Michelle Yeoh says she finds it difficult to land lead roles as she gets older: People start saying 'you should retire'
Michelle Yeoh has said that she finds it difficult to find good roles as she gets older.
She said that people start putting older women in a box and say, "Oh yeah, you should retire."
Yeoh felt "emotional" when "Everything Everywhere All At Once" allowed her to show her talent.
Michelle Yeoh said that she has found it difficult to get substantial acting opportunities as she gets older.
After almost 40 years of acting, Yeoh is finally gaining critical recognition in Hollywood following her performance in "Everything Everywhere All At Once." The Malaysian actor has already won a Golden Globe for the role and has been nominated for an Academy Award for best actress.
In an interview with the Los Angeles Times' podcast "The Envelope," Yeoh said that she was grateful that the movie's directors, Daniel Kwan and Daniel Scheinert, gave her an opportunity to "showcase" her acting talents.
"The first thing is you feel like, 'Finally, thank you. You guys see me, you guys really see, and you're giving me the opportunity to show that I'm capable of doing all this,'" she said. "You know, as you get older, the roles get smaller. It seems like the numbers go up and these things go narrow and then you start getting relegated to the side more and more."
Yeoh continued: "So when 'Everything Everywhere' came, all at once it was very emotional because this means that you are the one who's leading this whole process, who's telling the story."
"Everything Everywhere All At Once" was written specifically for Yeoh, with the lead character almost being called Michelle. Jackie Chan was originally approached for the lead role but the directors eventually decided to revise the script to make Yeoh the lead.
Yeoh said on the podcast: "You know, as you get older, people start saying, 'Oh yeah, you should retire. You should do this. You should—' No, guys. Do not tell me what to do. I should be in control of what I am capable of, right?"
Yeoh clarified that people do not actually tell her to retire, but she started to feel that way when roles were not coming in.
She also noted that actors such as Reese Witherspoon and Nicole Kidman have set up their own production companies as they've gotten older so that they are able to create their own stories.
"There are beautiful stories that still need to be told for us older women, and we should not back down and say, 'Well, OK, I'll just like accept it,'" Yeoh said. "But then, those roles are not so many. So we have to find ways to tell these storytellers, 'Don't look at us as being older women. Just look at us as great actors and actors who can help you tell your story.'"
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