Thai director and actors suffer for their art
Thai director Banjong Pisanthanakun and actor Chantavit Dhanasevi say they endured freezing temperatures in Japan for romance film
The death of Thailand's beloved King Bhumibol Adulyadej on Oct 13 sent the country into mourning - and the nation has dialed down its public entertainment to grieve, said renowned Thai director Banjong Pisanthanakun.
In town yesterday to promote his new romantic drama One Day with stars Chantavit Dhanasevi and Nittha Jirayungyurn, the bespectacled Banjong, 37, told The New Paper in a sombre tone: "Like all Thais, this is a very sad and difficult time for us."
Speaking through an interpreter, he added: "One Day was released much earlier in Thailand, so it wasn't affected (by the King's passing).
"However, the Thai entertainment industry has definitely cut back on activities and promotions."
King Bhumibol, who died at 88 following years of poor health, was viewed as a moral icon and revered figure of unity in a kingdom dogged by political strife and corruption.
One Day, which was screened in Thailand on Sept 1, follows a geeky IT officer Denchai (Chantavit) as he risks everything to be with his dream girl Nui (Nittha).
After the latter suffers temporary memory loss, Denchai pretends to be her boyfriend.
The movie opens here on Thursday.
Banjong, best known for helming popular Thai horror flicks Shutter (2004), Alone (2007) and 4bia (2008), said a huge challenge of filming One Day on location in Hokkaido, Japan, was "the extremely chilly weather".
"It was minus 20 deg C when we shot there," he said.
"Every time we finished a scene, we had to immediately run indoors to take shelter from the cold.
"All the snowstorm scenes you see in the film? They are real snowstorms."
Chantavit, 33, who uglified himself for his role by putting on a fake set of teeth and 10kg, said: "It was freezing to the point that after a while, our tongues felt extremely numb and we couldn't speak."
STARS: One Day was shot on location in Hokkaido, Japan. PHOTO: GOLDEN VILLAGE PICTURES
Charming and handsome in real life, Chantavit said he could relate to his character Denchai's "loser" personality, because growing up, he was not the most popular kid in town.
"When I was younger, I didn't have many friends. There were times when I felt invisible too, like Denchai did," he said.
Local audiences might find Chantavit familiar from his leading man roles in Thai rom-com Hello Stranger (2010) and horror comedy Pee Mak (2013), which showed in Singapore theatres.
Nittha, 26, is a fresh face, and One Day marks her big screen debut.
Knowing that she would be working with Banjong and the acclaimed Chantavit "was initially a little stressful", she admitted.
"Of course I felt some pressure at first. But our director organised a workshop session for us prior to the actual filming and once I attended that, I felt a lot more at ease," she said.
"Every time we finished a scene, we had to immediately run indoors to hide from the cold. All the snowstorm scenes you see in the film? They are real snowstorms."
- Director Banjong on the difficulty of shooting in Hokkaido, Japan