Michelle Yeoh Blacklisted In Burma For Part In Suu Kyi Biopic

There's supposed to be a line that separates an actor’s personal life and belief system from his or her professional career. Just because performers like Anthony Hopkins and Christian Bale have played mass-murdering psychopaths in films like The Silence of the Lambs and American Psycho doesn’t mean that they are going to be a problem with the authorities somewhere down the line. But Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon star Michelle Yeoh is running into obstacles with Burmese officials because of plans to play a key political figure in an upcoming biopic, and it could end up delaying the production.

Yeoh actually was deported from Burma earlier in the week when she arrived in Rangoon to work on director Luc Besson’s biopicof Nobel Peace Prize winner Suu Kyi. Yeoh planned to play Kyi in the film, titled The Lady, but found herself blacklisted by the Burma government because of her “presumed support” of the pro-democracy leader, Sky News reports.

Besson’s picture, which is in post-production, would be a love story centered around Kyi and her husband, Michael Aris (played by the great David Thewlis), who suffered through the former’s extraordinarily long house arrest – totaling just shy of 15 years – due to her opposition of the Burmese government. Apparently Burma’s State Protection Act allows the government to imprison persons for up to five years without a trial, and officials exercised that power to keep Kyi detained.

Now they are using their power to keep Yeoh out of the country. The actress had visited Burma earlier in the year to meet with Kyi. Let’s hope she obtained all of the research she needed to complete the role. Besson’s The Lady is due in theaters at the end of this year.

Sean O'Connell
Managing Editor

Sean O’Connell is a journalist and CinemaBlend’s Managing Editor. He's frequently found on Twitter at @Sean_OConnell. ReelBlend cohost. A movie junkie who's Infatuated with comic-book films. Helped get the Snyder Cut released, then wrote a book about it.