You gotta wonder how much cooler Prachya Pinkaew’s “Chocolate” would have been if Tony Jaa had played the main character, an autistic girl who learns martial arts through martial arts flicks and by watching the dojo next door. That, and eating chocolate. Instead, Pinkaew has casted newcomer name Jeeja Vismistananda. Obviously they would have to change the gender of the main character, as although I can buy Jaa as pretty much anything as long as he’s kicking people out of windows and then flying after them to deliver a knee strike to the chest while they’re still falling, he probably wouldn’t quite work as an autistic girl. Then again, I suppose the whole point of “Chocolate” is to see a tiny little Thai girl running around kicking the asses of grown men playing gangsters.
Your good news comes from THR:
Magnolia Pictures’ genre arm Magnet will release “Chocolate,” the story of an autistic girl (newcomer Jeeja Vismistananda) who learns martial arts to track down thugs that owe her ailing mother money. The recent Fantastic Fest entry from Pinkaew (“Ong Bak”) will hit theaters next year.
JeeJa Yanin’s real name is Yanin Vismitananda. I guess it’s better than, say, going the English route with something silly like, oh, Julie Yanin or some such. Of course, being that she’s an ass-kicking chick, they could have called her Dragon Yanin, or Little Girl Dragon or something. Where am I going with this? Nevermind.
“Chocolate” comes to American theaters in limited theaters (and probably with a ludicrous new “American”-ish soundtrack — which in this case means either techno or rap) next year.
Below: Billy Jack ain’t got nothing on JeeJa.