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‘Everything Everywhere’ Star Stephanie Hsu on Lessons Learned from Michelle Yeoh and Ke Huy Quan: ‘Careers Need Ebbs and Flows’

Stephanie Hsu is really busy — the “Everything Everywhere All at OnceOscar nominee has been commuting from California to Australia for the past few weeks while filming “The Fall Guy” with Ryan Gosling and attending various events and ceremonies to promote “Everything Everywhere,” directed by Daniel Kwan and Daniel Scheinert, which earned 11 Academy Award nominations.

She beams with pride when discussing this moment in her life. The daughter of a Chinese immigrant who was a single mother, Hsu has been talking with her family and friends about the road that’s led her to this moment — including her best friend Alan, who told her she did it without having to be “born into this industry,” or a family friend emailing her mother to recall the time she brought a young Hsu to the friend’s house intending to convince her to study business. “Aren’t you glad she didn’t?” the friend wrote.

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Her next film, “Joy Ride,” directed by “Crazy Rich Asians” writer Adele Lim, will screen at SXSW. “We’re going to play the second weekend because I have to go to the Oscars,” Hsu tells Variety with a sense of disbelief. “It’s pretty wild.”

Over Zoom, Hsu dishes on her nom, lessons learned and being a future bingo night winner.

EVERYTHING EVERYWHERE ALL AT ONCE, from left: Stephanie Hsu, Ke Huy Quan, Michelle Yeoh, James Hong, 2022. ph: Allyson Riggs /© A24 / Courtesy Everett Collection
EVERYTHING EVERYWHERE ALL AT ONCE, from left: Stephanie Hsu, Ke Huy Quan, Michelle Yeoh, James Hong

How does it feel to be an Oscar nominee?

It feels surreal for many reasons, but I’ve been reflecting on how few people ever experience what I’m going through — as humans and actors. If I get to live to be 95, and I’m retired in a bingo hall, they will announce me as “Tonight’s winner for bingo is onetime Academy Award nominee Stephanie.”

There were a record number of Asian Oscar nominees this year. Does that point to a brighter future for you and your representation in Hollywood?

Totally. We have to remember that so much change continues to happen, and we’ve crossed a few thresholds in the last five to 10 years. I’m excited for us to cross that threshold and find new ways of including and measuring art. But for now, this system is the one that exists.

Responsibility … I feel like that’s been my whole career. When I got to be a female lead on Broadway, or on “Marvelous Mrs. Maisel” and played a bilingual Chinese woman in the 1950s on television, those barriers were in front of me before they were kicked down. I was brought up in an artistic community where regardless of identity, any opportunity you have is an opportunity to bring 10 other people with you. That is my greatest joy. This is beyond race, identity and sexuality. This is about making people who are good, good artists.

Would you want a spinoff film from any of the universes of “Everything Everywhere All at Once”?

I want the rocks. I just want a silent movie. Sometimes I’m like, “What if I got to do a silent movie where I play Charlie Chaplin or something?” That’s where my brain goes.

What have you learned while watching your co-stars absorb the love from fans this awards season?

Time is not linear, and love is infinite. Ke [Huy Quan] came back because his love for this was so big that he could not hold it anymore. I think sometimes our industry makes it feel like once you go, you can’t stop and it’s some sort of a momentum climb. I think it’s important to remember that life if you’re lucky, is long. Artistic careers need ebbs and flow to evolve into the next chapter of yourself. It’s not meant to be a rat race.

Tell us about “American Born Chinese” from Disney+.

It’ll be sweet. I pop in and out…but people are so excited that we’re all together. I am a “fly-by,” but Destin Daniel Cretton is amazing. He’s definitely from the same cloth of heart space and scrappiness. The show is going to be really special.

Tell us about your upcoming film “The Fall Guy” from David Leitch and starring Ryan Gosling.

Everyone will show up for Ryan Gosling, so I’m not too worried about that one. David Leitch is amazing. It’s a love letter to “stunties” (stunt men and women). Ryan is hilarious, and he’s someone cut from the same cloth as well because he’s someone who is invested in the craft of the story and protects the story. There’s been a lot of giggling happening.

Things you didn’t know about Stephanie Hsu:

Age: 32

Hometown: Torrance, Calif.

Picture perfect: “The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power” actor Ismael Cruz Córdova took her first professional headshots while studying together at NYU Tisch School of the Arts.

Favorite cereal: Cinnamon Toast Crunch

Favorite Chip: Salt and Vinegar

Nation she’s dying to visit: New Zealand

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