Tempting fate, a red-masked, black-leather-clad Ananda Everingham dangled from a rope ladder and rode a motorcycle yesterday in a live stunt-show promotion in Pattaya by Five Star Production for the October 7 release of Insee Daeng (อินทรีเเดง, Red Eagle).
It was 40 years ago on October 8, 1970 at Dong Tan Beach, Jomtien, a few miles down the Gulf of Thailand coastline from Pattaya, where the original Red Eagle star, superstar actor Mitr Chaibancha, fell to his death while dangling from a rope ladder on a helicopter as it soared into the skies. He was making Insee Thong (Golden Eagle), the last in his long-running series of Red Eagle movies. There's a shrine to Mitr at Jomtien that to this day receives daily visits from fans and people praying for luck.
And, it was just a couple years ago that leading man Ananda himself took a nasty spill on a motorcycle and suffered serious injuries that delayed his work on this reboot of the Red Eagle franchise, which being directed by the imaginative director of Tears of the Black Tiger and Citizen Dog, Wisit Sasanatieng.
The original series, which started in the 1950s, is based on crime novels by Sake Dusit, about drunken playboy lawyer Rome Rittichai, whose alter-ego is the masked vigilante crimefighter Insee Daeng, similar to Green Hornet or Batman. Mitr starred in the series, with actress Petchara Chaowarat as his plucky confidante and assistant. There've also been other movie incarnations of Red Eagle, as well as TV dramas.
The Pattaya Daily News has an account of the stunt show with more photos, and says a helicopter was involved in yesterday's events at the Central Festival shopping mall on Pattaya Beach.
Actually, the sturdy steel-cable ladder was suspended on a sling between buildings at the shopping center, as photos show.
And, had the actor's grip on the ladder loosened, as Mitr's did back on that fateful day in 1970, Ananda would have been okay, because he was rigged into a climbing harness, attached to a safety rope.
Though the actors weren't in danger, it still must have been a thrill for Pattaya folks to get a look at the red-masked man and the movie's heroine, musician and actress Yarinda Bunnag.
You can get another look at Ananda in action in the Red Eagle trailer.