Hollywood is less merciful when it comes to casting actors over the age of 60, and Michelle Yeoh has definitely suffered from that. The Crazy Rich Asians actress revealed that she was encouraged to retire from acting before getting cast in Everything Everywhere All At Once.
“As you get older, the roles get smaller,” Yeoh told the Los Angeles Times’ The Envelope podcast, “It seems like the numbers go up and these things go narrow, and then you start getting relegated to the side more and more.”
Michelle Yeoh is a worldwide movie star widely known for her action-packed roles in films such as Supercop and Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon, as well as in Tomorrow Never Dies. But perhaps the actress is now more known for her most recent ones such as in Crazy Rich Asians, Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings, and Everything Everywhere All At Once, and soon, she will also be making her debut in The Witcher: Blood Origin as Scian.
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Although it would have seemed to be the “right” timing for the 60-year old to retire, Yeoh opened up on how the acclaimed sci-fi film gave her the chance to come back on screen: “So when Everything Everywhere came… it was very emotional, because this means that you are the one who’s leading this whole process, who’s telling the story.”
Had Michelle Yeoh listened and retired ahead of time, she would not have nabbed a historic win for the Asian community as she received 11 Oscar nominations including Asian Lead Actress; she would not have won the Golden Globe for Best Actress in a Motion Picture and the Dilys Powell Award for Excellence in Film at the London Critics Circle Awards for her Everything Everywhere role as Evelyn.
It’s quite ironic how Everything Everywhere was the film to have given the actress the opportunity she’d been waiting for. Not only is she presenting an Asian mother as a rare protagonist in the film, but the movie tackles a similar thing: how Evelyn became the symbol that fixes the universe’s gaping hole.