Press Conference – Beautiful Boxer – January 29, 2004
Lido Theatre, Bangkok, Thailand
The following is a question and answer session that took place immediately following the screening of Beautiful Boxer at the Bangkok International Film Festival. Ekachai, the writer and director of this award wining Thai film and the star, Asanee Suwan, nicknamed “Art”, answered questions from the audience.
[For reasons of clarity, the interview is printed out of sequence to the event. The director’s responses are printed in the first half of the article, then the actor’s.]
Q: How did you choose this actor?
A: It took three months traveling through Thailand to cast the lead. I wanted a professional boxer because I couldn’t teach someone how to box realistically for this film. Art was raised in the northern region where Nong Toom [the subject of the film] was also from so his accent was correct. They were both professional boxers by the time they were twelve years old. Most importantly, the lead actor had sincerity in his performance.
Q: Was the real beautiful boxer involved with the film?
A: Nong Toom was a consultant on the film and was involved in the interview process. Not everything in the film was the same as her life but we tried to capture the essence of what it was like being her. At first she couldn’t watch the film; however, she attended the media preview and cried. She is a quiet, very ladylike woman – simple and genteel.
Q: From a business point of view, are you disappointed with the box office numbers?
A: Before we make a movie, we know what we’re in for and we brace ourselves. This movie has generated a lot of interest with distributors. [However,] we cannot give up the film that we want to make because of poor box office. I strive to be true to my heart as I make the film and hope the audience will grow and meet us halfway. So, we’re looking for a distributor that believes in what the film is trying to say.
Q: Are there famous actors in the film?
A: This is Art’s debut film. His kick boxing coach in the movie is a very famous Thai actor who has won every award possible. The woman that plays Nong’s mother, a former Miss Thailand, is stunning and it was very difficult to try and make her not beautiful.
Q: What was your favorite scene to film?
A: All the kick boxing sequences because they used many ancient Thai techniques. The boxers in the film were all professionals in real life so there was real punching. On the first day of shooting, Art knocked out his opponent on the first take and I thought, “This actor is being very realistic” and then I realized he was really out. I wanted the scenes to be realistic but I didn’t want anybody to die on the shoot.
Q: How do you feel about acting and do you feel type cast? What will you do next?
A: I am twenty-three years old now and most kick boxers peak at twenty-four or five, so I’m retired. As for acting, I feel a good actor should be able to assume different roles. [As for being type cast] I checked this morning and I’m still straight.
Q: What was your most difficult scene?
A: The fantasy scene where Nong Toom performs a dance in traditional Thai costume. It stirred a lot of emotions in me.
Q: How has your life changed since winning Thailand’s highest acting honor and becoming famous?
A: In the past, I was just a boxer, now when I go out I have to be more careful with my behavior.
Q: What did you learn from this picture?
A: I now understand women more. The most difficult concept I had to convey in the movie was the feelings of a woman inside.