UPDATE: Variety reports that production has already wrapped in Thailand and the shoot is moving to London, after which two weeks’ work is scheduled in France. Original article follows.

While he’s spent much of the past decade working as a writer and producer, Luc Besson has directed a film here and there — the Arthur and the Invisibles movies, and The Extraordinary Adventures of Adèle Blanc-Sec for example. Lately he seems to be ramping up interest in directing even more movies. There was word of him shopping around an expensive love story, and of the possibility of a film that would be like “The Fifth Element to the power of ten.”

For now, however, it seems like he’s focusing on something completely different. He’s reportedly making a film called Into the Light, which will be a biopic of Aung San Suu Kyi, starring Michelle Yeoh.

A translated French report (via Collider) quotes Wannasiri Morakul, director of the Thai Film Office, saying,

It’s a film about Aung San Suu Kyi. We agreed long ago and they have toured several [Thai] sites.

Thai film company Movie Siam confirmed that filming had already been going on in the country, without offering any specifics. And the spokesman for Ms. Suu Kyi says Michelle Yeoh has spent time with Ms. Suu Kyi in Rangoon. In the fall, a French report quoted Mr. Besson saying he wanted to shoot a $22m Euro production in English — this could be that film.

Aung San Suu Kyi is a noted Burmese political figure; she was the General Secretary of the National League for Democracy in the country when her party won a victory in general election which, by right, should have taken power away from the military government that seized power by coup in 1962. (The election was the first general election in the country since the ’60s.) But the military government refused to hand over power. At that point she was already under arrest; Aung San Suu Kyi was under house arrest for most of the period between July 20, 1989 until November 13 2010. She was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 1991.

Quite a significant departure from the films for which Luc Besson is known. I like this move; his genre-tinged fantasies and thrillers can be entertaining, but I’d be happy to see him make a film that has a very different real-world significance.

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