character to die, especially one of the main guys who has a baby on the way.

Having Glenn taken away from us at the beginning of Season 7 was shocking for a few reasons: it was Glenn, and it was a brutal death that all his friends watched. Oh, that eye! I will never get that image out of my head. It’s just best not to get emotionally attached to characters when you know there’s a chance they’ll be taken off the show. So, Glenn is gone, and we have had to see what that means for Maggie and the rest of the cast of our favorite show — though it will never be the same without Glenn’s loyalty and love for his family.

You may think that you know everything there is to know about the actor that played Glenn, but you would be wrong. Steven Yeun has been around the block long before The Walking Dead came around. Before he was killing zombies, Steven Yeun was doing some pretty cool things. Check out these awesome facts on The Walking Dead alum.

15. His Best Friend is Lauren Cohen

He has a great relationship with his former co-star, Lauren Cohan, so much so that they’re best friends these days. They often hang out when they aren’t working. It’s easy for co-stars to become extra close, especially if they’re playing love interests for a long period of time. Just look at Emma Stone and Ryan Gosling; they’re always fooling around off-screen. When Yeun and Chen are together, they often make mini-videos where they spend the time screaming about their friends — a little odd but no doubt hilarious. They have videos of their friend’s engagement where they are seen screaming in excitement. They also make videos where they make fun of people who think that the two of them are romantically involved. The two always look good together, but they are firm on the fact that there is nothing between them but great friendship.

14. He Also Hated Lori from TWD

Everyone hated the character of Lori from The Walking Dead, and Steven Yeun was no different when it came to hating the character. She was just so dumb all the time that you wondered how she made it as far as she did. “I remember the first couple seasons; there was a little bit of backlash on Lori. The character Lori. And to me, she was very similar to the character that they wrote in the book. In the book, when I read the book, I hated Lori. But the thing is, she’s coming from her own place which is rational in her mind. But from the outside looking in, it seems irrational. Or it seems disconnected from what you want as a perfect narrative. But I guarantee you; she’s like the bass. She’s like the bass guitar. If she were gone, the show would be far more boring. Honestly, if it weren’t for the people you sometimes hate to love or love to hate, it wouldn’t be the show that it is.”

13. His Ideal Character Would Be Deeply Disturbed

When Yeun played the character of Glenn, he certainly went through a lot of emotions throughout the show. He went through moments of love, fear, and so much loss that you have to wonder if it would drive you insane. To have to continually watch the people that you love die around you would be hard, not to mention having to kill over and over again when it comes to ridding the world of zombies. But acting out those emotions are nothing for Yeun who wants to someday play a deeply disturbed character. “I want to play someone deeply disturbed. I like that idea because I think all people have that side to them, and some people choose to never tap that side. I haven’t really tapped that side of it in my actual life. I’d love to try it acting.”

12. He was Buddies with Jon Bernthal

I was definitely sad when Jon Bernthal was turned into a zombie and then killed by his best friend, Rick. He wasn’t liked by everyone because he was trying to get in between Rick and Lori, but I still thought he was a strong character. Steven Yeun was close to Jon during the first two seasons of the show, and they would often get together to play basketball, and Jon even got Yeun involved in boxing. “All of them are great,” Yeun told Da Man magazine of his TWD co-stars. “[But] I think I hang out with Jon [Bernthal, who portrays Shane Walsh] the most because he and I play basketball a lot. He’s a great guy.” He got into boxing with Jon because it was great exercise and it kept him strong without having to go crazy on weights.

11. He Was on The Big Bang Theory

In 2010, Steven Yeun had a small role on The Big Bang Theory as Sheldon’s old roommate, Sebastian. He was the guy that lived with Sheldon before Leonard ever came around. He played in the episode called “Staircase Implementation,” and he looked so much younger in the role that it’s kind of funny to see. It was one of his first roles after he decided to pursue acting, and he thought the whole cast was great. In the episode, he runs into Leonard and tries to convince him not to move in with Sheldon because he’s crazy. He calls him the “psycho roommate.” Leonard doesn’t take him seriously even though he tells him to, “Run away, dude. Run fast, run far.” Leonard, of course, doesn’t and the two live happily ever after for many more seasons. It’s a fun scene if you’re a fan of Steven Yeun.

10. He Hates Horror

You would think that someone who plays a character on a popular horror TV series would be into all the blood and gore. But in this case, for Steven Yeun, a job was just a job. Sometimes in the real world, we all have to take jobs that typically turn our stomachs just to get a paycheck to pay the bills. In Steven’s case, of course, he was pulling in a ton of money by being part of a show that was watched by millions, but you get my drift. The thing with Steven, though, he hates horror things in all their forms. He doesn’t like the movies, and he refuses to watch them. I wonder if he ever watches himself on TV. “I’m not much of a horror fan. When it comes to ghost stuff and demon stuff, I can’t watch that.”

9. He Went to Korea with Conan O’Brien

That’s right; these two shacked up on a trip together to see what Korea was all about. If you get to watch any of the videos of these two in North Korea, you’ll probably die laughing because they behave like two comedians in a country where the people don’t smile at you if they don’t know you. Conan has always been an awkward person in some social situations, and going to Korea was no different for him. In the streets of Seoul, he couldn’t have looked more out of place, and being with Steven didn’t help him in any way either because he looked just as awkward as Conan did. You would think that a Korean-American celebrity would get a hero’s welcome in Korean, but Steven Yeun learned soon enough that wasn’t the case. “Koreans don’t know what to do with him, even though his Korean is quite good. To Koreans, he is in that awkward Korean-American category — neither fish nor fowl, inherently somewhat untrustworthy.”

