Michelle Yeoh revealed that Jackie Chan was offered the lead role in the Oscar-nominated film Everything Everywhere All at Once first.
In an interview with CNN, the award-winning Malaysian actress talked about her experience in the multi-genre film, saying that co-directors Daniel Scheinert and Daniel Kwan, popularly known as the Daniels, originally planned to have a male lead role, and that she was only supposed to play as Jackie's wife.
"It was written for a man," she told CNN recently. "Whenever filmmakers tell the story, they also have to be mindful that it is showbusiness. 'I have to write something that somebody will make it into a film.' And so, they wrote it like that way with Jackie and me as the wife."
Recalling the first moments when she got the lead role, Michelle shared that she received a congratulatory message from Jackie, saying: “'Congratulations! You know your boys came to see me first.’ I’m like, thank you bro you did me a huge favor,” she said.
Michelle said that the exit was a “mutual” decision for both Jackie and the Daniels, mentioning that the actor is a “very very busy” person. She also said that the directors decided to do something different, noting the influence of them having a “very strong women in their lives.”
"I think the Daniels also stepped back and said, 'We're doing something that's already been done before. We should do something differently.' And they both have very strong women in their lives, whether it's their mothers or their partners. So they're very inspired, and they're not afraid of strong women," Michelle continued.
Additionally, Michelle took pride of how the movie gave an impact to audiences recalling an encounter with a fan who told her that although she did not quite understand the film with its mind-bending scenes, it gave her the chance to understand her daughter.
“It appealed, it resonated with different generations, it was shining a light on them to say, ‘sometimes, we just have to step back,” Yeoh said.
Further adding, “It [has] healed certain relationships, it opened up conversations.”
Everything Everywhere All At Once follows the story of a middle-aged Chinese immigrant Evelyn Wang who accepted the responsibility to save her own universe to protect her family from the dangers of the agents coming from the different multiverse. The film also tackled Evelyn's struggles in her personal life, including the complicated relationship with her daughter Joy.
Michelle's award-winning performance in the film earned her nominations and awards in prestigious award-giving bodies, such as this year’s Golden Globes Awards and Oscars.
Recently, the film also earned multiple nominations for multiple categories including Best Original Screenplay, Best Picture, and Best Supporting Actor for the upcoming 95th Academy Awards which will be held on March 13.
Other tan Michelle, Everything Everywhere All At Once also includes actors Huy Quan, Jamie Lee Curtis, Stephanie Hsu, and James Hong, among others.