YANGON, Myanmar (AP) — The military-backed government of Myanmar has deported Hollywood actress Michelle Yeoh, who stars as pro-democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi in an upcoming movie, officials said last Tuesday.
The Malaysian actress arrived in the country’s main city, Yangon, on June 22 and was deported the same day because she was on a blacklist, a government official said.
The official, who declined to be identified because he was not authorized to speak to the press, did not say why Yeoh was on the list. But Myanmar’s repressive government has routinely rejected visa requests of journalists and perceived critics for years.
Suu Kyi spokesman Nyan Win confirmed Yeoh was deported but had no other details.
The Luc Besson movie about Suu Kyi’s life, “The Lady,” is due out later this year, and Yeoh has said she hopes her portrayal of Suu Kyi will raise awareness about the Nobel Peace Prize winner’s story.
Suu Kyi, 66, spent most of the last two decades detained by the former military junta. She was released last year, just days after an election that her party boycotted and in which she was barred from being a candidate.
The vote was the nation’s first in 20 years, and in March, the junta handed power to a civilian government. But critics say little has changed and the new government is merely a front for continued rule by the army, which has been in power here since 1962.
Yeoh visited Myanmar in December and spent time with Suu Kyi for the movie, which was filmed in neighboring Thailand.
Yeoh, 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 has also starred in “Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon” and “Memoirs of a Geisha.” ♦