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“It’s like the older you get, they see you by your age rather than see you by your capability,” Yeoh, 60, said of Hollywood.
During the interview, the actress praised Everything Everywhere‘s directors Daniel Kwan and Daniel Scheinert, calling it “joyful” that they “thought she can do this — if anybody can in our industry — who can fight, who can be funny, who can be dramatic and sincere and all those kind of things.”
“To receive that, you don’t know how … joyful [it feels] when someone gives you the opportunity to show what you’re capable of,” Yeoh said.
Moviestore/Shutterstock Stephanie Hsu, Michelle Yeoh and Ke Huy Quan in Everything Everywhere All at Once
Yeoh answered affirmatively when asked whether she thought she would never be cast in a lead role such as Everything Everywhere‘s Evelyn Wang, a role that features her as an unassuming laundromat owner who taps into several differently-skilled alternate versions of herself to save the universe.
“I’ve had a spectacular career. But you don’t want it to just slow down or end because you have gotten to a certain age,” she said. “And you start getting scripts where the guy, the hero, is still in his 50s, 60s — some even more. And then they get to go on the adventure with your daughter.”
“Then you go, like, ‘No, c’mon guys, give me a chance,’ ” Yeoh added. “Because I feel that I am still able to do all that.”
During the interview, Yeoh also spoke to the inspirational impact her role — and the movie at large — has had on the Asian community since its release last March.
“What I found so beautiful was it was giving a voice to a very ordinary woman,” she said. “[An] aging, immigrant woman who’s never really had a voice before.”
“It’s hard being, looking like this, because I have a lot of Asians who come up to me and say, ‘Thank you for doing this because now I see it’s possible for us to be there,’ ” Yeoh added. “It is very important because what we’re giving to all the Asian faces is that we’re not invisible.”