Everything Everywhere All At Once Stars Discuss Why The Film's Story Is Important For Asian Representation

The latest dive into the multiverse doesn’t include your favorite Marvel heroes. Instead, it’s centered on an Asian-American family that owns a laundromat and is going through relationship and tax woes. Everything Everywhere All At Once takes action sci-fi to a whole other level that is offbeat and weird, but also incredibly heartwarming and universal. You’re gonna want to catch this one in theaters. Along with it being a very fun and funny trip, the film is also incredibly important to its actors and Asian representation in Hollywood films. 

When CinemaBlend’s Law Sharma interviewed the cast of Everything Everywhere All At Once, he asked them about how the movie’s story is important to each of them. Stephanie Hsu, who plays the daughter of Michelle Yeoh and Ke Huy Quan’s Evelyn and Waymond, said this: 

I am the daughter of an immigrant. I never thought that I could even be in this industry. I never saw myself on the screen, maybe a little in The Goonies and I just think so many people in our community really relate to this story and it is something that they’ve never seen before, right? And especially with everything that is going on in the world right now, and specifically in our country in America with the violence against Asians people just need to know that we are so full of history and messy[ness] and love. I think that this is an everyman or everywoman story in so many ways. Michelle Yeoh as the owner of a laundromat and we never get to hear that in a way that is not a stereotype, it’s honest – I think this is one of the most honest portrayals of an Asian family that I’ve ever seen and I’m excited and honored to be a part of it.

Stephanie Hsu plays a young queer woman who struggles to balance a life from an immigrant family who is also American-born. She is in a same-sex relationship and feels unaccepted by her mother in particular. As the movie’s multiverse storyline reveals itself, Everything Everywhere All At Once delves deeper in the relationship between the mother and daughter in a wildly original way not only unique to the genre, but movies centered on Asian people. 

Ke Huy Quan got his start as a kid in the popular ‘80s movies The Goonies and Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom before stepping away from acting, having recently revealed because he was being offered so many roles that were very “stereotypical” to Asian people. Quan opened up as to why his latest movie is a step in the right direction for the AAPI community:  

Over the years, we have seen the story told in some shape or form, but it’s never been told with a Chinese American family. What has happened in the last few years with Asian representation, with Crazy Rich Asians, Shang-Chi and The Farewell, here we are. I know things haven’t moved as fast as we want, but with all sustainable improvements, they happen gradually and I’m just so hopeful that Hollywood is allowing us to tell stories like this. It’s a testament to how important that not just Asians but all groups of people to be represented in entertainment.

As Quan reminds, there have been some incredible moments of representation in Hollywood as of late between the box office success of Crazy Rich Asians, Marvel introducing its first Asian hero in Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings, and movies like The Farewell, Parasite and Minari becoming award season favorites. The legendary James Hong, who got his start in the movie and TV business back in the 1950s, also shared his take: 

In my 70 years, [going back from] when I started not long after the Exclusion Act was still active… All of a sudden, we’re back into the other side where we started where there is this discrimination and I hate to see that because here we are Americans, citizens doing our best to contribute to the industry and entertain you. I’ve given my whole life to do films and TV, 500 or more of them and you’ve accepted me as part of your family and [the other actors/filmmakers in Everything Everywhere All At Once] show you especially what their expression can mean to the community, to society and to the world. To watch this film, [the viewer] will know that Asian Americans are people that suffer and celebrate the same things that the people out there today. So scrap this hatred stuff, it doesn’t mean a thing. I love you and we don’t have any discrimination toward you, so I hope it doesn’t reflect back on us.

The Chinese Exclusion Act attempted to stop Chinese immigrants from coming to America starting in the late 1800s until it was finally repealed in 1942. Hong lived through those times and shared that he is seeing discrimination against Asian Americans once again in 2022 through numerous Anti-Asian hate crimes being reported a lot more as of late. 

He and the cast hope a movie like Everything Everywhere All At Once can inspire more empathy for the AAPI community along with it being an incredible piece of film. (CinemaBlend awarded the film a perfect 5 out 5 stars in our review). You can check out Everything Everywhere All At Once in theaters now and be sure to check out what other upcoming 2022 movies are on the way here on CinemaBlend. 

Sarah El-Mahmoud
Staff Writer

YA genre tribute. Horror May Queen. Word webslinger. All her writing should be read in Sarah Connor’s Terminator 2 voice over.