On the day I was planning to leave for vacation, I was given the task to interview Tony Jaa at the Four Seasons hotel in San Francisco in the early morning. He was in the area promoting "The Protector" (aka "Tom Yum Goong"), his follow-up to his breakthrough martial arts hit "Ong Bak." Being a huge fan of his work, how could I refuse? Read on for tidbits about "Rush Hour 3," "Indiana Jones 4," and "Ong Bak 2."
Since I had read pretty much every interview he did for "The Protector" when it originally opened in Thailand and neighboring territories last year, I really didn’t have much else to ask regarding the film, so we took the opportunity to discuss his potential upcoming projects.
Indiana Jones 4
Tony Jaa listed Steven Spielberg as one of his favorite directors, so it wasn’t too surprising to learn that the Indiana Jones movies are among his favorites as well. In a spectacular chase sequence from "Ong Bak," there’s a message on a wall that reads: "Hi Spielberg, let[‘s] do it together." A disappointed Jaa revealed that he has yet to hear from Spielberg (who can blame him, the message is a bit ambiguous). Asked if he would be interested in taking a role in the upcoming fourth installment of the Indiana Jones franchise, he enthusiastically answered, "Yes! Yes! Very interested!" before the question was even finished.
Rush Hour 3
Tony Jaa grew up watching Jackie Chan films and named him as one of his major influences. Brett Ratner had mentioned recently in interviews that he would love to have Tony Jaa in "Rush Hour 3." Ratner had actually called and discussed this with Jaa’s manager and agent a few weeks ago. Unfortunately, due to scheduling conflicts, they had to turn it down. Jaa will be extremely busy starring in and directing (his first project as helmer) the sequel to "Ong Bak" around the same time. He said he would love to work with Ratner in future projects, though.
Ong Bak 2
He was not allowed to say too much (especially with his manager there), but he did have a few tidbits to share. It will be a period piece and will showcase Muay Thai unlike anything that’s been done before. It will also feature lots of ancient Thai weapons.
Stay tuned for the full interview and a video of his Muay Thai demonstration in the coming weeks. In the mean time, head over to the photo gallery for pics of Jaa’s demo.