Written by David Morgan
Giuseppe Tornatore, perhaps best known as the director of the Oscar-winning Italian film Nuovo cinema Paradiso, is planning to make his first English language film. It will be entitled The Lady, and will focus on the life of "Burmese democracy icon and Nobel Peace Prize winner Aung San Suu Kyi."
Variety reports that "Tornatore is developing the script for The Lady with Japanese producer Naofumi Okamoto, with production to begin later this year."
Suu Kyi is a nonviolent pro-democracy leader in Burma who has been largely under house-arrest for the past 17 years, as she was deposed by a military junta (who prefer to call the country Myanmar).
Co-producing the project with Okamoto is Marvel Comics' Avi Arad, who has produced the Spider-man and X-Men movies. He had the following to say about the project:
At first I thought it wasn't my kind of movie, but then I realized it was. To me, Suu Kyi was like a character from X-Men, except she's a real hero, not an imaginary one -- she didn't need to do what she did, and she gave up a lot to do it.
There's a real commercial opportunity to tell this story. I don't want to do a biopic like HBO or the BBC would do. We have to find a way of making it bigger than that. It's a love story and a political thriller. If it's not commercially successful, we will have missed the mark.
Just going after the almighty dollar isn't going to do justice to a subject. Someone should tell Arad that occasionally movies make less than $100 million in their first two weeks, AND THAT'S OKAY. At least Tornatore has already proven himself formidable behind the camera.
The film will span from 1988 to the present day. No cast is attached yet. One nice thing is that the English language aspect of the film is semi-realistic as it was the language Suu Kyi was educated in and spoke at home with her (now deceased) English husband and children.
Anyone have any casting predictions? Ziyi Zhang seems too young. Maybe Michelle Yeoh? I know she's actually Malaysian, but are there any viable female Burmese actresses? Remember, this picture has to make some serious money or else be completely meaningless.