We ‘Brok out in Hives’ – Variety

“Beef” stars Steven Yeun and Ali Wong as two people involved in a road incident that spirals out of control and begins to consume their every waking moment. And despite Yeun and Wong having no actual beef with each other, the anger began to consume them outside of the show as well — except in real life, it came in the form of hives.

During a Q&A following the world premiere of “Beef” at South by Southwest, the actors were asked how they managed to decompress after performing such an explosive rage on set.

“Our bodies shut down,” Yeun said.

“Steven and I both broke out in hives after the show. Mine was on my face. His was all over his body because he’s weak like that,” Wong said to broad laughter from the audience. “It definitely took a toll on us, but we didn’t even realize it until the show ended. I mean, I don’t even want to talk about what happened with your elbow.”

She continued: “I don’t think we knew it was going to happen. If we knew what we were going to put our bodies and minds through we might not have said yes, but we’re really glad we did. “

Series creator Lee Sung Jin knows a thing or two about that kind of anger. On stage, he revealed that “Beef” was inspired by a bout of road rage that he actually experienced himself.

“It was with a white SUV. A BMW, not a Mercedes,” he said as Wong’s character drives a white Mercedes in the show. “It hooted at me, swore at me and drove away. And for some reason that day I thought, ‘I’m following you’. It didn’t end the way it did on the show—that’s why I’m here and able to talk to you today—but it certainly made me think about how we live in such subjective realities where we project onto people we not know .”

“Beef” is not the first collaboration between Jin, Wong and Yeun. Jin was a writer on “Tuca and Bertie”, in which Wong and Yeun voiced main characters. Jin said that Yeun was one of the first to hear the idea for “Beef”: “We talked for three hours. Conversations with Steven usually start like, ‘Hey, I want to talk to you about this show,’ and then three hours later we think, “Why is God the way he is?”

“What attracted me is that we got to play with something that we’re not asked to do on the surface, which is our shadow self,” Yeun said. “This whole show is every character’s shadow self, and we all have that. So taking advantage of it – and getting paid for it – is great. And hopefully also to make you feel seen, because this shit is very common.”

His previous connections with Jin and Wong made the role easier for Yeun. “It keeps you safe and it helps you be more honest. You’re not left to your own vulnerability,” he said. “When you get to express all of that in the safety of friendship on set, you go home as : ‘I don’t really explore it elsewhere.’ So it wasn’t too bad. It’s just keeping the tension up, that was really knotty.”

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