Malaysian actress Michelle Yeoh recently spoke to CBS Sunday Morning about her role in the film Everything Everywhere All at Once, for which she is receiving Oscar buzz. Yeoh, who is known for her martial arts skills and has appeared in films such as Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon and Tomorrow Never Dies, admitted that she was surprised to be cast in the lead role at this point in her career.
"The older you get, they see you by your age rather than see you by your capability," she said. In the interview, Yeoh also discussed the emotional validation she felt upon being given the opportunity to take on a physically demanding role that required both comedic and dramatic range.
"It is so meaningful when someone gives you the chance to show what you're capable of," she said, adding that she often worries about her "spectacular career" coming to an end as she gets older. Yeoh shared that she has experienced ageism in Hollywood, "You don't want it to just slow down or end because you have gotten to a certain age," she said.
"And you start getting scripts where the guy, the hero, is still in his 50s, 60s ... some even more. And they get to go on the adventure with your daughter. And then you go, like, 'No, c'mon guys, give me a chance.' Because I feel that I am still able to do all that."
In addition to her acting career, Yeoh also talked about her personal life, including her decision to step back from the film industry after marrying producer Dickson Poon in 1988 to focus on motherhood.
However, when she learned that she "couldn't have kids," Yeoh left the marriage, saying "I knew that this was a family who needed kids." Despite the devastation of that decision, Yeoh has found joy in her godchildren and her relationship with French motor racing executive Jean Todt, whom she has been with since 2004.
To start each day, Yeoh begins with stretches in bed and a meditation in which she apologizes to her body for the "bumps and bruises" it will endure during her stunts. "Please forgive me. I'm sorry. Thank you. I love you," she says as part of her morning routine.