’JRZ Celebrity Wire

’JRZ Celebrity Wire

’JRZ Celebrity Wire

Michelle Yeoh attends the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences 13th Governors Awards at Fairmont Century Plaza on November 19, 2022 in Los Angeles, California.

Since making her debut in Hong Kong action films in the mid-’80s (Yes, Madam!, Royal Warriors), Michelle Yeoh emerged as a budding action star. The Malaysian actress battled Jet Li in The Mummy: Tomb of the Dragon Emperor, flung herself onto a moving car driven by Jackie Chan in Supercop and jumped off a skyscraper with Pierce Brosnan’s James Bond in Tomorrow Never Dies. She had starring roles in 2000’s Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon, 2018’s Crazy Rich Asians and two roles in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. The now 60-year-old Yeoh will next be seen in the second Avatar film, The Way of Water, out in theaters Friday, December 15. Many people may have caught a movie Michelle Yeoh was in, but it wasn’t until this March’s Everything Everywhere All at Once that people really started to notice and gave her her flowers.

In Everything Everywhere, Yeoh plays a character by the name of Evelyn Wang, whose laundromat business is being audited by the IRS. Her relationship with her daughter is frayed, she takes care of her decrepit father and she takes her husband’s love for her for granted. Everything changes when she learns there are multiple versions of the universe and that there’s a threat to them that only she can stop. The only problem is, she has to figure out how to jump between the different realities all while picking up skills the other versions of herself possess. Though the A24 film is filled with action and hilarious yet bizarre instances, Yeoh shows that she’s not just a martial artist, showcasing her acting ability in intimate moments. Jamie Lee Curtis, who played the irritable IRS worker Deirdre Beaubeirdra said it best: “Her facility to switch between comedy and martial arts and then real emotion. I challenge anybody to come up with a better performance.”

In her Time‘s Icon of the Year honor for 2022, Yeoh told the publication why Asian actors have long been given stereotypical or inconsequential roles and rarely top billing. “It shouldn’t be about my race, but it has been a battle,” she says. “At least let me try.” Though Yeoh has been a major star in Asia for decades, she landed her first major Hollywood role as Wai Lin, the Chinese secret agent in 1997’s Tomorrow Never Dies.

Take a look below at our favorite Michelle Yeoh movies, which we’ve ranked:

  • 10. Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings

    Yeoh played the role of Ying Nan, Shang-Chi (Simu Liu) and Xialing’s (Meng’er Zhang) aunt, the guardian of Ta Lo in Marvel’s 2021 movie. Shang-Chi must confront his past when his father Wenwu AKA Mandarin (Tony Leung) the leader of the Ten Rings organization, draws Shang-Chi and Xialing into a search for a mythical village. The film also stars Awkwafina as Shang-Chi’s friend Katy. The action scenes were amazing, but the story of Shang-Chi was also very compelling and we can’t wait to see more.

  • 9. Far North

    In this 2007 romance drama, Yeoh heads to the artic as Saiva, an outcast from her tribe of herders because a shaman declares that she is evil and will bring harm to all who become involved with her. She grows up to live a nomadic existence, but treachery, violence and doom awaits.

  • 8. Crazy Rich Asians

    Yeoh played a tough yet loving mother Eleanor Sung-Young who disapproves of her son Nick’s relationship with his longtime girlfriend Rachel Chu. While attending his best friend’s wedding in Singapore Rachel is surprised to learn that Nick’s family is extremely wealthy and he’s considered one of the country’s most eligible bachelors. Thrust into the spotlight, Rachel must now contend with jealous socialites, quirky relatives and his mother.

  • 7. Supercop

    It’s hard to star alongside Jackie Chan and NOT make a super fun, thrilling and funny movie. In this 1992 film, Hong Kong police Inspector “Kevin” Chan Ka Kui (Chan) is sent undercover to mainland China to break up a drug smuggling ring. After breaking the brother of the drug lord out of prison, he and another undercover agent, Inspector Jessica Yang (Yeoh) must do whatever it takes to infiltrate the organization.

  • 6. Tai Chi Master

    Starring alongside another martial arts legend, Yeoh and Jet Li first starred together in this excellently choreographed 1992 film. Two monk brothers Junbao (Li) and Tienbo (Chin Siu Ho) are expelled from the temple in which they grew up. They find a young woman named Siu-lin (Yeoh), who is searching for her lost husband, who she later finds to have married the governor’s daughter. One of the brothers is hungry for power and is willing to do whatever it takes, while the other is meant to lead their nation to freedom.

  • 5. Tomorrow Never Dies

    In the 18th installment of the James Bond Series, media mogul Elliot Carver (Jonathan Pryce) wants his news empire to reach every country on the globe, but the Chinese government won’t allow him to broadcast there. Carver doesn’t take no for an answer and plans to use his media empire to fuel flames of war between the Western world and China. That’s when 007 (Pierce Brosnan) travels to China to stop him with the help of Chinese secret agent Wai Lin (Michelle Yeoh). Yeoh wanted to do all of her own stunts, but director Roger Spottiswoode ruled it too dangerous and was prohibited to give the OK due to insurance restrictions.

  • 4. Yes, Madam!

    Yeoh thought back to the midnight premiere of her first headlining movie, Corey Yuen’s 1985 Hong Kong action classic. She was perched in the balcony tier, first row, constantly peeking over the railing to see how the hardcore moviegoers would react. She was bracing herself for boos but was ecstatic when the audience erupted into cheers. Senior Inspector Ng (Yeoh) teams up with Scotland Yard detective Carrie Morris (Cynthia Rothrock) to investigate a murder linked to microfilm, which has been taken unknowingly by low-level thieves.

  • 3. Memoirs Of A Geisha

    In this 2005 epic period drama, following the story of two sisters Chiyo and Satsu who are sold off in the 1920s. One sister is made a geisha, while the other, deemed too ugly, is separated from her sister and forced to clean a brothel. Yeoh plays the role of Mameha, one of Kyoto’s most prominent geisha, who helps Chiyo to train to become a geisha and be reunited with her sister.

  • 2. Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon

    In the 2000 martial-arts fantasy, Yeoh was director Ang Lee’s first choice for the role of the warrior Yu Shu Lien, who grounds the movie. “I would hope, selfishly, that it was the peak for her,” Lee tells Time, adding that she made him cry on set. “But she just went on making good performances, year after year.” Taking place in 19th century Qing Dynasty China, swordsman Li Mu Bai (Chow Yun-Fat) gives his fabled 400-year-old sword, Green Destiny, to his lover Shu Lien(Michelle Yeoh) to deliver to safekeeping. The sword gets stolen and the chase is on to find it.

  • 1. Everything Everywhere All at Once

    The movie that changed everything. Not only to those who have watched the movie, but to Michelle Yeoh. You may not know that the starring role was initially meant for Jackie Chan. Co-directors Daniel Kwan and Daniel Scheinert completely rethought the project after Chan passed, flipping the genders and offering Yeoh the lead. Yeoh later sent her old friend and Supercop co-star Chan a text, saying: “Your loss, my bro!”

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