Home      Discussion      Topics      Dictionary      Almanac
Signup       Login
Tony Jaa

Tony Jaa

Discussion
Ask a question about 'Tony Jaa'
Start a new discussion about 'Tony Jaa'
Answer questions from other users
Full Discussion Forum
 
Encyclopedia
Tatchakorn Yeerum formerly Panom Yeerum ( pʰanom jiːram; born February 5, 1976 in Surin province, Isaan, Thailand), better known in the West
Western world
The Western world, also known as the West and the Occident , is a term referring to the countries of Western Europe , the countries of the Americas, as well all countries of Northern and Central Europe, Australia and New Zealand...

 as Tony Jaa, in Thailand as Jaa Panom, is a Thai
Demographics of Thailand
This article is about the demographic features of the population of Thailand, including population density, ethnicity, education level, health of the populace, economic status, religious affiliations and other aspects of the population....

 martial artist, actor
Actor
An actor is a person who acts in a dramatic production and who works in film, television, theatre, or radio in that capacity...

, choreographer
Choreography
Choreography is the art of designing sequences of movements in which motion, form, or both are specified. Choreography may also refer to the design itself, which is sometimes expressed by means of dance notation. The word choreography literally means "dance-writing" from the Greek words "χορεία" ...

, stuntman
Stuntman
A stuntman or stunt performer is someone who performs dangerous stunts.Stuntman may also refer to:*The Stunt Man, a 1980 film starring Peter O'Toole*Stuntman , a 2002 video game**Stuntman: Ignition, its sequel...

, director
Film director
A film director is a person who directs the actors and film crew in filmmaking. They control a film's artistic and dramatic nathan roach, while guiding the technical crew and actors.-Responsibilities:...

, and monk
Monk
A monk is a person who practices religious asceticism, living either alone or with any number of monks, while always maintaining some degree of physical separation from those not sharing the same purpose...

. His films
Cinema of Thailand
The cinema of Thailand dates back to the early days of filmmaking, when King Chulalongkorn's 1897 visit to Bern, Switzerland was recorded by Francois-Henri Lavancy-Clarke. The film was then brought to Bangkok, where it was exhibited...

 include Ong-Bak: Muay Thai Warrior
Ong-Bak: Muay Thai Warrior
Ong-Bak: Muay Thai Warrior , also known in the United States as Ong-Bak: The Thai Warrior is a 2003 Thai action film. It was directed by Prachya Pinkaew, featured stunt choreography by Panna Rittikrai and starred Tony Jaa. Ong-Bak proved to be Jaa's breakout film, with the actor hailed...

, Tom-Yum-Goong
Tom-Yum-Goong
Tom-Yum-Goong Tom-Yum-Goong Tom-Yum-Goong (Thai: ต้มยำกุ้ง, is a 2005 Thai Martial arts Action film starring Tony Jaa. The film was directed by Prachya Pinkaew, who also directed Jaa's prior breakout film Ong-Bak. As with Ong-Bak, the fights were choreographed by Jaa and his mentor, Panna Rittikrai...

(also called Warrior King or The Protector) Ong-Bak 2: The Beginning, and Ong Bak 3
Ong Bak 3
Ong-Bak 3 is a 2010 Thai martial arts film directed, produced and written by Tony Jaa and Panna Rittikrai. The film's story is a follow-up to Ong Bak 2, where Tien is brutally beaten before being put to death by Lord Rajasena 's men. His body is recovered by his Master Bua who revives him...

.

Early life


Tony Jaa was raised in a rural area, 200 km from Bangkok
Bangkok
Bangkok is the capital and largest urban area city in Thailand. It is known in Thai as Krung Thep Maha Nakhon or simply Krung Thep , meaning "city of angels." The full name of Bangkok is Krung Thep Mahanakhon Amon Rattanakosin Mahintharayutthaya Mahadilok Phop Noppharat Ratchathani Burirom...

 and as he grew up he watched films by Bruce Lee
Bruce Lee
Bruce Lee was a Chinese American, Hong Kong actor, martial arts instructor, philosopher, film director, film producer, screenwriter, and founder of the Jeet Kune Do martial arts movement...

