MICHELLE YEOH WEB THEATRE
Michelle Yeoh Web Theatre Q&A



How many films has Michelle starred in? What are her characters' names?
Here is a complete list of films in which Michelle starred, including the ones under production and cameo/guest appearances.

    Film Titles  Year Filmed  Release Date  Character's Name  
44. Crazy Rich Asians  2017  201?  Eleanor Young  
43. Star Trek: Discovery (TV Series)  2017  2017  Captain Georgiou  
42. The East Sea Odyssey  2016  2017  Yin Rong  
41. Morgan  2015  2016  Dr. Lui Cheng  
40. Mechanic: Resurrection  2014-2015  2016  Mei  
39. Marco Polo (Season 2, Netflix Series)  2015  2016  The Handmaiden  
38. Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon: Sword Of Destiny  2014  2016  Yu Shu Lien  
37. Strike Back: Legacy (Final Season, TV Series)  2014  2015  Li-Na  
36. Final Recipe  2012  2013  Julia  
35. The Lady  2010-2011  2011  Aung San Suu Kyi  
34. Kung Fu Panda 2
      (animation)  
 2011  The Soothsayer (voice)  
33. Reign of Assassins  2009-2010  2010  Xi Yu / Zeng Jing  
32. True Legend  2008-2009  2010  Sister Yu (guest star)  
31. Among the Great Apes with Michelle Yeoh
      (documentary)
2009  2009  Michelle Yeoh  
30. Turning Point -
      A Journey on the World's Killer Roads

      (documentary)
2008-2009  2009  Michelle Yeoh  
29. Babylon AD  2006-2007  2008  Sister Rebecca  
28. Mummy: The Tomb of the Dragon Emperor  2007  2008  Zi Yuan  
27. The Children of Huang Shi  2006-2007  2008  Madam Wang  
26. Far North  2006  2007  Saiva  
25. Sunshine  2005  04/2007  Corazon  
24. Memoirs of a Geisha  2004-2005  12/2005  Mameha  
23. Silver Hawk  2003  01/2004  Lulu Wong  
22. The Touch  2001-2002  08/2002  Yin  
21. Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon  1999  07/2000  Yu Shu Lien  
20. Moonlight Express  1998  04/1999  Michelle (a.k.a. Sis) (guest star)  
19. Tomorrow Never Dies  1997  12/1997  Colonel Wai Lin  
18. The Soong Sisters  1996  05/1997  Soong Ai-Ling  
17. Ah Kam  1995  10/1996  Ah Kam  
16. Shaolin Popey II: Messy Temple  1994  07/1994  Ah King (cameo)  
15. Wonder Seven  1993  04/1994  Fang Ying  
14. Wing Chun  1993  03/1994  Yim Wing Chun  
13. Tai-Chi Master  1993  12/1993  Qiu Shue  
     (Siu Lin, in the U.S. home video re-release Twin Warriors)  
12. Project S  1993  10/1993  Yang Jian Hua  
     (When re-released as Supercop 2, her character's name became Jessica)  
11. Executioners  1993  09/1993  Ching Ching/Chan San  
10. Holy Weapon  1993  06/1993  Mon Ching Sze  
9. The Heroic Trio  1992  02/1993  Ching Ching/Chan San  
8. Butterfly & Sword  1992  01/1993  Sister Ko  
7. Police Story III: Supercop  1992  07/1992  Yang Jian Hua  
     (In the U.S. re-released version Supercop, her character's name is Yang Chi-King who's undercovered with a name Hana)  
6. Easy Money  1987  08/1987  Yang Ning/Michelle Yang  
5. Magnificent Warriors  1986  04/1987  Fok Ming Ming  
4. Royal Warriors  1986  06/1986  Michelle Yip  
     (a.k.a. In the Line of Duty)  
3. Yes, Madam  1985  11/1985  Ng Lo Sin  
2. Twinkle Twinkle Lucky Stars  1985  08/1985  Judo Instructor (cameo)  
1. The Owl vs Dumbo  1984  12/1984  Miss Yeung  

(For information and movie images on each of Michelle films, please see Film Index.)

