Postmodernism

Everything Everywhere All At Once’s original script was even weirder

In the wild and universal film by Daniel Scheinert and Daniel Kwan Everything everywhere all at once, much of the plot revolves around the branching points where people make their important choices. Each decision creates a new timeline and a new hypothetical world. The Heavy Companion Art Book A vast useless gyration of rocks and radioactive gases you find yourself in creates his own set of storylines – particularly in the script for a scene the Daniels cut from the film. The footage suggests a complete alternate timeline for their movie, with entirely new characters and a drastically different tone.

In this early version of the film, Kwan tells Polygon that the Wang family — Evelyn Wang (Michelle Yeoh) and her father, husband, and daughter — were briefly introduced at the start, before an unseen narrator takes over the story. . “Before, it was more family-related,” Kwan says. “It started with a video of the family and then the narrator was like, ‘Anyway, let’s keep going! and we jump into this other thing.

“This whole other thing” is a sequence that sounds like something out of Douglas Adams’ classic tongue-in-cheek sci-fi comedy The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy – particularly the radio version and the 1981 BBC television version, which frame the story with narration from the titular Hitchhiker’s Guide.

The narrator in EverywhereThe deleted scene from begins by introducing the story in cosmic terms: “We are here, right now, at the beginning. And because most beginnings are also often endings, I would be wrong not to point out that we are also there, at the end. And because each moment would not be possible without the moment that preceded it and is rendered useless without the moment that followed it, one could say that the existence of everything that has happened and will happen depends on the existence of this unique moment. That’s it. That’s all. Let’s start.”

The narrator then introduces two men who exemplify the principles of the film’s infinite multiverse. The first, WT Warren, is a football helmet tester in his twenties in 1912 in Pennsylvania. His job is to put on the helmets and run headfirst into a farm wall. When a quantum crash takes him completely through the wall in a test – an unlikely event that will happen at least once in a universe of infinite possibilities – he gets drunk and decides that God wants him to inspire people with miracles. So he confronts three armed robbers, who fatally stab him – though, as the narrator notes, in a small subset of universes the knife runs through him as well, and he marries the love of his life, qu he was trying to impress when he stood up to the robbers.

“And if you think this all sounds like a fundamental misunderstanding of how the world works, then I’m afraid your view of infinity, my friend, is too small for this story,” the narrator says.

The scene continues with another character, a high school football player in 1957. In a specific game, if he catches a specific football, he becomes a cult leader. If he misses it, he gets hurt and becomes a solitary carpenter who is only happy in universes where tables can talk. All of this storytelling exposes the idea of ​​a multiverse defined as much by accident as by choice, but it all seems like a huge departure from the finished film, which focuses much more specifically on Evelyn and her family.

As Scheinert explains, he and Kwan scrapped this scene from their original script pretty early on. “I don’t think it was ever in a draft that we sent to anyone,” he says. “It was like, draft zero point eight. Before sending [the script] to all producers, we cut [this sequence]because the script was 255 pages.

Kwan and Scheinert say the storytelling was all about setting up a specific alternate universe that also doesn’t appear in the final film. The narrator was supposed to have what Kwan describes as “a very eloquent, possibly Southern voice”. “Someone like Susan Sarandon,” adds Scheinert. Eventually, as Evelyn goes through different multiverses, she would enter one where her voice was also provided by the narrator.

“So she’d have Susan Sarandon’s voice,” Kwan says, “and you’d realize, ‘Oh, in this universe, she was adopted by a white family that brought her over from Asia, and she grew up as an adoptee, and she has perfect English, and she became a writer, so that was a big, long part of the story.

Scheinert says the whole framing concept was meant to evoke both Douglas Adams and Paul Thomas Anderson. Magnolia. But it was also born out of the Daniels’ admiration for Charlie Kaufman, the author of Eternal sunshine of the spotless mind, Being John Malkovichand Synecdoche, New York.

“I think that’s one of the biggest tangents we’ve crossed,” Scheinert says. “We love Charlie Kaufman, and there was a very Kaufman-esque quality to the initial idea, which was like, ‘Let’s do a very accessible sci-fi action movie that’s falling apart, because the multiverse is crazy. .’ It took us a while to realize that we didn’t need to be postmodern to achieve this.

Both Daniels say the whole concept of the film was inherently so postmodern that it didn’t need recursive characters or framing. “It was in the fabric of this one,” Scheinert says. “So we removed a lot of that. But we toyed with that for a long time, like, ‘Should we appear as characters in our own movie? Should the film be a book written by this alternative Evelyn? I’m glad we took those tangents because it helped us develop the themes, but those ideas weren’t necessary.

A vast useless gyration of rocks and radioactive gases you find yourself in is available in the A24 product store. Along with the deleted scene, it includes original artwork, short stories, an interview about the multiverse between the Daniels and “their favorite neuroscientist, David Eagleman,” and an essay by Carl Sagan’s daughter, the author. Sasha Sagan.