Martial arts star, actress Jeeja Yanin will be the forth and final entry into our interview series leading into next week’s sequential March 19/22 rollout of Jesse V. Johnson’s new ensemble action thriller, Triple Threat. It’s been five years since she and I traded Q’s and A’s and there was at least one area that I felt needed covering, so I’m especially pleased to have heard back from her as I did.
It’s also worth noting that folks in the UK looking forward to seeing Jeeja in action among the heavy-hitting cast can watch the film at the Mockingbird Cinema Birmingham on April 28, courtesy of the Fighting Spirit Film Festival organization. Whether or not any cast attendance remains to be seen but for what it’s worth, the film will assuredly get its time on the big screen as Johnson wishes, and fans are more than welcome.
Jeeja, it’s great to hear from you and chat once again! We last spoke about maybe four years ago? You became a mother, did some TV work on Halfworlds and Monkey Twins, spent some time with your family before getting back into training for movies. How are you doing these days?
I still enjoy acting in action films and tv, but I find I am more of a full time mother these days.
Let’s talk about your role in Triple Threat. By around April 2017, you were officially cast in that film with Jesse Johnson set to direct. Talk about meeting Jesse for the first time and how that led you to board the project.
Jaa was already cast in the film, and my manager was producing. I liked the idea of playing a badass. I had a chance to meet Jesse and was impressed with his enthusiasm.
Did you get to see any of Jesse’s films beforehand?
[Laughs] Actually no, but I have since then.
As much as working a film relatively equates to spending time with a family, it’s not everyday we get to see a family this STACKED on fan service! Guys like Scott, Ron, Iko, Tiger, Tony, MJW – what goes through your mind now that you get to share a marquee with a cast like this?
Jaa and I know each other very well and have worked together before. I was already friends with Celina, Michael Jai and his wife and had worked with Scott before. It was fun meeting Iko, Tiger and Michael Bisping. Michael Bisping has a great sense of humor.
Is there an advantage to being one of only a few main female cast members on set among the guys?
Hmmm, good question, difficult answer in an action movie. It depends on the role.
I love your character’s camraderie with the cast and especially with the role of Deveraux, played by Michael Jai White. Talk about your character for us?
My character is a badass, kind of psycho. She plays for her team but clearly has no morals. I would have liked a chance to develop the character a bit more, but it was fun.
Now, I’m curious as to the kind of training required for a role like this. I’ve never been on any of these sets although the training is common knowledge. Talk about the amount of training required for a role like this – fight-wise and firearm-wise.
I train regularly whether shooting or not. I did need to learn the proper way to hold certain fire arms, I had a pretty big one. For fight scenes we had quite a few rehearsals together so it was pretty easy.
In your view, what are some of the biggest challenges for this kind of production? I was told the schedule for this movie was pretty robust.
We had long shooting days and started early. We also shot out in the jungle so this was not exactly a vacation. Everyone worked well together, the crew were great so we had fun.
The film is coming out in theaters on March 19 in the states with a VoD release on the 22nd, and I’m also told that Triple Threat will have a UK premiere this year at Fighting Spirit Film Festival at Birmingham. Is there a chance you’ll be able to attend that screening for fans in the UK?
I wish I could, but the U.K. is quite far from here so I don’t think I will get a chance to be there.
A lot of your films and TV projects have been more localized apart from their global appeal toward fans outside Thailand. Chocolate had folks crying out for a Chocolate sequel, Raging Phoenix is still on top of the list for me, you did That Girl Is Badass, and also Tom Yum Goong 2 with Jaa beforehand. With Triple Threat proliferating you in North America this month, are you excited and hopefully aiming toward the world stage on maybe some international productions going forward like recently with Europe Raiders?
I would love to do more international films. I had a chance to do some international TV with Halfworlds, and enjoyed it. I have been working hard on my English, so I am ready.
Are there any film characters you’ve played that you’d like to see revive on screen again?
Actually no, I had a great time on the films I shot, but I enjoy new characters, it lets me improve my acting range.
Are there plans to reunite with any of the cast in the near future?
I don’t know, it really depends on what films are being done and who is producing, but I would love to.
Talk to us a bit about something – Your name has been attached on some promo art for the hopeful production of a project titled Red Cargo, and I was wondering if you could confirm that, or maybe share some news with us on projects you might be circling, if that’s the case.
I don’t know why they did that, I haven’t had any discussions about such a project and don’t know anything about it.
I’m curious as to what your thoughts are with today’s film and entertainment industry. What are some issues and concerns that stand out the most to you that you would like to see possibly fixed or improved?
There used to be quite a few Thai action movies, but there really aren’t any more. Most Asian action films center around China these days and I am Thai which makes it hard. Being a woman where many of the best action roles are for guys also makes it tough. In an action scene I think I can hold my own with anyone, so I am always ready for a challenge.
Would you like to direct someday if you decided to hang up acting for good?
Not really, I like acting.
Last and far from least, just one more question – and I thank you, truly and deeply, for partaking in another conversation about your career and sharing your insight – do you have a message for readers as we exit this interview?
Hi to everybody! I hope you enjoy Triple Threat. Thank you for this interview.