Was it the elephants that sent a Thai action star over the edge? Tony Jaa, the memorably acrobatic actor and martial arts expert from Ong-Bak: The Thai Warrior and The Protector, disappeared while filming his directorial debut, Ong-Bak 2. Reportedly he became so stressed out that he sought solace in the jungle for two months -- with the film only 70% completed.

He emerged on Monday with tears in his eyes and vowed to return to work. Veteran director Prachya Pinkaew, who previously had a falling out with the star, agreed to come on board and help get the movie finished in time for its planned December 4 release. Jaa was expected to appear with his parents and production company execs at another news conference yesterday, but instead sent his lawyer with a list of seven demands (pictured). Wise Kwai's Thai Film Journal has been doing a bang-up job covering the story; as Wise Kwai comments, "This case is becoming increasingly weird."

Speaking of increasingly weird scenes, check out the trailer for Shinya Tsukamoto's Nightmare Detective 2 at Nippon Cinema, (which I found via Don Brown's ryuganji). I finally caught up with the first Nightmare Detective on Region 1 DVD last week; although the basic premise -- serial killer inhabitating a nightmare can make people wake up dead -- might sound like a simple riff on A Nightmare on Elm Street, Tsukamoto is such an amazing, visually inventive director that he stretches things far beyond the ordinary, in a way that's strikingly different than, say, the apocalyptic ambitions of Satoshi Kon'sPaprika. Watch the trailer for the upcoming second installment, and rent the original to see Tsukamato's excellent, illuminating one-hour "making of" doc.

categories Features, Cinematical