Ke Huy Quan 'Took The Room By Storm' When Auditioning For Indiana Jones

Anyone who's seen virtually any footage of Ke Huy Quan — in a role or simply as himself — knows he's a delightfully exuberant ball of energy. The actor's natural charisma is on display in just about every scenario he's in, whether it's on-screen or on the awards circuit, as the last several months have proved.

That energetic positivity isn't a newfound quality, either. Quan possessed that energy from a young age, as is evident by his memorable performances as a kid: Short Round in "Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom" and Data in "The Goonies."

As fate would have it, that energy was highly instrumental in helping Quan land those parts in the first place, as the child actor so impressed Steven Spielberg in his initial audition for "Temple of Doom" that it led to two roles, beginning with his turn in the "Indiana Jones" sequel.

Quan owned the role of Short Round right away

Many filmmakers refer to the art of casting as a decision that's far more instinctual (and, often, immediate) than it may appear from the outside. While some parts take a long time to be cast thanks to factors like scheduling, health, and chemistry with their fellow thespians, Hollywood is littered with stories of actors being cast by directors as soon as they've walked into the audition room.

That's apparently what happened with Ke Huy Quan when he went to audition for "Temple of Doom" in 1983. Speaking about meeting Quan at auditions when interviewed earlier this year at the Golden Globes, Spielberg remembered how instantaneously Quan won the role:

"So with Ke, it was Short Round. He'd be great for Short Round. When I met him, he took the room by storm. Still does! He has a positive energy. So full of positive love. He just reaches out with his heart, and that's the way he was as a kid auditioning for the movie."

For Quan, the opportunity to even get into the audition was a stroke of luck. According to the actor when interviewed earlier this year, it was only because Spielberg hosted an open call (after unsuccessfully searching for other actors) and the fact that Quan "tagged along" with his brother to the audition that he got seen in the first place.

It was all for the good of the movies

By all accounts, Quan has shown himself to be a person as delightful as he seems to be, full of positivity and creative energy. Despite him apparently being a genuinely good guy, Spielberg was quick to point out at the Globes that his casting was less about his character and more about his persona being just right for the part:

"The thing to remember is, any of us, when we're casting, we're not doing it for the person we cast, we're doing it for the common good of the movie, of the play. Casting is about, how do we serve the script? How do we serve the whole endeavor? So I never think of it as giving somebody a break or giving somebody an opportunity to get into life with more than they had before they came in and got the part. I think of it as, 'That's a good piece of casting.'"

In the particular instance of Quan and Short Round, not only was the actor appropriate for the part in terms of ethnicity and age, but his positive energy was incredibly necessary for the role and the movie itself. "Temple of Doom" is, after all, the darkest "Indiana Jones" movie, with Harrison Ford's Indy going to the brink of insanity (or Evil, depending on how you read his encounter with the "blood of Kali"), and only Short Round's love and friendship can save him.

Still, making a first impression counts for a lot, and Quan's initial exuberance in the audition undoubtedly helped that impression. Thanks to his recent Academy Award win, Quan has made a successful second impression on Hollywood as an adult actor, and whether it's playing Short Round again or in an original leading part, it'll be very exciting to see where he turns up next.