Thailand’s teen idol, Rattapoom ‘Film’ Tokongsub, has now been in the business for eight years. As he prepares to go inter, he offers a bitter take on how the industry has changed.
“I was born in an average family and only had one thought: I want to be a star. My mother once took me to a mall where people had gathered to greet an actor. It was at that moment that I first desired to be like him.
In junior high some star-scouts contacted me with offers of work. I was surprised. I thought, ‘Am I really good-looking?’ But I was disappointed with the minor roles I got.
When I had braces on my teeth, I met the famous star-scout Poj Arnon and he wanted me to take part in his new movie. I was also in a photo shoot for Ter Gab Chan magazine with another 20 guys. It turned out I was the one who prompted the most letters asking, ‘Who is that Japanese guy?’
My first role on the screen didn’t receive much recognition. I played a ladyboy in the cheerleader movie, Wai Buem Cheer Kra Huem Loke (I’m A Lady), directed by Poj Arnon.
The turning point was my first cover shoot with Marisa Anita for Ter Gab Chan. I got it by chance after a farang male model got diarrhea. I had just happened to walk into the office that day to pick up a check. After the cover was a huge success, Poj Arnon took me to work at RS Promotion.
I said I couldn’t sing and dance when RS told me that I should be singer. But they decided to train me for two years before releasing my first album FILM in 2005.
I feel like I’ve worked in entertainment for 30 years, even though it’s only been eight. It has taught me a lot. I’ve met every kind of person, done everything I’ve wanted to do. I’ve ever felt bored.
My biggest dream is to be in a Hollywood action movie.
If I wasn’t doing this, I would study communication arts and work behind the scenes. Now I’ve started a one-stop service production house, Heng Woon, which is Korean for good luck. I’ve also opened a tour company, Chill Out.
I would have loved to be in the business 10 years earlier. I’ve heard the atmosphere was better than it is today, and the media and the stars were like a family helping each other. Today the media seems more cruel, using the pen to destroy reputations.
In the old days, we also didn’t have pirated movies, mp3s and paparazzi chases.
Neither did we have to compete with the global industry: Japanese Pop, Korean Pop, western singers or that Twilight Saga that everyone is crazy about.
The Thai entertainment industry has a terrible work ethic. Good actors and actresses have to play older role people despite still being young. It’s hard to change this. If Thai people don’t support each other, who will? Not to mention, the media, which is always disparaging artists.
I give Thai artists full 10 points but the Thai entertainment participants, like the media, the companies and the fans, I’d grade them one out of ten. They don’t support local artists. In countries I’ve visited, the media always support their artists because they are a product of their country and can attract tourists.
Thai artists are really more talented and better looking than any others in the world. There’s a lot of excellence in all professional fields in Thailand—best engineering team, physics team, best dance teacher, best director and the latest is best Bboy team. The somersaults of Tony Ja can stun any foreigner.
Thai people just don’t love each other. I read about Thai history and found that we always destroy ourselves whenever we have free time. In ancient times, there were people who got paid to open the doors of our cities for the Burmese armies to enter.
I think social media is good for society. It’s good for those who want to work with it. I also have Twitter, @FilmRattapoom, to talk with fans. We can’t resist this change and have to live with it.
I don’t know if I will succeed at the International level. I’m working on Face to Face with Korean singer Jea from Brown Eyed Girls. We’ve prepared it for two years. I’m ready to be a representative of Thailand. But it would be ideal if Thai people accept their artists before we put ourselves out there.”
(Source: BK Magazine Interview By: Monruedee Jansuttipan)