Petchai "Mum Jokmok" Wongkamlao is arguably Thailand's top comedian and thus much in demand, even getting offers from abroad.
Now he’s making a Hollywood-type movie with action star Jean-Claude Van Damme.
The Belgian kick-boxer was seemingly born without a sense of humour, so Mum should come in handy, but Van Damme has made more than one film in Thailand, and at least Mum’s segment of this one will be shot here.
“It’s a deal I made some time back, when I was always available and easy to hire,” Mum quips, sounding like he’d back out if he could. “I play a Thai man who helps a tourist but also tries to cheat him. It ought to raise a few laughs,” especially when Mum speaks English.
So, as a reporter asked, he’s “going inter”? “No,” Mum says, although he has been approached for several foreign productions, jobs he “couldn’t accept since my schedule was too tight”. Indeed, once Mum’s got hold of Van Damme’s ATM number and delivered him to a swell gem shop where they give tourists discounts, he’ll be filming the third instalment of his hit comedy franchise “Yam Yasothon”.
“And I’ll also do another romantic film. I can’t just keep doing only comedy – I’ve got to expand into other genres!”
Your basic celebrity will get a couple of Botox shots ahead of the big magazine shoot, but actor Somchai “Tao” Kemklad refuses to succumb to artificial skin-tighteners – even at the advanced age of 40.
Not even for the big magazine shoot? “Nope. Let me tell you, recently the Thai edition of a foreign magazine approached me to do a photo spread, but they told me I had to have a Botox injection, so I just turned them down.”
Tao says he wouldn’t get a shot even if they offered him Bt10 million. “It took me a lot of time and effort to look 40, and now they want to take that away from me?”