Tony Jaa Takes Sabbatical From Acting, Becomes A Bhuddist Monk

Tony Jaa has had quite a career in a few short years. He became an action star with Ong Bak, tried to become a director with Ong Bak 2, which led to a rather famous meltdown and mini-exile. And now, in the wake of the less than stellar Thai opening of Ong Bak 3, Jaa has walked away from acting altogether, at least for the time being. He's been ordained as a Bhuddist monk and will serve in that capacity for an undetermined period of time.Twitch has the news, and the best supposition about what is really going on here. On Friday, May 28, Jaa went to a Bhuddist temple in Surin, Thailand (traveling by elephant, naturally) where he shaved his head and took vows to be ordained as a monk. This isn't forever — Thai monks often serve for finite periods of time.

So what's the deal? Well, Jaa insisted on directing Ong Bak 2 himself, which strained his relationship with his former director, and led to Jaa bugging out when the film ran over budget and off schedule. He eventually returned, but his relationship with production house Sahamongkol was quite strained, and Ong Bak 3 is essentially a studio-assembled bunch of footage that resulted from the Ong Bak 2 shoot and later reshoots. I like the Ong Bak 3 trailer, but reports suggest that the film isn't much of a good thing at all.

So Jaa and Sahamongkol, with which he is under contract until 2012, have conflict that goes back a few years now. Todd at Twitch guesses that this is really Jaa's way of getting out of his ten-year exclusive contract with the studio, and if that's right then we'll likely see him back in front of (and perhaps behind) cameras within the next couple of years.