, Jackie Chan
Jackie Chan
Jackie Chan, SBS, MBE is a Hong Kong actor, action choreographer, comedian, director, producer, martial artist, screenwriter, entrepreneur, singer and stunt performer. In his movies, he is known for his acrobatic fighting style, comic timing, use of improvised weapons, and innovative stunts...

, Vince Lam and Jet Li
Jet Li
The fame gained by his sports winnings led to a career as a martial arts film star, beginning in mainland China and then continuing into Hong Kong. Li acquired his screen name in 1982 in the Philippines when a publicity company thought his real name was too hard to pronounce...

 at temple fairs, which was his inspiration to learn martial arts. He was so inspired by them that while he was doing chores or playing with friends, he would imitate the martial arts moves that he had seen, practicing in his father's rice paddy
Paddy field
A paddy field is a flooded parcel of arable land used for growing rice and other semiaquatic crops. Paddy fields are a typical feature of rice farming in east, south and southeast Asia. Paddies can be built into steep hillsides as terraces and adjacent to depressed or steeply sloped features such...

. When he was 10 years old, he threatened his father that he would kill himself if he wasn't taught Muay Thai
Muay Thai
Muay Thai is a combat sport from Thailand that uses stand-up striking along with various clinching techniques. It is similar to other Indochinese kickboxing systems, namely pradal serey from Cambodia, tomoi from Malaysia, lethwei from Myanmar and muay Lao from Laos...

.

"What they [Chan, Lee and Li] did was so beautiful, so heroic that I wanted to do it too," Jaa told Time
Time (magazine)
Time is an American news magazine. A European edition is published from London. Time Europe covers the Middle East, Africa and, since 2003, Latin America. An Asian edition is based in Hong Kong...

in a 2004 interview. "I practiced until I could do the move exactly as I had seen the masters do it."

At age 15 he requested to become a protege of stuntman and action-film director Panna Rittikrai
Panna Rittikrai
Panna Rittikrai is a Thai martial arts action choreographer, film director, screenwriter and actor...

. Panna had instructed Jaa to attend Maha Sarakham College of Physical Education in Maha Sarakham Province
Maha Sarakham Province
Maha Sarakham is one of the provinces of Thailand, located in the northeastern region of Thailand. Neighboring provinces are Kalasin, Roi Et, Surin, Buriram and Khon Kaen....

. He has trained for an unspecified time in Taekwondo
Taekwondo
Taekwondo is a Korean martial art and the national sport of South Korea. In Korean, tae means "to strike or break with foot"; kwon means "to strike or break with fist"; and do means "way", "method", or "path"...

 although there are no details regarding if this was in ITF or WTF
World Taekwondo Federation
The World Taekwondo Federation is the International Federation member of the International Olympic Committee for the competition events of the martial art of taekwondo...

 style and if he has received formal Taekwondo
Taekwondo
Taekwondo is a Korean martial art and the national sport of South Korea. In Korean, tae means "to strike or break with foot"; kwon means "to strike or break with fist"; and do means "way", "method", or "path"...

 training or as part of his stunt team member apprenticeship. Likewise, he is highly skilled in Muay Thai
Muay Thai
Muay Thai is a combat sport from Thailand that uses stand-up striking along with various clinching techniques. It is similar to other Indochinese kickboxing systems, namely pradal serey from Cambodia, tomoi from Malaysia, lethwei from Myanmar and muay Lao from Laos...

 but there is no evidence at present to suggest a formal training history or competitive career.

Jaa was also trained in Aikido
Aikido
is a Japanese martial art developed by Morihei Ueshiba as a synthesis of his martial studies, philosophy, and religious beliefs. Aikido is often translated as "the Way of unifying life energy" or as "the Way of harmonious spirit." Ueshiba's goal was to create an art that practitioners could use to...

 and Ju-jitsu and he was a successful high jump athlete at university. He is still able to jump two meters high.

