Everything Everywhere All At Once has a fantastic secret director’s cameo

The multiverse martial arts comedy everything everywhere at once it takes a lot of unpacking. Much of Daniel Scheinert and Daniel Kwan’s follow-up to swiss army man unfolds at breakneck speed, with pop culture references, ridiculous cameos, and effects-driven visual gags that beg for the freeze-frame approach of home video. Some of these gags are big and obvious, like a prehistoric sequence in which ape-like creatures fight to the death, inspired by 2001: a space odyssey“Tool discovery” sequence. Others are relatively subtle, like the way the Daniels model an alternate universe after the Wong Kar-Wai movies. In a world where Evelyn (Michelle Yeoh) and Waymond (Ke Huy Quan), beleaguered laundromat owners, are rich and successful figures in the film industry, mourning the never-happening romance between them and painful emotions, the colors intense scenes, restrained dialogue, and stark lighting all recall Wong’s films such as In the mood for love Y Chungking Express.

At a Chicago screening of everything everywhereThe Daniels talked to me about those scenes and said they weren’t inspired by one specific scene in particular; As Kwan said, his cinematographer, Larkin Seiple, has been a little upset that critics specifically quote In the mood for love as the only inspiration there, and he wants people to realize that the lighting and key color schemes don’t exactly match that movie. We talked in passing about various other points of interest in the film, such as how the name of the film’s villain, Jobu Tupaki, comes from a list of interesting sounds that Kwan and his wife generated when searching for a name for his daughter. .

And Daniel Scheinert shared the photo above, which is possibly everything everywhereThe largest Easter egg in . Bear with me here.

Long-time fans of Kwan and Scheinert’s work are used to seeing them in their own projects. That’s Kwan leading the beat-crazed dance orgy in the video for “Turn Down For What” by DJ Snake and Lil Jon. (I learned in a previous interview that while Scheinert isn’t in that video, he wielded the penis puppet every time Kwan’s groin takes on an independent, aggressive life.) one of his best and wildest early short films, “Pockets”, things go horribly wrong for Daniels’ old friend Billy Chew when he tries to hold up Scheinert. in one of his rarer first short films, “Interesting Ball”, an unexplained cosmic event has a variety of surreal effects, including Kwan being slowly and inexorably sucked into Scheinert’s rectum. And in Scheinert’s solo conducting project, the southern noir The death of Dick LongScheinert plays the title character, a man who dies under circumstances that send his best friends into a tailspin of grief and denial.

So it’s no surprise that Kwan and Scheinert appear in everything everywhere at once. Than it is Surprising, at least to fans who think they were quick enough to see their faces, is the fact that they’re there multiple times, including, as Scheinert says, in a cameo that no one could catch unassisted.

Scheinert’s most obvious performance in the film is as a character credited as “District Manager”: he’s the guy who plays out some sadomasochism in the secret office closet full of whippers and restraints, and is dragged out of that closet with a belt. He appears again as the same character in the big ladder fight against Evelyn, who wins the fight by ducking and whipping him.

Kwan, meanwhile, briefly appears when Jobu Tupaki activates his cosmic bagel with everything: he is the first man to be sucked into its vortex, the man who has his face ripped off in several layers before his entire body is sucked in as well. He also appears earlier in the film, though it’s much harder to see his face in that scene: he’s the thief trying to steal Evelyn’s bag in Wong Kar-Wai’s timeline, where a mysterious white-haired martial artist (Li Jing) saves her, and the attack inspires her to learn kung fu.

But the cameo that Scheinert says no one could catch? That’s because her face and body are completely covered by an ape suit. In that 2001In the style of this scene, the Daniels visually explain the origins of a universe where everyone has hotdogs for hands. In the prehistory of that world, the hotdog-handed variety of pre-human primates triumphed in the struggle for dominance over other primate species, represented by a single hotdog-handed monkey beating to death a monkey with normal fingers. . . That’s Scheinert disguised as an ape, dealing a deathblow on behalf of his species and his evolutionary descendants.

But it gets better. Scheinert says the production only had two ape suits, so he’s not just the main ape in the sequence, he plays nearly all of them. In that Chicago Q&A, he described how he “spent all day running around that ridge,” making triumphant hotdog gestures in various positions and from various angles so that he and Kwan would have images they could digitally stitch together to make one. the apes look like a group of them. In a film so full of gloriously bizarre ideas and fast-paced special effects stunts, the idea that one of the directors played an entire army of hotdog-fingered apes seems par for the course. Stranger things happen in this movie, but there’s still a peculiar joy in seeing photographic evidence of Scheinert looking exhausted, overheated, and tired of being all apes everywhere, all at once.

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