By Kenny Chee
BANGKOK Dangerous, the Hollywood movie that stems from the 1999 Thai-language film by Hong Kong writer-producers Oxide and Danny Pang, has been raking in the money at the American box office.
Last weekend, the movie - which stars Nicolas Cage as an assassin and sees him in the co-producer's seat - took in US$7.8 million (S$11.2 million) when it opened there. It opens in Singapore today. But despite its current success, Oxide told my paper in a phone interview that the brothers, who are now based in Thailand, do not actively court Tinseltown and have no other projects in the works with Hollywood.
'We have not decided if we are going to do more movies with Hollywood. If they are interested, they will contact us,' said Oxide gruffly in halting English.
Tom Cruise's production company, for example, remade the Pang brothers' Chinese-language horror flick, The Eye, that was released this year and starred Jessica Alba.
Still, despite his assertion, Oxide notes that "it feels great to have our movies remade for Hollywood". It's no wonder he'd say that, as The Eye raked in more than US$56 million globally. The Pang brothers' Hollywood horror debut, The Messengers (2007), also grossed more than US$54 million worldwide on a budget of US$16 million.
Bangkok Dangerous was picked up in 2005 by Hollywood producers William Sherak and Jason Shuman. Oscar-winning actor Cage, then looking for a foreign project, snatched the opportunity to get involved with the film. He plays an assassin on assignment in Bangkok.
'He is a really nice person and very professional,' said Oxide of Cage, who ably took on some of his own action sequences. Oxide, who is dating Malaysian singer Angelica Lee Sin Je, added that the actor had been intrigued by "the cultural uniqueness of Bangkok".
Cage himself has said in interviews that there is a certain"philosophical" connection to his off-camera existence. He is married to Korean Alice Kim, with whom he has a son, Kal-el. He told the Los Angeles Times: 'I know the enchantment and isolation of trying to fit into a culture and not knowing how. All of those feelings are organically rolled into Bangkok Dangerous.'
While the original starred Thai actor Pawalit Mongkolpisit in the main role, the Hollywood script included Cage, who is more palatable to a Western audience. But Cage, speaking to the Los Angeles Times, said that the movie 'is (still) an Asian movie, not an American one'. Oxide has said that the new movie kept as true to the original as possible.
'They (the Hollywood partners) tried to keep everything that we gave them,' he said.
The brothers are now working on another Hong Kong movie - Storm Warriors, which is slated for release next year.
Bangkok Dangerous opens in Singapore cinemas today.
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