After enduring a seemingly insurmountable wave of bad publicity following star-director Tony Jaa's disappearance from the set of Ong Bak 2 a little while back things are finally looking up for the troubled production. How so? Well, all signs are that the film will indeed be ready to meet its December release date, a date that has just been shifted one day to fall on the King's birthday, which is considered a very auspicious day in Thailand. So that's kind of nice. A little nicer? Well, take a look at the brand new poster to the left of this. That guy flying towards Tony with both knees pointed at Tony's face? That's Dan Chupong, star of Born To Fight and Dynamite Warrior and the number two star at Sahamongkol after Tony himself.
Now, if you're thinking "Waitaminute, if Dan's in this film why haven't we heard about it before now?" then, well, there's a very simple answer to that. Dan wasn't supposed to be in the film, at least not until Jaa's mentor Panna Rittikrai took over the directorial reins a couple months back. Suddenly a new character appears and that character is being played by Dan Chupong. Why create a new character for a film that was already eighty percent complete at the time? Can anybody say sequel? Yep, the rumors are flying that a sequel has already been greenlit, that the massive standing set created for Ong Bak 2 will be reused for that film - a very simple way for the producers to cover the cost over runs brought on by Tony's running off into the jungle - and that Jaa and Chupong have both already signed on.
Now ... if you'd told me this would happen a couple months ago I probably wouldn't have believed you. At the time I frankly believed that Jaa had damaged his career beyond repair but now I find this sequel talk entirely plausible. Why? Because when I wandered into the Sahamongkol office at AFM I put the question of Tony's future directly to them and while they didn't mention this specifically the response was to simply smile and say "Oh, I think he'll be okay." Clearly they knew something I didn't.
Put a smile on your martial-arts loving face by checking out the bone crunching Ong Bak 2 promo reel in the ScreenAnarchy Player below the break. It's even subtitled for your viewing pleasure.