We already knew Michelle Yeoh was a great actress, but her recent performance as Evelyn Wong in "Everything Everywhere All At Once" was a milestone highlight in an already impressive career. Yeoh portrays the unassuming laundromat owner as she discovers the concept of the multiverse and her place in it. The audience gets to watch as her character transforms from a somewhat narrow-minded, stressed-out woman into quite possibly the most powerful person in existence. Evelyn goes through an overwhelming range of emotions, not to mention an eclectic range of personas, and Yeoh nails it every step of the way.
But before she could begin working on the movie, Yeoh had one demand. In the script, written by Dan Kwan and Daniel Scheinert (aka Daniels), Evelyn was originally named Michelle. "The only thing I said to them was the character cannot be called Michelle Wong," Yeoh explained in a recent edition of Variety's Actors on Actors alongside Cate Blanchett. Although the writers told her that there was so much of the real Michelle Yeoh in Evelyn, she explained, "I'm not an Asian immigrant mother who's running a laundromat, she needs her own voice."
This was Yeoh's only complaint about the script, and one she was insistent on fixing. "I'm like, if you don't change the name, I'm not coming in," she recalled saying. Sure enough, they changed the name. Everything after that was pretty smooth sailing for Yeoh, and we already know from the finished product that keeping her on board was definitely worth the adjustment.
Going With Evelyn Was For The Best
Of course, this wouldn't have been the first time that a main character in a movie shared the name of the actor playing them. Jack Nicholson famously played another Jack in "The Shining," and nobody ever held that against him. But then again, Jack Nicholson ended up being most well-known for playing crazy guys.
Sitcoms will also often name the main character after the main actor, usually with the implication that what we're seeing is loosely based on the actor's life. Considering Yeoh was playing was someone with a completely different life experience than herself, it's easy to see the concern.
Although it might seem a little trivial for Yeoh to care so much about her character's first name, it makes sense. This was a movie where she got to really show off her acting range, after all, and calling her character Michelle could've undermined the impressive work she was doing as a character completely different from her. As she told GQ:
"When I read the script, I thought, 'This is something.' This is something I've been waiting for for a long time, that's going to give me the opportunity to show — to my fans, my family, my audience — what I'm capable of. To be funny, to be real, to be sad. Finally somebody understood that I could do these things."
"Everything Everywhere All At Once" is available to own and rent now.
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The post Michelle Yeoh Only Agreed to Star in Everything Everywhere All At Once After One Key Script Change appeared first on /Film.