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Jaa returns from forest monastery

Stressed 'Ong-bak 2' helmer weeps on talkshow

At first it was kind of funny. Then it went strange. Now it’s downright bizarre.

The offscreen misadventures of Siamese martial arts wunderkind Tony Jaa grew to new levels of nuttiness last week.

Jaa, who found stardom in “Ong-bak” and “The Protector,” reportedly went AWOL from the set of “Ong-bak 2,” which he stars in and directs. His confused producers hadn’t been able to reach him on the phone since early June, and his family reported that the firsttime helmer was so stressed out by the scale of the film that he’d gone to meditate in the jungle.

“I love him as a son. Please come back to finish the film,” said exec producer Somsak Techaratanaprasert on July 25, adding that this “son” had spent 200 million baht ($6.3 million) on the film.

Three nights later, Jaa appeared on a TV talkshow, saying he’d gone to seek peace and artistic vision in a forest monastery.

“I make this film with spiritual devotion,” he said, then wept. “I only spent 100 million baht, not 200 million.”

On July 30, Jaa’s father went to the police because he suspected his son was abducted by a gang of mysterious men after taping the TV show. “I’m just worried about my son,” he said.

Amid all the confusion, Prachya Pinkaew, helmer of the first “Ong-bak,” was said to be looking at the completed footage and perhaps coming aboard to shoot the rest of the film.

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