A close look at Bangkok’s dark side
Bangkok Breaking Poster Netflix Thailand
Bangkok, the largest and most populous city in Thailand, is known as the perfect tourist destination and street food paradise with many friendly faces. But like in any other big city in the world, only the people who live here understand that Bangkok can be a facade. A glamorous city on the one hand, but a very dark place on the other.
To bring light to the City of Angels, contemplate different views and discover the darkest corners of the city, people are invited to explore them in Bangkok Breaking, an upcoming original series from Netflix that premieres locally and worldwide on September 23.
Bangkok Breaking follows the journey of Wanchai (Sukollawat “Weir” Kanarot) who comes to the big city in search of great opportunities to save his family from poverty. Wanchai decides to join a rescue team to help others in trouble only to find themselves caught up in dark city secrets. In addition to Sukollawat, Sushar “Aom” Manaying is part of the cast played by Kat, a fearless journalist who aims to fight the corrupt and uncover a city-wide conspiracy.
The six-part series marks the first cooperation project between the well-known director Kongkiat Khomsiri (The gangster, 2012, Khun Phan, 2016) and novelist and screenwriter Prabda Yoon (Invisible waves, 2006, Motel crap, 2016). Bangkok Breaking is Thailand’s second original Netflix series after the supernatural teen drama The stranded. It’s also the first Thai series filmed in HDR for complete visual immersion, with unique storytelling that promises to be a “fast-paced” and “engaging” suspense thriller that will keep viewers in suspense.
Life recently spoke to Kongkiat and Prabda in this exclusive interview about Zoom in which the two filmmakers reveal their brave decision to make this controversial yet refreshing story about Bangkok.
Director Kongkiat Khomsiri. Netflix Thailand
What’s the inspiration behind the story in Bangkok Breaking?
Kongkiat: We want to unfold the image of Bangkok as it exists in many dimensions. I think Bangkok itself is no different from any other capital city in the world. It may have bright and beautiful scenery, but at the same time it is a complex city in itself.
Prabda: We want viewers to see every corner and every aspect of life in Bangkok. Be it the life of a rich person, his luxurious lifestyle or the life of the villagers and the poor who live in the community. So we decided to have our main character work as part of an emergency rescue team because this group of people could lead us to any corner of town.
Prabda Yoon and Sukollawat. Netflix Thailand
The appeal of this series is that it presents an unprecedented perspective on Bangkok. I would like to know if most of the content is in Bangkok Breaking is it completely fictional or based on true stories?
Kongkiat: In fact, most of the things that happen on the show are based on real databases, only we didn’t give it away directly. These are stories that most Bangkokers have always known, but few dared to tell. In the past, Bangkok was often referred to as a livable city. It is one of the top tourist attractions in the world. But we bring in other perspectives, the secrets of Bangkok come to light and we talk about them. We find it interesting here.
Sukollawat plays a member of the rescue team. Photos © Netflix Thailand
Why did you choose to cast Sukollawat and Sushar for this series?
Kongkiat: Since preproduction, we’ve focused on Sukollawat as we all know he’s a great actor and has a strong following in Thailand. Plus, Netflix wants to partner with him too, so casting Sukollawat is a breeze. But we auditioned a lot for the role of Kat before we landed on Sushar. We thought she was a perfect fit in terms of performance and most importantly, her physique. Sushar is a little person who is quite similar to the character we originally considered someone who looks harmless on the outside but is really brave and not afraid to rise up against injustice.
Aside from the element of action that we see in the trailer, what is the mood and tone of the show like? Is there anything to do with politics?
Prabda: It’s a crime thriller action show with a strong element of drama. Most of the action scenes come mostly from the duty of rescuers who are at risk in dangerous places to help the victims.
Kongkiat: At the heart of the show is the story of the courage of a group of people who stand up to defend some kind of justice. Therefore, the content and purpose of this series are not intended to attack any type of system.
How did this cooperation project come about? And what is it like to work together for the first time?
Prabda: It was actually a project I talked about with Netflix for a while. And we all agreed that Kongkiat was the right person to direct the show. So I called him and was glad he was interested in working with him. We both have the same passion for movies, so everything went very smoothly.
Kongkiat: I’m a fan of the streaming service and also a fan of Prabda’s writing style, so it didn’t take me long to decide on this project. Bangkok Breaking is a project we intended from the start. It wouldn’t be someone’s personal work or try to be a niche movie. Therefore, the content is easy to access and not complicated, and is mainly intended to be entertainment.
How do you personally define the word Bangkok?
Prabda: It is quite difficult to describe Bangkok for someone who really lives here. I would say it’s full of flavor and has so many layers [laughs].
Kongkiat: Bangkok is surreal to me [laughs]. Personally, I think Bangkok has a very high contradiction in terms. It is a very fast developing city that at the same time contradicts the concept of people who develop or understand something very slowly. Living in such a strange and diverse city I think people need to have a high level of self-esteem in order to survive.