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Everything Everywhere All At Once Facts Only Big Fans May Know

While it's easy to imagine somebody having a complaint about a movie as distinctive and brazenly creative as "Everything Everywhere All at Once," one critique one could never lob at this feature from directors Dan Kwan and Daniel Scheinert is that it offers up too little. The story of middle-aged laundromat owner Evelyn (Michelle Yeoh) trying to channel various abilities from different dimensions to save all of existence throws a lot at the viewer visually and thematically. Rare is the scene where something fresh and new isn't being delivered to moviegoers. "Everything Everywhere All at Once" comes out of the gate swinging and is constantly hitting creative home runs that viewers won't soon forget.

Given the sheer density of this ambitious motion picture, it's no surprise that there's no shortage of unbelievable behind-the-scenes details about "Everything Everywhere All at Once." Thanks to both spending years in development and all the effort that went into bringing it to life, there's a lot going on with "Everything Everywhere All at Once" beyond what you see onscreen. There's info concerning everything from the origins of this unique project to what an abandoned Daniel Radcliffe cameo would have entailed, and even who was originally set to play the film's protagonist. Fold up your laundry and grab some googly-eyes, it's time to explore the furthest corners of "Everything Everywhere All at Once."

The inspiration behind Everything Everywhere All at Once

According to Vulture, the genesis of "Everything Everywhere All at Once" can be traced back to the most unlikely of movies: "Sherman's March." This 1985 documentary introduced directors Daniel Scheinert and Daniel Kwan (aka Daniels) to the concept of modal realism. From there, they began to do some digging and started learning more and more about professional theories regarding the multiverse. A common theme in everything from art to mathematics, the concept was immediately intriguing to the filmmaking duo since it appealed to their maximalist tendencies as artists.

The pair are always looking to cram as much stuff as possible into their directorial efforts, whether that be a music video or a movie, so being able to explore many different dimensions was extremely engaging to their creative sensibilities. Despite how ridiculous the works of Daniels seemingly are, these two directors were also extremely interested in the science behind these concepts and did their research accordingly. This gave some tangible grounding for all the madness that would eventually be unleashed in their exploration of the multiverse in "Everything Everywhere All at Once." 

Jackie Chan was the original choice to headline the movie

It's impossible to imagine a version of "Everything Everywhere All at Once" that isn't anchored by Michelle Yeoh. She's the heart and soul of the entire picture, while scenes in the movie even use actual archival footage of Yeoh at events like the premiere of "Crazy Rich Asians." "Everything Everywhere All at Once" and Yeoh are deeply intertwined, so it's somewhat insane to realize that she wasn't the first choice for the character of Evelyn. Originally, this figure was going to be a man and would have been portrayed by another legend of the silver screen, Jackie Chan.

Co-director Daniel Scheinert admitted to The Hollywood Reporter that he and Daniel Kwan originally thought that "Everything Everywhere All at Once" needed a male lead since it was an action movie, with the pair eyeballing Jackie Chan to fill that role. Yeoh was always meant to be in "Everything Everywhere All at Once," but she was originally assigned the part of the protagonist's wife. However, as they continued working on "Everything Everywhere All at Once," the directors got the idea that the story would be much better if Yeoh's character was the protagonist. Suddenly, a whole new world of narrative possibilities opened up for "Everything Everywhere All at Once." While this meant abandoning the idea of casting Chan, it's impossible to complain about his absence considering how excellent Yeoh is as Evelyn.

How the Russo Brothers got involved as producers

Anthony and Joe Russo aren't just the directors of some of the most lucrative Marvel movies of all time. They also run the production company AGBO, which produced, among many other projects, "Everything Everywhere All At Once." This zany multiverse adventure is certainly a far cry from anything the Russos have ever made, but there was a very logical explanation for how the "Avengers: Endgame" directors got involved in this motion picture.

The duo explained to SyFy that their desire to work with "Everything Everywhere All At Once" directors Daniels came after watching and being impressed by their 2016 feature, "Swiss Army Man." The Russos were also reminded of how they got their big break in show business once Steven Soderbergh took an interest in the then-unknown duo. The Russos saw an opportunity to do something similar by lending their clout to whatever it is that Daniels did next. With that, AGBO got involved with these filmmakers and committed to being a part of "Everything Everywhere All At Once."

Awkwafina was originally supposed to star

After years of development, "Everything Everywhere all at Once" began to gain a renewed sense of momentum in August 2019. It was revealed (via The Hollywood Reporter) that Michelle Yeoh and Awkwafina were in talks to headline the movie, a casting choice that would reunite the two performers after they worked together on "Crazy Rich Asians." It also gave "Everything Everywhere All at Once" an extra dose of star power with the presence of Awkwafina, who was hot coming off the arthouse hit (via Forbes) "The Farewell." Directors Dan Kwan and Daniel Scheinert had already worked with Awkwafina by helming an episode of her TV show "Awkwafina is Nora from Queens."

