Fools pressured Michelle Yeoh to retire before her first Oscar nomination: 'Do not tell me what to do'
Michelle Yeoh revealed that her age led to increased pressure to retire from acting before she landed her first Oscar nomination for the 2022 multiverse hit Everything Everywhere All at Once.
The 60-year-old told the Los Angeles Times that, as she aged, she began to feel opportunities drying up around her.
"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. 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," she said, referencing her character in the Best Picture-nominated film that follows a laundromat owner who travels through time and space to reconnect with her family.
Rich Polk/NBC via Getty Images Michelle Yeoh
"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," she continued. "I should be in control of what I am capable of, right?"
She also expressed gratitude for Hollywood support as she tackled the complex performance, which has earned the star numerous nods and accolades on the pre-Oscars awards trail so far.
"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. "As an actor, you need the opportunity. You need the role that will help you showcase what you are capable to do."
Allyson Riggs/A24 Michelle Yeoh in 'Everything Everywhere All at Once'
Yeoh previously told W Magazine that another — far more important — person in her life had a few thoughts on her position in the film industry, too.
"I was really worried about her seeing the sex toys that were flying around in the movie, but I guess she never noticed those," Yeoh said of her mother seeing the film for the first time. "Instead, she said, 'Why do you look so old? You should look like the film where you had the ballgown on!' 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."
Sign up for Entertainment Weekly's free daily newsletter to get breaking TV news, exclusive first looks, recaps, reviews, interviews with your favorite stars, and more.