‘Everything Everywhere All at Once’ Was Originally Jackie Chan With Michelle Yeoh

The movie Everything Everywhere All at Once is connecting with viewers everywhere all at once. As the film makes its way into more theaters, everyone everywhere has a chance to discover the multiverse with Michelle Yeoh. Jackie Chan was originally set to star in the film, which would have reunited Yeoh and Chan, but it would have been a very different film. 

'Everything Everywhere All at Once': Michelle Yeoh trains with Li Jing
L-R: Michelle Yeoh and Li Jing | A24

Yeoh was a guest on Sway’s podcast on April 14. She shared the story of the early version of Everything Everywhere All At Once that would have also starred Chan. 

After ‘Supercop’ Michelle Yeoh would not play second fiddle to Jackie Chan 

Yeoh became a Hong Kong martial arts star in the ‘80s when Jackie Chan had already established himself as the action-comedy star. He’s still doing death-defying stunts today. The 1992 film Police Story III: Supercop teamed them up. That film was released in the U.S. in 1996, after Chan had finally crossed over with Rumble in the Bronx. In Supercop, they were already equals, two agents going undercover. 

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“In that original thing, initially, it was like, I would have played the wife of Jackie Chan,”  Yeoh told Sway. “And I’m like, no way. In your dreams, buddy. Not going to happen.”

‘Everything Everywhere All At Once’ filled Jackie Chan’s role with another legend

Yeoh plays Evelyn Wang. It’s an alternate universe version of her husband Waymond (Ke Huy Quan) who teaches Evelyn how to access the multiverse. Quan was in the ‘80s classics Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom and The Goonies, and Everything Everywhere is his comeback. In the Chan version, Waymond would have been the hero. 

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“So what they did was, like, let’s switch the roles because it’s not been done,” Yeoh said. “Think about it. This is the first time you’re seeing an older Asian immigrant woman being the superhero, having the opportunity to demonstrate these kind of martial arts skills. It’s normally, yes, for a younger version. It could have been a girl. But in general, it’s always an older man. And I think that was one of the light switches that came on.”

Michelle Yeoh took the Jackie Chan role

Writer/directors Dan Kwan and Daniel Schienert, who go by Daniels, created Everything Everywhere All At Once. Yeoh’s story gets a little fuzzy here, but apparently Chan was unavailable anyway. 

“When the Daniels first wrote it, it’s true,” Yeoh said. “It’s true. I received a text message from Jackie because I was not well. And he heard about it, and he says, oh, get well soon. You’re a super heroine, and in no time you will be back on your feet again. And then he said to me, oh, the Daniels came and pitched me the movie in China. And I said, ‘Aw, poor you. Your loss is my gain, bro.’”

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