What younger Asian actors tell Michelle Yeoh: ‘Finally, I can see myself’
Michelle Yeoh is everywhere.
Hot off the limited release and fast approaching the wide release of her latest project, “Everything Everywhere All at Once,” the Malaysian actor has been promoting the heck out of the sci-fi thriller. She’s earning some of the greatest reviews of her career and dominating the discourse on Film Twitter — which has already launched an unofficial Oscars campaign for lead actress on her behalf.
“What [is special about] this moment in my career is having so many people who look like me, especially the younger generation [of Asian actors], come up to me and say, ‘Finally, I can see myself doing all these kinds of things because you are doing it,’” Yeoh told People magazine in an interview published Thursday.
“We have to stand up for ourselves and be courageous enough to have a voice. We deserve a voice. I think at this point in my career, that is what I’m really enjoying: the fact that we are getting more opportunities and the opportunities we deserve.”
A terrific performance by Michelle Yeoh powers this multiverse-traversing extravaganza from directors Daniel Kwan and Daniel Scheinert (‘Swiss Army Man’).
In “Everything Everywhere All at Once,” which opens wide on Friday, Yeoh portrays Evelyn Wang, an overstretched mother, daughter and soon-to-be-ex-wife dealing with an unwelcome tax audit of her family-owned laundromat. By a strange twist of fate, Evelyn is soon transported into various parallel universes occupied by different, powerful versions of herself.
In a recent interview with GQ that has gone somewhat viral on social media, Yeoh became emotional while recalling the first time she met with “the Daniels” and read the script for the A24 film, written and directed by Daniel Kwan and Daniel Scheinert.
“When I read the script, I thought, ‘This is something’ — oh dear,” she said, pausing to collect herself.
“‘This is something I’ve been waiting for for a long time. That’s going to give me the opportunity to show my friends, my family, my audience what I’m capable of. To be funny, to be real, to be sad.’ Finally, somebody understood that I can do all these things.”
“Everything Everywhere All at Once” marks Yeoh’s first leading Hollywood role in recent years, following scene-stealing supporting turns as the elegant and unimpressed Eleanor Young in “Crazy Rich Asians” and masterful warrior Ying Nan in “Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings.”
“I always try not to inject me into the character because I see the character as a real person who needs to have real emotions,” Yeoh told GQ.
“What I saw in Evelyn was a very hardworking immigrant who’s trying so hard to be keeping her family together, to be a success in her father’s eyes, to prove that she’s a good daughter. And I see Evelyn in so many people around me. I felt that need to tell their story, but ... not the usual way — because the Daniels presented it in such a psychedelic, crazy, insane, contemporary way.”
How ‘Everything Everywhere All At Once’ stars found heart in the surreal action sci-fi of the year
Stars Michelle Yeoh and Stephanie Hsu on the hot dog hands, zany martial arts fights and mother-daughter love story at the core of ‘Everything Everywhere All At Once’
“Everything Everywhere All At Once” also stars Stephanie Hsu, Ke Huy Quan, Jenny Slate, Harry Shum Jr., Jamie Lee Curtis and James Hong. After premiering at the SXSW Film Festival, the genre-bending fantasy has received a 97% rating on review aggregation site Rotten Tomatoes.
“I have to appreciate the ride I’ve been on,” Yeoh told People.
“And I [continue to] appreciate it because I believe if you sit back and keep thinking, ‘Oh, how I could have done that [differently] ...’ No. You have to think forward. If you made a mistake, how do you make sure you don’t do it again? It’s by letting go and moving forward.”
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