Michelle Yeoh’s mother just wants her to look like a “movie star” in every role.
The “Everything Everywhere All at Once” Oscar contender revealed that while the film was critically acclaimed and a box office hit, her own mother had qualms with Yeoh playing unassuming laundromat owner Evelyn Wang.
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“I think my mother was upset when she saw the film,” Yeoh said in a W Magazine cover story. “I was really worried about her seeing the sex toys that were flying around in the movie, but I guess she never noticed those. Instead, she said, ‘Why do you look so old? You should look like the film where you had the ballgown on!'”
Yeoh added, “I’m like, ‘Oh my God.’ But that’s so typical of my mom: She wants me to run around the entire movie looking like a movie star.”
The “Tomorrow Never Dies” alum clarified that she is “not playing myself, and I would not want to do that,” and instead worked with directors the Daniels to craft (many) looks for her character.
“Thank god they wanted me to play Evelyn Wang, an Asian immigrant who you would pass by in Chinatown and probably not notice,” Yeoh said. “She’s sort of invisible, but she works so hard to ensure that her family can achieve the American Dream. She’s completely frazzled — to get that look, I wore a wig with lots of white hair, reading glasses around my neck, and very practical clothing. I had to change my posture — this is a woman who doesn’t have time to exercise. She has to look frumpy.”
Co-star Jamie Lee Curtis previously said she “just wanted to be truthful” to her own character of IRS inspector Deirdre Beaubeirdra.
“In the world, there is an industry — a billion-dollar, trillion-dollar industry — about hiding things. Concealers. Body-shapers. Fillers. Procedures. Clothing. Hair accessories. Hair products. Everything to conceal the reality of who we are,” Curtis said. “And my instruction to everybody was: I want there to be no concealing of anything.”
Curtis continued, “I’ve been sucking my stomach in since I was 11, when you start being conscious of boys and bodies, and the jeans are super tight. I very specifically decided to relinquish and release every muscle I had that I used to clench to hide the reality. That was my goal.”
Director Daniel Kwan, who helmed the film with co-screenwriter Daniel Scheinert, told Entertainment Weekly that Curtis went sans prosthetics to transform into her own frumpy “weird” alter-ego.
“Everyone assumes that her belly in the movie is a prosthetic, but it’s actually her real belly,” Kwan said. “She was grateful that she was allowed to just let it out.”
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