Ninja Dixon: When I first visited Thailand, one of the VCD’s I bought was Mission Hunter. I had no idea what it was, except you’re in front with a huge gun! Produced by Pechpanna Productions and famous producer Chokchai Pechpanna. Can you tell us how you got this part?
Christop Klüppel: First of all, the famous producer’s name is Chokchai Maliwan. Petchpanna was the name given to his production company to give recognition to Panna Rittikrai, who was Khun Chokechai’s business partner back then; his stuntman-crew’s exciting stunts and his initiatives actually made those two Mission Hunter Movies what they became popular for. Khun Chokechai was mainly responsible for the business part, i.e. he raised the necessary money, financed the movie and was responsible for the marketing.
As of myself, I got my part in “Mission Hunter 1” as a direct consequence of my performance in the movie “The Lost Idol” directed by P. Chalong. Once “The Lost Idol” had been shown in the cinemas, my then well-developed bodybuilder’s physique had generated quite some interest among the local public; as someone, who had been hired as an actor by Chalong - back then one of the most accomplished action movie producers in Thailand -, I was simply viewed as someone who could possibly draw attention to the much smaller budget production of “Mission Hunter I”. So I was approached by Chokechai Maliwan and his team who told me about their plan to shoot Mission Hunter and hire me to play a part in it, an offer which I accepted without much consideration. And I never had to regret it, as I was very well attended to throughout the shooting up country in Khon Khaen area, Panna’s home region; I received VIP treatment. The actual shooting was also much less stressful than during “The Lost Idol” and - last, but not least- a casual friendship developed between Chokechai Maliwan and myself which has lasted up to today. We are still in loose contact, more than 20 years after shooting these movies, and we still meet for lunch now and then.
ND: Your co-star in Mission Hunter was Panna Rittikrai, famous for being the mentor of future-star Tony Jaa and himself an action-star for many years. He’s famous for creating a lot of memorable stunts and action. How was he to work with? Did he choreographed your stuntwork too, or was he just an actor?
CK: “Co-star” is a big word, as it makes me a “star”, too. To say the truth, I never actually considered myself as a “movie star” just for having had the opportunity to play parts in some of these movies back then. As of Khun Panna, he was always friendly, easygoing and easy to work with. We always got along well. He impressed me with his modesty, professionalism and down to earth character, despite all his accomplishments. I have never had any negative experience with him whatsoever. Panna did not only act, but, as far as I recall, he was also actively involved in directing/choreographing many of those action shots; after all, stunts and action has always been his major expertise.
ND: Like almost all countries of in Asia, from Hong Kong to Japan, the comedy is an acquired taste. And here we have Mission Hunter, which has some scenes of very broad comedy. If I remember it correctly, one of the jokes is your character showing his “private member” to the others, to impress! I don’t know what I want to get with this question, but what’s your opinion about the comedy in Mission Hunter? :)
CK: As the “private-part”-comparison in the mentioned scene obviously went in my favor, I naturally didn’t mind it so much. However, I personally certainly have a quite different kind of humour, and I have never considered this particular scene all that funny. But the point here was to entertain/amuse the mainly up-country Thai audience which the movie was intended to please, and it certainly did the job. Thais generally often find things funny, which a Westerner would not perceive as funny at all, whereas a Thai may be offended by something, a Westerner may consider a harmless joke. There exist cultural differences, and those even extend to what is perceived as funny and what is not.