Friday, January 9, 2009

The Elephant King comes home

Three years after being made, The Elephant King has finally come home to Thailand, playing this weekend in a special preview at Bangkok's Paragon Cineplex.

Produced by Thailand-based De Warrenne Pictures, writer-director Seth Grossman's tale follows two brothers as they indulge in a life of hedonism while living in Chiang Mai.

Jonno Roberts stars as a wayward college student who's using his educational grant to "study" the Northern Capital's nightlife. He buys an elephant, and keeps it at poolside in the luxurious home he's somehow talked his way into. He urges his introverted, more responsible brother, played by Tate Ellington, to join him. The brother falls for the charms of a Thai woman -- the other brother's girlfriend -- played by French-Thai actress Florence Faivre (The Coffin, Siam Renaissance).

Ellen Burstyn also stars, playing the mom of the two men who eventually has to come to Thailand and sort things out.

The Elephant King premiered in 2006 at the Tribeca Film Festival, but it wasn't until last year that American distributor Unison started promoting the movie in a viral-marketing campaign.

A New York screening in October charged US$30 for tickets, but Svedka Vodka and Singha Beer came on board to provide free booze. The party netted $16,000 - the highest opening per-screen gross of any film in North America that weekend.

The Bangkok sneak previews are at 10 tonight and tomorrow (January 9 and 10) at Paragon Cineplex. The Elephant King will then get a wider release next Thursday at Major Cineplex, Paragon and Esplanade.

De Warrenne Pictures has a Thai trailer on their YouTube channel. It's embedded below.

Update: Musician actor and travel writer Joe Cummings relates his experiences filming The Elephant King in a Bangkok Post article (cache) (via Frisko Dude) There's also a story in Chiang Mai Mail (Via Thomat).

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