Monday, June 9, 2008

Ananda's answer to his identity crisis: Learn Tagalog, act in Filipino film

A co-worker joked with me the other day, noting that if this were April Fool's Day, the newspaper's movie page could have a laugh by putting Ananda Everingham in every movie showing right now in Bangkok.

And with some Photoshop work, it wouldn't be too difficult to cast Ananda as the title character in The Chroncles of Narnia: Prince Caspian, or as Mutt in Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull, as Carrie in Sex and the City: The Movie, as both Anne and Mary in The Other Bolelyn Girl, as quirky pregnant teenager Juno McGuff, as a kickboxing street urchin in Somtum, as ... well, you get the idea.

And the reality isn't too far removed from the joke. Right now, it's possible to catch Ananda in three movies in Thai cinemas: the just-released Laotian-Thai romance Sabaidee Luang Prabang, the Singaporean romance The Leap Years and the Thai psychological thriller The Memory.

And coming up will be the romantic drama Happy Birthday, Nonzee Nimibutr's historical fantasy The Queens of Langkasuka, Ekachai Uekrongtham's The Coffin and hopefully Red Eagle.

And there's another film that hasn't yet been mentioned here: Kalayaan, by Filipino director Adolfo Alix Jr. Ananda will portray a Pinoy soldier who is stationed on an isolated outpost on an islet in the disputed Spratly Islands chain. And, he's to learn to speak Tagalog for the role. There are reports about it here and here, and here's the IMDb page (hat tip to Yupki Girl).

Well, it's no wonder Ananda talked about his first impressions of Laos and having identity crisis in a recent interview with Hollywood Reporter. He talked to Joel Gershon:

THR: Were you restricted from going to Laos growing up?

Everingham: The first time I went to Laos was about seven years ago because our family was blacklisted. It was a big deal. Seven or eight years ago, “60 Minutes” came to Thailand and wanted to do a segment on Laos. They spoke to dad and he told his story. So the first time I went there was with a TV crew, and it was not the most intimate experience. I went back a year later with mom. She got emotional, she went back to see the house she grew up in. That was tough. Just recently I went back again. I did a motorcycle trip from Vientiane to Luang Prabang. And went back to my mom’s house and it got to me. I met with my relatives, including one who was 98, who couldn’t see so well, but she went on and on and on about my mom and she said ‘Don’t forget to bring mom back to Laos.’ And I admit, I teared up.

THR: Do you feel more Thai, Lao or Australian?

Everingham: I definitely have an identity crisis. I’m not Australian; I’m not Thai at all. I sort of feel like I fit in when I go back to Laos, maybe it’s the nature of the people there. When I went to school in Australia, I didn’t feel Australian. I had issues of fitting in. And Thais treat different people differently.

And there's lots more to that interview, in which Ananda reinforces his image of being a bad boy growing up and getting kicked out of Bangkok Pattana school, and he recounts the story of his photojournalist father John Everingham scuba-diving under the Mekong to spirit his mother out of Laos, as well as America's NBC network making a 1983 TV-movie romance out of that tale, Love Is Forever, starring Michael Landon and Laura "Emmanuelle" Gemser.

1 comment:

  1. Wow, I actually watched that TV movie years ago. Who would've guessed that it was based on Ananda's parents' story?

    Amazing. Simply amazing.


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