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Pattaya Daily News

01 June 2010 :: 15:06:28 pm 23312

Tony Jaa Ordained as Buddhist Monk Amidst Studio Row

Thai martial arts expert, actor and director Tony Jaa (Jaa Panom Yeerum) has signalled his intention to temporarily leave the film industry after being ordained as a Buddhist monk.
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Thailand, the 1st of June 2010 [Pattaya Daily News]: Various sections of the international film media are reporting that “Ong Bak” star Tony Jaa has left the industry to become a Buddhist monk in his native North-Eastern Thai province of Surin. He has reportedly shaved his locks, taken his vows and has been officially ordained by the abbot of a local temple on Friday the 28th of May.

Although becoming a monk may come as somewhat of a surprise to fans, Tony Jaa’s exit from the film industry is not so bizarre. Reports of a rift between the martial arts genius and film production company Sahamongkol have long been mentioned in the media, since the relative flop of “Ong Bak 2,” directed by and starring Tony. The success of the first film were he co-directed and a rift with director/producer Prachya Pinkaew saw Tony fully direct and star in both “Ong Bak 2” and “Ong Bak 3.”

Reportedly under a 10 year contract with Sahamongkol Film International, Tony attempted to leave the production company midway through the creation of “Ong Bak 2,” leading executives into extreme measures in order to get him to comply with the terms of his contract. After mediation with police Tony reluctantly agreed to finish production of “Ong Bak 2” and create “Ong Bak 3” to recover the loss that had accumulated from the over-budget second film.

Tony Jaa is highly respected in the film industry, especially in the martial arts scene, with Jackie Chan apparently approaching him to take a leading role in the much anticipated 3rd edition of the “Rush Hour” franchise. Tony had to turn down the offer due to contractual obligations with “Ong Bak 2.” Jackie Chan has also stated his belief that Tony Jaa is currently the most well rounded martial arts action star in the industry.

It is now assumed that Tony will remain ordained as a Buddhist monk until his contract with the Sahamongkol producers ends in 2012. At which point a move onto the international stage may be on the cards. Interest from various sections of Hollywood is believed to be genuine, with only his tumultuous and much publicised  contract dramas with Sahamongkol preventing any concrete offers from being established.

Reporter : John Weston   Photo : Internet   Category : Thailand News

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