Yeoh or Khan? What's Michelle's real name?
Michelle's Chinese name is .   It gets pronounced and transliterated into Cantonese as Yeung Chi King, into Mandarin as Yang Zi Qiong (Yang Ziqiong), and into her native Hokkien as Yeoh Choo Kheng. Some of her old friends in Malaysia and England used to call her Choo. She did not officially use the English name "Michelle" until a few years after she had worked in Hong Kong. When she was working with D&B Productions, Khan was somewhat inexplicably chosen as a less Asian sounding screen surname for those of her films that got European distribution. When Supercop (a.k.a. Police Story III: Supercop) made it onto the big screen in the U.S. in 1996, Michelle was advised to keep the name Khan because many of her overseas fans knew her name as Khan from the old videos. She decided to revert to Yeoh when she was making her first Hollywood film Tomorrow Never Dies in 1997.

Trivia:
* In the following films, Michelle's characters use her English name "Michelle": - Moonlight Express, Easy Money, and Royal Warriors.
* In the following films Michelle's characters use her real Chinese family name "Yeoh/Yeung/Yang": - Project S, Police Story III: Supercop, Easy Money, and The Owl vs Dumbo.
* Michelle's cameo appearance character in Shaolin Popey II: Messy Temple uses the last character of her real Chinese name - (Ah) King.
* In the English dubbed version of Police Story III: Supercop (i.e., Supercop), Michelle's character's real name is given as Yang Chi-King (She can be heard naming herself as such in the scene when she contacts "Headquarters" using the walkietalkie of a suspicious fellow Chinese agent who she knocked out)!


Was she a beauty queen and/or model? Has she done advertising?
Michelle was crowned Miss Malaysia and Miss Moomba (Australia) in 1983. She was nameed as People Magazine's 50 Most Beautiful People in 1997.

Michelle was never a career model.

Before she started to work in film industry, she did a few commercials with Jackie Chan and Chow Yun-Fat for a brand of luxury watches. During recent years she had been ambassador/spokesperson for L'Oreal Paris, Audemars Piguet, Anlene, and Puma. She is now ambassador for Guerlain, Richard Mille and Vertu.


Is Michelle a martial art/kung-fu master?
Michelle was very sporty when she was young (and remains so today). Although her real passion was in ballet, the self-professed tomboy also was in competition teams for such as swimming, diving, and squash. Michelle took some Taekwondo lessons when she was young. She learned various fighting moves during filming. But she is not a professionally trained martial artist. "I don't profess to be, I can't profess to be, a martial artist because I've never been formally trained. I've never gone through the belts system because I never had the time in that way", said Michelle.

Who are Michelle's teachers in fighting? What's Michelle's fighting style?
Lam Ching-ying (best known to the HK film fans as the vampire fighting Taoist priest in such as Mr. Vampire) was one of Michelle's teachers for the training of Yes Madam, in which Michelle had her first major action role. Others include Corey Yuen Kwai (the film's director and someone who -- along with Jackie Chan, Yuen Wah, Yuen Biao and Sammo Hung -- was one of Cantonese Opera students who became well known as the "Seven Little Fortunes"), Dick Wei and the talented group of stunt men who worked on that pioneering "Girls with Guns" film. Michelle said she always learned from many of the other stunt men who she worked with on other films.

Michelle does not have a fixed fighting style. "It's a Michelle thing. I didn't have to learn one particular style," she says, "When you are doing an action sequence, there is not one style. Also, the traditional styles look too dated, ... it would not work in a street situation. I learned all the basics moves, the stance, the kick. And then you improvise on film."

Michelle had someone teaching her Wing Chun style when filming Wing Chun and practiced some Tai Chi for Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon. But in most of her films, what Michelle uses is a personalized and contemporary fighting style.


Was Michelle a stunt woman?
Let's quote what Michelle says herself: "I'm not a stunt woman. I'm just an actress who enjoys doing my own stunts". Unlike Jackie Chan and Sammo Hung who started their film careers as stunt men, Michelle was never a career stunt woman.

