Backstage News

Honorary Doctorate Recipient Michelle Yeoh speaks on stage at the AFI Conservatory class of 2022 commencement ceremony at TCL Chinese Theatre on August 13, 2022 in Hollywood, California.

In a new interview for Town & Country‘s September issue, Michelle Yeoh shared why director Quentin Tarantino didn’t cast her in Kill Bill after becoming a huge fan of hers.

After Tarantino first watched her in 1985’s Yes, Madam!, he was in awe of Yeoh doing her own stunts. “She parts her hands just before she breaks through the glass so you can see that it’s her. I was just a huge, huge fan of hers. There was always a twinkle in her eye.”

While in retirement due to fracturing some vertebrae plummeting from a bridge for The Stunt Woman, Tarantino was in Hong Kong to screen 1994’s Pulp Fiction and to meet Yeoh, who was in no mood for visitors. “I must say, Quentin, he’s persistent,” Yeoh said in the interview. “He is who he is today because he’s full of passion and love, so he wore me down.”

She allowed him five minutes, and as she recalled, he sat on a pillow at her feet and began to recite each of her stunts in detail. “Suddenly we became animated,” Yeoh said while dabbing a tear. “So then I thought, maybe I’m not ready to give up on this.” A year later she signed on to the James Bond movie Tomorrow Never Dies (1997), her first English language lead.

As for why Tarantino didn’t ask her to be in Kill Bill, she said, “I asked Quentin the same question. He’s very smart. He said, ‘Who would believe that Uma Thurman could kick your a–?'”

Yeoh didn’t let that get her down, telling the publication, “I go forward, because life is about moving forward,” she says. “Failures make us stronger, and they make us understand the path.”

Jamie Lee Curtis, who co-starred with Yeoh on this year’s Everything Everywhere All At Once, gave her her flowers by saying, “Her facility to switch between comedy and martial arts and then real emotion. I challenge anybody to come up with a better performance.”