New studio T Moment brings in a group of supersized cops for its comedy debut
OBESITY IS no laughing matter – or so we are constantly told by doctors and other medical experts. But there again, laughter is said to be the best medicine so perhaps in certain cases, one cancels out the other.
That was certainly the case during a recent interview with the cast of new film “Oversize Talai Phoong” (“Oversize Cops”), where the conversation was constantly interrupted by laughter, as the actors, all of them overweight, made fun of themselves and everything else that was raised.
Indeed, in a world seemingly obsessed by skinny stars, it made a refreshing change to be among people who eat more than an occasional celery stick and have a sense of humour to boot.
The film marks the debut of new company T Moment, which is owned and run by prominent film producer Visute Poolvorlaks, a former stalwart of the now defunct GTH.
And while the giggles during the interview would indicate that there is at least some truth in the suggestion that fat guys are natural comics, one has to ask if this can translate to major box office takings.
“Oversize” tells the story of a group of policemen whose weight causes them to make a mistake and who are then ordered by their commander to shed the pounds in three months while chasing the criminals who have made off with millions in an attack on an armoured truck.
In an interview with XP late last year, Visute said the seeds of the idea for the story were sown years ago when he saw a news report about a police station launching a fit-and-firm programme for overweight cops. He tried to develop the idea earlier but failed to get it off the ground. He revived it when setting up the new company, giving the idea to his scriptwriting team.
“It’s a comedy and portrays the kind of chaotic situation that Thai audiences love,” says Visute, who has more than 30 years experience of the movie business.
Visute’s first company Tai Entertainment had a reputation for innovative ideas and earned a great deal of success for films ranging from the teenage story “Suem Noi Noi Kalon Mak Noi” to “Satree Lek” (“The Iron Lady”) and Nonzee Nimibutre’s two hits – “2499 Anthaphan Krong Muang” (“Dang Bireley’s and the Young Gangsters”) and “Nang Nak”.
Phuwanit Pholdee, a member of Visute’s new team, was interested in the idea and offered to develop it into a full story.
“I’m overweight, so I had lots of idea to fill in the plot,” says the young writer/director who has come from 75 kg in his college years to 100 kg in his late 20s.
Visute then assigned Phuwanit to direct the film. But despite winning the silver prize from the Bangkok International Film Festival for a short film made while at college, Phuwanit decided that his subsequent focus on scriptwriting had left him out of touch with the filmmaking world and brought in a college friend, Chanon Yingyong, to co-direct.
Chanon, who works as a cameraman for a production house company, is just 24 but Phuwanit was confident in his abilities. He agreed to join the project but insisted a cinematographer be brought on board.
“Even though I’ve always dreamed of being a filmmaker, it was never really a career choice as I know how much directors have to struggle. I’m so lucky to be given this chance and be working not just with an interesting plot but also a new approach for Thai film,” says Chanon.
Chanon himself has never had a weight problem, but says he has plenty of friends who do. “Whenever I thought about how the idea could play out in a movie, it was always a Bridget Jones’s kind of romantic comedy,” he says.
“In a way, the movie is about underdogs trying to overcome obstacles,” Phuwanit adds.
While physical flaws are often made fun of in Thai movies, the duo insists that their cops are just ordinary people whose weight becomes an obstacle in accomplishing their mission.
The cast boasts a mix of new and experienced actors though none have ever played a leading role before. Sarun Chinsuvapala, Sopachai Subprasert and singer and DJ Pramote Pathan are new actors whose names were submitted by friends to the “oversize cast” campaign. Somyos Matures is the most experienced actor, having played a colleague of Denchai (Chanthawit Dhanasevi) in the recent GDH hit “FandayFan Kun Khae Wan Diaw” (“Fanday”).
“My dream is to appear on a film poster and that seemed impossible because that’s always reserved for the protagonist. I was overwhelmed when we shot the poster. My dream had at last come true,” Somyos laughs.
Sarun adds that it’s good to see a group of chubby guys as the main characters.
“We rarely see that in Thai movies. I can say that having fat guys in the film will be fun because of our entertaining characters. This is not a comedy about being fat but about the situation in which we find ourselves and how we have to struggle to achieve our mission,” says Sarun, who works as a businessman and stock investor.
The two directors add that they worked well together and were grateful for Visute’s supervision every step of the way, from script to promotion.
“His experience helped us so much and allowed us to see things from a different point of view. And he was always open to ideas from us and from the team,” says Chanon.
Phuwanit says that the film will bring something new to a Thai film industry that’s no longer in good health,
“The problem is that there are too many movies in the cinema that don’t have strong scripts. It’s an age-old problem. Someone makes a successful film, let’s say a romantic drama, and that prompts a spate of romantic dramas that are not well crafted, which eventually kills the genre. Then we have to create the new genre to replace the bad one and so it goes on in a vicious circle that pushes the audience away from Thai movies again and again.”