Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Prince’s resemblance to king wins him lead role in movie

Prince’s resemblance to king wins him lead role in movie

Prince’s resemblance to king wins him lead role in movie


{jathumbnail}

Prince Sisowath Siriwudd was surprised at being cast as the lead in the 3-D documentary Angkor, the Land of Gods, in which he spends a lot of time sitting on a golden throne in traditional attire.

The prince, who is also known as Chhaell, stars as Jayavarman VII, king of the Khmer empire from 1181 to 1200, in the one-hour documentary, which returns Angkor Wat to its golden age by recreating the former king’s history of warfare and paying tribute to the Khmer architects of the time.

Part of Chhaell’s surprise at landing the lead role spawns from one of the reasons for it – he is perceived to have a likeness to Jayavarman VII, despite no one knowing exactly what the former king looked like.

“The casting director considered that when I wore my hair in a bun, my face looked similar to Jayavarman VII’s statue,’’ Prince Chhaell told The Post.

‘‘In fact, none of us know what his face actually looked like.”

The 48-year-old has played numerous support and stunt roles since entering the industry in 1999, but Angkor, the Land of Gods is his first chance to take centre stage.

“Because I have never performed such a big role, before acting I burned nine sticks of incense to apologise in advance to Jayavarman VII’s spirit if I didn’t perform well, and to ask his spirit to possess me when I acted,” he says.

Prince Chhaell’s spiritual requests seem to have worked.

“When I was acting, I felt like his spirit possessed me, because the way I was sitting and behaving was like how his character is often depicted.”

Prince Chhaell says his experience in the film industry and his martial-arts skills, which he has honed since he was 18, also helped him adapt to the role.

“However, it was a bit difficult for me, as the actors and crew were speaking four languages – Korean, English and Thai as well as Khmer,” he says.

“In co-operation with EBS television of South Korea and TVK, we filmed for 20 days at a studio in Kanhchanak Borei, Thailand, where we used many elephants, horses and warfare weapons. “We filmed for seven days in Siem Reap as well.”

Angkor, the Land of Gods also features Kong Bopha as Indra Devi, Ros Sophorn as Yasovaraman II and Chan Chanleakena as the queen of Yasovaraman II.

The film is yet to premiere in Cambodia, but it has been distributed to 128 countries with the aim of attracting more international tourists to Angkor Wat.

King Norodom Sihamoni and government officials will launch Angkor, the Land of Gods once a Khmer voiceover track is finished.

Watch the official trailer:

MOST VIEWED

  • Ministry requests school opening

    The Ministry of Education, Youth and Sport on Thursday said it would request a decision from Prime Minister Hun Sen to allow a small number of schools to reopen next month. Ministry spokesman Ros Soveacha said if the request is granted, higher-standard schools will reopen

  • Kingdom eyes India FTA, China deal set for August

    Cambodia is studying the possibility of establishing a bilateral free trade agreement (FTA) with India to open a new market with the second-largest regional economy. This comes as an FTA with China is scheduled to be signed next month while similar negotiations with South Korea

  • Judge lands in court after crashing into alleged thief

    Sen Sok district police on Thursday sent a Koh Kong Provincial Court judge to the Phnom Penh Municipal Court on manslaughter charges after he crashed his car into a woman riding a motorbike on Wednesday, killing her. District police chief Hour Meng Vang told The

  • Gov’t to boost Siem Reap tourism

    The Ministry of Tourism released the results of an inter-ministerial committee meeting concerning Siem Reap province’s Tourism Development Master Plan for 2020-2035 on Wednesday, revealing the government’s plan to improve the overall tourist landscape there. The meeting was attended by Minister of Tourism

  • Residents ordered to remove structures on Phnom Penh’s canal

    Phnom Penh municipal governor Khuong Sreng has ordered authorities to act against the perpetrators who built houses along the Luo 5 canal in Meanchey district. The municipal administration plans to create a committee to solve the matter. The order was given on Wednesday while Sreng led

  • ‘On the offensive’: Cambodia to load up on loans to stimulate economy

    As the dust settles on the economy, Cambodia comes to grips with what needs to be done to turn the economy around, starting with a big shopping list for credit ‘We are going on the offensive,” Vongsey Vissoth, Ministry of Economy and Finance permanent secretary

  • Government set to make up for cancelled April holiday

    The government is set to make up for a five-day Khmer New Year holiday late this month or early next month. The holiday was earlier cancelled due to the onset of Covid-19. The announcement is expected on Friday as the government is studying a range

  • Families told to register for cash handouts

    The government has called on poor families to apply to commune authorities for evaluation to receive financial support during the Covid-19 crisis. A $300 million budget has been planned for implementation within a year. Ministry of Economy and Finance secretary of state Vongsey Visoth said this

  • Crumbling prices, rent ruffle condo segment

    The prolonged decline in international arrivals to Cambodia intensified by renewed Covid-19 fears has driven down condominium sales prices and rental rates in Phnom Penh, a research report said. CBRE Cambodia, the local affiliate of US commercial real estate services and investment firm CBRE Group

  • Over $3M in traffic fines collected in two months

    Traffic police officers collected over $3 million in fines throughout the Kingdom during the past two months when officers strictly enforced the law in accordance with a May sub-decree, officials said. As incentives, law enforcement officers received between 200,000 and two million riel ($50 to $500) each. The figures