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Beef creator shares real-life incident which inspired 'masterpiece' Netflix series

Ali Condon

| Last updated 

Beef creator shares real-life incident which inspired 'masterpiece' Netflix series

It's only been three days since new TV series Beef landed on Netflix and people are already raving about it.

The comedy drama, starring Ali Wong and Steven Yeun, tells the unhinged story of two strangers who get into a road rage incident that escalates rapidly.

The two strangers, Amy and Danny, who have enough drama going on in their personal lives, resort to making each other's lives a living hell, bringing out their darkest impulses and threatening to unravel their lives entirely.



The addictive series already has a perfect score of 100 percent on Rotten Tomatoes and is earning rave reviews from TV critics, with whispers of an Emmy nomination or two on the horizon.

Following the show's release, series creator and showrunner, Lee Sung Jin, has revealed the real-life event he wound up in that went on to inspire the show.

And, no, it wasn't anything to do with *that* gun scene.

"The idea was loosely based on a road rage incident that actually happened to me," he said, per RadioTimes.


"Someone went off on me and for some reason that day, I did not use sound judgment and impulsively decided to follow this person.

"I didn't really have a set plan, I just wanted him to feel fear and let him know that it's not OK to do that to people."

He continued: "But things went awry - certainly not like they do in the show - and what happened that afternoon ended up inspiring Beef.

Beef is streaming now on Netflix. Credit: Netflix
Beef is streaming now on Netflix. Credit: Netflix

"I thought there was a show there, about two people who are very much stuck in their own perspectives and have a lot going on in their individual lives that this incident unravels."

Not long after that, Lee met up with Ravi Nandan, the head of A24 television, and shared his idea.

"[Nandan] asked me if I was noodling on anything and I told him that story, and he just instinctually got it. Everything came together pretty quickly after that meeting."

That isn't the first time Lee has shared the dodgy details about his own road-rage run-in that inspired the hit series.


During a press conference ahead of the series premiere, he explained: "It was a typical road rage thing where the light turned green and I didn't go fast enough, and it was also a white SUV [like Amy’s in the show], although it was a BMW.

"And he honked at me and said a bunch of things and raced off. And for some reason that day, I was like, 'I’ll follow you'.

Beef was inspired by a real road-rage incident with the series creator.  Credit: Netflix
Beef was inspired by a real road-rage incident with the series creator. Credit: Netflix

"I didn’t really have a plan In my mind, I was justifying it like, 'I'm just following, I'm on my way home, and I happen 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.

"And so 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. And that was the kernel of the idea. So I'm very, very thankful for that incident."

Beef is available to stream now on Netflix.

Featured Image Credit: Netflix

Topics: Netflix, TV and Film

Ali Condon
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