Wanna hear a crazy story? Variety is reporting that Tony Jaa (Ong Bak, The Protector) has gone off to the jungle to meditate due to the three years it has taken him to film Ong Bak 2. Reporting the news on July 27, apparently Jaa has been missing since June according to Sahamongkol president Somsak Techaratanaprasert who held a press conference to confirm the fact.
Apparently the studio does expect Ong Bak 2 to still be ready for its Thai release on December 5, but according to his family Jaa has suffered a lot of stress from the shoot and has gone to meditate in the jungle. Reports in the Thai press suggest a case of budget mismanagement that resulted in Jaa spending over 200 million baht ($6.25 million) without finishing the film.
Techaratanaprasert confronted the financial question saying, “I guarantee that this is not a case of financial fraud, and I have no intention of pursuing any legal action against him. We’re running behind schedule, and some of our international contracts have been cancelled because of that. I know he loves this film very much, so I just want him to finish the film because there’s only a little work left.”
Even stranger, Prachya Pinkaew who directed the first Ong Bak film as well as The Protector is expected to step in and edit the film and possibly direct some final scenes in order to get the film finished.
Pinkaew was quoted saying, “Jaa has little experience directing… He’s spent nearly $7.8 million. The film is almost finished, so I’ll try to see what I can do with the footage that he’s shot.”
If you don’t know who Tony Jaa is then I am first surprised you are reading this article, but secondly you should check out Ong Bak, it’s a fun flick considering how dopey some of it is. Skip The Protector, it’s shite… but get a load of the Ong Bak 2 promo reel below and you too may begin to get a little excited for this flick. I am not sure if it will hit theaters in the States or not. The first film made just over $4.5 million, but it raised Jaa’s profile enough to earn The Protector just over $12 million and it was a far worse film.