Michelle Yeoh remembers the stunt that almost killed her
Quentin Tarantino once described 1992's Hong Kong action film Supercop as likely containing "the greatest stunts ever filmed in any movie ever." And for good reason.
Directed by stunt coordinator-turned-filmmaker Stanley Tong, the film starred Michelle Yeoh, featured on EW's latest digital cover, and Jackie Chan as cops who attempt to take down a drug lord. It also includes the incredible sight of Yeoh riding an actual motorbike onto an actual moving train. Says Yeoh: "What was I thinking? I was swinging at the side of trucks. I was riding a motorcycle onto a moving train. I was doing the most insane stunts."
Including one that almost killed her. It involved Yeoh leaping from the roof of a truck onto the hood of a convertible driven by Chan, both vehicles speeding down a highway. "In Asia at that time, we don't really do rehearsals, we don't have weeks of preparation. We learn the stunt and we do it," says Yeoh. "So you park the [truck] and Jackie's car next to each other and you look at it and it's about a six-foot fall, it's not much, and you think, I could do this. But once the two cars are moving you go, oh, wow, this is a completely different experience. I'm not standing still, the car isn't, nothing is still. I don't know whether it was crazy, a moment of insanity, [but] the thought that went through my head was, you're never going to know how it feels until you try it."
The first go-round, Yeoh hit the hood but then fell off the car and hit the road, narrowly avoiding two cars coming up from behind. "The windscreen was supposed to shatter, and that would have helped me have a break," she says. "But the windscreen didn't shatter, I had nowhere to hold onto, and I kept sliding off the car. All I remember was like 'Duhn!' on the ground. Fortunately, I didn't go head first. Then I hear Jackie. He was like, 'Okay, okay, that's it! Enough! We are finished for the day! We're not doing anymore! This is stupid! This is ridiculous! We're not doing it!'"
The really crazy thing was what happened next. "Stanley and I go back a long way [to] when he was a stuntman," says Yeoh. "So he understands the level of who I am and what I can and am willing to do." She was willing to try the stunt again. "When you fall off a horse, you jump back, right on, right away," she explains. "So we went up and got it in the next take."
These days, Yeoh is happy (well, happy-ish) to cede the stage to stunt performers for any really dangerous shots. "I am not a stunt person, per se," says the woman who, it is probably worth repeating, once rode a motorcycle onto a moving train. "I have to sometimes step back and say, 'Please let the professionals do their job.' I have to talk myself down."
Michelle Yeoh's new film Everything, Everywhere All At Once is opening in limited theaters March 25 and will be released wide April 8.
- Michelle Yeoh takes a mind-bending trip in Everything Everywhere All at Once
- See Michelle Yeoh and Jamie Lee Curtis duke it out in Everything Everywhere All at Once photos
- Michelle Yeoh has a wild trip across the multiverse in Everything Everywhere All at Once trailer
- Ang Lee reflects on Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon 20 years later: 'I was upgrading a B-movie'