Michelle Yeoh is famous in Hollywood for her impressive martial arts and acting skills, but her journey towards stardom was challenging.
Yeoh reportedly grew up in ballet before progressing to film, making her a graceful martial artist, until a severe injury made her consider quitting.
Fortunately for the stuntwoman, legendary filmmaker, Quentin Tarantino stopped her from walking away from what is now a boisterous career in Hollywood.
Michelle Yeoh Almost Retired From Acting Due To Severe Injury
Yeoh’s dance skills made her excellent at fight choreography, making her one of the most renowned martial arts actresses under Michelle Khan’s title.
In a candid interview with The Hollywood Reporter, the 59-year-old spoke about one of the most horrific injuries she suffered in her career while filming the 1996 movie, “The Stunt Woman.”
Yeoh explained that her neck and torso were in braces, and her friends believed that she needed to start prioritizing her health even with her work ethic.
The stunt legend began thinking, “Why am I doing this? Is it worth it? If I really got hurt, then what?” But as she started considering retirement, martial arts fan Tarantino entered the picture.
The Academy Award winner arrived in Hong Kong and only wanted to see Yeoh, Jackie Chan, and Jet Li. Yeoh acquiesced to what would be a life-changing five minutes chat with him.
The “Crazy Rich Asians” actress sat on a couch, unable to turn her neck, while Tarantino sat on a pillow near her feet detailing his favorite stunts from her movies.
Yeoh credited the conversation for reviving her love for acting, reminding her that she had paid her dues, leading her to the Hollywood scene. She then starred in the 1997 Bond film “Tomorrow Never Dies.”
The Malaysian beauty dropped the name Khan and reclaimed her actual surname. She noted that she also had no script on the movie but merely came in to deliver her stellar choreography.
At this point, Hollywood no longer wanted Yeoh to carry out her fight scenes to avoid serious injury. Director Roger Spottiswoode told her that her stunts were an extra skill that could be incorporated into her work.
Spottiswoode continued that Yeoh should be confident in her presence in Hollywood as an actress, which turned out to be a profitable decision for all involved.
The “Memoirs of A Geisha” actress also got candid with Entertainment Weekly about her history of accidents as a stunt actress in movies including “Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon.”
Yeoh recalled hearing about the film from another filmmaker Ang Lee for whom she has the greatest love and respect. In the same manner as Tarantino, he approached her about an upcoming project.
The actress was so excited to work for him that she did not need to see the script and eventually got on the project two years later.
Unexpectedly for Yeoh, she suffered one of her most severe accidents in the very first action scene of the movie. Yet, Lee showed her his utmost support. She recalled:
“I tore my ACL. The specialist said, ‘Well, it’s not torn. It’s gone.’ Without hesitation, Ang was like, ‘No, I’m waiting for you. Do what you need to do. You get well, and you come back to us.'”
The “Star Trek: Discovery” actress has come a long way since the 2000 film and has established herself as an iconic actress and martial artist.
Earlier this year, The Blast disclosed that the 59-year-old is a nominee for the Critics Choice Super Awards in the category of Best Actress In A Superhero Movie.
This nomination is due to Yeoh’s impeccable performance alongside Simu Liu in the 2021 Marvel film “Shang-Chi and The Legend of The Ten Rings.”
The “Crazy Rich Asians” Actress Starring In A24 Action Movie
Following the worldwide acclaim and Box Office success of “Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings,” Yeoh remains booked and busy.
A24 revealed that she has another big production titled “Everything Everywhere All at Once,” premiering at the SXSW 2022 Film Festival and hitting theaters on March 25.
In the thriller, Yeoh plays an aging immigrant of China who ends up tangled in the multiverse. It is up to her to save the world by going into other universes and observing her multiple lives.
“Everything Everywhere All at Once” is written and directed by Daniel Scheinert and Dan Kawn. Yeoh is also cast alongside stars including Jamie Lee Curtis, Harry Shum Jr., and Jenny Slate.