Stunt work


Tony initially worked as a stuntman
Stunt double
A stunt double is a type of body double, specifically a skilled replacement used for dangerous film or video sequences, in movies and television , and for other sophisticated stunts...

 on Panna's team, Muay Thai Stunt
Muay Thai Stunt
Muay Thai Stunt is a Thailand-based group of stunt doubles, formed by Panna Rittikrai to work alongside with him on action films. Members of the stunt team are skilled in acrobatics and gymnastics, weapons-related fighting arts, Muay Thai and other martial arts including Wushu and Tae Kwon Do...

, appearing in many of Panna's films. He doubled for Sammo Hung
Sammo Hung
Sammo Hung is a Hong Kong actor, martial artist, film producer and director, known for his work in many martial arts films and Hong Kong action cinema...

 when the martial-arts actor made a commercial for an energy drink that required him to grasp an elephant's tusks and somersault onto the elephant's back. He was also a stunt double in the Thai television series Insee Daeng (Red Eagle).

Acting


Together, Panna and Jaa developed an interest in Muay Boran
Muay Boran
Muay boran is an umbrella term for the unarmed martial arts of Thailand prior to the introduction of modern equipment and rules in the 1930s.It is thus the direct ancestor of modern Muay Thai....

, an ancient style of Muay Thai
Muay Thai
Muay Thai is a combat sport from Thailand that uses stand-up striking along with various clinching techniques. It is similar to other Indochinese kickboxing systems, namely pradal serey from Cambodia, tomoi from Malaysia, lethwei from Myanmar and muay Lao from Laos...

 and worked and trained for one year at the art with the intention of developing a film around it. Eventually they were able to put together a short film showing what Jaa could do with the help of instructor Grandmaster Mark Harris. One of the people they showed it to was producer-director Prachya Pinkaew
Prachya Pinkaew
Prachya Pinkaew is a Thai film director, film producer and screenwriter. His films include Ong-Bak: Muay Thai Warrior and Tom-Yum-Goong, both martial arts films starring Tony Jaa.-Biography:...

, who was duly impressed.

This led to Ong-Bak: Muay Thai Warrior
Ong-Bak: Muay Thai Warrior
Ong-Bak: Muay Thai Warrior , also known in the United States as Ong-Bak: The Thai Warrior is a 2003 Thai action film. It was directed by Prachya Pinkaew, featured stunt choreography by Panna Rittikrai and starred Tony Jaa. Ong-Bak proved to be Jaa's breakout film, with the actor hailed...

in 2003
2003 in film
The year 2003 in film involved some significant events. Releases of sequels took place with movies like The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King, 2 Fast 2 Furious, Charlie's Angels: Full Throttle, The Matrix Reloaded, The Matrix Revolutions, Pokémon Heroes, Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines,...

, Jaa's break-out role as a leading man. Jaa did all the stunts without mechanical assistance and computer-generated effects and it showcased his style of extreme acrobatics and speedy, dance-like moves. Injuries suffered in the filming included a ligament injury and a sprained ankle. One scene in the film involved fighting with another actor while his own trousers were on fire. "I actually got burned," he said in a 2005 interview. "I really had to concentrate because once my pants were on fire the flames spread upwards very fast and burnt my eyebrows, my eyelashes and my nose. Then we had to do a couple more takes to get it right.".

His second major movie was Tom-Yum-Goong
Tom-Yum-Goong
Tom-Yum-Goong Tom-Yum-Goong Tom-Yum-Goong (Thai: ต้มยำกุ้ง, is a 2005 Thai Martial arts Action film starring Tony Jaa. The film was directed by Prachya Pinkaew, who also directed Jaa's prior breakout film Ong-Bak. As with Ong-Bak, the fights were choreographed by Jaa and his mentor, Panna Rittikrai...

("The Protector" in the US), named after a type of Thai soup and including a style of Muay Thai that imitates elephants.

In August 2006, he was in New York to promote the US release of The Protector
Tom-Yum-Goong
Tom-Yum-Goong Tom-Yum-Goong Tom-Yum-Goong (Thai: ต้มยำกุ้ง, is a 2005 Thai Martial arts Action film starring Tony Jaa. The film was directed by Prachya Pinkaew, who also directed Jaa's prior breakout film Ong-Bak. As with Ong-Bak, the fights were choreographed by Jaa and his mentor, Panna Rittikrai...

