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Stephanie Hsu on the Queerness of Everything Everywhere All At Once

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A24

It's Michelle Yeoh's world, and we're all just living in it. 

The 59-year-old living legend takes on the lead role in A24's action-packed and hilarious multiverse comedy Everything Everywhere All At Once, which tells the story of a woman named Evelyn Wang. 

The matriarch of a dysfunctional Chinese-American family and at wit's end, Evelyn is struggling to get ready to put on a Chinese New Year party in order to reinvigorate business for her local laundromat while also preparing to get audited by the IRS. To add to that stress, her overbearing father Gong Gong (James Hong) is in town, her marriage with her husband Waymond (Ke Huy Quan) is falling apart, and her only daughter Joy (Stephanie Hsu) is frustrated that she cannot express herself fully and be open about her relationship with girlfriend Becky to Gong Gong in fear that he won't understand and accept her queerness (he's "from a different generation," after all). 

What unfolds is a wildly original journey through parallel universes where Evelyn learns that just because sometimes life doesn't go how you plan it, that doesn't mean you aren't where you're meant to be.

Out got the chance to speak with actress Stephanie Hsu, who stars alongside Michelle Yeoh as Joy, Evelyn's lesbian daughter, in the film and we chatted about what it was like working with a screen icon, bringing a queer Asian story to life, being part of a complex, genre-bending project, and more.

"In my dream world, we're either wearing all the hats or no hats at all. It doesn't even matter, it doesn't have to be one or the other," Hsu tells Out when asked about playing a young woman who lives at the intersection of being LGBTQ+ and Asian-American, which is an identity that is still not explored or portrayed nearly enough in mainstream film. "This movie is so first of its kind that it somehow transcends identity politics, and yet it is so significant that it's a Chinese family and it's so significant that Joy is gay. When I read the script, a queer love story felt so obvious, an Asian family is so obvious, because that's also my life. I feel so relieved that it's a part of the texture of the film, but yet not like, 'Look at my hat.' You know? The movie isn't leading with that energy. It's just like, look, these are people who happen to be Chinese, who happen to be gay, and they're just trying to figure this freaking crazy chaotic life out. And I just feel so touched that it is reaching people, and despite its non-linear nature, despite its chaotic wild ride, everyone is surprised at how much they get it, and I'm like, 'Yeah, that's it, that's it.'"

Everything Everywhere All At Once is now playing theaters nationwide.

RELATED | Moonshot Stars Talk Being Part of a Spacey, Queer-Inclusive Rom-Com

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