Tony Jaa

Does anyone else remember when Tony Jaa walked off the set of Ong Bak 2 and into the jungle? He would later come back, of course, and finish not only Ong Bak 2 but a third movie, as well. It was one of those too-strange stories of production madness that seem to have followed the martial arts star throughout his career. Since the completion of Ong Bak 3 and its subsequent release in 2010, it’s been quiet-goings for Jaa, who has long been compared to action titans like Bruce Lee and Jackie Chan. The only major difference between Jaa and those other fine men is that while his films have travelled well into the United States, he himself has never crossed into Hollywood work.

That ends soon for the Thai man of action, as he’s signed on to join Fast and Furious 7. Nope, that’s not a typo.

“I have been a big fan of the Fast and Furious franchise,”  Jaa told The Hollywood Reporter via email from Thailand. “The films are fast paced, fun and keep the audience involved. There is a great mix of humor and action, something I really appreciate. There is no better film to be involved in for a first U.S. studio production.”

This will mark Jaa’s English-language debut and will feature a cast that also includes Vin Diesel, Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson and Jason Statham, who was recently confirmed as the film’s villain. No word yet on where Jaa fits into the Chris Morgan-scripted, James Wan-directed sequel, but we can’t imagine that he’ll be (a) background or (b) have a great deal of exposition. It’s going to be fights. Pretty much all fights. And there’s nothing wrong with that.

Fast and Furious 7 is due to go into production in September with a release date planned for July 11, 2014.

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