The Daniels’ “Everything Everywhere All at Once” is a critical darling and a bona fide indie blockbuster, but the film has attracted almost as much attention for the casting choices it didn’t make as the ones that it did. Much has been made of the fact that Michelle Yeoh’s character was originally written for Jackie Chan, with co-director Daniel Scheinert joking that “at first we were like, ‘action movie, going to star a dude.'”
But, as the writing process progressed, Scheinert and partner Daniel Kwan ended up retooling the script and making Evelyn the film’s protagonist, opening the door for Yeoh to carry the film.
“We were having trouble figuring out the casting for the father figure, and one of us started wondering what happens if we take Michelle’s character and flop it and she becomes the protagonist,” Kwan said. “And the film just opened up in a completely different way.”
But, as it turns out, Evelyn was not the only character that could have been gender flipped. In a new interview with the New York Times, Joel Kim Booster revealed that he was considered for the role of Joy, which ultimately went to Stephanie Hsu. Booster, who is currently making the press rounds for his new Hulu comedy “Fire Island,” said that he was the only male actor who read for the role of the universe-hopping gay child.
“I went in for it and there was just me and a million girls, and I was like, ‘What is going on?,’” Booster said.
Booster did not get the role, but he is not sweating the missed opportunity. “Fire Island” has debuted to strong reviews, and is being held up as a landmark portrayal of the gay Asian community.
“So much of our entertainment is made wanting to erase,” Booster said in an interview with IndieWire’s Jude Dry. “I think there’s room for escapism and there’s room for fantasy. But there is stuff that comes up when you are Asian and you are dating a white guy. It was important to me to reflect the reality of what it is to be a gay man of color in the movie.”
“Fire Island” is now streaming on Hulu.