Michelle Yeoh Was Told to Retire From Acting Before ‘Everything Everywhere,’ but She Told People Off: ‘Do Not Tell Me What to Do’ Most Popular Must Read Sign Up for Variety Newsletters More From Our Brands

A message to everyone in Hollywood: Don’t tell Michelle Yeoh what she can and can’t do. Speaking on the latest episode of the Los Angeles Times’ “The Envelope” podcast, Yeoh revealed that many people considered Daniels acting before accepting the lead role in the multiverse family adventure “Everything Everywhere All at One.” He was asking to retire. Which earned her an Oscar nomination for Best Actress. The industry thought it was too old to continue. Yehu did not agree.

“You know, as you get older, the characters get smaller,” Yehu said. “It seems like the numbers keep growing and these things get narrower and then you start to get more and more sidelined. So when ‘Everything Everywhere’ came out… it was very emotional because it means you’re the one. Who is leading the whole process, who is telling the story.

Yeh continued, “You know, as you get older, people start saying, ‘Oh yeah, you should retire. You should do this. You should… No, guys.’ Tell me what to do. I should control what I’m capable of, right?

To say that “Everything Everywhere” has been a milestone for Yeoh’s career is an understatement. The film earned the icon her first Academy Award nomination, and she won the Golden Globe for Actress in a Motion Picture Comedy or Musical earlier this year. The film has also become a cultural phenomenon with over $100 million at the worldwide box office, ranking as the biggest grosser in A24’s history.

“The first thing is you’re like, ‘Finally, thank you. You guys see me, you guys really do, and you’re giving me a chance to show that I can do all this.’ I have the potential,'” Yeoh added of the film’s phenomenal success. “As an actor, you need an opportunity. You need a role that helps you show what you’re capable of.

In a previous interview with Variety, Yeoh confirmed reports that her role in “Everything Everywhere All at One” was originally written for a man. It was Jackie Chan that Daniels first wanted to hire before changing the script to make the main character a woman. Even then, Yeho had reasonable demands regarding his character’s name.

“The only thing I said to him was, ‘The character can’t be called Michelle Wang,'” Yuh said. “They’re like, ‘But why? So are you.’ I’m like, ‘No, I’m not an Asian immigrant mom running a laundromat. She needs her voice.’ That was the only thing. I’m like, ‘If you don’t change the name, I’m not coming in.’

The character’s name was eventually changed to Evelyn Wang, and the rest is history.

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