More than anything Thailand had to offer at the Cannes Film Festival and the Marche du Film, the biggest response has been for the show reel for Tony Jaa's Ong-Bak 2, which promises "several dangerous scenes including the fight on the back of tens of elephants".
Everybody wants some. So then came the teaser posters. And a search for more information. TonyJaa.Blog.fr has come up with a look at the lead actress in the film, fresh-faced Primrata Dech-Udom, nickname Jajaa (not to be confused with Jeeja). They also have a tantalizing peak at that show reel, but there's so little of it, it's hardly worth the effort.
Kong Rithdee, in "A Piece of the Action" in yesterday's Bangkok Post (cache), has more on the market response:
Its two-minute trailer showing its star/director Panom "Tony Jaa" Yeerum brawling his way through a horde of bloodthirsty ancient warriors was enough to convince a number of drop-jawed foreign distributors to ink a contract.
"We've closed a couple of good deals based on this trailer," said Gilbert Lim, executive vice president of Sahamongkol Film International. "The film is not finished yet, but the buyers were excited when they saw the clip.
"At first they were a bit sceptical because Ong-bak 2 is a period film, so the production values had to be really good. But when they saw the trailer they were relieved. In Cannes we've made deals with a few territories and we're negotiating with American buyers."
Lim didn't reveal any figures, but said that his company is confident in the quality of the finished product and asking for "huge money" from international buyers.
Among the slack-jawed viewers was a contingent of North Carolinian filmmakers, whom I can just hear hollering "Gaww-leee!" Here's their take on it, from the Raleigh Chronicle:
Down in the film market in the main chamber beneath the Palais Festival, we happen upon a trailer for a film called Ong-Bak 2 starring a guy named Tony Jaa. Jaa is the baddest, quickest, most creative martial-arts asskicker I've ever seen on film. An example: In one scene he grabs a guys Adam's apple, twists it upside down and then cocks it like a shotgun.
We sit and watch for a while, and pretty soon a crowd gathers, and we're all like, "Ooooh!" and, "Awwwwww!" and "Daaaammmmm!"
Before the trailer runs its course, a guy with a sweater tied around his neck who stinks like money approaches, waving a business card in his hand and speaking in a British accent.
"Who is selling this film?"
It's all about the eyeballs.
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