Imagine getting a call from your brother and they tell you "Hey! Come to the city! We can finally work together! I've got a great job for you." So, you drop everything to leave your small hometown, but then—PLOT TWIST!—just as you arrive, everything as you know it is suddenly gone. Your world opens up to tragedy, controversy, and an intricate web of lies and mystery.
That is Bangkok Breaking. And that is just the beginning.
Okay, obviously, nobody wants to be in that situation but let me tell you one thing: It was a whole lot of fun to watch all of this go down from the safety of my living room. I can't wait for you to experience the same! This action-packed Thai Netflix series fully had me on the edge of my seat, emotionally cosplaying as that Michael Jackson popcorn gif.
A seemingly innocuous bus ride to Bangkok is how the show opens and where it all starts for Wanchai, played by renowned Thai actor Weir Sukollawat Kanarot. He finds himself involved in local rescue volunteer services and figuring out where he stands amidst all this unexpected drama. He is quickly joined by Kat, an up-and-coming journalist eager to prove herself, as portrayed by Aom Sushar Manaying.
Cosmopolitan got to join a roundtable interview with the two stars. Here's a look at what it was like to be working on the new Netflix series:
1. This is the very first Netflix-produced Thai series!
Aom: "Thailand has never really created a series like this before. But now, we have the opportunity through Netflix to give us the freedom to create a series that is different from what Thai people have traditionally made."
Weir: "When I read a little bit of the script, I thought that if this was on the traditional platforms in Thailand like free TV, I would not have the opportunity to play a role like this. But since this is with Netflix, I'm able to do more than what I used to be able to do and accurately portray it."
Aom and Weir share the same sentiments—they are excited to finally be on this global platform and can't wait for people all around the world to see what Thai production has to offer!
2. While the action genre is nothing new to Weir, sometimes shooting the scenes would feel so real, it was almost scary.
Free from the confines of local television and thanks to the production's safety standards, they were able to create more believable scenarios that otherwise would not have been possible.
Weir: "It's so realistic that it made me question, 'Can I really do this?' There's fire around me everywhere. There's a car flipping, and I'm in the car. There's an explosion and I'm nearby. Many of the different things that are going in the teaser, I was actually in those scenes."
3. To accurately portray the work of a rescue volunteer, they had workshops...and even dealt with real fire.
Weir emphasized the importance of getting all of it right, especially since this is a series that revolves around emergency rescuers.
He adds: "We learned about how to rescue different people before you send them to the hospital. You have to do it correctly. [In the big scene where there's a fire], I wore a real firefighter uniform. It was very heavy actually, and there was a real fire. It was really, really hot, but it was also fun to shoot."
4. But even when there was real fire, safety always came first.
Weir: "Everything was made to be safe and up to standards. We always said that no matter what you do, everything needs to be safe."
5. To accurately portray a journalist, Aom shadowed one.
Aom: "I was able to follow and see real journalists work in the field. I went to go and talk to them and interview them, and whenever they got a phone call saying that something had happened, I was able to jump into the car with them and go to the site to capture the news. I observed how they dealt with situations, how they asked their questions. It was great to be able to see and to observe their energy."
6. After having worked closely with them, Aom has newfound respect and admiration for journalists.
Aom: "I feel that journalism is a profession where you have to use a lot of bravery, where you have to bring the truth out. You have to balance everything out amongst your own feelings and views versus the facts that you have to present. That's not easy."
7. This is Aom's first-ever role in the action genre!
Some of you might know Aom from the Thai remake of beloved K-drama Full House or from any of her previous rom-com roles. This time around, she wanted the challenge of something different.
Aom: "There is a big scene where there's an accident, and I thought it was just fun that I was in the car and it was just able to flip over like that. I've never been able to do anything like that before in my life. That was fun. Even though it was difficult, it was still fun."
8. Aom's favorite scene to shoot was one of the most difficult ones too.
In the scene, Kat is recording a clip to tell everybody what has been happening to her. It was a long take where she had to show layers of emotion—her fear as a "very petite" woman, and her bravery, as she tries to do what's right and be heard as a reporter.
In Aom's words: "That scene is the one that I’m most proud of, and it's also the one that was most difficult to do."
9. The show has that delicate balance of being uniquely Bangkok and relatable to everyone everywhere.
Both Aom and Weir shared that what we see in Bangkok Breaking is unique and distinctly representative of the truths of Bangkok and its people's experiences. But even then, there are many aspects to it that will be relatable to all of us, no matter where you are from in the world.
Weir: "There's another way to look at Bangkok and we're able to show you many aspects of it. And I believe that the things that happen [in the series] can happen anywhere in the world."
Aom: "Many of the scenes in the series come from stories that have happened in Bangkok. These stories, these accidents, and these narratives where there's a fire have actually really happened. It gives weight to the story and I think we draw the power from that and pull it into the characters."
10. A bonus, for the fans: A message from Aom to her Filipino fans!
Aom: "I want to thank my Philippine fans who helped support me in every project. Since the series Autumn In My Heart to Full House to Kiss Me, the Philippine fans have been following my progress. I want to say thank you for that and I want to say please watch Bangkok Breaking as well because it will definitely surprise you."
Bangkok Breaking premiered on Netflix on September 23 and I promise it's worth all your time and popcorn!
*Some answers have been edited for clarity.