Saturday, October 8, 2005

Naresuan too great for just one film

MC Chatrichalerm Yukol's next film, Naresuan, about a Siamese king known as Naresuan the Great, is so big, it has to be split into two parts. So says The Nation's print-only Soopsip column.

Naresuan Part I will come out on May 5 - Coronation Day in Thailand.

Naresuan Part II will be released on auspicious Royal holiday as well, coming out on December 5, 2006 - the birthday of His Majesty the King.

Chatrichalerm had hoped to have his epic completed on August 12, in time for Her Majesty the Queen's 72nd birthday.

Her Majesty was a big supporter of Chatrichalerm and his previous film, the historical epic, Suriyothai, and she was present for the first day of photography on Naresuan.

It's been a work in progress since December and only about half the movie has been shot, Soopsip says.

The veteran director is still wading through hundreds of pages of research on King Naresuan.

"The story is complicated and if we are to tell it clearly, we need more than two or three hours. It will have to be filmed in two, or perhaps even three parts," he was quoted as saying.

I wonder how long each part is going to be? When Suriyothai was initially cut, it was around eight hours. There's a five-hour release on DVD or VCD out there. A Thai theatrical run logged in at around three hours, and then Prince Chatri's UCLA film school classmate Francis Ford Coppola edited it down to around 2.5 hours for a US release by Sony Pictures Classics.

Maybe Quentin Tarantino could come help edit Naresuan into "volumes"?

With a 500 million baht budget and its own ancient city movie set, Naresuan is set to be the most expensive Thai film made yet.

(Cross-published at Rotten Tomatoes)

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