What are Michelle's most famous stunts?
4. Michelle's first major stunt: Flipping backward on a railing and smashing through glass - with her head (!) - while simultaneously throwing two thugs off the balcony. (Yes, Madam)

3. The highway bypass jump in Ah Kam which left Michelle badly injured.

2. Rolling from the top of a van to the hood of a car - while both vehicles were moving (something that probably is more difficult than it sounds). The first attempt failed and she nearly crashed her head on the pavement (as shown in the outtakes)! (Police Story III: Supercop)

1. Riding a motorbike up a ramp and jumping it onto a moving train. It's unbelievable when you see what was captured in the outtakes (including the number of failed attempts)! (Police Story III: Supercop)


Did Michelle do all of her stunts?
No. Wendy Leech was Michelle's double in Tomorrow Never Dies. Stunt double(s) were also used in Ah Kam after Michelle was injured, which happened at the beginning of the filming of action parts. Additionally, as far as I could learn, Stanley Tong and Mang Hoi doubled for Michelle in some of her films (e.g., Magnificent Warriors). However, Michelle does perform most of her own stunts and I would like to point out that the most famous/difficult of her stunts were done by the always incredible and amazing Michelle herself.

Note: No contemporary actor does all of his or her own stunts. Even Jackie Chan doesn't do all of his stunts. Jet Li uses doubles too.


What about her injuries?
There is no way to count like bruises or even some bleeding... because Michelle has sustained too many! Here are only some of Michelle's more serious injuries:

Film Title  Occurred At  Injuries  
(Ballet Accident)  197?  spinal injury.  
Royal Warriors  1986  Dislocated shoulder;   burns.  
Magnificent Warriors  1986  Ruptured an artery in her leg from someone's kicking.  
Wing Chun  08/1993  Dislocated elbow;   fell off a horse.  
(Ski Accident)  04/1994  Torn right knee ligaments.  
Ak Kam  10/1995  Cracked a right rib from an 18 foot fall. *  
Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon  09/1999  Torn left knee ligaments. **  

    * What happened when filming Ah Kam?
During the shooting of one sequence, the story required Michelle's character to get PUSHed off from a freeway overpass. First Michelle succeeded a 60 foot jump for a long shot. But things went wrong when they were shooting with a lower bridge for a close up shot. This time it was an 18 foot bridge and there were some cardboard boxes and mattresses to soften her fall. But the force of being pushed made her out of balance. Instead of landing on her chest as planned, she landed on her head and her legs went over her head. Her then personal assistant (Philip Hemnell) recalls that: "She had basically folded in half backwards. If she hadn't been as flexible as she was, she would probably have been maimed or killed." Michelle suffered deep-tissue bruising and a cracked rib. The fall also worsened her old spinal injury.

Ann Hui, the director of Ah Kam, went to the hospital to see Michelle. "She was in a neck brace," says Ann Hui, "She said, 'I'm too old. I slipped. It was inconvenient for all of you. It was all my fault. I ruined your shot.'" Ann Hui burst into tears by Michelle's bedside. "Nothing was worth having her injured like that," the director says.

That was on October 13, 1995. Michelle returned filming after three weeks. But for nearly a half year afterwards, she couldn't stand or sit for too long.

    ** What happened with Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon?
Reportedly on September 17, 1999, Michelle was injured during an action sequence involving wires. The wires were pulled too hard and Michelle was thrown against the wall. Her knees, hands, and legs were hurt and bleeding. She was in tears. But after only a short rest, she continued shooting. (The crew on the set gave her a name "Iron Lady".)

Later the same day, Michelle torn her knee ligaments. It was a simple fight sequence, not even a stunt - In Michelle's own words: "The scene actually was very simple, a jump after a few steps, then a kick and land." But when she was landing, a stuntman accidentally clipped her balancing leg and caused her to crumple to the ground with a twisted leg. Nobody knew the injury was serious until the next day when the hospital examination showed it required surgery. Said Michelle: "When I was in America I talked to the doctor about the possibility of not going for an operation. I'd done it to my right knee before and it's a horrendous experience - not just the operation but the recovery process. It's slow and painful, but I had no choice."

