Along with concerns for the health of stuntmen who are beaten and brutalized in the name of entertainment, viewers of the "no wires, no CGI" movies of Tony Jaa might also express worry about the elephants.
According to an item in Soopsip in today's Nation, two "pet elephants" that performed in Ong-Bak 3 "succumbed to injuries sustained while filming the admittedly realistic battle scenes, which involved nearly two dozen of the beasts."
I have no elephants left – they were all I had.”
Having recently lost my pet cat of 10 years, I guess I understand a little bit about how Tony feels.
The item goes on to says that Jaa hopes to earn "a lot more money overseas and will bring the cash back to help Thai elephants in general".
According to legend, Tony Jaa and his family raise elephants on their farm in Surin, with tony learning how to somersault off the backs of elephants into the water-filled rice paddy.
The pachyderms are highly prized and receive the best of care, even has they are put to work. Photos from the set show the cast and crew praying to the elephants by way of making amends to them for the work they'll do.
A previous interview details more about the elephants, with Jaa saying he's added "more risky scenes" involving the elephant herd.
This time, we are among more than 20 elephants and we use more than 200 extras. It took 10 takes for us to get this scene right.
Training for the elephants and the 200 extras was very important. We had to postpone due to the rutting period and we had to familiarise the elephants with our body odor.
RIP Tony's elephants.
Ong-Bak 3 will be released in Thai cinemas on May 5.