Michelle Yeoh’s new movie Mechanic: Resurrection is opening this week in the United States. Her co-stars Jason Statham and Jessica Alba are in Los Angeles for the junket, but no Yeoh.
I had to reach out to her via her publicist in New York for an exclusive e-mail interview. Yeoh, who turned 54 on Aug 6, obliged when she found out the interview will be published in Star2.
Ten years ago when I spoke to her for Memoirs Of A Geisha, the actress told me Malaysia will always be her home and that whenever she’s having a hard day, she finds solace in Malaysian food.
“I will always have a place there. Once you‘ve been to Malaysia, you keep coming back. It’s the people, the place, it’s family, it’s the food,” she beamed with pride.
A former Bond girl, she’s best known as the star of Ang Lee’s Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon and for her critically-acclaimed role as Myanmar’s political leader Aung San Suu Kyi in Luc Besson’s The Lady.
Where are you at the moment?
In Mexico (accompanying her husband auto executive Jean Todt on a goodwill tour of Nicaragua, Honduras and Mexico.)
What do you miss most about Malaysia?
My family and friends there. Then, there’s the great diversity of food and enjoying nature.
Being a Malaysian, what do you appreciate the most?
The multi-culture is amazing and the friendly people. Natural diversity of forests and accessibility to the sea.
What are your aspiration for Malaysia?
Unity, harmony, peace and stability.
Do you see yourself working in a Malaysian production?
Oh yes, I’d love that. We have so many stories to share. With the new Pinewood Iskandar Studio in Johor, the 30% tax incentives and much support from the government, as a multicultural society, we can offer incredible landscapes and a metropolis as well.
What kind of project would be ideal?
What would be personally interesting to me is to tell stories with revelations as to what’s affecting our planet, and, through the magic of movies, send simple good messages of humanity.
What would you be if you were not a movie star?
Probably join the Green Peace Corps.
What helps you cope during times of trouble? What helps you get through?
Taking time out, having a powwow session with best friends, learning to breathe and letting things go.
What does love mean to you?
Love encompasses the most fundamental emotion. For family, friends, country, people, the planet … We need love in our hearts for a more peaceful world.
What does being in a relationship mean to you?
Being in a relationship is having someone who brings out the best in me, who loves me for who I am, who walks beside me through the good and bad. Who doesn’t judge, who supports in the best way but always honest too, and caring and sharing and never far away.
What are your dream projects?
Every project, every experience with talented driven professionals are dream projects for me and my hope is for much, much more to come.
What would you like people to know about you? Are there any misconceptions?
What you see is what you get, pretty boring in real life but very dynamic and diverse in the roles I play .
How do you relax? What do you do to unwind?
Best way to relax is to take a good nature hike. And I love watching movies and bingeing on TV series, spending quiet time with family and friends, sharing good food, good wine.
Who are your acting role models?
Meryl Streep and Judi Dench.