Michelle flew to the U.S. for the surgery. Originally she needed a month's rest. After pestering her doctor ceaselessly Michelle finally returned to work in Beijing after three weeks. During that period she had to ice her knee daily. On the plane she had to keep her foot elevated to the level of her head! During the following couple of months, Michelle had to learn how to walk again.

The accident happened about one week after Michelle was into her role. She called the producer and the director and thought they were going to change the leading lady. Fortunately for her and for us, the producers never considered the role changing. At the moment Michelle had just done her first rooftop/wall sequence. Instead, they rearranged the film's shooting schedule so Michelle's other big fight would take place at the end of the filming period (December 1999). "It was a blessing in disguise that my dramatic side was heavier than my action scenes", says Michelle.


Has Michelle got any awards or nominations?
The following is a partial list:

Year  Title  Film/Category  Award By  Result  
2017 Commander of the Legion of Honour    France Awarded  
2016 Officier des Arts et des Lettres    France Awarded  
2015 Cinema Legend Award     Singapore International Film Festival Awarded  
2013 Panglima Setia Mahkota Malaysia Award  (Tan Sri)  Malaysia Awarded  
2013 Lifetime Achievement Award     Asean International Film Festival and Awards Awarded  
2013 Excellence in Asian Cinema     The Asian Film Award Awarded  
2012 Lifetime Arts Achievement Award     Malaysia Awarded  
2012 Darjah Seri Paduka Mahkota Perak Award  (Datuk Seri)  Malaysia Awarded  
2012 International Human Rights Film Award  The Lady  Cinema for Peace Awarded  
2011 Officier de la Legion d'Honneur    France Awarded  
2011 Best Actress  The Lady  Satellite Awards Nominated  
2011 Lifetime Achievement Award     Women Film Critics Circle Nominated  
2011 Outstanding Achievement Award     Malaysian Film Festival Awarded  
2011 Best Actress  Reign of Assassins  The Asian Film Award Nominated  
2009 Trophee du Festival de Cannes    Cannes International Film Festival Awarded  
2009 The World's Most Influential Chinese    Chinese Influencing the World Awards (China) Awarded  
2008 Best Actress  Far North  Calabria Film Festival (Italy) Awarded  
2008 Achievement Award    Marrakech International Film Festival Awarded  
2007 Chevalier de Legion d'Honneur    France Awarded  
2006 Best Action Actress of 100 Years
of Chinese Film History
 
 Radio Television Hong Kong (RTHK) Awarded  
2005 Rainmaker Award    2006 Maui Film Festival Awarded  
2004 Best Co-production Film (as producer)  Silver Hawk  Huabiao Awards (China) Awarded  
2004 The Asian Film Award     MTV Asia Awards Awarded  
2003 International Actor of The Year     MTV & SMG Style Awards (China) Awarded  
2002 Producer of the Year  The Touch  CineAsia Awards Awarded  
2002 Best Co-production Film (as producer)  The Touch  Huabiao Awards Awarded  
2002 The Outstanding Young Persons of the World  Cultural Achievement  Junior Chamber International World Congress Awarded  
2002 The Outstanding Young Persons of Malaysia     Junior Chamber Malaysia Awarded  
2002 Montblanc Arts Patronage Award  Hong Kong Winner  Montblanc Arts Patronage Award Awarded  
2001 Best Actress Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon  Ammy Awards Awarded  
2001 Best Actress Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon  Saturn Awards Nominated  
2001 Best Film Actress Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon  Ethnic Multicultural Media Awards (EMMA) Awarded  
2001 Datuk Paduka Mahkota Perak Award(DPMP)  (Datuk)  Malaysia Awarded  
2001 Best Actress Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon  Hong Kong Film Awards Nominated  
2001 International Star of the Year Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon  ShoWest Awarded  
2001 Best Actress Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon  British Academy Film Awards Nominated  
2000 Best Actress Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon  Toronto Film Critics Runner Up  
2000 Best Actress Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon  Golden Horse Awards Nominated  
1999 Excellence in Acting Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon  CineAsia Awards Awarded  
1998 Best Fight Sequence Tomorrow Never Dies  MTV Movie Awards Nominated  
1998 Best Supporting Actress The Soong Sisters  Hong Kong Film Awards Nominated  
1986 Best New Performer Yes, Madam  Hong Kong Film Awards Nominated  

