Steven Yeun to Star in and Exec Produce A24 Immigrant Drama (Exclusive)

Steven Yeun-Getty-H 2019
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'Minari,' from writer-director Lee Isaac Chung, follows a Korean family chasing the American Dream in 1980s rural Arkansas.

For his next film, Steven Yeun is getting in the producer's seat for the first time.

The Walking Dead alum, who is coming off a critically acclaimed performance in Lee Chang-dong's Burning, will star in and serve as an executive producer for Minari, from writer-director Lee Isaac Chung.

A24 is financing the film and producing alongside Chung, Plan B and Yeun. The drama, which is set to begin production on Monday, is inspired by Chung's upbringing as the son of Korean immigrants in rural Arkansas. Yeun, who was born in Seoul and moved to Michigan with his parents at age five, will star as a father who uproots his family from Korea to chase the American Dream on a plot of farmland in 1980s Arkansas (whose official state nickname at the time, incidentally, was "Land of Opportunity"). Korean actresses Yeri Han (A Quiet Dream) and Youn Yuh-Jung (The Bacchus Lady) will make their U.S. feature debuts in Minari, which also includes Will Patton and Scott Haze among the cast.

A24 on Friday will release another intimate drama about a cross-cultural Asian family, Lulu Wang's Awkwafina starrer The Farewell. Yeun, who quietly moved from UTA to CAA earlier this year and continues to be repped by Principal/Gotham Group and Hansen Jacobsen, also will star in A24's adaptation of the Tony-winning play The Humans alongside Beanie Feldstein, Jayne Houdyshell, Richard Jenkins and Amy Schumer.

Chung's feature debut, the 2007 Rwanda drama Munyurangabo, premiered in the Un Certain Regard section at Cannes, won a Grand Jury Prize at AFI Fest and earned him notice as a director to watch at the Independent Spirit and Gotham Awards. He followed up with 2010's Lucky Life, 2012's Abigail Harm and the 2015 Rwanda documentary I Have Seen My Last Born. Chung is repped by CAA.