Ananda Everingham on Personality and ‘Hi So’ (High Society)

Ananda Everingham can be considered an outstanding Thai movie star, even though he is not Thai but of Australian-Lao descent. In addition, Ananda also seems to be a contradictory personality. You may already know all of this if you’re a devoted reader of this blog 😉

Hence, he calls himself a shy person who does not know how to entertain people well. What is more, in his youth he had troubles with the establishment but at the same time he was very much interested in classic world literature. However, nobody can deny that Ananda is a prominent and self-confident actor in many recent high-budget Thai films today, although he claims to suffer from stage-fright. Thus, one might be inclined to ask oneself how this all goes together and what it does reveal about his personality?

Ananda Everingham

Ananda Everingham in 'Hi So' (photo credit: theguardian.com)

Ananda Everingham in ‘Hi So’ (photo credit: theguardian.com)

It seems that the actor does not want to reveal to much of his actual personality. Hence, Ananda is very versatile in his roles and filmmaking thus avoiding to be stereotyped. He claims that he does not want “(…) to get stuck in a genre and I don’t want to be stereotyped. I don’t want to be seen as the action guy or the comedy actor or even the cool guy. I like it when my personality has nothing that associates with the characters I play”.*

Scene from 'Hi So' (photo credit: frontrowreviews.co.uk)

Scene from ‘Hi So’ (photo credit: frontrowreviews.co.uk)

Thus, we might call Ananda chameleon-like when choosing his roles. However, in this context, I think it’s also interesting to take a look at the independent art house movie ‘Hi So’ (High Society, 2010) because Ananda plays himself in this film and thus it is very personal and intimate to him. Thus, he claims ‘High Society’ “a very personal film because I’m playing myself, but it includes my director’s (Aditya Assarat) past and his story”.*

In short, we may say that the movie ‘Hi So’ is about the cultural confusion of a young Thai man who has become a movie star and who never fits in anywhere. Thus, there seem to be two opposing sides of the protagonist Ananda. On the one hand, he is privileged and grew up in overseas (Australian) influence. On the other hand, he has lost connection with his native country. However, abroad he is Thai and thus a foreigner. His life seems to be torn apart because he is unable to deal with and adapt to the different cultural demands. In addition, in the movie, Ananda left behind an Australian girlfriend and hooks up with a new Thai girlfriend. However, she feels alienated by his English-speaking friends and Western ways.

'High Society' (photo credit: huffingtonpost.co.uk))

Feeling the alienation, ‘High Society’ (photo credit: huffingtonpost.co.uk))

In fact, in real life Ananda also went through some troubles finding his identity. This was because he held Australian citizenship, mainly grew up in Thailand and started his acting career there. He felt very much Thai but had to struggle with work permits because he was not officially Thai. However, a few years ago he was granted Thai citizenship. Nevertheless, I don’t think the ‘real’ Ananda underwent any kind of cultural confusion, although being a half-child and ‘luk kreung’. He seems to be very much integrated in Thai society and popular culture. Whether as model or as an actor, he cuts quite a figure 🙂

In a nutshell, we may say that Ananda Everingham prefers to be a chameleon when acting and choosing roles. Even though we might find that there is always a lot of Ananda in every character that he embodies, we will not be able to fathom his true dynamic personality.

Yours, Sirinya

(*Quotes from Bangkok Post, Ananda Everingham on Movies)




Ananda Everingham: Thai Movie Star

Ananda Everingham can be regarded as the foremost Thai movie star although he has no Thai origins. Born 1982 in Thailand, Ananda is in fact of Australian-Laotian descent and had Australian nationality until a few years ago, when he received Thai nationality. His father is the Australian photojournalist John Everingham who has lived in Thailand since the 1970s and his mother, Keo Sirisomphone, is from Laos. In his youth, Ananda travelled with his father through Asian countries and was a kind of assistant to his Dad who worked as a photographer.

