Michelle Yeoh was originally just going to be ‘the wife’ in ‘Everything Everywhere All At Once’ before Jackie Chan turned down the film

Jackie Chan and Michelle Yeoh

By Ayomikun Adekaiyero, Insider

8th February 2023 – (Los Angeles) Michelle Yeoh could have had a very different role in the Oscar-nominated “Everything Everywhere All At Once” if Jackie Chan had taken the lead role.

Yeoh is currently receiving multiple accolades for her role in the sci-fi film, which was written specifically for her.

Last year, it was revealed that directors Daniel Kwan and Daniel Scheinert, known collectively as the Daniels, had originally approached Chan for the leading role in the film. However, they rewrote it for Yeoh when the “Rush Hour” star turned it down.

“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.”

The Oscar nominee continued: “So it was completely [role-reversed]. And I remember Jackie text me and said, ‘Congratulations. You realize that your boys came to see me first?’ and I’m like, ‘Thank you, bro. You did me a huge favor.'”

Yeoh also said in the interview that Chan’s exit from the movie was a “mutual” decision between the Daniels and the Hong Kong actor.

“Jackie is very, very busy and he’s got so many things going on,” Yeoh said. “And 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.”

Yeoh joked that when she first got the script, she prayed that the Daniels were not “certifiably insane” because there are so few lead or big roles that are given to older actors, especially women.

“It’s always the guy that gets to go on the adventure and save the world and rescue your daughter and you think, ‘Why can’t I do that too?'” Yeoh said. “It was so overwhelming at that point to get a script that said, ‘This is a very ordinary woman, Asian immigrant woman, who is dealing with all the problems that we all can relate to.'”

Yeoh added that she thinks all women are “superheroes” and she loved that the movie represented that.

The Daniels told The Hollywood Reporter last year that Yeoh was always on their wish list, but after Chan became unavailable, they didn’t really know how to move forward.

Kwan said: “We were having trouble figuring out the casting for the father figure, and one of us started wondering what happens if we take Michelle’s character and flop it and she becomes the protagonist? And the film just opened up in a completely different way.”

“Everything Everywhere All At Once” received the most nominations for the upcoming Academy Awards, including best picture, best leading actress, three best supporting acting nominations, and best director.