, including an appearance at the Museum of the Moving Image
American Museum of the Moving Image
The Museum of the Moving Image is a media museum located in Astoria, Queens on the former site of the Kaufman Astoria Studios. The museum originally opened in 1988 as the American Museum of the Moving Image. The museum began a $67 million expansion in March 2008 and reopened in January 2011...

.

Next projects


Sahamongkol Film International
Sahamongkol Film International
Sahamongkol Film International Co. Ltd. is a Thai motion picture production and distribution company. It is the leading movie company in Thailand, ahead of GMM Grammy's GMM Tai Hub, Five Star Production and...

 advertised that Tony Jaa's third film would be called Sword or Dab Atamas, about the art of Thai two-sword fighting, with a script by Prapas Chonsalanont. But due to a falling out between Prachya and Jaa, which neither have publicly commented on, Sword has been cancelled.

On March 2006 it was reported that there would be a sequel to Ong-Bak
Ong-Bak: Muay Thai Warrior
Ong-Bak: Muay Thai Warrior , also known in the United States as Ong-Bak: The Thai Warrior is a 2003 Thai action film. It was directed by Prachya Pinkaew, featured stunt choreography by Panna Rittikrai and starred Tony Jaa. Ong-Bak proved to be Jaa's breakout film, with the actor hailed...

, Ong-Bak 2
Ong Bak 2
Ong Bak 2: The Beginning is a 2008 Thai martial arts film co-directed by and starring Tony Jaa. It is a follow-up to Jaa's 2003 breakout film Ong-Bak: Muay Thai Warrior. Initially claimed to be a sequel to Ong-Bak: Muay Thai Warrior, Ong Bak 2 was then announced to be a prequel to its predecessor...

. With Jaa both directing and starring, it started pre-production in fall 2006 and was released in December 2008.

While Jaa was working on Ong-Bak 2, director Prachya Pinkaew
Prachya Pinkaew
Prachya Pinkaew is a Thai film director, film producer and screenwriter. His films include Ong-Bak: Muay Thai Warrior and Tom-Yum-Goong, both martial arts films starring Tony Jaa.-Biography:...

 and action ya choreographer Panna Rittikrai
Panna Rittikrai
Panna Rittikrai is a Thai martial arts action choreographer, film director, screenwriter and actor...

 were working on Chocolate
Chocolate (2008 film)
Chocolate , also known as Zen, Warrior Within, is a 2008 Thai martial arts film starring Yanin "Jeeja" Vismistananda in her debut film performance. It is directed by Prachya Pinkaew, with martial arts choreography by Panna Rittikrai...

, starring a female martial artist, Nicharee Vismistananda, and released February 6, 2008. Jaa had been cast in a small role in a third installment of the King Naresuan
King Naresuan (film)
The Legend of King Naresuan is a Thai biographical historical drama film about King Naresuan the Great, who ruled Siam from 1590 until his death in 1605....

film series directed by Chatrichalerm Yukol
Chatrichalerm Yukol
His Serene Highness Prince Chatrichalerm Yukol is a Thai film director, screenwriter and film producer. A prolific director since the 1970s, among his films is the 2001 historical epic, The Legend of Suriyothai. A member of the Thai royal family, his official royal title is Mom Chao, or M.C., the...

, although the film was ultimately cancelled. "Ong Bak 3, The Battle to end all Battles" was released in 2010 and provides an explosive conclusion to this Thai trilogy.

Other developments


His films captured the attention of his hero, Jackie Chan
Jackie Chan
Jackie Chan, SBS, MBE is a Hong Kong actor, action choreographer, comedian, director, producer, martial artist, screenwriter, entrepreneur, singer and stunt performer. In his movies, he is known for his acrobatic fighting style, comic timing, use of improvised weapons, and innovative stunts...

, who asked director Brett Ratner
Brett Ratner
Brett Ratner is an American film director, film producer and music video director. He is best known for directing the Rush Hour film series, The Family Man, Red Dragon, X-Men: The Last Stand, and Tower Heist. He was also a producer on the Fox drama series, Prison Break.- Early life :Ratner was...

 to cast Jaa in Rush Hour 3
Rush Hour 3
Rush Hour 3 is a 2007 martial arts/action-comedy film, and the third installment in the Rush Hour film series, starring Jackie Chan and Chris Tucker, that began with the 1998 film Rush Hour and continued with the first sequel Rush Hour 2 in 2001. The film was officially announced on May 7, 2006,...