Ananda Everingham

Ananda Everingham*

Ananda Everingham*

By the way, the meeting of Ananda’s parents was roughly dramatized in the 1983 NBC television movie ‘Love Is Forever’ or ‘Comeback’ with Michael Landon and Laura Gemser in the leading roles. The story is about John Everingham who dives in the Mekong river and rescues his girlfriend from the communist regime in Laos. Well, it might seem a pathetic tale but Ananda also enjoys telling the story in interviews like this one which is in fact quite amusing and entertaining 😉

Hence, it was a fine start for Ananda’s own career as an actor and model. Thus, he tells us in the interview that he was discovered relatively early in his youth, at the age of 14, when he was working in his parent’s Indian restaurant in Bangkok. Since then, he has had leading roles in numerous Thai movies but also in other Asian films.

Movie star Ananda Everingham*

Movie star Ananda Everingham*

It was the Thai horror movie ‘Shutter’ (2004) that made Everingham famous as an actor in Thailand. There was even a Hollywood remake of ‘Shutter’ in 2008. This movie is mainly about a young photographer named Thun and his girlfriend Jane who have a car accident with a young woman. They run the woman over and she dies on the street because they do not help her. It is a case of a hit and run accident. Consequently, the are haunted by the dead woman’s spirit and discover mysterious shadows and supernatural images in their photographs. The woman’s ghost is revengeful and this is also a recurrent theme in Thai horror movies. Here is a clip from ‘Shutter’ to give you an impression.

Ananda has starred in a number of other Thai horror films, for instance in Ghost Delivery (2003) and most recently in O.T. Ghost Overtime (2014) which is a horror comedy. However, he also starred in romantic dramas like ‘Bangkok Time’ and ‘Me…Myself’ in 2007. Another important movie in his career so far is ‘Hi So’ (High Society, 2010) since he plays himself in this film. It is quite striking that Ananda requently plays photographers in films, thus also in ‘Happy Birthday’ (2009), a role for which he was awarded ‘Best Actor’ by the Thailand National Film Association Awards. ‘Happy Birthday’ is about love and hope, to put it in a nutshell.

An important movie in Everingham’s career so far is the 2008 Thai-Lao romantic drama ‘Sabaidee Luang Prabang’ (Good morning, Luang Prabang) because it deals with the relationship between Thailand and Laos and it is also the first Thai-Laotian commercial film since 1975.

Ananda plays the photographer Sorn*

Ananda often plays photographers in his movies*

In this movie, he also plays a photographer from Thailand who visits Laos. In fact, photography appears to be very important and thus a recurrent subject in his films. If you take a look at Ananda’s Instagram account, you will notice that he enjoys taking beautiful landscape photos among others 😉

What is more, Ananda has been in numerous TV series and starred in a variety of different film genres. For example, he was in the historical fantasy adventure film ‘Queens of Langkasuka’ (2008) and the very popular Thai romantic drama ‘Eternity’ (Chua fah din salai, 2010).

Getting ready for a historical movie like the 'Queens of Langkarsuka'*

Getting ready for a historical movie like the ‘Queens of Langkasuka’*

In this movie, he starred alongside famous Thai actress Laila Boonyasak (Ploy Chermarn). ‘Eternity’ is about the young man Sangmong (Ananda) who falls in love with his uncle’s wife Yupadee (Ploy). This is a tragic story since Yupadee finally commits suicide and Songmong becomes mad with grief and agony.

In conclusion, we may say that there is a lot of Mr. Everingham in each character that he plays. I think he can identify with the figures that he embodies. Thus, he claims that it’s his task to find truth in each movie script and character. He chooses his roles according to the physicality of the character and dreams of doing some slapstick and situation comedy in the near future 🙂

Ananda*

Ananda*

I think Ananda Everingham is a charismatic actor and always cuts quite a figure. Somehow he reminds me of Jhonny Depp. In addition, he is also a half-Asian person and may thus be regarded as an example of a ‘luk kreung’ who has become very successful in Thailand. Do you know any of his movies? Which one do you like?

Yours, Sirinya

*photo credit: Ananda Everingham, FB page