An Interview with The Walking Dead’s Steven Yeun

Originally written and published for zombietraining.com on February 10, 2013.

Before he was cast as Glen Rhee on the hit television series The Walking Dead, Steven Yeun (born Yeun Sang-yeop) had done a few short films and commercial work for Best Buy, Milky Way and Apple. Now, after two and a half seasons on AMC’s international hit show, he is one of the most recognized Korean born male actors of our time, and a superstar in his birth country of South Korea.

SY_Head_ An Interview with The Walking Dead's Steven Yuen by TS Alan

Recently Steven appeared at the Monster-Mania Con #22 horror convention in Cherry Hill, New Jersey for a Walking Dead cast reunion that included Jeffery DeMunn, Emma Bell, Madison Lintz and Norman Reedus. Steven was generous in granting me a short interview, doing so on his brief lunch break in-between his autograph and photo sessions with the hundreds of fans that lined up to meet him.

This is how our conversation went:

ZT: You have been a fan of the Walking Dead comic series since 2005. Other than the character you portray, what present or future character do you think you could play?

Yeun: Well [chuckling], my ethnicity really limits me on that end. But if people [the creators] were being really creative, I think I could have played—I’ve only read up to issue 60—But maybe I could have played Beth’s boyfriend.

ZT: The television series creators have made some drastic changes in adapting the graphic novels to screen. As an example: the zombification and demise of Sophia Peletier. If you were one of the writers, which previous, present or future character in the show would you make a change to, and what would that change be?

Yeun: I would keep Dale around longer.

ZT: Many viewers identify with your character Glenn, mainly because they don’t consider themselves Alpha Males. In real life what type of male are you? Are you Glenn, Rick Grimes, Shane Walsh, Daryl Dixon or The Governor type?

Yeun: I think I’m Glenn when he gets to Rick Grime’s stage. And that is coming [referring to character]. He grows up.

ZT: Do you believe in the possibility of a zombie apocalypse?

Yeun: No, because it sounds absurd [he laughs].

ZT: Then hypothetically, if there was a zombie apocalypse, who would be in your Zombie Survival Group?

Yeun: Let’s see [pauses]. Like maybe a couple Navy Seals. Then a couple of professional wrestlers. And then like Emeril [Lagasse].

ZT: Would you plan on bugging out or stay and fortify?

Yeun: Staying and fortifying.

ZT: What would be your firearm of choice?

Yeun: I’d have to say a really nice pistol.

ZT: What would be your edged or blunt weapon of choice?

Yeun: Bat.

ZT: My final question: Who was the person that most influenced you to become an actor?

Yeun: I think it was a mixture of a lot of people I looked up to in college, doing a lot of improv, and great comedians at Second City; like Colbert, Carell, Tina Fey and all those people.

With the third season and introduction of The Governor, one would assume that if the storyline followed the comic, The Governor would have killed off Sarah Wayne Callies’ character Lori and her newborn daughter; especially since Callies told the Hollywood Report in July that “I’ve said from the beginning, not only am I okay with Lori dying but I think she has to.” But fans of the series know the creators seldom follow the comic storyline, and as we saw with season three’s episode The Killer Within, both Lori and T-Dog met their demise in gruesome fashion.

You can never be sure with what character the creators will decide to kill off or who they decide to let live, as we have seen with the death of Sophia, who is still alive in the comic and Carol Peletier who stills lives in the television series. In the comic, Carol commits suicide at the prison when she willingly allows herself to be bitten. And just because Glenn has a long life in the comic, too, doesn’t mean he is immune from the writer’s cross hairs, even though Steven told us his character gets to mature. I just hope Glenn lives to see another season.