Monday, May 29, 2023

Recasting 2022 (supporting): "Everything Everywhere All at Once"

Somewhat unexpectedly, my lead recasting project from two years ago ended up being a tidy 365 days between first and last selections. That timeline worked out pretty well for me as far as getting all my posts completed the way I wanted to. And so it is that I wrap up this supporting recasting project the way I began it last year, on Memorial Day. It's pure coincidence that in both projects the final selection is for a role that won an Academy Award for its original actor, and in a film that was critically acclaimed and went on to win both Best Picture and Director.  

Everything Everywhere All at Once is difficult to neatly classify as a film. It incorporates elements of sci-fi, comedy, drama, martial arts, absurdism. I have to admit that when it first became available to stream, I I tried watching it and stopped after about forty-five minutes (which I almost NEVER do with movies). I knew little about it at the time, other than a few comments about the cast and that it was getting great reviews. I was just not in the mood to watch something quite as volatile and wild as this movie turned out to be. I ended up revisiting it of course, much due to the fact that it seemed like the role of IRS inspector Deirdre Beaubeirdre (expertly portrayed by Jamie Lee Curtis) might be an interesting role to imagine Meryl taking on. 

It's very difficult to summarize the plot of this movie if you haven't seen it (or even if you have!). But suffice it to say, as far as the plot goes the film follows a Chinese immigrant family in the United States (Michelle Yeoh and Ke Huy Kwan as married parents of Stephanie Hsu's character) who are struggling with their marriage and laundromat business, which is being audited by the IRS. Next blurb from Wikipedia: 

At a tense meeting with IRS inspector Deirdre Beaubeirdre, Waymond's body is taken over by Alpha-Waymond, a version of Waymond from the "Alphaverse." Alpha-Waymond explains to Evelyn that many parallel universes exist because every life choice creates a new alternative universe. The Alphaverse, led by the late Alpha-Evelyn, developed "verse-jumping" technology, which enables people to access the skills, memories, and bodies of their parallel selves by performing bizarre actions that are statistically unlikely.

So, a bunch of universe jumping takes place and Evelyn (Yeoh) and her family are given a reprieve from the IRS, and Evelyn and her daughter sort of make peace, and we're left with some semblance of understanding that life is not meaningless. I think?

It's a pretty wacky ride, but it's fun that Deirdre is not only a very distinctly written character in her "main" universe, but that she (like the other main characters) gets to portray multiple different people in the various universes through which Evelyn jumps. We learn a little about Deirdre and her likely decision to offer the Wangs a reprieve on their audit.


The hot dog fingers are about the limit ha. And I like how in that "hot dog hand" universe, when Deirdre plays the piano with her feet her wrist brace is now on her ankle. 

I suspect this might have been a bit too "out there" of a role for it to have been on Meryl's radar. But it actually does remind me a bit of her turn in 2002's Adaptation where there's a "meta" feature to it, even if that one was on a much more sedated level. But what fun it would've been to see her participate in Everything Everywhere, especially considering its critical and box office success. It's not a film that I'll likely revisit over and over, but I'm pleased that a diverse cast and creative team were so successful with both audiences and critics. 

The movie earned $140 million at the worldwide box office on a shoestring budget of only $14.3 million. It holds a 93% on Rotten Tomatoes and an 81 score on Metacritic, indicating "universal acclaim." And whoa did it ever clean up at the Academy Awards this spring. It won seven Oscars out if its ten nominations, including Best Picture, Best Director(s) for Daniel Kwan and Daniel Scheinert, Best Actress, Best Supporting Actor and of course, Best Supporting Actress for Curtis. Curtis also won the SAG award and was nominated by BAFTA and the Globes, among several Critics circles nominations. I think it makes for an excellent final addition to this year-long list of roles. 

As I made a point of doing in my lead recasting project, I'd like to take my hat off to all of the remarkable actors who originated the roles in the below list. Their work is exciting and inspiring to me. And although I'm ending this series for now, I plan to eventually add my selections (for both lead and supporting recasting categories) for future years. Thanks to all those who've read these posts and participated in the dialogue around the roles and projects. You've made it a lot of fun for me!

