Thursday, August 28, 2008

Tony Jaa is back

Tony Jaa has returned to making Ong Bak 2, reports the Daily Xpress today in its Soopsip celebrity news column.

He was back on the set on Monday, but has been demoted from making his directorial debut to being just the star. Handling the day-to-day duties in the director's chair is his mentor, action choreographer Panna Rittikrai, whom Tony started making movies with in the early 1990s.

Hopefully this will really be the end to the melodrama that ensued last month when Tony disappeared from the set and shooting on the massive, period martial-arts film ground to a halt. Amid stories of Tony's meltdown, there were rumors of black magic, live-chicken sacrifices and Tony retreating to meditate in caves. Tony then went on television and shed tears, denying he was practicing sorcery, and saying he had gone broke trying to direct the movie. He defended his decision to direct the movie himself, saying that his "artistic quality" cannot be compromised.

But executive producer Somsak "Sia Jiang" Techaratanaprasert at Sahamongkol Film International said the company had given Tony 250 million baht. Where did the money go? Well, no matter. Sia Jiang's eyes welled up, saying he thought of Tony like a son, and that he just wants Tony to finish the movie. But Tony was out as director, and his old director from Ong-Bak and Tom Yum Goong, Prachya Pinkaew, was in -- a job Prachya was uncomfortable in taking because he and Tony had fallen out over Tony's wanting to direct Ong-Bak 2 himself.

Tony was bundled off in a van by some "heavies", and a lawyer showed up at a press conference to present Tony's demands, which weren't likely to be met. It looked like the end for Tony and Ong-Bak 2. Then, Tony went to police headquarters to report that he was being followed by men in safari suits, and one of Sia Jiang's friends on the force called the studio chief and mediated a deal that would see the parties shake hands.

The whole ordeal had martial-arts-film fans wringing their hands with worry, and knotting their foreheads with doubt. The disappointment was especially acute because a lot of expectation had been built up by an incredible showreel from Ong-Bak 2 that premiered at the Cannes Film Market and was brought to the Web by Twitch.

Now it's expected that the production will wrap up in time for Ong-Bak 2 to be released on December 4 or 5 as planned.

1 comment:

  1. Twitch has picked up on this, with Todd Brown commenting on the choice of Panna Rittikrai for the director's chair, and how that is the right choice.

    Kung Fu Cult Cinema's Mark Pollard has also picked up on this.


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