The 2022 wellness film belongs to the cast and crew of All everywhere all at once. The absurd story of the multiverse combines science fiction, drama, martial arts and fantasy to represent a moving story of love and trauma. Michelle Yeoh plays Evelyn Quan Wang, an unhappy laundromat who seeks a better life for herself. During the IRS audit, Evelyn learns about the multiverse and she must inherit multiple versions of herself to save it from destruction.
The high-octane adventure instantly became a crowd pleaser on the way to becoming the highest-grossing A24 film. Directed by Daniel Kwan and Daniel Scheinert, known professionally as “The Daniels”, All everywhere all at once it has received universal acclaim for its originality, direction and extraordinary visuals. Director of photography Larkin Seiple helped create the beautiful use of color in the various universes and the excellent combat sequences throughout the film.
In an interview with Digital Trends, Seiple explains the challenge of shooting in less than 40 days, the ingenuity of the Daniels and the positive impact the film continues to have on audiences.
Note: This interview has been condensed and edited for length and clarity.
Digital Trends: What was the easiest concept to understand? An epic multiverse story or a friend movie that features a farted corpse?
Larkin Seiple: That of the corpse was easier. That of the corpse with which I have related much more. A middle-aged adult gets lost and tries to come to terms with what to do. I am not a man. I’m not a child. What do I do in the middle? Oddly, it made sense. As a kid doing stupid things with your friends in the woods, he seemed very recognizable.
The story of love and generational trauma in Everything Everywhere it was quite intoxicating. Trying to emotionally follow him in the script was also a little different [what] you see in the movie. The Daniels have been really successful. If you are confused, it doesn’t matter because you know what emotion to feel. In the script, it was the other way around. You knew what was going on, but it was a little harder to track down the emotion.
Was there a moment when you finally understood the concept? It took a couple of readings to finally say, “Okay, did I see what the Daniels are trying to do here?”
The first time I read it so fast because I was so excited. Much of the confusion was my fault. Like when you read a book you love or have something juicy in it and you start looking for keywords. Then you have to go back and reread it. I got it out of the way. I spent the year with them blowing me lines and how it would work, what we could do with that view and what were some really stupid ideas we can play with that could make someone jump in verse.
I think the first reference they had was using a cat as a nunchuck. That was the first image they told me about. They say, “There is a universe and you have to escape from a room, and the only way to do that is to use that cat as a nunchuck.” And I was like, “Ok, this is an interesting image in my head”. They never used it and I don’t think he even made the script, but it was like the first time we talked about it. The absurdity of what was possible out there was an important part.
If you hadn’t worked with the Daniels before, do you think you would have been able to make it in under 40 days?
No. I think a large part of what made this possible was the fact that not only me and the Daniels, but also Jason, our production designer, the entire shooting team and lighting team, we worked with them on. a lot of time. And Jonathan Wang, their producer. We knew what they would ask for. They would ask for crazy things, but they would also ask for so much. We got this crazy shot, but it’s only one. It’s not like we have to build the whole road. We need to make a corner work.
They [the Daniels] really rely on your collaborators. They trust [the crew]. “Here’s a crazy idea we have. What’s the best way to do it, “or ask Jason,” Where’s the best place to shoot it “or” What’s the best option for our budget? “That was constantly the theme. How can we make it with time and the money we have?
All universes feel different through the use of colors. Why did you use colors to differentiate each universe? Were there any other ideas in the mix?
Well, we’ve also changed the lens across all universes. We used six or seven different types of lenses. We also changed the aspect ratio from 4: 3 to CinemaScope at 1.85 to something as silly as Netflix’s 2: 1. which looks just like 1.85. We did things like that. In the beginning we had a great meeting with me and the set design, but also with the hair, makeup and costumes. The Daniels said, “Act 2 is psychotic, and we are going through these universes and we have to make bold choices so that you can know very easily where you were.”
We started reserving colors for universes, but we also chose not to include some colors in certain universes. We were also playing on contrasts like the universe of hot dog fingers, which no one catches. Everyone is distracted by the hands of the hot dogs, but the only colors in that universe are ketchup, mustard, meat and bun. It’s just those colors.
[Laughs] The production designer had a ball. He was very excited about it [hot dog hands] universe. Yes, they were little things like that. In the mood for love it was a great reference to the Hong Kong verse in which she [Evelyn] is a movie star. In the mood for love it’s not really a green movie. It is very clean, actually. But we responded to the idea of Wong Kar-wai’s work, which many of them like Fallen angels And Chungking Express they were very green and had a lot of flavor.
