Ke Huy Quan: Michelle Yeoh 'Guided Me' in 'Everything Everywhere' — 'I Haven't Done This for a Long Time'

Ke Huy Quan praises his Everything Everywhere All at Once costar and fellow Oscar nominee in this week's PEOPLE

Ke Huy Quan Michelle Yeoh
Photo: Mike Marsland/WireImage

Ke Huy Quan looked to Michelle Yeoh as a leader on set of Everything Everywhere All at Once.

Quan — who earned his first Oscar nomination for the film along with costars Yeoh, Jamie Lee Curtis and Stephanie Hsu — praises Yeoh, 60, in this week's issue of PEOPLE, saying she set the tone during production.

"She guided me. I haven't done this for a long time. I don't think we could have done this movie without her," says Quan, 51, who plays husband to Yeoh's alternate universe-hopping Evelyn Wang.

After taking a long hiatus from Hollywood, Quan returned to acting with Everything Everywhere. He recently told PEOPLE his Oscar nomination (and the score of awards season wins he's gotten) "means a lot" to him at this point in his career — almost 40 years after he first appeared on the big screen as a child actor in 1984's Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom.

"We have so many Asian actors being nominated in major acting categories. I'm really thrilled about it, and it means that this past year, our stories are being told," he said.

Mandatory Credit: Photo by Moviestore/Shutterstock (12876015e) Stephanie Hsu, Michelle Yeoh and Jonathan Ke Quan Everything Everywhere All at Once - 2022
Stephanie Hsu, Michelle Yeoh and Ke Huy Quan in Everything Everywhere All at Once. Moviestore/Shutterstock

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"When something like this happens, it just reinforces my belief that impactful change can happen," Quan added. "I'm so grateful to the Academy for recognizing all of us. Getting nominated is a big, big deal. I cannot believe I'm an Oscar-nominated actor. This is unbelievable to me."

In this week's PEOPLE, Yeoh looks back on the past year, saying she feels gratitude.

"A lot of actresses find, as the numbers get bigger, the roles start to dwindle," she says. "Over the last few years, I'm very proud that we have been breaking away from stereotypes — it's not just lip service. It is happening. And it's happening to me."

RELATED VIDEO: Ke Huy Quan Says Going from Child Actor to Oscar Nominee Has Been 'an Emotional Journey'

"You go from shock to bewilderment," she continues. " 'Wow, is it me? How can it be me?' Because I've worked with so many amazing actresses who should have had this privilege, and so I am very grateful to be given the opportunity to sit at the table and to be seen."

Yeoh credits her success and determination to the many strong women in her life.

Michelle Yeoh Rollout
Yu Tsai

"I've always been surrounded by women who are very independent, very strong, very smart, and also were very wise, because sometimes I really do take offense when someone says, 'Oh yeah, she's tough. She's a real b----.' And I'm like, 'No. A woman who is tough doesn't have to be that.' You can be a b---- for fun, but not like that," she says. "And women who are in positions of power are not neurotic. They deserve to be there because they worked hard at it, and sometimes we have to work even harder to get to that position."

For more about Michelle Yeoh and women changing the world in 2023, pick up the latest issue of PEOPLE, on newsstands now.

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