Toronto 2011: Bond Girl Michelle Yeoh on Being Deported From Burma

1:00 PM PST 09/12/2011 by Etan Vlessing
Franco Origlia/Getty Images

The Malaysian actor, in Toronto to promote the Aung San Suu Kyi biopic "The Lady," recalled being barred from entering Burma to meet the activist leader.

TORONTO -- Malaysian actress Michelle Yeoh, who plays Burmese activist Aung San Suu Kyi in Luc Besson’s The Lady, on Monday recalled the moment she came face-to-face with Burma’s brutal military regime.

“I thought, should I make a fuss and say I’m not leaving, you have no right to deny me entry,” the Bond Girl told a Toronto International Film Festival presser for The Lady, on being deported from Burma last June 22 while filming the biopic next door in Thailand.

Yeoh in December 2010 was allowed into Burma to spend two days in Aung San Suu Kyi’s lakeside home in Rangoon, in the shadow of the country’s repressive military regime.

But when she attempted a return to Burma last June to meet again with Burma's activist politician, she was turned back at the border.

“They were firm, very polite and escorted me straight out of the country,” Yeoh recalled.

“They kept saying, sorry, sorry. And I said don’t be sorry, just let me into your country,” she added.

By instinct, Yeoh considered alerting the media to her deportation, but then decided against raising the matter publicly.

“I thought it wouldn’t do anyone any good. It also showed how irrational and erratic they (Burma’s military government) are. In fact, they were the ones that released to the press that I didn’t get into the country,” she said.

Yeoh insisted ahead of her upcoming movie, where David Thewlis plays Aung San Suu Kyi's husband, Michael Aris, that she will return to Burma.

“I will be back. I will go to that country,” she said.

Besson’s The Lady, which was also shot in Britain and France, is due out in October.

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