Michelle Yeoh has added another iconic role to her career with Everything Everywhere All at Once, but she almost quit over the name of her character. It would have been a huge miss for the film not to have her and leave out her Oscar buzz. In Variety’s Actors on Actors, in an episode with Cate Blanchett, Yeoh revealed the change that got her to stay on board for the wild film.
In the A24 multiverse movie, she played Evelyn Wang, a laundromat owner trying to keep her family afloat during economic troubles. She discovers a multiverse war in which she becomes a warrior battling rivals. In the initial script, she was named Michelle Wang, and that was where Michelle Yeoh drew the line for the directing duo for Everything Everywhere, despite all the multiverse and bagel-filled insanity.
“‘The character cannot be called Michelle Wang.’ 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.”
The Actors on Actors interview went over the careers of Michelle Yeoh in Everything Everywhere and Cate Blanchett in Tár. They also talked about their first time meeting in Hong Kong and their processes of tackling material when signing on for a new project.
Michelle Yeoh nearly quit Everything Everywhere over her character’s name
Michelle Yeoh required her character's name in #EverythingEverywhereAllAtOnce be changed: "The character cannot be called Michelle Wang…I'm not an Asian immigrant mother who's running a laundromat. She needs her own voice." https://t.co/Ais7qUnVYd pic.twitter.com/WA0MMQQBAR
— Variety (@Variety) December 8, 2022
The film was a massive hit for Dan Kwan and Daniel Scheinert (Swiss Army Man), who also wrote and produced on top of their directing duties. By grossing $100 million worldwide, it became A24’s biggest film by hitting the milestone. It stands above Hereditary ($81 million), Lady Bird ($80 million), and Moonlight ($64 million), which are all the other top performers for the indie studio that has become a standout in the industry in recent years.
Michelle Yeoh led Everything Everywhere. She was joined by Stephanie Hsu (The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel), Ke Huy Quan (Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom), Jamie Lee Curtis, and James Hong (Kung Fu Panda). It is currently available on streaming services and physical release on DVD and Blu-ray.