Rapper Biggie Smalls once asked, “what’s beef?!”
The new Netflix series “Beef” aims to give you an example in this darkly comedic show. Imagine you are having a rough day, and someone cuts you off in traffic. Instead of just letting it go, you follow the car and escalate the situation.
That is the setup for “Beef,” which follows the aftermath of a road rage incident between two strangers. Danny Cho (Steven Yeun), a failing contractor with a chip on his shoulder, goes head-to-head with Amy Lau (Ali Wong), a self-made entrepreneur with a picturesque life. The increasing stakes of their feud unravel their lives and relationships.
Wong, Yeun, and series creator Lee Sung Jin discussed their first thoughts when receiving the script and the inspiration behind the show.
Wong shared that the script was exactly what Jin had pitched to her initially. The actress is also a producer on the series and explained, “I was blown away. It sounds scary but fascinating. And I think I can do it. What blew me away about it was the thriller element.” That’s something Wong hadn’t done in her career. She gave another example, “as the show progressed, more came out; it was so suspenseful.”
Wong shared that two lead characters have an unusual connection that plays out over the course of ten episodes.
Yeun said all he had to hear was that there was a concept around road rage, and he was in. But once he received the script, the dialog was so compelling and honest that he knew the project would be fun. In addition, he shared, “it felt like Jin was in the room as a fly on the wall. That he overheard those conversations, and he wrote it that way. When you get dialog like that, you get excited.”
Jin also shared that the premise for the series was inspired by his road rage incident where he followed a car after the driver gave him the finger in traffic. He explained, “it was a typical road rage thing where the light turned green. And I didn’t go fast enough. He honked at me, said a bunch of things, and raced off. And for some reason that day, I was like, I’ll follow you, and didn’t really have a plan in my mind. I was justifying it, saying I’m not following, I’m on my way home, and I happened to be behind you. And I’m sure for that person, it felt like I was tracking him the whole run of the 10 highway.”
Jin added, “I thought there was something there about people who are very stuck in their subjective views of reality, and they’re projecting assumptions onto the other person. That was the kernel of the idea. So I’m very thankful for that incident.”
“Beef” also stars Joseph Lee (George), Young Mazino (Paul), David Choe (Isaac), Patti Yasutake (Fumi), Maria Bello (Jordan Forster), Ashley Park (Naomi), Justin H. Min, Mia Serafino, and Remy Holt (Junie.)
The first episode of “Beef” drops on Netflix on April 6.
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