The Daniels’ EVERYTHING EVERYWHERE ALL AT ONCE is hot off its victories at the 32nd annual Gotham Awards last night, winning Best Feature and Supporting Performance (Ke Huy Quan). The genre-bending Action-Dramedy is perhaps 2022’s biggest surprise theatrical hit and heads into Awards Season with great momentum. For one, it leads all nominations at the upcoming Film Independent Spirit Awards.
We had the pleasure of joining a post-celebratory chat with the stars and Filmmakers behind EVERYTHING EVERYWHERE ALL AT ONCE, including:
Jamie Lee Curtis
Ke Huy Quan
Filmmaking Duo The Daniels reflect on what their win last night means to them.
Kwan: “We’re feeling a little shock right now. When we premiered this Film in March at SXSW, we thought we’d be lucky if people even went to the theatre to go see it. This was just as theatres were starting to open back up during the Pandemic. The fact that people are still discovering the Film and talking about the Film already feels like such a win. But last night we were not expecting this to happen. We have so much respect for the Gotham Awards and any institution that tries to uplift independent films and voices. Those are the films that honestly changed our lives and hold high regard for. So to be amongst them last night already was so incredible. To win, I think we’re still processing because everything feels really real. Before yesterday we thought this was just a fun game.”.
Scheinert: “Oh, I processed it. It was quite easy. (kidding). It’s very nice to celebrate with a bunch of folks who worked on the Movie and calling it a Best Feature is absurd, but the thing I like about it is, it’s vague enough I get to tell everybody who worked on it that this award’s for them, that this includes them.”.
Jamie Lee Curtis adds that the celebrations behind EVERYTHING EVERYWHERE ALL AT ONCE started much before Awards Season.
Curtis: “What most people don’t know is that the party began in January 2020 in Simi Valley when we had an opening ceremony for the Movie when we were just about to start, with a Suckling Pig. It was a traditional blessing for the Movie and it was a party to begin with. Also, every week The Daniels give out Crew Awards to really unsuspecting members of the Team who put forth supreme effort in this incredibly intense creative experience. Awards are very much a part of what The Daniels do because they understand how important the group is. The experience doesn’t exist without the group.”.
She also comments on Co-Star Ke Huy Quan‘s incredible and inspiring journey back as an Actor, her voice trembling with tears.
Curtis: “It is as strong an example of perseverance of belief in oneself, of understanding the realities of the industry and at one point, Ke stepped away as the industry rejected him as an Actor. It didn’t offer him any work and he created other work for himself. And then his making his way back in as a performer, seeing movies like Crazy Rich Asians and saying to his wife, ‘I think I can do this again’. And then to be able to have this opportunity – this beautiful, multi-layered, incredible role written and then he won that role through an audition process with The Daniels. Last night’s win is an example for every single person who’s ever dreamed, who’s lost the dream and found it again.”.
Ke Huy Quan recalls what it was like the moment he won Best Supporting Performance for his performance as Waymond, at the Gotham Awards.
Quan: “Ever since our Movie came out, I have not done one single interview where I don’t get choked-up. Watching Jamie talk about me so emotionally, just now it gets me very emotional. But my wife after all these months said, ‘Ke, I think you cry way too much. Don’t cry anymore in interviews, okay?’. Last night when Emilia Jones was announcing the nominees, and I thought there’s no way I was gonna win, sitting at the next table was Gabrielle Union, whom I loved in The Inspection, and all these wonderful Actors. And when she called out my name and I looked over to my wife, she was crying uncontrollably and I started to cry. Even before I went up to the podium, I was a mess. It was incredible. I can’t thank our family enough. I’m just so, so grateful”.
The ultimate message behind EVERYTHING EVERYWHERE ALL AT ONCE is about living to your ultimate potential.
Kwan: “My narrative for myself was that I did not believe I was going to amount to anything and when I did discover Film, I discovered this world in which I could actually thrive, it totally changed my perspective on human potential and what we’re capable of. This Film in many ways is me trying to open-up this internal conversation many people are having about their worth. I think the current system and way that our lives collectively have evolved. We’re living in a system that really doesn’t allow us to harness our potential. In fact, it’s actively distracting us from reaching our potential and dismantling our potential. This Film is way for people to forgive themselves from that, and also for them to see new paths forward, rewriting their own narratives.”.
