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Prince preps royal epic

Yugala pic to be funded by Thai gov't, budgeted at $12.5 mil

BANGKOK — Prince Chatri Chalerm Yugala, who directed Thailand’s biggest box office hit, “The Legend of Suriyothai,” in 2001, has started shooting “Nuresuan,” the most expensive Thai production ever.

Produced by the prince’s Prommitr Production Co., pic is budgeted at an estimated $12.5 million; it’s wholly funded by the Thai government.

The location in a western province covers 600 acres, where the production crew is re-creating Ayutthaya, an old capital city of Siam (renamed Thailand), and Hongsawadi, the ancient Burmese kingdom.

Prince Yugala says he spent a year and a half studying the details of the story behind the film and will use directing experience he gained on “The Legend of Suriyothai.”

Pic is due to be completed by the end of the year. New actor Cap Wanchana Swaddee plays King Naresuan.

A local film distributor has not yet finalized, but Sahamongkol Film, which released the $17.5 million grosser “Suriyothai,” will probably do the job.

The film concerns the life of King Naresuan, who liberated the Siamese from the control of Burma. Born in 1555, he was taken to Burma as a child hostage; there he became acquainted with sword fighting and became a threat to the Burmese empire.