Can they remake a Thai classic with 'farang'?

Art February 03, 2014 00:00

By The Nation
email: ntsoopsip@g

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Landing leading roles in big back-to-back movies certainly certifies an actor's talent and attests to his appeal at the box office



But young actress Davika “Mai” Hoorne is facing a far greater challenge in her next role, the follow-up to her smashing success as the ghost Mae Nak in “Pee Mak Phra Khanong”.

This year she’ll play Riam in a remake of the screen classic “Plae Kao” (“The Old Scar”). It is indeed a classic because the leads in the 1977 original – Sorapong Chatree and Nantana Ngaokrajang – were so terrific that it’s hard to imagine any other couple topping them.

The original movie by director Cherd Songsri is set in Bang Kapi 100 or so years ago, when it was all still rice paddies. Riam’s parents disapprove of her romance with the farmboy Kwan and send her to Bangkok, where she finds a new life as a noblewoman. When she returns home, Kwan tries to reconnect, but the tale turns |tragic.

Film buffs, who can be real sticks in the mud when it comes to authenticity, expect any actors who take on these beloved roles to “look Thai” and behave and dress exactly like Thais did way back when. But both Mai and her co-star, Chaiyapon “New” Pupart, are part European and look more farang than anything else.

Director ML Bhandevanop “Mom Noi” Devakul isn’t the least bit worried. He had half-Australian Ananda Everingham in “Chua Fah Din Salai” (“Eternity”) and half-German Mario Maurer in “Jan Dara” and they did great.

Mai is perfectly qualified to play Riam, says Mom Noi, particularly given her expressive talent – she can convey any character through her eyes alone. Plus she’s comfortable playing a traditional Thai woman with a “modern” personality – just like Riam in the original movie.

In fact, he says, in preparing for the role, Mai only needs training in traditional folk music, harvesting rice – and riding a buffalo.

 

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High-priced love

There is no such thing as overpriced tickets, says heartthrob actor Jirayu “James” Tangsrisuk, who’ll host his first full-scale fan club meeting on February 24 at Royal Paragon Hall. It costs Bt6,000 to get in.

His die-hard fans would happily pay Bt6 million each, of course, but the cynics in the mainstream media heaved a collective cough. That’s a bit steep for a meet-n-greet, they said on the Modernine TV show “Nine Entertainment”. The social networkers tweeted and re-tweeted in agreement. It’s not like you’re going to meet, say, George Clooney.

But hang on, says James, it’s “only” Bt6,000 for the VIP ticket, which comes with a “very special” photo album as well. “And there are only 300 of the Bt6,000 seats.” (Seats? For Bt6,000 you ought to be sitting in his lap!)

James needn’t have bothered mounting a defence, though: All of the expensive tickets sold out the first day. And there were a lot of his fans on the Pantip.com chat forum confirming that they were quite willing to pay top price, especially when a “special” gift was included. “And I think James will also show what he learned in South Korea,” says a fan named “ponny_cute”.

James insists the event is a reward for his devotees. “I guarantee it will be entertaining. I’m working out almost 10 hours a day. I’d love to show off my good figure!” He’s also got some celebrity friends lined up to appear, but their names remain a secret.