French director Luc Besson is best known for frenetic action films like his La Femme Nikita and Taken, which he wrote. His latest effort, a devoted biopic of the heroic Burmese dissident Aung San Suu Kyi starring Michelle Yeoh, switches gears entirely. Critics were downright chilly when The Lady premiered in Toronto on Monday night, but less than 48 hours later, the film secured U.S. distribution via the Cohen Media Group (Chasing Madoff). The company intends to give the film a limited Oscar-qualifying release in December before a wider run early in 2012.
The daughter of a patriotic hero and the wife of an English academic (played on screen by David Thewlis), Suu Kyi initially returned to her homeland to care for her ailing mother, but that trip became permanent when the country turned to her for leadership. Now 66, she won the Nobel Peace Prize in 1991 for refusing to yield to the ruling generals in Burma (also known as Myanmar) despite nearly 20 years of house arrest — a period that kept her from her family at crucial moments in their lives. In 2010, while The Lady was in production, she was finally freed from isolation, though severe restrictions remain on her freedom today.
Before his movie landed its deal, Besson sounded off on the film’s heroine, his dabbling in diverse cinematic genres, and the role of video piracy in bringing The Lady back to Burma. Read EW’s interview below: READ FULL STORY