Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Mom Noi plans remake of Jan Dara

It's been just 10 years or so since director Nonzee Nimibutr steamed up screens with Jan Dara (จัน ดารา), a period erotic drama about family dysfunction, lust and incest.

With an ice-cube seduction and a bloody do-it-yourself abortion scene, Nonzee's Jan Dara (a co-production with Hong Kong's Peter Chan) was controversial in its day, but was fairly well-received and even played at some overseas film festivals.

ML Bhandevanop "Mom Noi" Devakula thinks the time is right for a remake of Jan Dara. Based on a novel by Utsana Phleungtham, the tale is set in 1930s Siam and is about a boy growing up in an aristocratic family under the lash of his abusive, sex-addicted, womanizing father. If Mom Noi pulls off his version, expect to see art direction, costuming and hair styles that are even more outlandish and lavish than the sepia-toned 2002 version. Mom Noi will likely also add his personal stamp of  high-brow references to literature, theater and Buddhist philosophy.

It'll be the third remake in a row for Mom Noi, a veteran dramatist who made his comeback as a movie director with 2008's Chua Fah Din Salai, a.k.a. Eternity, an erotic tale that shares many of the same themes as Jan Dara. Chua Fah Din Salai had previously been filmed as Forever Yours back in the 1950s by Kru Marut and Ratana Pestonji. Last year, Mom Noi adapted Akira Kurosawa's Rashomon, calling it U Mong Pha Mueang, a.k.a. The Outrage and setting it in 1500s northern Thailand.

According to The Nation's Soopsip column, Mom Noi has already cast his Outrage star Mario Maurer. Presumably, Mario will be getting his kit off as the title character in Jan Dara, which will be a big draw for all the fans of the Love of Siam leading man.

Mae Nak 3D starlet "Tak" Bongkote Khongmalai is also in the cast, Soopsip says.

But Mom Noi is having trouble finding the right actress to play the part of Jan's father's worldly mistress, memorably portrayed in Nonzee's version by Hong Kong actress Christy Chung. It was her character that used ice cubes to heat things up with young Jan. Later, she strikes up a relationship with Jan's half-sister/wife (played by "May" Pathawarin Timkul) and participates in the bloody bedroom abortion.

Veteran singer-actress Marsha Wattanapanich, who's on screens this week playing a flight attendant in the 3D haunted-airplane flick Dark Flight 407, said she'd been contacted about the role. She starred in Mom Noi's movies back in the 1980s.

But Mom Noi remains mum about Marsha, Soopsip says, adding that the director may want to pick a non-Thai Asian actress like Nonzee did, perhaps heading up to South Korea or Japan to find the right woman.

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