Video:Michelle Yeoh Interview-The Mummy Tomb of the Dragon Emperorwith Rebecca Murray
Michelle Yeoh gets to face off against one of her favorite co-stars, Jet Li, in Universal Pictures' 'The Mummy: Tomb of the Dragon Emperor.' This 3rd 'Mummy' movie's set in China, and that was one of the main selling points for Yeoh.See Transcript
Transcript:Michelle Yeoh Interview-The Mummy Tomb of the Dragon EmperorRebecca Murray from About.com Hollywood Movies at the 2008 San Diego Comic Con.
Michelle Yeoh – 'Zi Yuan' in The Mummy: Tomb of the Dragon Emperor
A big, huge Mummy movie – what's the attraction?
Michelle Yeoh: "You just said it – the huge Mummy movie. I was a big fan of one and two. And then there's Brendan Fraser… I mean, come on! Then when Rob Cohen called and sent me a lovely letter to say, 'Mummy is going to China.' I knew of Rob's work before and when I had seen Dragon, the story about Bruce Lee, I thought, 'This director has such a love and respect for our culture.' And you know even though this is a fantasy movie, it is good to have someone that is passionate about your culture and will know what to do accordingly, and protect something that they themselves enjoy. Then after that, you know he said to me, 'And your friend Jet Li is going to be in the film,' so I was like, 'Oh, okay.'"
There's no decision at all.
Michelle Yeoh: "Forget it. I was there."
I heard Rob Cohen runs his set a lot like a Chinese production does anyway. Is that true?
Michelle Yeoh: "What that means is because Rob is very fast. He does his homework impeccably. He has his book and he has broken down all his shots, so in that sense, he is very fast. In China, in Asia when we make a movie, we like smaller budget movies and you know you have to work a lot faster. So he goes in there and he will churn out 20, 30 shots. And he's not like 50 takes, something takes, he knows exactly what he wants. 2 or 3 takes and if he's gotten it, he's gotten it. So in that sense, you know, he doesn't waste time. He doesn't waffle. We think you see him as an American outside, but honestly he's Chinese inside."
Do you like working like that? Is the faster way to go better for you as an actress?
Michelle Yeoh: "Yes because the energy keeps going. Because you know if you have to wait for many hours – and sometimes you do and there are reasons for it – you know your energy level goes down. And especially if you're doing a very high speed action film and action sequences, it's very hard to maintain the energy level. It's like revving your car. You have to sort of slow down and let it go again. So for that reason, it's much better."
And working opposite Jet Li, on opposite sides, what was that like? That had to be fun, right?
Michelle Yeoh: "Well you know the two of us. The most difficult part for us is to keep a straight face when we're looking at one another. I mean, one time Yuen Wo Ping sent us off the set because half an hour shoot turned into four hours because we couldn't stop laughing."
What is it about him that sets you off?
Michelle Yeoh: "You know what? He tells everyone I'm his brother and I tell everyone he's my sister. We're just like family. From the first time we worked together we had that connection. He really treats me like his buddy. You know when you work with someone and you have that kind of connection it's very easy. And really when you have to fight with the number one martial artist in the world, it doesn't get any easier than that because you know you have confidence. Every blow, every strike that he does will be accurate and you won't be injured."
Speaking of injuries, is it just that your body, your muscles just react now and you don't have to do much training? Or do you still do a lot of training?
Michelle Yeoh: "I train because it's part of my life. It's my life. When you wake up in the morning, you brush your teeth. I brush my teeth and I'm doing my leg lifts. Over the years we've sustained some injuries so your body...listen to your body. It speaks to you. It tells you where you need to put extra work in. And if you want your body to continue to work for you for a long time, you take care of it."