Stephanie Hsu needed a weirdo disclaimer on set of Everything Everywhere All At Once

Stephanie Hsu needed a weirdo disclaimer for EEAAO
Stephanie Hsu needed a weirdo disclaimer for EEAAO

Daniel Scheinert, Stephanie Hsu, and Daniel Kwan

Everything Everywhere All At Once has to be one of the more unusual Best Picture nominees in Academy Awards history. There’s a whole lot of weirdness going on in the film’s multiverse, a lot due to Stephanie Hsu’s Oscar-nominated performance as the villain Jobu. Hsu was a natural in the outrageous role, but she was concerned that the unique demands of the character might be judged harshly by the rest of the cast and crew.

“We’re all very weird, and I have no fear of being weird with them, and in fact they kind of bring out more weird in me,” Hsu explains about her relationship with directors Daniels on The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon. “So when we were kind of working on the role, we would really start to like, you know, get into it, and they would give me the direction a lot: ‘Okay, now break the movie. Destroy the movie.’ And so… I would do a scene as Jobu, as written, and sometimes I would just stop. Or sometimes I would just like, leave frame. But this is when we were working just the three of us.”

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Stephanie Hsu on Oscars, Everything Everywhere All at Once and Commuting to Australia (Extended)

“And then, the first day I got onto set, it was the hallway scene, the introduction of Jobu,” the actor continues. “And I all of a sudden got so nervous, because it was my first scene with Michelle Yeoh. And I had never worked with any of the crew. And so I was like, ‘They’re gonna think I’m the worst actor on earth. They’re gonna think that I’m just being weird and completely unhinged for no reason. So I made them make an announcement.”

According to Hsu, the filmmakers prefaced her performance by telling the crew: “Hey everybody, this is Stephanie, she’s gonna be kinda weird. But we told her to do that!”

Did they know then they were witnessing awards-caliber work? Hsu says she knew at the time of filming “that it was the most special experience I’ve ever had, creatively, in my life,” but she revisited it again immediately before the Oscar noms were announced. “I wanted to do a ritual for myself. Things have gotten shinier and shinier. And I wanted to have a moment where I got to watch the movie one more time to look back on that moment, of that seed of making, the heartbeat, this special thing we made together. And I hadn’t watched it on a plane,” said Hsu.

Watching the film on a tiny screen while commuting from Sydney, “I felt like one of those superfans of our own movie where they always say, ‘The movie starts and I start weeping.’ And that was me, I was so embarrassed. I was like, I hope no one’s seeing me cry at our own movie.” Watch her full Tonight Show interview above.

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