[I was drawn to Last Christmas because] it is a great story. It has been a long time since I filmed in London – I think the last time was for Tomorrow Never Dies – it was great to be back there.
The chance to work with Emma Thompson was just one that I couldn’t turn down. I am such a huge fan of her work.
When you work with good people and spend [many] hours a day with them, you build a rapport quite quickly.
It was also great to be back working with [my Crazy Rich Asians co-star] Henry Golding so soon. He is such a talented actor. Hopefully we can collaborate again in the future.
Hong Kong cinema, especially martial arts cinema, is and always will be very important, but I wanted to transition [to Hollywood]. There are far bigger budgets and more global promotion – it’s very different.
I loved doing my own stunts [on films such as Yes, Madam and Tomorrow Never Dies]. I was at a great Hong Kong gym where stunt people trained. I was learning from the best.
The stunt that had the worst impact [for me] was in The Stunt Woman. I played a stunt person and landed completely wrong, nosediving into the landing area. I folded and heard my back snap! Psychologically and physically, that injury took the longest to recover from.
Being in the Star Trek Universe [as Philippa Georgiou in Star Trek: Discovery] is exciting. It’s a universe that deals with present-day issues but in a sci-fi setting. I think it inspires us to reach for something better, and that’s important, especially because a big part of the show is about the empowerment of women.
I don’t just want to see minorities in major Hollywood films. I want to see them in the leading roles, just like we did with Crazy Rich Asians.
When I first started in Hollywood, I used to get people saying, “Oh you can speak English?” But the world is changing – we are seeing more minorities and more importantly they are not just being used in stereotypical roles. I am not saying we are totally there yet, but things are a lot better than they were. [What’s happening around the world] is forcing things to change, and that can only be a good thing.
Travel is such a big part of our lives. [I believe that the] places you visit and places you have lived absolutely shape you. I love the respite that Geneva provides; Paris is incredibly special to me; and it almost goes without saying that I love being back in Malaysia and Hong Kong.
[To feel like I’ve had a good flight, I need] good food. I love my food and a good book. I usually have a glass of red wine as well!
When you fly a lot, it can really wreak havoc on your skin if you are not careful, so [my tip would be to] drink lots of water. I am also a big fan of Augustinus Bader moisturiser – it keeps the skin looking great.
Places across the network that were transformed into other locations in Michelle Yeoh’s films
2. Tomorrow Never Dies
3. Crazy Rich Asians
Penang’s iconic Cheong Fatt Tze Mansion was transformed into a bustling mahjong parlour in Singapore for the film, but it still retained its historical splendour.
Illustrations by Giovanna Giuliano
This article was originally published in the November 2019 issue of SilverKris magazine