Songyos Sugmakanan came under a lot of criticism for his casting of Japan's former adult-video star Sora Aoi in his romantic comedy Hormones.
But it was the Aoi's jaw-dropping scenes, involving her bikini-clad Japanese tourist character bringing a young porn-obsessed Thai guy to the brink of being unfaithful to his girlfriend that won Hormones the Jury's Special Prize at the fourth Asian Marine Film Festival in Makuhari, Japan.
The small festival focuses on Asian movies that deal with the ocean as one of the key elements. Songyos and a couple of the young stars of Hormones were in Chiba Prefecture to collect the award, Daily Xpress reported yesterday in its print edition.
In the GMM Tai Hub ensemble romance, a guy Hern (Chantawit Thanasevee) meets a female Japanese tourist (Aoi) on a train to southern Thailand. Hern is supposed to go meet his longtime college sweetheart Nual in Trang, but instead gets off the train and joins Aoi for the Full Moon Party and plenty of fun at the beach on Koh Pha-ngan.
Aoi's casting was the start of a string of Japanese actresses appearing in Thai films this year, The Sunday Nation pointed out in an article this week.
Aside from Aoi in Hormones, there's actress-DJ Aki Shibuya in The Coffin, playing the coma-prone girlfriend of Ananda Everingham's character. Coffin director Ekachai Uekrongtham says there was some "shocking" footage of Shibuya and Ananda that didn't make it into the film's final cut.
In Yuthlert Sippapak's upcoming comedy, E Tim Tay Nae, swimsuit model Asuka plays the love interest for Udom "Nose" Taepanich's character.
But because of Aoi's notoriety as an AV star, Songyos came under the gun for casting her in a romance aimed at teens, making his producers at GMM Tai Hub wary. Aoi was left off the promotional posters, though she is in the trailer and was invited to make promotional appearances around Thailand for the film. Songyos said Aoi was perfectly cast. He explains more in quotes from The Sunday Nation story:
I used two girls, Nual and Aoi, to convey the love and sex messages in my movie. For the sex message, who better than a sex symbol and a Japanese AV model who is the average Thai man's dream? Aoi certainly has plenty of sex appeal even without my casting her in any hardcore love scenes.
"The movie is based on a friend's experiences while he was at university. He didn't celebrate his birthday with his girlfriend but with another girl. But when he started making love to the other girl, he saw his girlfriend's face in his mind and it ruined the moment [...]
"Aoi was terrific. I didn't tell her what to do in the love scene but just described the emotion of the moment. She understood she wasn't playing a fickle character, just a Japanese girl with poor judgment in a Thai boy.
"Hern has to look at the moon and see his girlfriend's face. It's not easy to shoot a sexy love scene that's supposed to be taking place at night in the middle of the day but again Aoi was very professional and able to keep her emotions on track."[...]
"I felt bad when an entertainment newspaper came up with the headline 'Yong's Making An Erotic Movie' and ran a nude picture of Aoi from an earlier film. It was a misunderstanding but that didn't stop the mother of my stills photographer from believing it."