Suangporn Jaturaphut

 

While Suangporn� was still a child, her father left, and she and her mother were left destitute. They moved to one of the poorest parts of Bangkok and for some days they were forced to go the Buddhist temple and beg for the food left over by the monks.

 

Suangporn's mother worked three different jobs to give her and her younger brother the education and opportunities that would enable her to improve her chances in life.

For the poor of Bangkok, drugs, crime, or prostitution are often the only escape, and Suangporn's mother was determined that these would not be her only options. So Suangporn was sent to school every day, and her mother paid for extra lessons in a variety of different subjects. Suangporn learnt English, Chinese, swimming, typing and computer skills.

 

But Suangporn hated to see her mother having to work long hours and deprive herself of all comforts, and paid a visit to her aunt, a famous television soap star, to ask if the aunt could help her to become an actress. The aunt rejected her request. So at the age of seventeen, Suangporn decided that she would indeed become an actress, and she would do it by herself. She found a modeling agent who agreed to include her on the agency register, but parts for young actresses with no experience or industry connections are hard to find in Thailand, particularly if you do not have the typical popular look - tall and fair-skinned.

 

'P' was the first audition she had ever attended. The filmmakers saw enormous potential and recalled her for a second audition, but decided that she was too young to play the part, and cast her in a smaller role in the film with only two scenes.

However, two days before filming commenced, the production ran into serious trouble. After the main actress had already rehearsed for ten days, she got cold feet about playing a role which might be seen as quite risqu� in Thailand. She walked off the film.

 

Half the crew were already based hundreds of miles from Bangkok in the jungle outside Si Saket constructing Dau's house.

The producers and director had to make the decision in one hour's time to call back the team from Si Saket and postpone. It was clear that the costs of postponement would likely break the budget and cause the film to be cancelled even before it began.

 

Then Paul, the director answered a knock at the door to find Suangporn, who had come to rehearse for her two scenes. Everyone had forgotten to cancel her rehearsal appointment. There were no other actresses to rehearse with, Paul was on the phone, tearing his hair out, and there was probably no film to rehearse for.

 

Suangporn asked if she could read for the main part again. So Paul gave her a tough challenge. He gave her a demanding scene, where the character of Dau has to break down in tears after losing her virginity to a callous and manipulative bar-owner.

 

She took a couple of minutes to conjure up sad thoughts, then broke down in tears and played the scene.

Paul realized instantly that the departure of the previous star was not a curse, but a blessing in disguise, because the girl standing in front of him in tears was clearly Dau.

 

Paul and the producers were still concerned about her age, and the scenes of sexy dancing and bedroom scenes required of her. Her agent and mother were contacted, and given the opportunity to read the script and discuss any problem areas. The filmmakers toned down a number of scenes.

 

Two hours later a contract was signed, and Suangporn was given three hours to pack her bags and be on the crew bus to location.

 

The character of Dau appears in many scenes in the film, and so the filming hours were long and tough. Equally tough was the learning curve.

Suangporn had no established acting tricks or techniques. If her performance was to work, it would have to be based on instinct and real emotion

 

Paul used many ways to bring out the performance he knew Suangporn was capable of. When she had to scream at the top of her voice, he took her behind the studio where nobody could hear them and together they screamed across the wasteland until her inhibitions had gone. When she had to cry in a scene, Paul would tell her sad stories, asking her to think about such tough concepts as the death of a family member.

 

The evolution of Dau from na�ve peasant-girl to the star of a Bangkok go-go bar and on further to being the host of a demonic presence would be a remarkable stretch for an experienced actress, and this was Suangporn's first ever acting role.

She met this challenge with remarkable dedication, stamina, and hard work.

 

She gave all the money she earned from the production to her mother, who is currently needing a serious operation in hospital.

 

The filmmakers assisted her in gaining entrance to the prestigious Assumption University, where she is studying for a B.A. in Chinese for Business.

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