. "I gave the director videos of Tony Jaa because I think Tony Jaa is the most well-rounded of all action stars," Chan told the Associated Press. "The director liked him a lot," Chan said. However, Jaa said he'd be unable to participate because of scheduling conflicts with the shooting of Ong Bak 2.

Additionally, veteran Hong Kong
Hong Kong action cinema
Hong Kong action cinema is the principal source of the Hong Kong film industry's global fame. It combines elements from the action film, as codified by Hollywood, with Chinese storytelling and aesthetic traditions, to create a culturally distinctive form that nevertheless has a wide transcultural...

 martial arts coordinator Lau Kar-leung
Lau Kar-leung
Lau Kar-Leung is a famous Hong Kong martial arts filmmaker, choreographer, and actor.Lau Kar-Leung is best known for his movies which he made during the 1970s and 1980s for the Shaw Brothers Studio...

 has mentioned Jaa as someone he'd like to work with.
Tony Jaa also released Ong Bak 3
Ong Bak 3
Ong-Bak 3 is a 2010 Thai martial arts film directed, produced and written by Tony Jaa and Panna Rittikrai. The film's story is a follow-up to Ong Bak 2, where Tien is brutally beaten before being put to death by Lord Rajasena 's men. His body is recovered by his Master Bua who revives him...

, as a sequel to the prequel Ong Bak 2.

Monasticism


On May 28, 2010, Jaa became a Buddhist monk
Bhikkhu
A Bhikkhu or Bhikṣu is an ordained male Buddhist monastic. A female monastic is called a Bhikkhuni Nepali: ). The life of Bhikkhus and Bhikkhunis is governed by a set of rules called the patimokkha within the vinaya's framework of monastic discipline...

 at a Buddhist temple in Surin, Thailand
Surin, Thailand
Surin is a town in Thailand, capital of Surin province. It is the site of the annual Surin Elephant Round-up. Surin has many farangs living within its Centre and Suburbs.-Etymology:...

.

Return to acting


After leaving the monastery, it came as a surprise to all that Jaa accepted a deal with Sahamongkol film company. He is set to film Tom-Yum-Goong 2 in the near future, with Chocolate
Chocolate (2008 film)
Chocolate , also known as Zen, Warrior Within, is a 2008 Thai martial arts film starring Yanin "Jeeja" Vismistananda in her debut film performance. It is directed by Prachya Pinkaew, with martial arts choreography by Panna Rittikrai...

star Jija Yanin in a major role too, the first time Jaa has shared the big screen with another international martial arts star. Director Prachya Pinkaew
Prachya Pinkaew
Prachya Pinkaew is a Thai film director, film producer and screenwriter. His films include Ong-Bak: Muay Thai Warrior and Tom-Yum-Goong, both martial arts films starring Tony Jaa.-Biography:...

 and choreographer Panna Rittikrai
Panna Rittikrai
Panna Rittikrai is a Thai martial arts action choreographer, film director, screenwriter and actor...

 are set to return for this film.

Filmography

  • Mission Hunter 2 (aka Battle Warrior (US))
  • Spirited Killer
  • Hard Gun
  • Ong-Bak: Muay Thai Warrior
    Ong-Bak: Muay Thai Warrior
    Ong-Bak: Muay Thai Warrior , also known in the United States as Ong-Bak: The Thai Warrior is a 2003 Thai action film. It was directed by Prachya Pinkaew, featured stunt choreography by Panna Rittikrai and starred Tony Jaa. Ong-Bak proved to be Jaa's breakout film, with the actor hailed...

    (2003
    2003 in film
    The year 2003 in film involved some significant events. Releases of sequels took place with movies like The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King, 2 Fast 2 Furious, Charlie's Angels: Full Throttle, The Matrix Reloaded, The Matrix Revolutions, Pokémon Heroes, Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines,...

