Michelle Yeoh on subtitled films: ‘Guess what? Americans do know how to read’

Here are some photos of Michelle Yeoh over the weekend, at the Cannes Film Festival. She was there to attend some events and premieres, and one would assume she’s being paid to wear certain things and look gorgeous. The green ensemble is a custom Balenciaga look. She also posed with Salma Hayek’s husband Francois-Henri Pinault at an event, so I bet she’s got some kind of major brand ambassadorship coming up. She looked impossibly cool at the Kering Women in Motion talk too – a great floor-length leather coat, black trousers, rich as hell. At that event, Michelle spoke about Asian representation in Hollywood, how there will be no sequel to Everything Everywhere and more. Some highlights:

When she came to Cannes with “Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon” more than 20 years ago. Yeoh says “it’s quite obvious” that Hollywood was not ready to recognize Asian actors at that time. “There were so many great Asian, Chinese movies that came out at that time. But if you look at all the films that get nominated here in Cannes and get awards, very rarely, especially at the Oscars…they would nominate best director, best film, everything. You wonder how do you get there without the actors? So, it seems a little odd…. When ‘Crouching Tiger’ came out, people were saying, ‘No one in America will watch this film because they don’t know how to read subtitles.’ But guess what? Americans do know how to read.”

What EEAAO proved: “It’s just a matter of pushing the envelope and refusing to say that this is the ‘normal way.’ In the ‘normal way,’ would ‘Everything Everywhere All At Once’ would have been nominated? Chances are no, five to ten years ago.”

On financial success: When “Crazy Rich Asians” became a global success in 2018, Yeoh says Hollywood executives finally paid attention. But if “Crazy Rich Asians” didn’t turn a profit, she says, “I wouldn’t be sitting here today.” Yeoh spoke about the double standard in the entertainment business where men are given more second chances than women, even with financial failures. “There are mega films that suffer terrible losses, yet they still go and keep doing the same thing,” Yeoh said. “It’s the studios thinking that’s their comfort zone: these movies, the budgets get bigger and they feel more violence, the more CGI will make it better — but the truth of the matter is it’s not. It’s really storytelling. In ‘Everything Everywhere All At Once,’ even though we traveled the multi-verses, the main theme was love.”

No sequel to “Everything Everywhere All At Once.” “There’s no sequel,” Yeoh announced during her talk with Variety at Cannes. “We would just be doing the same thing.”

She’s not reading scripts that call for an “Asian character”: “The best thing that has happened is I receive a script that doesn’t describe the character as a Chinese or Asian-looking person. We are actors. We are supposed to act. We are supposed to step into roles that are given to us and do our job as best we can. That, for me, is the biggest step forward.”

Asian pride in her Oscar win: “The most important thing it has done is it has generated such pride with our people. The day I won I honestly heard the roar of joy that came from that corner of the world. It’s been slowly moving in that way and this has pushed the door open and it’s not shutting behind me…When there’s so few roles in the past it’s so competitive. If you get the job, I don’t get the job. But now we have to change the mindset. If I’m successful, you can be successful.”

[From Variety]

I’m glad she’s shutting down any talk of an EEAAO sequel because that film does not need it. It’s fine as a stand-alone film. I guess people heard “multiverse” and thought it should be a franchise. It is not. That being said, Michelle needs some scripts, damn it. I just looked at her IMDB page – while she’s filming American Born Chinese (a TV series), she has not booked anything since her successful Oscar campaign. There have been no rumors in the trade papers about “this director wants Michelle Yeoh” or “AppleTV can’t wait to make Yeoh’s passion project.” Come on, guys – give her some work!

Photos courtesy of Avalon Red.

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12 Responses to “Michelle Yeoh on subtitled films: ‘Guess what? Americans do know how to read’”

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  1. Big Bertha says:

    That emerald green dress is gorgeous.

  2. Elizabeth Phillips says:

    I’m not sure I like the black-and-white necklace, but the gown is glorious.

    I’m fine with subtitles, because I grew up on opera. I’ve seen some amazing films with subtitles.

  3. NJGR says:

    Some neurodivergent people use subtitles even in their first language – I often do, as it’s an easier way for me to process information.

  4. MrsBanjo says:

    She’s returning to the Trek universe as Emperor Georgiou in a spin-off movie about a spy org, Section 31, and it’s possible she could return in the eventual Shang-Chi sequel.

  5. Zapp Brannigan says:

    I think her Section 31 film is due to start filming later this year and I cannot wait, she is great as Captain and Emperor Philippa Georgiou.

  6. HeyKay says:

    This women is gorgeous.
    Love the fact that she uses her jewelry with these beautiful gowns.
    She looks like what she is, a classic beauty, hugely successful, wealthy, internationally known Star!

    She and Pierce Brosnan make my top of the list red carpet looks.
    They are beautifully groomed and dressed, and professional at the red carpets, premieres, PR events. Rarely make a mistake.

    Subtitles and Closed Captions are fine with me.
    A good plot, good cast makes a good movie.

  7. Becks1 says:

    I love these looks. She just has such an innate sense of fashion. Her clothes never wear her.

    Subtitles are fine with me. I hate dubbing so if I’m watching a movie or TV that is not in English, I prefer subtitles. It does mean I have to pay attention so cant just scroll on my phone for half the movie, lol.

  8. Kristin says:

    I just want to shout-out to Princess Keen that THIS is how you wear opera gloves!

  9. Grant says:

    She’s luminous on screen and on the red carpet. Her Oscar win is one of my all-time favorites. I can’t wait to see what this incredible actress does next! She’s going to knock it out of the park as Madame Morrible in the Wicked movie, though!

  10. J. Ferber says:

    I NEVER minded reading sub-titles in order to watch some of the best films in the world. Granted, if I’m tired, I’m probably not up for it. But otherwise, yes.

  11. Sunny O says:

    Michelle Yeoh inked a deal to star in the next Star Trek movie.

    It’s called Star Trek: Section 31.

    Michelle Yeoh will be reprising her role from Star Trek Discovery as Philippa Georgiou.

  12. butterflystella says:

    She’s a fantastic actress! I use subtitles most of the time for anything I watch, even in English. I’ve got tinnitus pretty bad and it helps me not miss so much!