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Michelle Yeoh explains the strange world of Everything Anywhere Anytime

Action sci-fi adventure, epic Anything Anywhere Anytime Travel through time and space and jump across multiple universes. With so much going on – so to speak, so much happening everywhere, all at once – it’s fundamental to analyzing what’s going on. And who better to take us on a tour of the multiverse than the very center of it, Longtime martial arts superstar Duong Tu Quynh?

Yeoh plays Evelyn, an ordinary woman trying to pass an IRS audit of her family’s laundromat. Her marriage to Waymond (Ke Huy Quan) is struggling and her relationship with daughter Joy (Stephanie Hsu) and her Father (James Hong) are all tense. During an appointment with the IRS, Evelyn is suddenly sucked into a cosmic escape.

Crossing different realities and entirely different possible lives, Yeoh carries Evelyn through her own emotional journey. Yeoh sat down with Polygon to dig into some of her favorites among these alternate timelines and timelines, and shared some insight into what it feels like to be sausage fingers twisting. contorted face of Jamie Lee Curtis.

[Ed. note: Major spoilers ahead for Everything Everywhere All At Once.]

Evelyn’s Movie Star Universe

Evelyn in a sweeping ball gown

Image: A24

One of the first alternate timelines in the film presents the life Evelyn would have lived had she not run to America with Waymond when they were both young. After rejecting Waymond (and being one of the directors made a cameo appearance), alternative-Evelyn trained in martial arts and became a successful, internationally known action star in the film industry. The similarities between this particular world Evelyn and real-life Michelle Yeoh are obvious, but although writer-directors Daniel Kwan and Daniel Scheinert intended it to be a bold linguistic nod, Yeoh still insists that they keep Evelyn’s character separate from herself as an actress.

“When the Daniels started, they always wrote [her] name is Michelle Wang,” Yeoh explained. “And I said no, from the very beginning. She’s not called Michelle because […] Evelyn deserves to tell her own story. This is a very ordinary mother [and] a housewife trying her best to be a good mother to her daughter, a good daughter to her father, a wife trying to keep her family together […] I don’t like inserting myself, Michelle Yeoh, into the characters I play, because they all deserve their own journey and their stories told. ”

Evelyn’s journey not only grapples with the multiverse and forces of nihilism, but also with her broken relationships and the constant battle over the “what-ifs” she he feels in himself. When presented with a version of herself with fame, fortune, and fame, Evelyn was initially intrigued by the success she might have had if she had only said no to Waymond years ago.

“She became a big movie actress, she became very charming,” Yeoh said. “But then she lost the things she loved. She has no family. And worst of all, she doesn’t have a daughter.”

Sausage finger universe

Evelyn with sausage fingers

Image: A24

“Honestly, the truth is, when I first read it, I said, Well, I’ll have to find some way to tell these two boys that it won’t go according to the script,” Yeoh laughed. In this universe, human evolution has taken a different turn, for reasons also covered by a director’s guest. Every person in that world has long rubber sausages for their fingers. “[I had] didn’t understand what they were even talking about – mustard shot out [of] sausage fingers in the mouth, like Nuh-uh, no no.

And those rubber sausage appendages aren’t bluescreen graphics – they’re very, very real. Yeoh said that any use of CG in Everything is everywhere intended to enhance the footage, not to create new elements. The sausage fingers are made for actors.

“I had to stick my hand in this wax bath, and I had nodules on my knuckles,” she said. “Because they get sucked in and can’t get out. And I thought, No! I will have to walk around for the rest of my life with a bathtub in my hand!

Evelyn sat on the coffee table, with long sausage fingers

Image: A24

In the hot finger universe, Evelyn is romantically involved with Deirdre (Jamie Lee Curtis), the IRS agent investigating her in Evelyn’s original universe. The film shows a glimpse of their intimate relationship, fairly standard and normal scenes of a couple in love and in love, except for hot fingers twirling around. In the sausage universe, passion is expressed by people shoving those fingers into each other’s mouths, in a kind of dance performance.

