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The will to 'SuckSeed'

A new movie tells the story of boys who set up their rock band to impress girls

Movie-goers who have seen the trailer for "SuckSeed Huay Khan Thep", a comedy about a teenage rock band, have reacted with greater or lesser degrees of enthusiasm. Most of them share the same emotion though, saying "That's just like my school days, forming a band with friends". Or perhaps, "does the film bring my personal life to the screen?" That's because when teenagers confront the swirling emotions of puberty, music is often their best friend, making it a popular subject for filmmakers."Everyone has experienced this in one way or another, whether it's forming a rock band in high school, fighting with friends because of falling for the same girl or having music soothe you when you are sad," says director Chayanop Boonprakob. "In my case, it was being in a rock band while I was in middle school.""SuckSeed" tells the story of Ped (Jirayu La-ongmanee) who first meets Ern (Natcha Nualjam) at primary school. Ern and her parents move to Bangkok and Ped soon forgets all about her, preferring to hang out with his friend Koong (Patchara Jirathiwat). They meet up again in middle school by which time Ern has become a talented guitarist. To get Ern's attention as well as attract other girls, Koong, Ped and X (Thawat Pornrattanaprasert) decide to form a band. The only problem is, they don't have a great deal of talent."In a way, it's a nostalgic story for our school days but it doesn't follow the same path of previous successes like 'Fan Chan' ('My Girl')," says the director.In fact, the success of "Fan Chan", which presented just about every aspect of Thai childhood nostalgia, has made it a difficult act to follow. The typical "boy meets girl in school" story is now so much of a clich� that any director wanting to make money at the box office is obliged to find a different twist. The last movie to do well was the teen romance "Sing Lek Lek Thee Riak Wa Rak" ("A Little Thing Called Love"), which told the story of a plain girl determined to win over a hot guy.""SuckSeed" is different in that it focuses on the music, a first for a Thai film. "While the band is not in the least bit talented and the members are not dreaming of winning contests, they are determined to play on stage and once they do it, it feels as good as winning a award," says Chayanop.Unlike most music films, all the actors in "SuckSeed" can actually play musical instruments. Both Jirayu and Patchara have studied guitar while actress Natcha is the daughter of veteran rock guitarist Laem Morrison.Getting actors who can play guitar is not as difficult as finding an actress who can play a guitar, especially an electric guitar, says Chayanop. "Most beautiful actress can't play music because if they look great, they don't need any special talent to find jobs in the entertainment world. Luckily Natcha has both qualifications."Chayanop has also used GTH's connection with music giant GMM by inviting rock bands and singers to appear in cameo roles. Pod Moderndog sings his hits to a boy in his bedroom, Dak Big Ass is beside Ped during a heartbroken moment while Joke So Cool sings his all time hits for the boy when he feels sad. Singer Anon "Poo Blackhead" Saisangchian turns up in another cameo."They don't just show up with no reason. They appear at the right moment and express the characters' emotions at that particular time," he says.The idea for "SuckSeed" is based on the director's thesis project from his film degree at Chulalongkorn University's Faculty of Communication Arts. It depicted a band that posted its show on YouTube and so impressed a music company that they are invited to perform at a festival. Of course, it transpires that they can't play as well as they seem to on the Web but thanks to encouragement from a groupie they work hard and improve.Producer Jira Maligool was impressed by the original short though two years passed before Jira contacted called Chayanop and asked him to develop his idea into a feature. By that time, Chayanop had landed a job as a flight attendant with Thai Airways. "It's a good job and I felt settled when he called. But I have a lot of respect for Jira and when he asked me to the thing that I'd always longed to do and to do it with a story that I loved, it would have been very stupid to say no," he says. Chayanop has no regrets about entering the business two years later than his film graduate friends, saying that he feels he can compensate for his inexperience in filmmaking."I like the feeling of being a rookie, it encourages me to try something new no matter whether it's right or wrong. I found it exciting to be on the set and also I have more life experience to put into the film than those who go into filmmaking right after they graduate," he says. READY TO ROCK- "SuckSeed Huay Khan Thep" opens in cinemas on Thursday.

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