Tony Jaa, finally free of the shackles of Sahamongkol Film Interational, has now officially been signed to star in a Hong Kong production, SPL 2, with martial-arts star Wu Jing.
Jaa's entry into Hong Kong cinema has been the stuff of rumors for years, but he's been kept from actually making any movies there because of his contract with Sahamongkol, which he walked away from recently and set about working in Hollywood on Fast and Furious 7.
Now, with Film Business Asia reporting the news of SPL 2, his entry into Hong Kong seems real.
With Jaa's latest Tom-Yum-Goong 2 wrapping up its run in Thai cinemas, and the star posting on Facebook about his Hollywood exploits making Fast and Furious 7, the move to Hong Kong is a logical next step.
Twitchfilm.com had the official word:
Tony Jaa has signed to star in SPL II, which is being produced by Sun Entertainment Culture Limited. The film stars Tony and Legendary Assassin star Jackie Wu (Wu Jing), who probably has the fastest spinning back kick on planet earth..
Jaa is thrilled to be part of this film, and you can expect some surprise appearances in the film. The action choreography is being handled by Dion Lam who was heavily involved in the stunt work on Spider-Man 2. Wilson Yip remains very much involved ... The film, while targeted towards the China and Asian markets, will also be released in the Americas, Europe and the Middle East. The collaboration represents a breakthrough effort in Chinese film making between a non-Chinese action star and an all-star Chinese line up. The film will be shot in Thailand, China and Hong Kong. The story is an action/drama that should keep the audience very much on the edge of their seats.
Sun Entertainment will release more complete information shortly, and will update on a regular basis. Shooting begins in early Spring of 2014
Film Biz Asia says Soi Cheang is directing.
The the story is about a Thai prison guard who works to free an undercover cop who can save his daughter's life.
So no elephants involved. And it's not really a sequel to the first SPL, or Sha Po Leng, a.k.a. Kill Zone, director Yip's ripping 2005 Hong Kong police procedural starring Simon Yam, Donnie Yen, Wu Jing, and the great Sammo Hung.
So far only Wu Jing is signed up for this entry, so maybe it's a prequel. I'm still kind of hoping Sammo will show up with his golf clubs.