AFM: Fresh Word From Wisit's RED EAGLE
First piece of business upon arriving at the American Film Market: sit down with the good folk at Five Star Productions to talk about Wisit Sasanatieng's Red Eagle, the revival of the classic masked hero series from the 1960's which starred the legendary Mitr Chaibancha. Though the film is freshly announced they're already deep into the preproduction and visualization process and I was treated to a look at the design sketches for the hero's suit, drawn by Sasanatieng himself. There are some revisions to be done yet so the images won't be available to the public until those are done but they look to be aiming for a sort of fusion of 60's and current costuming, the skin tight costume reminding me of nothing so much as one of Emma Peel's cat suit in The Avengers, though of course the hero here is a hard drinking lawyer by day and very much male. The producers freely - and happily - admit they have no idea what the finished product will end up looking like, the only other attempt at updating classic Thai cinema sensibilities being Sasanatieng's own Tears of the Black Tiger. They know they're in good hands and are happy to let him do his thing. Star Ananda Everingham has apparently been given marching orders to bulk up the upper body and get his abs good and ripped by February so this can go before cameras then, so it's definitely happening.
Speaking of Everingham, when we first commented on this project I mentioned that Everingham has mentioned to me in Cannes that he was in talks to star in a 1970's set feature directed by Sasanatieng, and when this was announced I assumed this was that film. It's not. No details spilled but apparently there was another Sasanatieng action film being prepped prior to the rights to Red Eagle becoming available, that project being shelved for now to make room for this one. But some of the work is already done and the interest is there so I wouldn't be surprised to see this nameless other project revived at some point.
But before then ... there's also word on the long delayed fantasy epic Nam Prix. The preproduction work is apparently largely done and I was treated to a stunning book of pre-production art - all of it hand drawn by Sasanatieng - that speaks to the huge scale of this film. The film is a 50-50 co-production between Thailand's Five Star and Luc Besson's Europa Corp and while Five Star's work is done and the project ready to go from their perspective they've been waiting for final script notes, revisions and budgetary approval to come from Europa which leads to delays as everything needs to be translated between three different working languages for people to be able to communicate, all of this happening while Besson is hard at work on a rumored two sequels to Arthur and the Minimoys. The plan is for Nam Prix to roll as soon as Red Eagle is done so expect motion on it soon.