Yeoh said: “When you do such a dance, you need a brave partner. “You both have to look at each other and go, These are sausage hands! We really improvised this dance together.”

But even the best partner can’t quell the initial anxiety that comes with doing the provocative finger dance.

Yeoh recalls: “Before doing that, you had a lot of strange thoughts. “How will it play out? You know, it would be embarrassing. I wasn’t embarrassed, like – I’ve been trying to keep it together for 30 years in business. Am I going to lose it now? “

As absurd as the sausage dance was, the moment when Evelyn and Deirdre performed it was almost bittersweet. It speaks to the power of these two actors, to be able to put gravitas into an act designed to be completely ridiculous.

“You feel the love of these two,” Yeoh said. “So that’s why it doesn’t just get silly. You want it to happen. You want to see the progression of this relationship. Because they are going through pain and brokenness. And then they come together like parting sex.”

The Big Secret Universe of Harry Shum Jr.

Evelyn on Chad's shoulder, both wearing chef uniforms

Image: A24

This universe finds Evelyn working as a hibachi chef with Chad (Gleeby Harry Shum Jr.). Evelyn’s boss tells her to increase her speed, because her cooking skills are dwindling and Chad is stealing the show. But chef-Evelyn walks into Chad in the kitchen and finds that underneath his hat, he’s being controlled by a raccoon singing, cooking, in a Pixar parody vegetable soup.

“[Harry Shum Jr.] with his body language, with that little panda,” Yeoh said. “It looks like a real panda. It scared me the first time I saw it, and then when he did it, Oh, I’m being controlled by this panda, ahhh!, We had fun. Because it’s a real robot [animatronic] on top of him, and it was pulling, and someone was controlling its mouth. It looks so weird. It’s so scrary.”

It’s also one of the film’s funniest and most satisfying long-running flaws, because earlier in the real world, Evelyn tries to explain the entire multiverse conundrum to her family with how to equate it with vegetable soup – only she mistook the rat for a raccoon, and called it “Racca-coony.” Acting alongside a cartoon panda really tested Yeoh’s acting abilities, but she said that the scene where Evelyn explains the plot Racca-coony was a particularly satisfying challenge for her.

“I don’t do comedies! I don’t do stand-up comedy. I don’t do that! ” she smiles. “There is no ego in this room. Everyone is allowed to be completely silly and eccentric. That’s the beauty of that, without thinking, Oh, this one looks weird. It was like, let it be weird and wonderful.”

Evelyn is about to explain the racist joke

Image: A24

The universe where life does not exist

Out of all the chaotic universes existing in Anything Anywhere AnytimeYeoh was attracted to a particular universe: a universe where life never appeared, and Evelyn and her daughter shaped like simple rocks overlooking the canyon.

Yeoh said, “I love the rocky universe. “And I want to give credit for this. Because I told the Daniels, Don’t make us voice the rocks. It should be silent, right? You hear the wind and all that. And they were very ingenious when giving [makes a TCK-TCK-TCK noise] when words come out. I thought that was great.”

Some of the film’s most important conversations happen between the rock versions of Evelyn and Joy, all through text on screen as the wind blows around them. It’s the perfect pause in the movie, helping to score with even more precision and depth.

“The movie is fast, intense, and chaotic,” Yeoh said. “It’s like pop art and pop music and all of this happening at the same time. But that’s also the world you [millennials] everyone is used to – with the Internet, the overload of information. And then suddenly from there, you jump to the rocky universe, like, Okay, we can all breathe together. That stillness, I think, makes the chaos all the more pronounced. The beauty of it when you come out of the cinema and you think, Look around us, it’s been chaotic the whole time. So we have to be able to take a step back and say, How do we heal ourselves? How do we make this successful? You need to reflect on it, and you need to do it together. ”

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