Quan recalls the fun he had playing multiple versions of his same character and which version surprised him the most.
Quan: “I felt like the Acting Gods were looking out for me, saying ‘Since you haven’t had any acting roles in 20 years, I’m going to give you three wonderful roles.’. When I got the Script, I was nervous because I felt the role written for me and I really wanted to do it justice. I spent a lot of time with myself. I grew-up in a traditional Chinese family where my parents taught me to internalize a lot of emotion, which contradicts what an Actor does, so I buried my emotions for many years. It wasn’t until I had this opportunity, that I told myself to release some of those emotions and put them into these three characters. It was the ‘Tax Waymond‘ though, as we call him. He is such a beautiful character, who is someone I strive to be. That’s what my wife is and what Jamie lee Curtis embody – the same qualities Waymond embodies. He’s kind, treats people with respect, is generous and humble. I’ve always wanted to be that person. I don’t think I could have played him ten years ago or had I not met my wife, Echo. She changed me and I’m so much better because of her. I get so emotional every time I talk about her. I’ve had the most amazing time to this day and I cannot believe I get to be in this Movie.”.
Jamie Lee Curtis also is asked about her experience with Deirdre and making this Film not knowing much about it or that it would ever catch fire.
Curtis: “Well I like Ke, was born in a very traditional Chinese family (kidding). It’s weird because also I was born into a family of Actors but had the same emotional life, which was to hide what I felt. I was raised in a very consersative family. Feelings were not particularly well-discussed, and so when you meet someone like Deirdre Beaubeirdra, I knew her. I knew how sad she was. I knew much longing she had. I have known in my life people like Deirdre. And I also know what power can wield and what it does to a person, and how it can create a facade of strength and impenetrability, which is what those jobs often do. For me, the joy was the exploration of all of it. Being able to show all those aspects of her which The Daniels wrote so beautifully. Every time The Daniels talk, the Movie peels the layers of the onion of the complexity of the story. I want to let everyone know, they never said a word when we were shooting. We never had a meeting what the Movie was really about. We just shot in this very fast, frenetic way. There was very little conversation – at least with me – about bigger themes of human existence. What’s so interesting is that you can still have a movie with this level of complexity. But the truth is that that we made a movie in 38 days. There wasn’t a big esoteric brain meld. It was individual work on each character and then ultimately at the end, they have assembled something with PaulRogers, their Editor, that is extraordinary.”.
Curtis is asked whom she found tougher to fight with on-screen. Michael Meyers in the Halloween Franchise, or Michelle Yeoh.She also praises Yeoh, asking The Daniels to show us just how intricate and demanding her role was with over 25 coloured tabs in her Script.
Curtis: “Fighting with Michelle Yeoh with her vast experience was way more intimadating than Michael Meyers.”.
On a parting note, the Creators and Cast are asked about what they hope the legacy of EVERYTHING EVERYWHERE ALL AT ONCE will be.
Curtis: “The legacy is love, reconciliaton, family, honesty, failure, triumph and every day parts of life we are all struggling with. There isn’t a person alive who is not dealing with this.”.
Quan: “People tell me how our Movie changed their lives. It made them want to be a better person because what the Movie’s about. The Movie’s about kindness and increased respect to one another. I hope our Movie can help us be a little more kind to each other.
Scheinert: “Now that I’ve made a movie about kindness, I have to be nice to people or disappoint all these fans, which is a good thing to do to yourself. It will make me a nicer person.”.
Kwan: “This Film was made to be a quick burst of energy for this very moment, a reflection what’s happening right now. I hope the world is changed in 50-100 years, where the Film no longer feels relevant. The Film is a reaction to the tumultuous rite of passage we’re all experiencing. If they’re still responding in 50 years, then we haven’t actually grown as a society.”.
EVERYTHING EVERYWHERE ALL AT ONCE is available now on DVD/Blu-ray, digitally and on-demand.