Michelle Yeoh kept her name in Hollywood because of a James Bond movie

A specific James Bond movie inspired Everything Everywhere All At Once star Michelle Yeoh to keep her name in Hollywood rather than change it.

Michelle Yeoh in Everything Everywhere All at Once

After her role in A24 movie Everything Everywhere All At Once, Michelle Yeoh has become a household name. But in an interview with Deadline, she revealed she was initially persuaded to go under a different name entirely. According to the outlet, Yeoh was told by a management company she signed with to go under the name Michelle Kahn because this surname was “more palatable to international audiences.”

 

However, when working on James Bond movie Tomorrow Never Dies she was encouraged by famed Bond producer Barbara Broccoli to go by her actual name instead. “What the fuck?” the action movie producer is quoted as saying. “Just go with your fucking name.” It was from that point onwards Michelle Kahn was dropped and Michelle Yeoh returned.

In the profile, Yeoh also recalled a conversation she had with Roger Spottiswoode, the director of Tomorrow Never Dies and the person who cast her.

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In the spy movie, Yeoh played Wai Lin — a key ally of Bond’s who worked for the Chinese Ministry of State Security. She told Spottiswoode she’d do any stunt or action sequence required from her, to which he replied, “You’re here on merit as an actress. You’re not here because you can do stunts. In fact, you probably won’t do many of the stunts; we don’t have the insurance for that. We can double you for stunts, but we can’t double you for acting.”

Above all, it’s clear Yeoh’s experience with the thriller movie was a formative one — and if you’re after more formative movies, check out our guide to the best new movies coming your way this year.