Upon its release in March, Everything Everywhere All At Once immediately became one of the top films of the year, lauded for its maximalist aesthetic blended with intimate storytelling. Directed by Swiss Army Man’s Daniel Kwan and Daniel Scheinert, it’s all anchored by Michelle Yeoh, who takes on a once-in-a-lifetime role as Evelyn Wang, an ordinary laundromat owner trying to do her taxes when she’s suddenly confronted with different versions of herself from across the multiverse.
Of course, parts of the film leaned into Yeoh’s background as a martial arts star. While she certainly got to show off her skills, this role proved to be different from her previous work in an unusual way.
“...In the action movies, I’m generally the one who’s always in control, the mentor, the teacher,” the Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon star describes in The Hollywood Reporter’s new actress roundtable. “And in this one, obviously, Evelyn has no clue what she’s doing. She’s a failure in everything, which makes her so vulnerable and wonderful to play because she doesn’t give up. I go to this universe where I’m a kung fu master, and then I come back to this. And so, I’m doing all the moves, fighting with Jamie Lee Curtis, right? And that’s a lot of fun. Then the Daniels come up to me and say, ‘Michelle, you can’t look like you know what you’re doing.’ I’m like, ‘What does that mean?’ Then, ‘Yes, of course. Evelyn Wang doesn’t know.’”
It takes a rare talent to have to be told to look less cool! Despite acclaimed performances across the board, Yeoh is also humble enough to note the rock universe as her favorite, even though she and co-star Stephanie Hsu are not seen or heard in the sequence.
“It was completely out of my comfort zone,” Yeoh continues. “I was suddenly doing comedy, physical comedy, action, horror, every single genre all packed into one, and jumping in and out of it. It was such a gratifying experience. I’ve waited a long time to receive a script like that. Because, as you get older, the box gets smaller and smaller.”
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Yeoh will next be seen in The Witcher: Blood Origin, premiering December 25 on Netflix.