Pee Mak humour extends offscreen
THEY'RE so good at being funny, they don't even need a script.
In fact, all of the final takes of Thai blockbuster Pee Mak were improvised, revealed actor Pongsatorn Jongwilas (also known as Phuak) at a press conference held at Raffles Hotel on Wednesday.
Said lead actress Davika Hoorne, who plays Mae Nak: "It was difficult because they're always joking and I have to stare at them and not smile. None of them followed the script except me."
As the only girl on set, Hoorne was subject to the teasing of her castmates, Phuak and Kantapat Permpoonpatcharasuk (also known as Bomb), who were here along with director Banjong Pisanthanakun to promote the film.
Lead actor Thai-German heartthrob Mario Maurer, who plays Hoorne's onscreen husband, was not present.
It was clear that most of the cast's onscreen humour was derived from their offscreen antics.
Besides sharing about the hardships and high points of the filming process, they also kept the event filled with laughter.
From cracking onscreen jokes to teasing one another in real life, the humour and camaraderie of the cast were befitting of the blockbuster's comedic tone.
A spin-off from well-known Thai horror movie Nang Nak (1999) which was based on a Thai ghost folklore, Pisanthanakun worked on the screenplay for 11/2 years in a bid to do justice to the legend - and also to inject some humour into it.
Clearly, it has worked. Since premiering in Thailand in March, Pee Mak has become Thailand's highest-grossing movie, collecting more than US$33 million (S$41 million).
It has also collected more than US$1 million since opening in Hong Kong three weeks ago, and screenings are still being added to meet the high demand.
When asked about the film's box-office success, the director said that he had wanted to make a movie with the "gang of four" - referring to Phuak, Bomb, and actors Nattapong Chartpong and Attharut Kongrasri - from horror films 4BIA and Phobia 2.
"When they come together, it's like a magical moment. Things just flow naturally from there," said the director.
And, indeed, even though only two of the four were present, it was easy to see how funny they are.
When asked about the magic tricks he had to learn for the movie, Bomb sheepishly admitted that a stand-in was used, despite being given two months to learn the tricks.
At that, Pisanthanakun teased with "He's useless!", drawing laughter from the cast and reporters.
The cast started giggling again when My Paper asked Hoorne if Maurer would make a good husband.
"He is nice and friendly," stuttered a blushing Hoorne.
Phuak added in broken English: "He plays skateboard, so no."
Although Pee Mak is a horror-comedy, Pisanthanakun hopes that the theme of love would take root in the hearts of audiences.
Romance seems to be on the director's mind, as he revealed that his next project would most likely be a romantic drama.
When asked if the gang of four will make an appearance in it, he replied: "In a romantic drama? Are you kidding me?"