It’s no secret that Everything Everywhere All At Once is incredible. Directorial team the Daniels, Dan Kwan and Daniel Scheinert, have made an instant classic that’s sure to endure for years to come. The film is funny, exciting, emotional, and gorgeous, but not without a few issues.
Paramount among those is the character played by Jenny Slate: “Big Nose.” Evelyn (Michelle Yeoh) calls her that name, playing into an offensive Jewish stereotype, as a way to minimize her and give Evelyn’s eventual growth an off-putting starting point. Which, depending on the viewer, you may agree with or not. Beyond that though, an even bigger problem with calling Slate, a Jewish woman, a name taken from an offensive Jewish stereotype is the fact that the film puts it in writing. Slate’s character is not just called “Big Nose” in the movie, but in the credits as well, and fans online took offense to the characterization.
Now, in a new interview, the film’s writers and directors have responded. First, they confirm that the name “Big Nose” for Slate’s character will be removed from the credits of the film’s digital release. Second, they explained the character—who goes missing for most of the film, only adding to the potential problems—had a scene deleted near the end that would’ve contextualized her a bit, making her seem more human.
“It was one of the disappointing things of having a movie that was bloated—we had to cut things. A couple of characters had to go and Jenny’s was one of them,” Kwan said to Digital Spy. “They have this little moment where Jenny’s character comes in with a weapon and they struggle over it for a moment and [Evelyn] turns it into a phone and becomes a FaceTime phone call with [Slate’s character’s] family, and her son is begging her to come to his birthday party.”
“There was more audible dialogue in the intro about her being estranged from her husband, and there being a birthday party that she’s not invited to,” Scheinert added. “[Which is] why she ends up going to the laundromat party [at the end of the film],” Kwan concluded. “Because even though she’s this seemingly mean-spirited person it’s because she has no one, right? So [there was] going to be more of [that] through a thorough connection.”
The directors seem regretful in the interview, where they also explain the universe Slate’s character is in is meant to be meaner than others, and that “Big Nose” has a more general connotation in Chinese culture (referring to anyone who is white). Most importantly though, they take full responsibility. “We’re not proud of that name,” Scheinert said. “Yeah. Exactly,” Kwan added. “Firstly, it was like it was a shorthand because—out of our laziness. That’s what she was called in the movie, let’s call her that [in the credits]. But now we can see how dehumanizing it is.”
Which, they admit, almost is antithetical to the film. “It’s not lost on us, the irony of the fact that a movie in which we’re exploring the fact that when things are too complicated and too messy, you miss each other, and hurt each other. And in this movie, in which we were holding [ourselves to a higher standard], we’re trying to do too much. We missed certain blind spots,” Kwan said.
But, when the film is released digitally June 7, that’ll be partially rectified. Read more quotes from Daniels on this over on Digital Spy.
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