As the "Thai Spider-Man" quickly became one of the most-Twittered and blogged-about stories of the day yesterday after it hit the BBC and wire services, I couldn't help but think about its parallels to a Thai movie.
In 2006's superhero yarn Mercury Man, a Thai firefighter is injected with a strange substance that gives him superpowers. Although he can't shoot webbing from his wrists, Mercury Man's powers and his costume are eerily similar to Spider-Man's. And Mercury Man's makers even gave shout-outs to Marvel Comics' webslinger, which included a spray-painted message to "Spidy" on a wall and child extras wearing Spider-Man pajamas.
The real-life story emerged a couple of days ago, when a fire brigade was dispatched to a school to rescue an 11-year-old autistic boy who had crawled out on a third-floor ledge because he was too scared to attend class.
Firefighter Somchai Yoosabai quickly assessed the situation and decided this was a job for Spider-Man. So he raced back to the fire station and changed into his Spider-Man outfit. The boy trusted the masked superhero, and allowed Spidey to grab him off the ledge.
Somchai keeps the outfit handy to entertain children at school assemblies, but he's also worn it to lead dancers through aerobic routines, according to a story in today's Daily Xpress.
I chose the outfit because Spider-Man is a very famous superhero. Most children know him and he's easy to remember. Spider-Man also shares characteristics with firemen: both wear red, climb high buildings and help people."
Somchai also dresses as Ultraman, and he once dressed as morlam singer Poifai Malaiporn, to talk a drunk man out of making a suicide leap.
Quick, somebody sign Somchai up, because he needs to be in a movie or two. Or at least a reality TV series. I just hope Marvel's lawyers don't come calling at the fire station.
The story also got me thinking again about the Pang Bros.' latest project, The Child's Eye, in which the Pangs again display their knack for ripping a movie plot from the current headlines.
Their original story for 2002's The Eye actually came from at least a couple of news stories -- one the Pangs read about a woman getting a corneal transplant, which made them wonder whether she'd see the same things as the original owner of the eyes. A major scene in the movie has a tanker truck exploding -- based on an actual event in 1990 in Bangkok, in which a liquid-propane-tanker truck crashed and exploded on Phetchaburi Road, killing 63 people and injuring 90.
The Child's Eye uses last November's shutdown of Bangkok's airports as a setting in which passengers stranded by the anti-government protests start having supernatural experiences.
Oh, and it'll be in 3-D!
This got Thai 101's Rikker thinking, and in the comments, he offered the following treatments:
- Ghost Parliament: In a wacky election gone awry, a ghost gets elected to Thailand's House of Representatives. Hijinx ensue as members debate the appropriateness of letting the spirit take office, but ultimately allow it, stating that at least he has a soul. Special cameo by George Clinton.
- Spirit Prison: In this screwball thriller, a mixture of Thai and foreign inmates are surprised to find that the penitentiary they've been sentenced to is staffed entirely by otherworldly entities! If you can't get enough bug-eyed screaming and people bumping into each other in the dark, then don't miss it!
- Apparition Physician: Somsak is in the top of his class at school, is very popular with the ladies, and dreams of finally completing his medical degree. There's only one hitch: he's no longer living! Killed in a freak accident with an electric mosquito bat, he isn't about to let death get in the way of his dreams. Join him in his journey from specter to doctor.
These will all be in 3-D, of course, says Rikker.
Just watch out. I can see Phranakorn Film rushing any one of these into production right now.