Everything Everywhere All at Once Almost Starred Jackie Chan

Posted 2022/05/08 5 0

Everything Everywhere All at Once continues to stay strong at the box office. The film, starring Michelle Yeoh, connected with audiences across the country as they watched the leading lady kick and punch her way through different multiverses. But according to the Daniels (Daniel Scheinert and Daniel Kwan), who directed the A24 hit, the script was initially written with Jackie Chan as the star! The two spoke about this decision with The Hollywood Reporter.

“At first we were like, ‘Action movie, going to star a dude,’” Scheinert said.

Kwan added, “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.”

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After the rewrite, shifting the focus from a husband to a stressed matriarch, the story suddenly became more personal to the filmmakers. The duo, both 34, thought back on their own maternal figures in their lives for inspiration. Scheinert goes into detail on the process.

“We have these very strong moms and grandmoms, and we’re also both kind of dopey, gentle guys ourselves,” Scheinert explains. “As soon as we switched it, we were like, ‘Oh, now the husband and wife characters are more relatable. Why on earth didn’t we write it this way from the get-go?’”

The Pipe Dream Multiverse Jumper

After finishing the revised screenplay, the Daniels had only one actress in mind that could pull off the role of Evelyn. Kwan noted to the Hollywood Reporter that reaching out to Yeoh “felt like a bit of a pipe dream.

“[Reaching out was] really thrilling and really scary because we were like, ‘No one else in the world can play this role. If she says no, maybe the movie dies.”

It took Yeoh watching the Daniels’ 2016 film Swiss Army Man to get her to say yes to the script that at first left her speechless. The film took the actress’s initial curiosity and switched it to determination. She had to meet these two and see what they had in mind for her. Scheinert talks about their first meeting at the Beverly Wilshire in 2018.

“She immediately teased us for writing something so weird, and it was so lovely that there was not this kind of standoffishness, but she wasn’t fake nice either. It was like she was our aunt right away,” he said.

Everything Everywhere All at Once was new ground for Yeoh as an actress. In her past films, she was usually cast as the calm and stoic type of woman. So to jump into a role such as Evelyn, who trips, stumbles, and knocks herself into becoming a hero was quite the change.

“You still have to do the moves quite cool, but your face has gone wonky,” Scheinert says. “They were like, ‘Can you do it not looking so cool?’ That’s probably the first time I ever heard that. Because in all my movies, I’m always the one in control. People could be doing comedy around me, but I’m always the serious one. This is really the first time I’ve been doing such physical comedy.”

Considering the final outcome of the movie, it seems like the shift was the right choice for the Daniels. While Jackie Chan could have absolutely pulled off a role such as this, considering his vast background in both comedy and martial arts films, having a film come from a mother’s perspective gives the movie a fresh new perspective to view from Sure, we’ve seen our fair share of father figures learning to break down their emotional walls and save the world, but not so much from mother figures. Not to mention, if our universe was the one that had the Jackie Chan version, we would have missed out on Yeoh’s stellar performance. I’m happy our universe has this version of Everything Everywhere, how about you?


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