Cover A poster of Everything Everywhere All At Once (Photo: James Jean and A24)

In Everything Everywhere All At Once, the Shang-chi actress appears in another badass role—not as a superhero or martial arts master this time, but as an immigrant launderette owner who must save the universe while struggling to pay her taxes

Michelle Yeoh’s four-decade career hasn’t been short on action roles: she has trained superheroes in Marvel’s Shang-Chi, saved the day in a James Bond movie, and protected a sacred sword in Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon. Now, she is back, tasked with saving an infinite number of realities in a playful new sci-fi film.

Read more: 'Eternals' Is a Masterclass in Representation and Diversity, Despite Its Flaws

Above Everything Everywhere All At Once trailer (Video: A24)

In Everything Everywhere All At Once, set to be released by A24 on March 25 in the US, Yeoh plays Evelyn Wang, a Chinese immigrant in the US, who runs a launderette and can’t seem to finish her taxes. Wang moves to California with her guileless husband Waymond (Ke Huy Quan) to escape her overbearing father’s (James Hong) rejection of their marriage and pursue happiness. As her business collapses, her family relationships deteriorate and she struggles to make ends meet, she watches her American dream slowly crumble.

One day, amid everything Wang is dealing with, she is recruited to defeat an evil force that threatens the multiverse. Why? Of all the Evelyn Wangs in the multiverse, where other versions of herself are more successful women, like an internationally celebrated movie star (another multiverse is inhabited by people with hotdogs for fingers, might we add), the launderette version is the one who has made all the worst possible decisions until that point in her life, which is why she has the most potential to save the world.

The film, which features a predominantly Asian cast, is written and directed by “the Daniels”—Daniel Kwan and Daniel Scheinert, whose last feature was 2016’s Swiss Army Man, in which Daniel Radcliffe plays a flatulent corpse. When Kwan and Scheinert pitched their idea to Yeoh at the Beverly Wilshire in 2018, where she was attending the premiere of Crazy Rich Asians, the actress told the directors that she found their idea very weird.

Don't miss: Tatler Talks: Crazy Rich Asians Author Kevin Kwan In Conversation With Tatler Philippines

The Daniels originally wanted comedy action star Jackie Chan to play the lead and Yeoh as his wife. But they decided to reverse the roles and make Yeoh the protagonist. Immediately, they knew it was the right move, as Scheinert told The Hollywood Reporter: “[Kwan and I] have these very strong moms and grandmoms, and we’re also both kind of dopey, gentle guys ourselves. 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?’”

For Yeoh, filming Everything was a new experience, not only because it was a departure from her previously more stoic, overtly heroic roles, but also due to the underlying slapstick tone to the film, whose brand of humour mixes cinematic references with throwaway gags. She characteristically threw herself in headfirst, performing her own stunts, just as she always has done, in a film that revels in its chaos and absurdity.

© 2022 Tatler Asia Limited. All rights reserved.