by Time magazine as "the next Bruce Lee," Tony Jaa was
born Panom Yeerum on February 5, 1976, and grew up with three
other siblings in the town of Surin, Thailand.
By age 10, Jaa had already developed an interest in martial arts
movies when he began to train at a martial arts school in his
Following his ambition to star in his own martial arts
film one day, Jaa later sought the help of stuntman and director,
seasoned veteran first gave Jaa, then a teenager, his first start
in films backstage. After hours, Jaa absorbed the lessons of film
acting while training with martial arts master. By age 21, Jaa
had enrolled in Thailand's University of Mahamarakam, to begin
formal training in gymnastics, kick boxing, taekwondo, judo and
Jaa finally had his opportunity to appear in front of the camera
as a stuntman in various martial arts films. Soon, he was also
while collaborating with Rittikrai and director Prachya Pinkaew
on a 'new' kind of martial arts film, one that did not rely on
wires or camera tricks.
: Thai Warrior, launching Jaa's international stardom
as a genuine master in his own right. Without the use of special
effects, Jaa recaptured the visceral energy and excitement of
the old-fashioned genre - with actual flying leaps and death defying
acts caught on camera.
film with Rittikrai and Pinkaew, Tom
Yum Goong, was released in Asia in August 2005 and renamed
Protector for U.S. audiences the following year.
In 2007, the
Asian superstar appeared in
2, and a year later repeated his debut success by starring
in and directing Ong Bak 2 as action hero Tien, premiering
later in 2009 in both the US and UK.
The following year, Ong Bak 3 was released, with Tony Jaa repeating his role as star and director, and chronicling the continuuing story of
Tien's battle with the forces of evil.
Most recently the actor/director has repeated his succcess with yet another sequel, this time in the Protector 2, released in 2013 and starred with Dolph Lundgren in Skin Trade in 2014. HIs latest appearance has been in the Hollywood blockbuster Furious Seven, opposite the late actor Paul Walker, released in 2015.
More about Tony Jaa around the Web:
Jaa - Biography and career highlights, with links to related
sites and film clips, from Wikipedia.