We started making these bigger and bolder choices. Raccacoonie is a bizarre ode to Drunkard love. You know, red, white and blue. There are very strong and visceral American colors. We just started having fun and then seeing what was there and making it better.
Do you have a favorite reference from a movie you managed to sneak into?
I always have references that I quote to the Daniels as a joke, but they are still a true reference to me. For the universe of Jobu in the White Temple, all of my favorite films come from the childhood trauma of the films. Movies that hit really hard like Jurassic Park. She scared the shit out of me. In The Neverending Story, there is a princess in this strange, cold, white, bright castle. In the second, there is this strange crystal palace falling apart. When I was a child, this strange, fragile and disturbing environment always disturbed me.
I combined it with the pictures of Beyond the black rainbow, which is this dark and hilarious horror movie. That was my favorite reference. I also looked Neverending Story II, which is terrible and made really cheap and completely ruined my memories. It doesn’t look quite as good as my memories and it looks really cheap.
I even think they changed one of the actor races, oddly enough. Many of the references are based on the memories of these films instead of pulling up the frames and referring to themselves. That’s where we started. Kind of a shot from the heart, if you like.
The fight scenes are choreographed in a very complex way. Logistically, they must be difficult to film. How did you figure out where to place the cameras for the fight scenes?
We were really lucky as the Daniels reached out to our choreographers, the Le brothers and their team. Those guys love Jackie Chan movies and we love Jackie Chan movies. I grew up with Jackie Chan movies and all the classic movies of him like the ladder fight First shot. The Daniels hooked up with them so they started working with them [the Le brothers] to the choreography. They really choreographed with the camera too, so we started breaking it down and figuring out well in advance how to do it and how to simplify it.
A lot of it has been giving you the right amount of time. The pouch fight was made up of multiple cameras, and we would have these really weird rigs that we built ahead of time as the ground camera which is like the pouch point of view that wraps around this foot. It was a little roller skate rig that I just ran on the end of a rope with.
Then there is the struggle for the stairs, and it was the most painful thing to do. You have 20 people on the stairs. You are trying to move. We had to spend a lot of money on these wacky techno cranes, not to make cool moves, but to put a camera in a hard-to-reach place. We had to spend all this money to put a camera in a hateful place to tell the story. We worked on it slowly.
With those scenes, not only are you looking to do an action scene, but you have industrial fans blowing paper all over the place. The lighting is flickering. It was a great challenge. We would actually rush through the dialogues and try to have intense dialogue days so that we can have time to actually capture the chaos appropriately. We weren’t supposed to rush through the action scenes as much as we thought we should.
Were you able to take a step back and understand what this film meant for many people? He has grossed over $ 100 million worldwide, which is an A24 record, and has a strong chance of getting nominated for a few Oscars. Is it surreal? Did you know you had something special?
I remember a couple of crew members saying, “I think you guys did something special” and, at the time, I didn’t think about it too much. I was just happy we were done. It was such an endurance race to get to 100 every day. There isn’t a cold day on the shoot. [Laughs] Every day has a crazy idea or something we had to accomplish. She began to enter slowly. Our colorist, Alex, before reviewing the film, watched it with his wife and said, “Yes. My wife loved the film and she cried.” There are no final visual effects in it either. I was like, “Oh, wow. This is crazy.”
But I was also there during the editing process because they kept playing it and got all these crazy responses. It actually only occurred to us in South by Southwest. Hearing the crowd’s first reaction, I thought, “Oh. I get it.” Hearing people cry in theaters is something I haven’t really experienced. Usually, crying is a quiet thing, and the person next to me was sobbing and I started getting really excited. I have never had an emotional response to any of my projects before, because it has usually been beaten by you when you see it in the cinema. I actually got a real answer to seeing it.
I’m just so proud of the Daniels for what they have done. Even at night after South by Southwest, they threw a big party at their house with only the crew. It was a dance party. Someone has started giving speeches to everyone. Half of the people could not participate in a speech because the whole room would become silent. They would go and talk and start crying and saying “I can’t do this”.
It sounds like a cliché, but people have really been working on it for so long. It was all of them. It wasn’t like we found a great script and someone did it. No, it’s all these guys who put everything they’ve got into it. I am very happy to see the world respond.
All everywhere all at once is available for rental on services such as Prime Video, Apple TV, and YouTube.