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Another tough round for Jaa

Dealing with fame isn't quite as easy as kicking the daylights out of film villains, as action hero Thatchakorn "Tony Jaa" Yeerum repeatedly discovers



The upcountry boy has had little peace since becoming a superstar.

Jaa was having a go at directing for the first time a couple of years back, helming "Ong-Bak 2" and "Ong-Bak 3", and ended up hiding from the world for a few weeks. He abruptly disappeared from the set and no one knew where he was, including peeved producer Somsak "Sia Jiang" Techarattanaprasert. They ended up bringing in Prachya Pinkaew and Panna Ritthikrai to help Jaa finish the project.

And last week we had a bit of deja vu, even after a string of good news that intervened - a lovely wedding, then a joyful daughter, a nearly completed movie with Prachya and Yanin "Jeeja" Vismitananda, and his first foreign production, appearing alongside his old "Ong-Bak" sidekick Petthai "Mum" Wongkamlao with Belgian action man Jean Claude Van Damme. Jaa is even set to direct another flick.

Suddenly there was his father on TV saying he hadn't had any contact with Jaa in three months and his son was no longer sending money home. Dad reckoned Jaa's wife was behind it. Not so, countered Jaa's wife Boongyi. In fact the problem is Jaa's sister and brother-in-law, who exploit him, says Boongyi, who got into a brawl with her sibling in-laws at their wedding last May.

The war of words continues, with Jaa himself glaringly absent.

Sia Jiang has attested to Jaa's devotion to his old man. "I've told his dad many times that he should just let Jaa get on with his life. He has his own family to feed now and he's no longer a kid."

A few days ago Jaa went to Wat Traimitr Wittayaram for a blessing ritual for the new film he's going to direct as well as star in. No press was allowed near, so we can only surmise about the movie. It looks like another punch-up flick because his mentor Panna and actress-director Julaluck Ismalone of "Fighting Fish" fame were at the ceremony too.

Presumably everyone's just waiting for the family fisticuffs to subside first.


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