8. He Could Have Gone to Med School

Steven Yeun had a goal of going to medical school, and in 2005, he was studying psychology at Kalamazoo College in Kalamazoo, Michigan. He also had a minor in Neuroscience and intended on being a doctor. He wasn’t intending on being an actor, but while he was in school, he started acting and eventually told his parents who thought they were getting a doctor in the future that he wanted to pursue acting. His parents reluctantly allowed him to follow his dreams, but they didn’t take the news very well at all. “My father … didn’t want me to struggle the way he had. … But they gave me two years to pursue it. Reluctantly, but they gave it to me. They were the ones who told me to go to L.A. They said if this was what I wanted to do, then I’d better give myself the best shot.”

7. He Likes Comedy

Steven Yeun did graduate from college before he made his way into acting, and then he started out in Chicago doing improv. He became part of a comedy group called Stir Friday Night which had all Asian-American members. He also became a member of The Second City which was a theater troupe that improv’d in Canada and in the US. “I’ll be honest and say that I’ve never been the funniest person in the room. [But] I love comedy, and I really studied it and just nerded out on it. I still nerd out on it. … I’m just glad that I got to do both comedy and drama. I’ve learned things from doing both that apply to the other and vice versa.” Maybe that was why he got along so well with Conan O’Brien; the two could have done comedy together.

6. He Wants to Get into Music

Steven Yeun wouldn’t be the first actor to want to bring a music career into his or her life. It’s certainly a lot more possible after you hit superstardom in a hit TV show. His character, Glenn, didn’t have a clue how to even play the guitar, but that’s not a problem that Steven shares at all. In fact, he has a strong love for music. He has a lot of musical talents, and during an interview with Da Man magazine, he admitted that he had some aspirations when it came to breaking into the music industry. We can’t picture it, but maybe that’s because we’re still in Glenn mode. “I also wanted to get into music, but man, everyone is so good,” he said. “I played growing up at church and jammed with friends, but nothing too serious. It’s a pretty tough industry, but then again so is acting. We’ll see about music though, still want to give it a shot at some point.”

5. His Brother Has a Bakery, and He’s an Investor

If you’ve ever heard of The Bun Shop in LA, you might be surprised to find out that it’s a bakery that was opened by Steven Yeun’s brother. Steven invested in the bakery himself to help support his brother’s dream. I guess that’s another child that decided not to become a doctor. His brother is Brian Yeun, who had the dream of opening a Korean-Mediterranean fusion joint, and it’s been quite the success. “’Perks are delicious free food,’ says Steven. ‘For me, how I saw it was that my brother and I are really tight and I really wanted to invest in his entrepreneurship.’ In addition to the delicious food, Steven says the restaurant has a ‘homey vibe’ designed to make patrons feel comfortable. ‘It’s all from our upbringing,’ Steven notes. ‘We’re from Metro Detroit area so there’s this feeling of blue collar, simple, clean meals with a little zest of edginess that Detroit brings. It’s a very Detroit, Michigan mentality. Being Korean, all of us are Korean, there’s a soul to that that we definitely tap into.’”

4. He’s Scared of Ghosts

I feel you, Steven Yeun! For someone that doesn’t like horror movies, it’s not that surprising to find that Yeun is not a fan of the spiritual world. In fact, Yeun is more scared of the idea of a ghost than that of a zombie. If it came down to running into one or the other, Yeun would take a zombie attack any day. When doing an AMC interview, he stated of ghosts versus zombies, “Anything I can punch in the face is not nearly as scary as something where my fist would go through. It stems from the fact that it’s not tangible per se. It’s something I can’t physically harm. . . . What does freak me out about walkers is that you can hit them, rip their arm off, let’s say, and they’ll still keep coming at you. It’s that persistence that is terrifying because it borderline-treads on that idea of a ghost, where I can’t do any harm to it.”

3. He’s Not Fluent in Korean

Steven Yeun was born in South Korea before his parents decided to come to America. They first came to Canada after leaving South Korea and then went to America. He also went on vacation with Conan O’Brien to South Korea, and despite all that, he is still unable to speak Korean. He did pretty well on his vacation with Conan, however, as he tried to impress the locals with some Korean. They, of course, were not impressed at all. There are some pretty funny videos of him speaking Korean, and Conan looks as awkward as ever. His parents are fluent in Korean, and even though he was raised around them and they spoke Korean often, he never learned much of it himself. It’s not surprising, though, for the children of immigrants to not keep the language as well as their parents did.

2. Christianity Helps Him Get in The Mindset for the Show

It’s not just boxing that helps get Steven Yeun focused on his characters, his strong belief in Christianity helps as well. He once told the NY Times that in order to get his emotions running during the running and yelling scenes, he goes to Christianity for help. “I was raised in a Christian household and heard a lot of praise music, so that’s what helps me get to an emotional place. There’s a church in Australia called Hillsong that specializes in the whole contemporary praise music thing, and I listen to their stuff. I took up boxing to get in shape for filming because it’s grueling — all the running, the heat, the yelling, the crying that we do. We run on adrenaline for seven months and then hit a wall. And then we recover and start it all over again for the next season.”

1. He Loves the Detroit Pistons

Believe it or not, Steven Yeun grew up in Metro Detroit and has a strong love for the blue-collar lifestyle in which he was raised. He also mentioned in an interview for The Bun Shop that the feel behind the atmosphere of the bakery was to remind people of the hominess of what a blue-collar lifestyle feels like. He has a strong love for his hometown as well as for the Detroit Pistons. He has said multiple times that he has no problem driving 11 hours to go catch a game if he has the opportunity. One time, when he wanted to watch The Detroit Pistons play, he drove from Atlanta, where The Walking Dead is filmed, to Detroit to see the game. Talk about a true fan! We can’t blame him, though. If you’ve ever seen the team play, they always offer a great game.

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