What languages does she speak?
* English - Michelle grew up in a primarily English speaking family.
* Malay (Bahasa Malaysia) - as a Malaysian, Malay is another language Michelle was growing up with.
* Cantonese - Michelle's hometown of Ipoh has a predominantly Cantonese-speaking Chinese population. So Michelle knew some Cantonese even before she went to Hong Kong. She now speaks fluent Cantonese.
* Mandarin - Although Michelle did speak a few sentences of Mandarin in some of her earlier films and even sang the Mandarin end-song of Butterfly & Sword, she did not speak the language. Learning and speaking Mandarin for Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon was the hardest task for Michelle during the five month shooting. She had to memorize her lines literally sound by sound. Michelle has been learning and improving her Mandarin since - she now speaks Mandarin at press conferences and interviews in China.
* Hokkien - Michelle's ancestors are Hokkien (from Fujian, a province at the southeast China). Michelle understands Hokkien although maybe only the older generations in her family use this Chinese tongue frequently in their conversations.


Why did Michelle get her voice dubbed in many of her earlier films?
When Michelle first came to Hong Kong, her Cantonese was not very good. But that alone doesn't explain why she still got dubbed even after Police Story III: Supercop in which we could hear she spoke very fluent Cantonese.

Rather, the fact is that many Hong Kong films were not shot with synchronized sound due to the low budget and limited filming time of the productions as well as the bulk of scenes being shot in real locations rather than studios and film sets. Dubbing in post production costs less. And hiring other people rather than the film stars themselves to do the voices makes things even more cost effective. It may not be ideal practice but up until the mid 1990s, it was not uncommon for stars to be dubbed in Hong Kong films.

N.B. Police Story III: Supercop (1992) was the film we could hear the real voices of - not only Michelle but also Jackie Chan - for the first time.


In which films do we hear Michelle's real voice?
Film Title  Year Released  Language/Version  
Police Story III: Supercop  1992  Cantonese (some Mandarin)  
Butterfly & Sword  1993  end title song only (in Mandarin)  
Project S  1993  Cantonese  
Supercop1996  English  
The Soong Sister  1997  English dialogue sections only  
Tomorrow Never Dies  1997  English  
Moonlight Express  1999  Cantonese  
Supercop 2 ** 1999  English  
Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon  2000  Mandarin  
The Touch  2002  English  
Silver Hawk  2004  English, Cantonese (two versions)  
Memoirs of a Geisha  2005  English  
Sunshine  2007  English  
Far North  2007  English  
The Mummy: Tomb of the Dragon Emperor  2008  English (some Mandarin)  
Babylon A.D.  2008  English  
Kung Fu Panda 2  2011  English, Cantonese (two versions)  
The Lady  2011  English (some Burmese)  
Final Recipe  2013  English  
Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon: Sword Of Destiny  2016  English  

*  U.S. theatrical re-release of Police Story III: Supercop
**  U.S. home video re-release of Project S

Where can we get older Michelle films?
See this page for a rental and online shopping guide.

What's Michelle's next project(s)?
In summer 2015, the final season of CINEMAX (U.S.) and Sky (U.K.)'s action/drama series Strike Back aired globally. This was Michelle's first ever role for television.

Michelle's latest release is Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon II: Sword Of Destiny in which she reprised her warrior Yu Shu Lien role. Filmed in New Zealand in 2014, it is available on Netflix now. Also coming in the summer of 2016 is the action thriller Mechanic: Resurrection in which Michelle will star along with Jason Statham and Tommy Lee Jones, and Netflix original series Marco Polo Season 2.

For any new development and production news, please visit News.


How can I contact Michelle?
You may send letters to Michelle's agency in the U.S.:
       Michelle Yeoh
       C/O Resolution
       1801 Century Park East, 23rd Floor
       Los Angeles, CA 90067
       U.S.A.

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( page created: 12/21/00,   last modified: 05/30/16 )