EXCLUSIVE: In-demand Thai filmmaker Nattawut ‘Baz’ Poonpiriya, known for Asian box office smash Bad Genius and Sundance 2021 winner One For The Road, is to direct English-language horror-thriller The Innkeeper for Crazy Rich Asians and Midway backer Starlight.
Set against the backdrop of the Southeast Asian financial crisis in 1997, the film will chart the story of a man who must grapple with his own fears after discovering his disappeared twin brother in a desolate Thai hotel.
The movie is the first project hatched under Poonpiriya’s first look development deal with Starlight, whose Peter Luo will produce. UTA Independent Film Group is handling sales.
Script is written by Eakasit Thairath (Warrior King 2) and Poonpiriya, with revisions by Logan Martin (Meat). The plan is to shoot in the U.S and Thailand in 2022.
Poonpiriya’s thriller Bad Genius was the highest-grossing Thai film of 2017, and went on to become the most successful Thai film ever overseas after grossing more than $30M in China. His 2021 Sundance movie One For The Road was produced by Wong Kar Wai and he was recently set with Crazy Rich Asians filmmaker Jon M. Chu to direct Netflix’s Thai Cave Rescue movie.
Starlight principal Luo said: “Baz’s work is boundary-breaking in many ways and The Innkeeper is a film that will further demonstrate his unique visual storytelling gifts and wow audiences globally. We’re thrilled to have our longstanding collaboration deal and excited to make this our debut project together.”
Upcoming projects for Starlight include James Wan’s Malignant for New Line, the supernatural horror film Umma for Sony Pictures, which is a collaboration with Sam Rami, and stars Sandra Oh; an action-crime trilogy starring Thai martial arts and action star Tony Jaa; and Golden Empire, starring Donnie Yen as a successful multinational drug lord.
Starlight’s Star Collective label recently acquired the rights to the Thomas Mendolia directed horror short Mr. Thisforthat and is developing and producing a feature adaptation that Mendolia will direct.
Poonpiriya is represented by UTA.