In the film, Yeoh portrays the elegant and experienced geisha Mameha who guides Sayuri into becoming the most sought after geisha in Japan.
“She is a very strong woman,” says Yeoh of Mameha. “She has incredible strength, and even after having done the film, she is the most mysterious figure of all of them, her background, how she is, why she holds onto the codes of being a geisha so strongly. Not for one moment she falters. She is a geisha when she started and she will be a geisha for the rest of her life. That role appealed because it was something completely different to things that I had done before, and she’s completely different to who I was as a woman.”
To help his actors with geisha fundamentals, director Rob Marshall brought them to Los Angeles six weeks early for “Geisha boot camp,” an intensive period of rehearsals and classes with a team of experts who guided the actors through the world of the geisha.