Michelle Yeoh’s performance in “Everything Everywhere All at Once” is getting heavy Oscar buzz, but the Malaysian actress revealed she almost didn’t take part in the Daniels-directed film.
In a Variety “Actors on Actors” interview opposite Cate Blanchett, Yeoh explains how she was cast as laundromat owner Evelyn Wang, but the character’s name was originally Michelle Wang.
“This is like a roller coaster, right?” the Malaysian superstar tells the Australian actor in a video of the sit-down chat. “Put away your phones, put on your safety belts. With the Daniels, I had to see if they were certifiably insane, in the best possible way. It’s very important that I feel the director is a visionary and I’m one of their tools.”
“The only thing I said to them was, ‘The character cannot be called Michelle Wang,’” the former “Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon” star goes on. “They’re like, ‘But why? It’s so you.’ I’m like, ‘No, I’m not an Asian immigrant mother who’s running a laundromat. She needs her own voice.’ That was the only thing. I’m like, ‘If you don’t change the name, I’m not coming in.’”
Daniel Kwan and Daniel Scheinert, known collectively as the Daniels, eventually settled on the name Evelyn Wang. Yeoh’s performance has since gained her wide acclaim and a spot as Time magazine’s icon of 2022.
“Everything Everywhere All at Once” became A24’s first film to reach over $100 million in global ticket sales.
Watch the entire Yeoh and Blanchett interview below: