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Hollywood star Michelle Yeoh is to play the role of Aung San Suu Kyi in a film about the life of Burma’s pro-democracy champion, industry sources said Wednesday.
Yeoh visited the Nobel Peace Prize winner on Monday and spent the whole afternoon at her crumbling lakeside mansion in Rangoon, said Nyan Win, a spokesman for Suu Kyi.
Malaysian-born former Bond girl Yeoh has been shooting scenes with French director Luc Besson in Thailand for the production, titled “Dans La Lumiere”, said Wanasiri Morakul, director of the Thailand Film Office.
“The film is about Aung San Suu Kyi. We approved it a long time ago and they have shot in several locations,” said Wanasiri, whose government agency deals with foreign film-makers operating in Thailand.
Suu Kyi was freed last month after seven straight years of house arrest, less than a week after an election that critics said was a charade aimed at preserving military rule behind a civilian facade in Burma.
The 65-year-old has won international acclaim for her peaceful resistance in the face of oppression.
In 1990 she led her National League for Democracy (NLD) party to a landslide election win that was never recognised by Burma’s military rulers, who have locked her up for most of the past two decades.
Her struggle has come at a high personal cost: her husband, a British academic, died in 1999, and in the final stages of his battle with cancer the junta refused him a visa to see his wife.
Yeoh, 48, a former Miss Malaysia, shot to international fame when she co-starred with Pierce Brosnan in the 1997 James Bond film “Tomorrow Never Dies” as a tough but beautiful Chinese spy.
She then starred in Ang Lee’s “Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon” – a Chinese-language martial arts epic that was an international hit – and “Memoirs of a Geisha” based on the best-selling novel by Arthur Golden.