The Daniels are on top of the world. There was a running joke between Daniel Kwan and Daniel Scheinert during the first week of shooting “Everything Everywhere All at Once.” After a successful first read-through, and perfect shots and framework, the two would turn to each other and whisper, “this is nonstop entertainment.” And even though they weren’t successful in getting a cameo of their “Swiss Army Man” leading men Daniel Radcliffe and Paul Dano into the film, the joke is God’s honest truth.
On this episode of the award-winning Variety Awards Circuit Podcast, we sit down with “Everything Everywhere All at Once” directors Daniel Kwan and Daniel Scheinert. The dynamic duo talks about the origins of their collaboration which began in film school, assembling their outstanding cast and artisans ensemble and what’s next for them in the film and television space.
Listen below, and watch the full conversation above.
Written, directed and produced by Daniel Kwan and Daniel Scheinert (better known as the Daniels), “Everything Everywhere All at Once” tells the charming tale of Evelyn (Yeoh), a Chinese laundromat owner who embarks on a quest to save the multiverse.
“Everything Everywhere” has been nominated for 11 Oscars — including best picture (Daniels and Jonathan Wang), director (Daniels), actress (Yeoh), supporting actor (Ke Huy Quan), two for supporting actress (Curtis and Stephanie Hsu), original screenplay (Daniels), costumes (Shirley Kurata), editing (Paul Rogers), original score (Son Lux) and original song (“This is Life” by Ryan Lott, David Byrne and Mitski). An undisputed front-runner, the sci-fi comedy is in an excellent position to bring the Academy’s most coveted prize home for A24, the same studio that pulled off the memorable “Moonlight” upset (over “La La Land”) at the 2017 ceremony.
Broken from the same cloth but still undeniably distinct in their approach to life and filmmaking, the chemistry between the Daniels is electric.
Kwan is the most extroverted introvert you could meet. His “imposter syndrome comes in waves,” he says while discussing sitting with actors Tom Cruise and Michelle Williams and cinematographer Roger Deakins at the Oscar nominees luncheon. “I was listening to Tom Cruise explain how they stuck cameras onto planes. It was my fault, I asked him…I have so many questions about how you guys made that movie, and he’s like ‘I’m here. Ask away. I learned a lot about his entire life.”
Scheinert echoes the point and is grateful for the critical acclaim and accolades for “Everything Everywhere” this season. “We somehow got invited to the most exclusive film school on Earth,” he says. “These events…you can’t buy this. Not only am I in the room with heroes of mine, but I have permission to approach them.”
Scheinert is meticulous and loves the unconventional movies of our time, such as offbeat comedies like “Team America: World Police” (2004), which led him to sing parts of the hilarious “Michael Bay” track. He even reveals regretting getting some time with “Nope” writer and director Jordan Peele this season to tell him he was cast in the pilot of the Comedy Central sketch series, “Key & Peele” but had to drop to direct a music video.
One thing abundantly clear is “Everything Everywhere” is a family, perhaps as close as anyone linked simply by DNA.
“I’m still shocked when I see clips from the movie and reminded how different Evelyn Wang is from Michelle Yeoh,” Scheinert says. “She did her homework.”
Kwan agrees, “I think she talks about our movie in a way that kind of diminishes what she did.”
He adds that Ke Huy Quan and his joyful comeback, “it’s a superpower. If other people try to do it, they’ll hurt themselves.”
When talking about what’s next for the directing team, they have a lot in the hopper but were getting dangerously close to becoming overcommitted. They signed an exclusive five-year partnership with Universal Pictures for film and A24 for TV.
Oscar-winner Questlove advised them where to go from here: “don’t do the pivot album,” Daniels recalls. “It’s like every band. They have their hit, and then they pivot.”
But never abiding by the rules, Kwan states: “I totally understand why he says it, but sometimes, the pivot album is my favorite,” citing Sufjan Stevens’ “The Age of Adz.”
Also in this episode, “Triangle of Sadness” writer and director Ruben Östlund discusses his Palme d’Or winning film and working with his dynamic cast of actors that included Dolly De Leon. And the Roundtable gives its SAG Awards predictions.
Variety’s “Awards Circuit” podcast, produced by Michael Schneider, who also co-hosts with Clayton Davis, is your one-stop listen for lively conversations about the best in film and television. Each week “Awards Circuit” features interviews with top film and TV talent and creatives; discussions and debates about awards races and industry headlines; and much more. Subscribe via Apple Podcasts, Stitcher, Spotify or anywhere you download podcasts. New episodes post weekly.