‘Beef’ Finale Should Have Been Even Rougher, Showrunner Says
Netflix and A24 put the brakes on to bring the road rage dark comedy to an even more violent end.
(Editor’s note: The following story contains spoilers for the word “Beef.”)
According to series creator Lee Sung Jin, “Beef” had an even more charred climax.
Lee revealed that Netflix and A24 encouraged him to tone down the fateful Episode 9, when Danny (Steven Yeun) and Amy’s (Ali Wong) feud culminates in two people being shot dead.
“I knew I wanted everything to be about the fan,” Lee said Newsweek. “We’ve stretched this rubber band for eight episodes now, I knew I had to snap.”
However, the original climax was “even crazier with a lot more deaths” until Netflix urged it to reconsider.
“But it was too much and Netflix and A24, rightly so, said, ‘Are you OK?’ And so we brought it back,” Lee added. “Then I started to focus less on everything about the fan and more on the character when I was writing. For example, what is it going towards in the end? And it’s really about Danny’s relationship with his brother, and Amy’s about her relationship with (her husband) George. So in writing, I really tried to nail down what the emotional final place I wanted them to be before we brought them together in the finale.”
The ‘Tuca & Bertie’ writer added: ‘It was fun to write, definitely a tonal departure and wouldn’t have worked without Jake Schreier’s excellent direction. You write something like that and you’re like, “enough, this isn’t going to work,” and then his direction and our DP’s cinematography really helped establish some of the craziness and make that world believable.
Lee credited lead characters Wong and Yeun for helping to create a more tender final moment for the series as seen in episode 10.
“The hospital bed moment was thought up by me, Steven, Ali and A24 before we even put it in front of the customers,” said Lee. “My pitches are quite exciting and I pitch all season, so I had to come up with the end of the pitch and Ali actually came up with the idea of two people crawling into bed together. There’s something very poetic, simple and minimalist about it, which says a lot, and, to my credit, he somehow came up with the idea.”
During the premiere of the Netflix series at SXSW 2023, Wong revealed that the show “takes me in” on a physical level.
“Steven and I both broke out in hives after the show,” Wong said. “Mine was on my face. Hers was all over her body because she is so weak. It definitely wore on us, but we didn’t realize it until after the show was over. I mean, I’m not even talking about what happened with (Yeun’s) elbow. If we had known what we were going to experience with our bodies and minds, we might not have said yes, but we are very glad we did.”
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