However, by January 2020, as "Everything Everywhere All at Once" was to begin filming, Awkwafina was no longer part of its cast (via Deadline). The official reason for this development was never revealed, but it was presumably due to scheduling conflicts, since Awkwafina had roles in other projects like "Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings" that were filming around the same time. While losing Awkwafina may have been a bummer, it didn't slow down "Everything Everywhere All at Once," which plowed ahead with principal photography and scored other lead performers like Stephanie Hsu. Perhaps there is an alternate reality out there, however, where viewers were able to see Awkwafina co-star in "Everything Everywhere All at Once."

What compelled Michelle Yeoh to play Evelyn

Michelle Yeoh's legendary career has spanned countless genres and iconic films, yet even she had never appeared in a movie quite like "Everything Everywhere All at Once" before. Tasked with playing protagonist Evelyn, Yeoh got to build on her gifts for comic timing and fight choreography but also got to play in a much more absurdist world than she'd ever previously participated in. Some actors might balk at being asked to join such an unusual feature, but Yeoh was enthusiastic from the start (via Cosmopolitan), mainly because of the prospect of getting work with directors Dan Kwan and Dan Scheinert.

Yeoh was also enthusiastic about getting to play a character like Evelyn, who inhabited an archetype (a middle-aged mom) that she felt was often erased entirely in cinematic narratives. Not only getting to inhabit that role, but getting to play her as an empowered protagonist, filled Yeoh with excitement. On top of all that, Yeoh was further enticed to join "Everything Everywhere All at Once" because of how much dedication everyone involved had to the movie. Such passion is infectious and proved to be a key ingredient, among many, to securing Yeoh's participation in this unforgettably unorthodox movie.

When A24 joined the project

Although A24 distributed Dan Kwan and Daniel Scheinert's inaugural directorial effort, "Swiss Army Man," they were not always attached to their second feature-length movie, "Everything Everywhere All at Once." Initially, the film was an entirely independent affair (via Deadline) without a major U.S. movie studio backing it. However, just as it began shooting, it was announced that A24 would both finance and distribute "Everything Everywhere All at Once" in its theatrical run.

This was a sharp contrast to the deal A24 had struck for "Swiss Army Man," which the studio only distributed after it premiered at the 2016 Sundance Film Festival, according to Deadline. Getting in early with "Everything Everywhere All at Once," before cameras even started rolling, showed a lot of confidence from A24 in the project and reflected the studio's commitment to bankrolling more of the movies it releases. A24 was not the only production company attached to the feature, with shingles like AGBO also getting credit. But with their participation, "Everything Everywhere All at Once" got a boost in financing and was attached to one of the hottest names in the modern indie movie scene.

The importance of Evelyn working in a laundromat

Having Evelyn work in a laundromat is a great choice on so many levels for "Everything Everywhere All at Once." For one thing, it puts this character and her family in the midst of working-class life. Just seeing her walk around in her workplace makes it clear what kind of financial difficulties she navigates daily. It also creates an instantaneous underdog sensibility in Evelyn that contrasts nicely with her eventual transformation into a warrior who can pluck abilities from differing dimensions. But there's also a deeply personal reason for making this Evelyn's occupation.

Director Daniel Kwan revealed to Digital Spy that his grandfather ran a laundromat when he came to New York City from Hong Kong. Remembering his dad's stories about growing up directly above a laundromat, Kwan knew what occupation Evelyn had to work in. Kwan also noted that the laundromat turned out to be a perfect extension for the film's central message of finding the beauty in seemingly throwaway parts of everyday life. Whatever angle you interpret it from, making Evelyn work in a laundromat was a gift for "Everything Everywhere All at Once."

Why Michelle Yeoh was grateful for the cast

The cast of "Everything Everywhere All at Once" is perfect proof of how a movie is defined by every member of its ensemble and not just its leads. Michelle Yeoh and Ke Huy Quan are indispensable in their performances as the story's protagonists, but this movie wouldn't be complete without the terrific supporting turns from Jamie Lee Curtis, Stephanie Hsu, and James Hong, among many others. All these impressively committed performances swirl together to cement the creatively bold aesthetic of the entire movie, and nobody was more aware of how important all these actors were to "Everything Everywhere All at Once" than Michelle Yeoh.

Yeoh noted to The AV Club that her character, Evelyn Wang, would not be able to function in the narrative of "Everything Everywhere All at Once" without the film's supporting characters and performances. Such richly detailed and human turns were especially critical in the eyes of Yeoh, because "Everything Everywhere All at Once" is such a heightened sci-fi story trying to convey a deeply grounded message about the importance of kindness. Balancing those contrasting concepts could have gone badly wrong under other circumstances, but Yeoh was grateful to be surrounded by a superb ensemble cast that executed the movie's complex tone and message with finesse.

Who Daniel Radcliffe was supposed to play

Before they directed "Everything Everywhere All at Once," filmmaking duo Daniels made their feature-length directorial debut with the 2016 indie film "Swiss Army Man." It was just the kind of project that immediately cemented the pair as directors to watch, thanks to its complicated tone and bold imagery. Plus it contained a go-for-broke performance from Daniel Radcliffe as a corpse that can talk, fart, and anything else you can imagine. Radcliffe was an essential part of why "Swiss Army Man" didn't collapse under the weight of its own strangeness, so it's no surprise that Daniels wanted to reunite with the former "Harry Potter" leading man on "Everything Everywhere All at Once."

