If there is a phrase that could define Michelle Yeoh’s life right now, it is the title of her film Everything Everywhere All At Once. The actor, who is fresh off winning her first Oscar for her role in the multiverse adventure comedy-drama, is riding high after a clean sweep this awards season. She also created history by becoming the first Malaysian to receive an Oscar nomination and win.
The Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon star has been around for decades but it is only over the past few years that her career has truly taken off with prominent roles in films like Crazy Rich Asians, Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings, and the Netflix original The Witcher: Blood Origin. With Everything Everywhere All at Once, the star has cemented her place among the top actors in Hollywood. Interestingly though, she was not the first choice for directors Daniel Kwan and Daniel Scheinert.
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Michelle Yeoh almost lost her role to Jackie Chan
Michelle Yeoh’s character Evelyn Kwan is described as a disgruntled middle-aged Chinese immigrant who is thrown into an insane adventure where she must connect with her prospective lives in different multiverses to save existence. But this intriguing and memorable character which won her an array of awards was originally written as a male protagonist for Jackie Chan.
According to the directors who are popularly known as “the Daniels”, the script pointed to an action film that will portray a male lead, which fit the bill perfectly for Jackie Chan with Michelle Yeoh playing his wife. But as the writing took shape and other characters emerged, things changed. To quote the filmmakers,
“We were having trouble figuring out the casting for the father figure, and one of us started wondering what happens if we take Michelle’s character and flop it and she becomes the protagonist. And the film just opened up in a completely different way.”
This decision turned out to be a masterstroke with the film taking home all the major awards of the season including Best Film at the Academy Awards along with grabbing 3 of the 4 acting honors.
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Is there bad blood between Michelle Yeoh and Jackie Chan?
Casting Michelle Yeoh over Jackie Chan in Everything Everywhere All at Once proved to be a clever and hugely successful move by the Daniels. Though she was the second choice for the role, The Crazy Rich Asians actor exuded confidence as she recalled a conversation with the action star and said,
“He texted me and he said, ‘Hey, congratulations on your film… Do you know your directors came to look for me first?’ I said, ‘Yes, bro, I know! Your loss, bro, thank you!”
Despite their sharp and competitive banter that has made them challenge each other in the past, Michelle Yeoh confessed that both she and Jackie Chan never shared any animosity and always respected each other’s body of work.
Everything Everywhere All at Once is streaming on Showtime and can be rented on Apple TV+ and Amazon Prime Video.
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Source: The Things