The 95th Academy Awards will take place on Sunday night at the Dolby Theatre in Los Angeles where Cate Blanchett, Ana de Armas, Andrea Riseborough, Michelle Williams and Michelle Yeoh will wait in the audience to see if their name is announced as the winner.
Interestingly, the lead roles in Blanchett’s Tár and Yeoh’s Everything Everywhere All at Once almost looked very different.
In the heart-wrenching sci-fi directed by Daniel Kwan and Daniel Scheinert follows character Evelyn Wang (Yeoh), a Chinese-American immigrant who is on a quest to connect with parallel universe versions of herself to stop a powerful being from destroying the multiverse.
However, the Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon actress, 60, said that she had what could have been a very awkward phone conversation with the film’s intended star, Jackie Chan.
The pair, who worked together on the 1992 action movie Police Story 3: Supercop, are close friends and chatted about the film after Yeoh bagged the role.
Chan, 68, boasted that he had in fact been offered the lead role in Everything Everywhere All at Once as it was originally written to be a man.
“It was written for a man, when [directors known collectively as the Daniels] set out to do this,” Yeoh told CNN.
“They wrote it that way, with Jackie, and me as the wife. So the roles were completely reversed.
“I remember Jackie texting me and saying, 'Congratulations! You know your boys came to see me first'.
“I'm like, 'Thank you bro, you did me a huge favour'."
Yeoh said it was a ‘mutual’ decision between the directors and Chan for him to step away from the film. The Daniels ‘stepped back’ and decided to refocus the film with a female lead while Chan had a ‘very busy’ work schedule.
Meanwhile, fellow Best Actress nominee Blanchett said she wasn’t quite the first choice for the lead role in Tár.
The psychological drama film, directed and written by Todd Field, follows the life of renowned celebrity conductor Lydia Tár who becomes embroiled in a career-ending scandal over accusations of serial sexual abuse and harassment.
Perhaps following on from the #MeToo movement in which countless men in powerful positions were exposed for misconduct, Field intended for the controversial fictional conductor.
“When Todd was thinking about it, Tár was originally a male role,” the 53-year-old star said during Variety’s Actors on Actors series opposite Yeoh.
Blanchett explained: “Because the film is a meditation on power, you would’ve had a much less nuanced examination of that. We understand what the corruption of male power looks like, but we need to unpack what power is itself.”
The gender swap for this acclaimed tale on the abuse of power has made it one of the best films released in the last 12 months.
Blanchett added: “Being at the head of a major institution and therefore being in a position of being able to, and expected to, wield a certain level of authority, that has separated her from not only her craft and her creative instinct, but also from who she is.”Featured Image Credit: Shutterstock