The pair's relationship spans decades, having first starred together in a 1984 commercial
Advertisement
Michelle Yeoh, Jackie Chan
Credit: Momodu Mansaray/Getty; George Pimentel/FilmMagic

Michelle Yeoh did not shy away from letting her friend Jackie Chan know what he missed in turning down the lead role in Everything Everywhere All at Once.

In the film, Yeoh, 59, plays Evelyn Wang, a Chinese immigrant who is swept up in a wild adventure, where she's dropped into other universes on a mission to save her world.

Writers/directors Daniel Scheinert and Daniel Kwan, collectively known as the Daniels, originally envisioned martial arts legend and actor Chan, 68, for the role and met with him. When Chan told them he was unavailable, the part was rewritten for Yeoh.

In an interview with The Guardian published Friday, Yeoh shared how her longtime friend reacted to the movie's acclaim. 

"Jackie actually texted me," she said. "And he says: 'Wow, I hear amazing things about your movie. Did you know that the boys came to see me in China?' And I said: 'Yes, your loss, my bro!'"

The Guardian reported that Chan first met Yeoh when they co-starred in a 1984 commercial for a Hong Kong watch brand. 

The 2022 Met Gala Celebrating “In America: An Anthology of Fashion” – Arrivals
Credit: Getty

In an interview with The Hollywood Reporter published in March, the Daniels shared that they initially pictured Yeoh as Chan's wife, but felt that bringing her in as the film's lead was a game-changer.  

"At first we were like, 'Action movie, going to star a dude,' " Scheinert said regarding the pair's second film. But as Kwan explained, the two took the role in a different direction.

"We were having trouble figuring out the casting for the father figure, and one of us started wondering what happens if we take Michelle's character and flop it and she becomes the protagonist," Kwan told THR. "And the film just opened up in a completely different way."

The directors admitted, though, that they felt casting Yeoh might be out of their reach. 

"[It was] really thrilling and really scary," he continued, "because we were like, 'No one else in the world can play this role. If she says no, maybe the movie dies.' "

Contrary to their concerns, Yeoh was captivated by the script. "I love working with young directors because they bring a different energy," she told THR. "That's what I need: to be challenged, to have directors look at me in a different way."

Everything Everywhere All at Once is now playing in theaters.