The multiverse film Everything Everywhere All At Once stars Michelle Yeoh as Evelyn, an oppressed laundromat who has enlisted to save reality itself. But she wasn’t the first choice for her role.
During an interview with The Hollywood Reporter, directors Daniel Scheinert and Daniel Kwan explained that the lead role was originally written for martial arts star Jackie Chan.
“At first we were like, ‘Action movie, where to play a dude,'” Scheinert said.
“We had trouble understanding the casting for the father figure,” Kwan added. “And one of us started wondering what happens if we take Michelle’s character and drop him and she becomes the lead. And the film opened in a completely different way. “
Michelle Yeoh was initially cast as the main character’s wife … but the filmmakers decided to make her the lead instead.
“We have these very strong moms and grandmothers, and we ourselves are stupid and kind types,” Scheinert said. “As soon as we changed it, we were like, ‘Oh, now the husband and wife characters are more recognizable. Why the hell didn’t we write it this way from the start? ‘”
Of course, it’s easy to see how Chan would bring his signature charm to the role of any man charged with saving the multiverse.
But with the roles now changed, it was time to rethink who the husband would play, which the directors also deemed appropriate for an actor like Jackie Chan. In a separate interview with Vulture, Kwan revealed how she ultimately decided to rephrase her role.
“The hardest thing about finding this role was that it required a lot of different skill sets,” Kwan said. “He had to be able to speak Cantonese, Mandarin, English. He had to know martial arts. But he also had to be an incredibly believable cheesy pushover. One day, on Twitter, I saw a photo of Ke Quan as Short Round. My brain was like, ‘What is that guy doing right now?’ “
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