Despite a dispute over the budget that led to delays in production and a meltdown by its star and director, Tony Jaa's forthcoming magnum opus Ong-Bak 2 is nearly complete and is set for its planned release on December 4.
The Ong-Bak 2 website is live, and the trailer is playing in cinemas. The trailer makes extensive use of the show reel that wowed viewers at Cannes. I've embedded the trailer from YouTube above, but it's really best seen on the big screen. I can't describe well enough how great I think it looks.
The production's problems are again addressed in a recent article in Daily Xpress, in which Parinyaporn Pajee talked with Tony Jaa's long-time mentor, martial-arts choreographer and director Panna Rittikrai, who was brought in to get shooting back on track, and with production designer Ek Iemchuen, who built a massive, 25-million-baht Khmer palace for the movie and had a hand in writing the script. Here's an excerpt from the article:
Action choreographer Panna Rittikrai looks relaxed now that his beloved student is back on the set and working closely with him to complete the movie.
“It’s just like the good old days when we worked together in Khon Kaen,” he smiles.
Panna says the conflict arose because Jaa lacked the experience to handle such a large project but adds that despite their closeness, they haven’t discussed the problems in detail.
“All I know is that he wants this film to be a masterpiece and I think you’ll see that in the end product,” he says.
Scriptwriter and art director Ek says Jaa is very easy to work with.
“He’s an artist who knows what he wants but sometimes that comes with a price that the producer cannot afford,” he notes.
Panna insists that Jaa has changed since he disappeared from the set a few months ago.
“He’s here all the time and we discuss everything shot by shot.”
The article goes on to say the total budget for the film is 300 million baht, which is about three times what Sahamongkol Film International wanted to spend. I think they'll make that money back in a heartbeat once the film is released.
(Via 24 Frames per Second, Deknang/Popcornmag)