Buried beneath the Hollywood blockbuster onslaught of Prince Caspian, Sex and the City, The Incredible Hulk and Kung Fu Panda, the Thai action-comedy Somtum wasn't given much of a chance in Thai cinemas, despite the Herculean efforts of 7-foot-tall star Nathan Jones, the tenacious dimples of boxer Sasisa Jindamanee and a big promotional blitz.
Somtum opened in fourth place three weeks ago and is fading away. Audiences have leaned toward local romantic fare like Sabaidee Luang Prabang and Rak/Sam/Sao or any of the Hollywood offerings.
Among those frustrated over Somtum's lacklustre box-office performance is "the other 7-foot Aussie giant actor" in Somtum -- Conan Stevens. He plays one of a pair of foreigner villains. Phillippe Wanet plays his partner. Stevens grapples with Jones toward the end of the picture, in a ruckus that flattens a small corporate jet.
Over on his website, Stevens laments about being left out of the promotional materials. He's not in the trailer, and I checked the stills that were provided, and he's not there either, not even in any behind-the-scenes candids. Neither he nor Wanet were officially invited to the film's premiere. But then I wasn't either, and they love me over at Sahamongkol Film International, I'm sure.
But the movie turned out satisfying for Conan. Here's more from his website:
Watching the movie, I think Phil and I missed most of it as we were more interested in seeing which of our takes they chose for final editing and how it was edited and if we looked good or not. Both of us were thinking more about our future careers and the ability to use this footage in our showreels.
Happily we were shown right at the beginning of hte movie and made our appearances throughout the movie leading up to the final fight.
In all I was told I am onscreen 20 minutes of the film, which makes it a pretty major part ... nice.
Twenty minutes of film from 20 days I was on set shooting the movie, that makes it 1 minute of movie = 1 day of filming.
All in all Phil and I are happy with our performances, and happy with the footage we can use, also we were happy with the screen time we received.
Somtum is still lurking about in some cinemas, so it will probably be another two or three months before the DVD comes out. About half the dialogue is in English and half in Thai. But mainly, people will be watching it for the action, so the usual lack of English subs on the Thai-released DVD won't be a big deal.
The movie was promoted at the Cannes Film Market, though I don't recall reading anything about international sales. Surely, given the presence of Jones and the appetite for gritty, fun Thai action -- which Somtum has loads of -- someone will be picking it up.
- Review: Somtum
- Queens of Langkasuka, Somtum to premiere at Cannes Film Market
- Cannes Film Festival roundup: Somtum, 4bia
- Trailer for Somtum, starring Nathan Jones
(Via Cinematical; photo from the set of Somtum from ConanStevens.com)