Filming in Thailand - Hollywood is coming back for good reasons!

street filming

“Kickboxer Vengeance” a remake of the classic starting Jean-Claude Van Damme completing filming in Thailand and according to writer/director Dimitri Logothetis, he loved working in the country.  He said the crew was as efficient and professional as any crew he’d worked with in the U.S. and the locations were fantastic. He’ll be filming his next picture there in early 2016!!!

professional crews

street filming

Alain Moussi

Alain Moussi

Initially there were reservations about working in Thailand because of the political situation and to stay on schedule for the release date, filming started with interiors in New Orleans, which lead to some complications.  One problem was finding actors who spoke Thai!  It was then thought they would finish with exteriors in Mexico and re-create the look of Thailand, a daunting task and very expensive. 

Dimitri’s friend, Gary Wood, a former successful actor in Hollywood, who had worked with Dimitri and now living in Thailand, suggested he come and film the exteriors in Thailand. Gary, along with his friend Tommy Tang, celebrity chef of the PBS-TV show “Let’s get Cooking” convinced Dimitri there were really no issues to deal with as far as political situation and filming in Bangkok and the country side would give the film the authenticity it needed plus a tremendous cost savings.

The decision was made to opt for Thailand and Dimitri could not be more pleased with the results!  The film will now have the reality of Bangkok street life and the dramatic locations in the ancient temple of Ayutthaya will give the film a powerful cinematic look!

THAILAND’S UNIQUE APPEAL

Thailand has a unique and exotic feel to it.  Bangkok is one of the most diverse cities in the world where it seems everywhere you turn there are great locations to film. Outside Bangkok the country has a tremendous variety of geographical characteristics. World-class islands and beaches in the south along with beautiful coastlines, reefs, rivers, lakes, Rocky Mountains and green plateau. In the north are lush jungles and elephants used quite often in films such as Alexander with Angelina Jolie. 

Ancient temples

elephant trekking, Northern Thailand

Island sunset

stunt team

Speaking of Angelina Jolie the stunt director for “Kickboxer Vengeance” Jim, and The Seng Stunt Team are based in Bangkok.  He coached her stunts in “Tomb Raider” and “Salt” and yes they have some excellent stunt girls on the team as well. I’ll have an article on this amazing team coming soon.

 

 PAST FILM 

In addition to its domestic film industry, Thailand has also been building a reputation for itself as a high quality alternative destination for foreign and Hollywood filmmakers.  Recent Hollywood films made in Thailand include “Fantastic Four Part 2” “Star Wars – Episode III” “Hangover 2” and “Bangkok Dangerous” with Nicholas Cage.  Past favorites have included “James Bond –Man with the Golden Arm” “The Beach” with Leonardo DiCaprio, “Good Morning Vietnam” with Robin Williams “The Deer Hunter” with Robert De Niro and “Year of the Dragon” with Mickey Rourke. * Information supplied by the Thailand Film Board.

INCENTIVES.

The Minister of Tourism and Sports for Thailand, H.E. Kobkarn Wattanavrangkul, has expressed great interest in creating more incentives for Hollywood to come to Thailand.

"We are talking about famous blockbuster movies with high budgets such as 'Star Wars', for which, at one point, Thailand was considered as a location, but [the producers] opted to use the United Kingdom instead because it offered incentives and Thailand did not," Tourism and Sports Minister Kobkarn Wattanavrangkul said after the Cabinet meeting yesterday.

"If we had incentives with some boundaries, such as using places that have tourist attractions as part of the movie sets, than we could promote our country's image. Many countries in the region are also considering the same measures right now," she said.

She claimed that when a "James Bond" or "Mission: Impossible" movie was set in a particular country, tourist activities there increased by around 20-30 per cent in the year the movie came out.

She said the Cabinet had approved the idea in principle. Her ministry will discuss the matter with the Budget Bureau and other agencies before recommending to the Cabinet within a couple of months what kind of incentives should be offered, along with what regulations for the measures would be employed. 

Thailand’s Cabinet decided to not tax foreign actors’ earnings on films made in the country. This decision was likely and awareness by the cabinet to the vast exposure major motion picture films can bring to the country plus the tremendous amount of money spend by crews and filming in the country.

in November 2010 the Thai Cabinet agreed to discontinue charging fees for shooting permits on properties owned by the government, including national parks, the railway system and Suvarnabhumi international airport.

Thailand’s BOI (Board of Investment) also encourages Thai motion picture production by providing for exemption of import duties on machinery for film making, regardless of location, and a five-year corporate income tax exemption.

KICKBOXER VENGAENCE  - U.S. CAST AND CREW FINAL THOUGHTS…

After the filming I was with the cast and crew at the Dusit Thani Hotel in Bangkok, and was asking them about their impressions of working in Thailand.  Unanimously all really enjoy the experience.  They said the Thai people were so friendly and polite, the crew was as professional and efficient as any in the world, the food was fantastic and they wanted to return for holidays, SOON!

“KICKBOXER VENGAENCE” is targeted for an early 2016 worldwide release staring Gina Carano, David Bautista, and Jean-Claude Van Damme and introduce Alain Moussi, Canandian stunyman in the lead along with a beautiful Thai actress Sara Malakui. Both pictured here with George St. Pierre of UFL champion also in the film.  

I’ll have an updated look inside the filming of the movie ahead of its release along with some exclusive photos! 

Daniel Herron – All photography – Copyright 2015

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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