|The actress is playing pro-democracy activist Aung San Suu Kyi in a film called ‘The Lady’ [Reuters]|
Authorities in Myanmar have deported Hollywood actress Michelle Yeoh, who plans to play pro-democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi in an upcoming film, an immigration official has said.
Yeoh, best known for her role as a Chinese spy in the 1997 James Bond film “Tomorrow Never Dies”, was detained on arrival at Yangon’s international airport on June 22 and sent out of the country on the next flight.
“She was deported on the same day because she is on a blacklist,” the official told Reuters news agency on Tuesday, requesting anonymity because she was not authorised to talk to the media.
Yeoh, 48, has been in Thailand, Britain and France filming scenes for the film “The Lady”, as Suu Kyi is known in Myanmar.
The film is due to be released in October.
Suu Kyi, a Nobel laureate and figurehead of Myanmar’s fight against military rule, met Yeoh to discuss the film at her lakeside home in Yangon last December, three weeks after her release from a seven-year stint of house arrest.
Suu Kyi led her National League for Democracy to victory in elections in 1990, but the military prevented her from assuming power. She has been in and out of detention since then.
Though Myanmar elected a civilian government last year, critics say the vote was a sham and real power still rests with the military.
“The Lady” is a love story about Suu Kyi and her late British husband Michael Aris, and details their long separation while Suu Kyi was detained in 1989.
Aris was denied visas to visit Suu Kyi when he was diagnosed with cancer in 1997. She refused to leave Myanmar to visit him, fearing the military would block her return. Aris died in 1999.
A dancer and actress known for performing her own stunts in action movies, Yeoh was nominated for a BAFTA award for best actress for her role in Ang Lee’s 2000 box office hit “Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon” which won four Oscars.