A couple of days ago, I went to see the movie Everything Everywhere All at Once, it wasn’t a movie I knew about or was anticipating, the decision to watch this movie was utterly unprovoked so I had no expectations. I first noticed the bizarre settings of the movie; it was unlike anything I've ever watched in all its chaotic madness. I am talking hotdogs for hands, a talking racoon, and many more bizarre madness which will only make you ask, ‘What the heck is going on?’
Another thing of notice, which I must mention stood out was the incredible multiverse storytelling the movie was centred on.
The multiverse is a concept that is being widely used in the media, now more than ever. The strangeness of the possibilities of alternate existence and multiverses just soaks you up in the speculative wonder of you in a different timeline, existence, and lifestyle. If truly, an alternate universe exists on which you exist too, “what is your alternate self doing? Are they older? Hopefully they are rich and successful so you can also be rich and successful in this universe? What if they are the real you and you’re the alternative?” These are questions that the possibility of a multiverse opens our minds to. Everything everywhere all at once opens our minds and makes us realise that if we do exist in another universe, chances are, we are much connected than we know and may even possess the ability to inter-travel.
In the movie, everything was, well, everywhere all at once. It follows the story of Evelyn Wang (Michelle Yeoh) a Chinese American woman, drowning in the stress of her family’s laundromat and taxes, when she is suddenly swept into a chaotic and weird adventure of mind-travelling to different universes to stop the bewildering danger of the world going out of balance. The movie was directed by the iconic leading duo, Daniel Kwan and Daniel Scheinert, collectively known as ‘The Daniels’ who admitted that Everything everywhere all at once began as a joke about their mom being stuck in The Matrix and then the making of the story started in 2016. This makes us wonder, what other interesting behind the scenes facts should we know about this crazy maximalist but profound film. Read on to find out!
In the kung fu/movie star universe, real-life footage from Yeoh's career was used.
You might have already figured this out while watching this movie, especially if you have already seen Crazy Rich Asians. You could see the actual footage of Yeoh in her role in Crazy Rich Asians and a couple of real-life, red-carpet pictures. So, I’m thinking, are Crazy Rich Asians Eleanor and real-life Michelle Yeoh alternate versions of Everything Everything all at once Evelyn Wang? Think about it.
Awkwafina was originally considered for the role of Joy
Awkwafina was originally in talks with the creators of Everything Everywhere all at once for the role of Evelyn’s daughter, Joy, but dropped out of the movie by early 2020 due to scheduling conflicts and her role was taken up by Stephanie Hsu. The Daniels even directed an episode of Awkwafina’s Nora from Queens. While we would have loved to see the quirky Asian-American actress alongside her Crazy Rich Asians co-actor, Yeoh, we love how Hsu embodied the role and the mother-daughter duo of Evelyn and Joy.
The hotdog hands were real prosthetic gloves not CGI (Computer generated images)
I figured this one out the first time the hotdog hands came on screen and that’s because I couldn’t get my eyes off it. Jason Hamer, who played the Raccacoonie puppeteer, moulded the actors' hands into a glove-like shape using a material that looks similar to human skin, but before the moulding set, Hamer replaced the fingers with actual hot dogs.
The CGI was edited by a team of five who didn’t study visual effects
To pull off great editing and CGI, a smart and talented visual team equipped with proper training and education is usually the requirement. For example, we have heard of the costs of editing Marvel movies. Doctor Strange: Multiverse of Madness, a competing multiverse movie, had a budget of $200 million. But Everything Everywhere All at Once was edited by a small team of 5 self-taught individuals, each editing from their bedroom during the pandemic. I honestly fail to comprehend the possibility of it, but they did, and might I say, it’s incredible, the movie is devoid of any noticeable flaw to my edit amateur eyes.
The movie was filmed in thirty-nine days on a $25 million budget
They also had to halt shooting with only one day left due to the pandemic, and when shooting resumed some scenes which included the actors were shot without the actors. How they pulled that off boils down to the power of talent, determination, and great editing. The movie which was also produced on a low budget of $25 million has greatly exceeded its investments as it breaks a box office record and becomes A24’s highest-grossing film domestically. At the time of recording, Everything Everywhere has hit $61.1 million in Box Office.
Jackie Chan was considered for the lead role
Before Yeoh was cast in the lead role, the directors had Jackie Chan in mind. In fact, the lead role was originally written for him. The Daniels eventually decided a husband-wife dynamic would be more relatable and interesting and changed the lead role to a woman. In an interview with Indiewire Kwan, one of the directors says, ‘No one else in the world can play this role. If she says no, maybe the movie dies.” We are happy Yeoh didn’t turn down the offer and was pretty excited about it, spotting on how older women were finally being recognized as superheroes. She also playfully bragged to Jackie Chan about her role telling him ‘Your loss, my bro.’