Radcliffe revealed on The A24 Podcast that he would have appeared as a hot dog dancer with Sunita Mani in a fictional movie that plays in Evelyn's laundromat. Radcliffe's work would have been confined to just one day of shooting, and the actor was incredibly excited about the idea of being in the film in such a wacky role. However, Radcliffe couldn't do the part solely because of scheduling conflicts with his stage performances in a series of plays in London. Aaron Lazar ended up getting the role instead and did a great job with such a ludicrous part, though it'll always be bittersweet that "Everything Everywhere All at Once" couldn't have also functioned as a "Swiss Army Man" reunion.

Stephanie Hsu's experiences on the set

In the world of New York theater, Stephanie Hsu has already built up a remarkable career. Prominent roles in musicals like "Be More Chill" and "The SpongeBob Musical" have helped solidify her as a performer to watch out for. She's also managed to deliver memorable work in TV shows like "The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel" and "The Path." In the domain of movies, though, Hsu's experience is a bit more limited, though she landed a massive breakthrough on the big screen thanks to her work as Joy Wang/Jobu Tupaki in "Everything Everywhere All at Once."

Talking with Collider about her experience shooting the movie, Hsu said that this being her first major motion picture role inspired her to just go for broke in her onscreen performance. Being unfamiliar with how film sets operate, Hsu threw caution to the wind and embraced all the possibilities of her idiosyncratic character. She noted that it was easy to get into that mindset because of how committed everyone else was on the set of "Everything Everywhere All at Once." Hsu couldn't have asked for a better or more unique launchpad to begin her feature film acting career.

How Ke Huy Quan felt about returning to acting

In 2002, Ke Huy Quan stepped away from acting due to a lack of opportunities for Asian actors. After years of working in behind-the-scenes roles on various projects, his performance as Waymond Wang in "Everything Everywhere All at Once" was his first acting credit in roughly two decades. Quan noted that his lengthy absence from acting meant he was extremely nervous before the cameras started to roll. He told Comingsoon.net that concerns about whether or not he'd even be able to engage with the craft again raced through his mind.

However, Quan recalled that the moment the cameras started rolling, he was brought back to his days of acting as a kid and felt immediately comfortable again. Making his time on the "Everything Everywhere All at Once" set even more pleasant was Quan's excitement over getting to work with Michelle Yeoh and everyone else in the cast. Plus Quan was enormously grateful for the script that Daniels wrote — the kind of screenplay and character he'd always wanted to work with but had never gotten the chance to embrace until now. It's no wonder Quan felt so instantly comfortable on the set.

The visual effects wizardry of Everything Everywhere

"Everything Everywhere All at Once" is an incredibly high-concept motion picture involving raccoons tugging on people's hair, enormous pessimistic bagels, and everything in between. It's no surprise that it required lots of visual effects wizardry to bring it to life. What is surprising, though, is both how those visual effects were created and how many resources were dedicated to those effects. In a breakdown by IndieWire, it was revealed that 80% of the visual effects shots in "Everything Everywhere All at Once" were handled by just five people.

Although this indie feature didn't have armies of technicians and artists at its disposal, "Everything Everywhere All at Once" did have a dedicated team of visual effects wizards who found inspiration in some all-time great movies. Specifically, the group looked towards 1980s classics like "Ghostbusters" or "Who Framed Roger Rabbit" for inspiration on how to make tangible images without relying solely on CGI. This dedicated gaggle of artists also turned to programs like After Effects to realize many of the most complicated visual effects details in "Everything Everywhere All at Once." They didn't have cutting-edge technology on their side, but the "Everything Everywhere All at Once" visual effects team delivered state-of-the-art work with endearingly ramshackle means.

The incredible box office run of Everything Everywhere All at Once

There's no other way to describe the box office run of "Everything Everywhere All at Once" than phenomenal. Defying the odds, the movie made its box office prowess apparent early on when it managed to increase 2% in its second weekend of wide release. Movies almost always decrease in ticket sales week to week, but the word-of-mouth kept this one around in the public conversation. "Everything Everywhere All at Once" held on astonishingly well week-to-week and, despite opening in limited release on the last weekend of March 2022, was still playing in wide release by the 4th of July.

"Everything Everywhere All at Once" eventually cracked $70 million domestically, nearly three times its $25 million budget and by far the biggest A24 movie ever in North America (via Deadline). "Everything Everywhere All at Once" also proved to be a lucrative enterprise in foreign markets, where it managed to make another $30 million. With this haul, "Everything Everywhere All at Once" cracked $100 million globally (per Variety), making it the first-ever A24 title to cross that threshold worldwide. Nobody could have ever imagined this movie doing this well, but then again it's fitting that a movie as unusual as "Everything Everywhere All at Once" would have a box office run that breaks all the rules.