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Andy’s Travel Diary

Monday, 16 Oct 2006

Location: Bangkok, Thailand


One of my nights in Bangkok was totally unexpected. I went for a walk along the Khao San road in BK. Returning to my hostel i was approached by a lady and the owner of the hostel who explained that the young women wanted me to go to the cinema? “What?” i think i mumbled. In broken english she kept saying the words: cinema, 800 baht (a steep price for the cinema!), woman, supermarket (”What?” i mumbled again), movie. She also kep saying “Farang, they want farang”. Farang means foreigner in thai. It can be a derogatory term, a neutral one or quite a positive term. Why on earth do they want foreigners to go see thai movies i thought to myself. Then she tried to explain the supermarket bit again, “You go in, look, buy, movie, you go!”. “What?” i think i asked yet again.

Confusion. So i made a hasty exit and me, Hannah and Zoe who i’ve been travelling around with for a few weeks went to get some drinks.

Just as i was telling them about the experience the lady pops up again, so Hannah being Hannah asks them what on earth they are talking about and then gets one of the bar owners to translate.

Turns out they didn’t want us to watch a movie, but rather needed two goodlooking westerners (flattery will get someone anywhere with me)to star (well, appear…) in the film! “What?” She went back to check. They wanted me and her to be extras in a scene of a thai movie they were shooting.

When Archbiship Desmond Tutu said "there is much t be gained from making oneself a little vulnerable" i do not think he could have anticipated how it would affect my evening.

It all seemed very legit and there was two of us and the women we got in the taxi with were both small (I sized them up in case it came to fisticuffs!). Later on we arrived in a carpark with a security guard and supermarket but noticeably lacking cameras, make-up, the frantic scurrying to and fro of engineers, lighting technicians and all those other workers necessary for a movie. This was no such hub of activity but Toptap (Ting Tong anyone?) and Lin both bought us lots of food and drink and asked us to wait. So we did.

And hour later what was a quite car park suddenly became abuzz with vans, lights, microphones, cameras, and people hurrying back and forth setting up the scene we would be in.

Very surreal.

I was wearing clothes that were too trendy and which showed up the male star (or thats what i like to think) so i was taken to wardrobe and placed in board shorts and a california t-shirt to make it look like i was a farang in Phuket (where the scene was meant to be based).

The white shirt didn’t look good on set so it had to be changed to a blue (”I can’t work like this!” i think i screamed, “where is my bowl of M and M’s………i said pick out the orange ones you inept plebian!”).

Then the director came over to us and gave us a rundown of the movie and what we were required to do. Let me set the scene. We were asked to sit in the supermarket window at a small ledge drinking beer and coke, chatting, laughing and exaggerating our hand gestures. I didn’t just act, i became my character, plunging myself head-first into my debut movie role. I flung my head back into deep guffaws and hearty chuckles, i waved my arms every which way in wide circles of emotion and expression, and then i slurped greedily from my beer, emitting an audible “Ahhhhhh” when i put it down and wiped my mouth with my sleeve, shaking the supermarket produce on the shelves as i belched. Ian McKellen eat your heart out!

Basically there were three people in the scene, the main star, me and Hannah. I tried to give Alan Da (not sure how to spell his name) some acting tips as i was once the High Priest in Jesus Christ Superstar at junior school but i don’t think he was listening.

Between you and me, Hannah was a bit wooden, but bless her, she is not a veteran performer like me.

After a couple of takes we called it a rap and were taken by chauffer driven limo (taxi) back to our hostel where we received the princely sum of 800 baht for our services. Thats about a days money so i was highly pleased with myself.

The movie is released in cinemas (and even in some western cinemas apparently) in late December so keep your eyes peeled. Am not sure if i will be on the movie poster just yet, my people have to speak to theirs.

For my next movie i want to star in a thriller/biography of Mel B’s life (from the spice girls), but i will only do it if Steve (Spielberg to the common folk) is involved.