1976: Marathon Man (Elsa Opel) 
1977: Jesus of Nazareth (Mary the mother of Jesus) 
1978: Coming Home (Vi Munson) 
1979: All that Jazz (Angelique, The Angel of Death) 
1980: Ragtime (Mother) 
1981: On Golden Pond (Chelsea Thayer Wayne) 
1982: Annie (Grace Farrell) 
1983: The Big Chill (Meg Jones) 
1984: Witness (Rachel Lapp)
1985: Clue (Miss Scarlet)
1986: The Clan of the Cave Bear (Iza) 
1987: Empire of the Sun (Mrs. Victor)
1988: Working Girl (Katharine Parker) 
1989: Parenthood (Helen Buckman)
1990: Goodfellas (Karen Hill) 
1991: The Prince of Tides (Lila Wingo Newbury) 
1992: Damage (Ingrid Thompson-Fleming)
1993: In the Name of the Father (Gareth Peirce)
1994: Bullets Over Broadway (Helen Sinclair) 
1995: Rob Roy (Mary MacGregor) 
1996: The Birdcage (Louise Keeley)
1997: The Ice Storm (Janey Carver)
1998: Pleasantville (Betty Parker) 
1999: Tea with Mussolini (Elsa Morganthal Strauss-Armistan)  
2000: Almost Famous (Elaine Miller) 
2001: The Royal Tenenbaums (Etheline Tenenbaum) 
2002: White Oleander (Ingrid Magnussen)
2003: The Station Agent (Olivia Harris)
2004: Sideways (Maya)
2005: Alexander (Queen Olympias)
2006: Children of Men (Miriam)
2007: Hairspray (Velma Von Tussle)
2008: Rachel Getting Married (Abby Buchman)
2009: Animal Kingdom (Janine "Smurf" Cody) 
2010: The Fighter (Alice Ecklund-Ward)
2011: The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo (Harriet Vanger)
2012: Mildred Pierce (Lucy Gessler) 
2013: Top of the Lake (GJ)
2014: Snowpiercer (Minister Mason) 
2015: Trumbo (Hedda Hopper) 
2016: The Wizard of Lies (Ruth Madoff)
2017: I, Tonya (LaVona Golden) 
2018: Sharp Objects (Adora Crellin)
2019: The Assassination of Gianni Versace: American Crime Story (Marilyn Miglin) 
2020: Succession (Nan Pierce)
2021: Mare of Eastown (Helen Fahey)
2022: Everything Everywhere All at Once (Deirdre Beaubeirdre)

Roles by originating actress:

Michelle Pfeiffer (3) 
Dianne Wiest (3) 
Patricia Clarkson (2) 
Jessica Lange (2) 
Melissa Leo (2) 
Miranda Richardson (2) 
Sigourney Weaver (2) 
Joan Allen (1) 
Lorraine Bracco (1) 
Cher (1) 
Jamie Lee Curtis (1) 
Pam Ferris (1) 
Jane Fonda (1) 
Holly Hunter (1) 
Olivia Hussey (1) 
Anjelica Huston (1) 
Allison Janney (1) 
Angelina Jolie (1) 
Cherry Jones (1) 
Marthe Keller (1) 
Judith Light (1) 
Virginia Madsen (1) 
Frances McDormand (1) 
Kelly McGillis (1) 
Penelope Milford (1) 
Helen Mirren (1) 
Mary Kay Place (1) 
Pamela Reed (1) 
Ann Reinking (1) 
Joely Richardson (1) 
Jean Smart (1) 
Mary Steenburgen (1) 
Tilda Swinton (1) 
Emma Thompson (1) 
Lesley Ann Warren (1) 
Debra Winger (1) 
Jackie Weaver (1)


  1. Difficult to believe it's been a full year Jeff! What a really fun and informative journey that's led me to watch (and to continue watching) the movies suggested over these months!

    For my last choice I am a little stuck as many of the best movies of the year seemed to be foreign language!

    As much as I would have liked a left-field choice I've decided to go for "The Duke", a very well received British comedy starring Jim Broadbent and Helen Mirren about a real life art theft and the strange story behind it. While some list it as a 2020 movie it certainly wasn't given a release here til 2020.

    Although the role would be a walk in the park for Meryl, as it probably was for Helen, I just like a straightforward, entertaining adult movie with great performances, that's a little quirky..

    I had the same initial reaction to Everything, Everywhere as you and alas I've yet to go back to finish it!

    Looking forward to the next project, it's been a pleasure coming here every week to find your selections and well-reasoned thinking behind them, plus all the comments and ideas from others.

    1. Thanks for your dedicated participation, Charlie! It makes it so much fun. And OMG I don't even think I've heard of The Duke! And it's got like a 97% on Rotten Tomatoes??

  2. Thanks for this series Jeff, I have kept up with most of it and read back where I missed updates.

    1. My pleasure, Michael! Thanks for reading!