    )
  • The Bodyguard
    The Bodyguard (2004 film)
    The Bodyguard is a 2004 wire fu action-comedy written and directed by Thai comedian and actor Petchtai Wongkamlao and featuring martial-arts choreography by Panna Ritikrai...

    (2004) (as Panom Yeerum) (Cameo)
  • Tom-Yum-Goong
    Tom-Yum-Goong
    Tom-Yum-Goong Tom-Yum-Goong Tom-Yum-Goong (Thai: ต้มยำกุ้ง, is a 2005 Thai Martial arts Action film starring Tony Jaa. The film was directed by Prachya Pinkaew, who also directed Jaa's prior breakout film Ong-Bak. As with Ong-Bak, the fights were choreographed by Jaa and his mentor, Panna Rittikrai...

    (aka Honor of the Beast or Warrior King (UK) or The Protector (US)) (2005
    2005 in film
    - Highest-grossing films :Please note that following the tradition of the English-language film industry, these are the top-grossing films that were first released in the United States in 2005...

    )
  • The Bodyguard 2
    The Bodyguard 2
    The Bodyguard 2 is a 2007 Thai action-comedy film written, directed by and starring Petchtai Wongkamlao. A prequel to his 2004 film, The Bodyguard, The Bodyguard 2 tells the origins of Petchtai's bodyguard character, and like the first film, it features a host of cameo appearances by Thai...

    (2007) (Cameo)
  • Ong Bak 2
    Ong Bak 2
    Ong Bak 2: The Beginning is a 2008 Thai martial arts film co-directed by and starring Tony Jaa. It is a follow-up to Jaa's 2003 breakout film Ong-Bak: Muay Thai Warrior. Initially claimed to be a sequel to Ong-Bak: Muay Thai Warrior, Ong Bak 2 was then announced to be a prequel to its predecessor...

    (2008
    2008 in film
    This is a list of all major films made in 2008.-Highest-grossing films:Please note that following the tradition of the English-language film industry, these are the top grossing films that were first released in the USA in 2008...

    )
  • Ong Bak 3
    Ong Bak 3
    Ong-Bak 3 is a 2010 Thai martial arts film directed, produced and written by Tony Jaa and Panna Rittikrai. The film's story is a follow-up to Ong Bak 2, where Tien is brutally beaten before being put to death by Lord Rajasena 's men. His body is recovered by his Master Bua who revives him...

    (2010
    2010 in film
    The year 2010 saw many new films released worldwide. 2010 saw a dramatic increase and prominence in the use of 3D-technology in filmmaking and film releases after the success of Avatar in the format, with releases such as Alice in Wonderland, Clash of the Titans, Jackass 3D, all animated films and...

    )
  • Tom Yum Goong 2
    Tom Yum Goong 2
    Tom Yum Goong 2 is an upcoming Thai martial arts film starring Tony Jaa and Marrese Crump. The film is the sequel to Tom-Yum-Goong.-Production:The sequel officially went into production in August 2011...

    (2012
    2012 in film
    The following tables list films that are in production or have completed production and will be released in the United States and Canada at some point in 2012...

    )

Stunts

  • Mortal Kombat: Annihilation
    Mortal Kombat: Annihilation
    Mortal Kombat: Annihilation is a 1997 American martial arts action film that was the sequel to 1995's Mortal Kombat, and was directed by John R. Leonetti, who had served as the cinematographer for the previous film...

    (1996) (double for Robin Shou
    Robin Shou
    Shou Wan Por , known professionally as Robin Shou, is a Hong Kong martial artist and actor. Frequently appearing in numerous martial arts films, Shou was most successful for playing the role of Liu Kang in Mortal Kombat & Gobei with the late Chris Farley in Beverly Hills Ninja.-Career:Shou's first...

    )
  • Ong Bak 2
    Ong Bak 2
    Ong Bak 2: The Beginning is a 2008 Thai martial arts film co-directed by and starring Tony Jaa. It is a follow-up to Jaa's 2003 breakout film Ong-Bak: Muay Thai Warrior. Initially claimed to be a sequel to Ong-Bak: Muay Thai Warrior, Ong Bak 2 was then announced to be a prequel to its predecessor...

    (2008) (stunt coordinator)

Interviews