Friday, March 17, 2006

More on Dorm

This year's hit Thai thriller, Dorm, is set to move into Singapore, which has the island-state's Electric New Paper writing more about the movie, going back to a visit on the film's set and an interview with director Songyos Sugmakanan, who was one of the six directors of another hit Thai film, Fan Chan.

The article predicts great things for Dorm, which has done about 56 million baht ($1.4 million) worth of business in Thailand (or about $794,300, according to Box Office Mojo's last count).

The 2004 Thai thriller, Shutter, was a huge hit in Thailand (more than 110 million baht) and broke box office records for a Thai import in Singapore, earning $1.2 million Singapore dollars (about US$724,000), beating out the previous record holder, Ong-Bak.

"The popularity of Thai horror (films) is a good thing. The studio gave me a lot of support because this project is of the horror genre. It can make money," Songyos told the New Paper.

The movie was made at Assumption School in Chonburi, about an hour's drive southeast out of Bangkok.

"Dorm is certainly more difficult than My Girl [Fan Chan]. I have to manage and control everything alone, such as acting, computer graphics, location and the set. I discovered my weak point is acting direction, but I have tried to improve," Songyos says.

He had personal reasons for doing the film. "I was inspired by my schoolboy experiences. As a child, I stayed in a dormitory," said Songyos, who is a fan of horror movies. "There, many stories were told to me by my classmates and seniors. I remembered them and I incorporated some in the movie."

For the role of Ton, a 12-year-old boy forced to move to a boarding school after he finds out a secret of his father, Sonyos chose Charlie Trairat, the star of Fan Chan.

"We have a good relationship because we are familiar with each other. This is the second film we are working on together. He is generous and teaches me a lot," Charlie told the paper about the director. "But he also complains about me sometimes when I am too stubborn."

Here's something else about Dorm. I was flat-out impressed by the female lead, the dorm matron portrayed by an actress named Jintara Sukphat. I asked around, wondering where this veteran leading lady had come from, what films had she been in. All I got was bemused smiles. People around here still don't understand why a foreigner like me would be interested in Thai films and the people who make them. So I got no real answers, until I looked her up on IMDb. Well, she is indeed a veteran actress with several films to her credit, including a Hollywood picture from 1987 called Good Morning, Vietnam. In that film, the Thai actress portrayed the willowy love interest for Robin Williams' Adrien Cronauer.

(Cross-published at Rotten Tomatoes)

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