A freshly released deleted scene from Everything Everywhere All At Once shows Michelle Yeoh’s Evelyn battling and dispatching — in the nicest possible way — Jenny Slate’s annoying laundromat patron, Debbie the Dog Mom.
The scene, which distributor Lionsgate released on YouTube (via Variety) in advance of the film’s 4K, Blu-ray, and DVD physical release on July 5, comes from near the end of the movie, so be warned: Spoilers follow,
The clip is an outtake from the climactic scene during which Evelyn battles past multiversal versions of many of the film’s characters on a staircase. She’s trying to catch up with her daughter Joy (Stephanie Hsu) to save her from the pit of cynicism that is the everything bagel, and she’s fending off her opponents with radical acts of kung fu kindness.
In the clip, Evelyn deflects a knife attack from her kung fu master (Li Jing) by turning the knife into a cookie, then has a gun pointed at her by Jenny Slate’s character. Evelyn transforms the gun into a phone that (in a charmingly unfinished effect) shows the “dog mom” a video call from her young son. The cute kid asks if she will come to his birthday party, adding, “Dad says you can come.” Evelyn also asks after her dog.
It’s a neat moment, and not just because it gives us another glimpse of a much-loved minor character from the movie. The scene also, in a single deft stroke, fleshes out and grants closure to a character who, directors Daniel Kwan and Daniel Scheinert admit, got something of a raw deal in the final cut of the film — to the extent that they were accused of antisemitism.
Slate was originally credited simply as “Big Nose,” a term Evelyn uses to refer to her in the film, and which is often used in Chinese culture to refer to white people. Unfortunately, it’s also a racial stereotype for Jewish people. In the latest streaming version of the movie, Slate’s credit has been changed to “Debbie the Dog Mom.”
Speaking to Digital Spy last month, the directors, who refer to themselves as the Daniels, admitted their mistake. They also revealed that Slate’s character originally had more depth than her rather abrasive presentation in the finished film, but that these details got lost in the edit.
“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, before describing the deleted scene. Scheinert added more color from earlier in the film: “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, which is…” Kwan took up the story: “ …Why she ends up going to the laundromat party [later in the film], Because even though she’s this seemingly mean-spirited person it’s because she has no one, right?”
Mentioning their intention to change the character’s name in the credits, Kwan said, “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.”
The release of the deleted scene and the credits name change certainly restore some humanity to Slate’s character. There’ll be more on the disc release of Everything Everywhere All At Onceincluding audio commentary with the Daniels, featurettes, more deleted scenes, and outtakes.