Fox Drops Thailand for ‘King and I’
BANGKOK, Thailand (AP) _ Frustrated by official disapproval of its script, 20th Century Fox announced Thursday it is dropping plans to shoot ``Anna and the King″ on location in Thailand.
Shooting for the remake of the classic films ``Anna and the King of Siam″ and the ``The King and I″ will be instead shifted to neighboring Malaysia, Fox said in a statement.
The Thai Film Board has twice turned down scripts for the proposed film, saying that they were disrespectful of the 19th century ruler King Mongkut and the monarchy of Siam, as Thailand was then known.
The remake stars Oscar-winner Jodie Foster in the role of Anna Leonowens, the Victorian governess Mongkut hired to teach his children English, and Hong Kong action star Chow Yun Fat as the king.
Fox’s statement expressed regret over ``excessive bureaucracy and political red-tape. This decision to move production was not made with any disrespect or outrage.″
``The simple truth is that time has run out,″ Fox said. ``In an effort to avoid costly delays that could undermine the entire project, the studio has exercised its ability to change locations.″
Thais highly revere their monarchy and feel previous versions of the story, based on Leonowens’ disputed memoirs, portray Mongkut as a brutal buffoon rather than the linguist and Buddhist scholar he was.
Insulting the king is a crime in Thailand _ though seldom punished _ that carries a jail term of three to 15 years.