GETTING under the skin of revered Myanmar political activist Aung San Suu Kyi was no easy feat for veteran Malaysian-born actress Michelle Yeoh.
Already svelte and athletic, the 49-year-old former Bond girl lost another 10kg to play the slightly gaunt Nobel laureate in The Lady.
Directed by French filmmaker Luc Besson of The Fifth Element fame, the soul-stirring biopic throws the spotlight on Ms Suu Kyi's poignant relationship with her British academic husband and the personal sacrifices she has to make amid a tumultuous military-ruled regime.
"In order to look like Daw Suu (Ms Suu Kyi's Burmese name), I trained as if I was training for a marathon," said Yeoh in an interview with FiRST last Wednesday at Four Seasons Hotel.
She was in town to promote the movie, which opened here last week.
As it turns out, when it came to shedding those extra pounds, it took someone extremely close to the real Ms Suu Kyi to motivate Yeoh.
"Prior to filming, I had met up with her younger son Kim," she said.
"He looked at me and remarked: 'My mum is a lot slimmer than you!'"
Ms Suu Kyi has two sons, Alexander and Kim, from her marriage to Oxford professor Michael Aris.
Mr Aris died in 1999 of prostate cancer.
Other than losing weight, Yeoh also learnt and memorised the Myanmar language, which she described as "one of the most challenging things I've done".
Yeoh, whose other notable films include Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon (2000) and Memoirs Of A Geisha (2005), admitted the enduring love and long-standing devotion between Mr Aris and Ms Suu Kyi resonated with her, touching her deeply.
Read the full story.