2022 was quite a successful year, not only for Thai cinema, but also for the country’s TV releases. One of Bangkok’s biggest television production companies, GMMTV, which also acts as a talent agency for many popular artists, has produced a healthy amount of drama series, many of which are available in the UK through GMMTV’s official YouTube channel, Netflix, and Viki. And while Korean and Japanese dramas are still in the lead when it comes to viewership, Thai shows are rapidly gaining popularity amongst the UK audience. But let us concentrate on one actor in particular, Mond Tanutchai. 

Known for his bright personality and on-screen charisma, Mond debuted in 2017 in Water Boyy, followed by Fabulous 30 and Kiss Me Again. When Boy for Rent hit the small screens back in 2019, many couldn’t get over how fun and engaging the show was upon release and still continues to be.

Although Mond enjoyed playing imaginative games when he was a child, he never really thought of becoming an actor until his sister, Mint Chalida, who is also an actress and a model, encouraged 17-year-old Mond to attend acting classes. And the rest is history; the actor found his calling, and after graduating in Communication Arts from Bangkok University, he did not stop. In just 6 years, Mond has starred in over a dozen TV dramas, including his most recent roles in P.S. I Hate You (the show is available on GMMTV’s official YouTube channel) and Midnight Motel, which we hope to watch whenever it becomes available in the UK. 

Still from P.S. I Hate You - GMMTV
Mond – P.S. I Hate You – Image © GMMTV

“Hi, I am Mond Tanutchai. Nice to meet you”, Mond exclaims with a big smile on his face while sitting down for a chat with View of the Arts.

You debuted in 2017 in Water Boyy, followed by Fabulous 30 and Kiss Me Again. The western audience got to know you when Boy for Rent hit our small screens in 2019 and became quite successful amongst fans of Asian dramas. With that in mind, and looking at your acting career, one wonders, how did it all start? Was there a moment when you realised that acting was for you?

Mond: When I was a child, I used to like roleplaying with my neighbours. We would use our fingers as guns and chase each other, pretending to be police officers chasing criminals. At that moment, I didn’t think acting was really a thing for me because I was just having fun playing with my friends. After that, when I was in Grade 9, I was just a naughty kid playing around. Back then, I didn’t have any dreams or visions about what my life would be like. Then, in 2014, my sister, Mint Chalida, sent me to an acting class. In the beginner class, I unlocked my potential and tried to learn more about acting. Then, I took a couple more courses at intermediate and advanced levels. The classes I took made me realise that I was an aesthete person, therefore, from that very moment, I started seeing myself as an artist. I went to many castings, from advertisements to TV dramas, and I failed over 100 times. The first moment I felt successful was the second I entered GMMTV to start my acting career in 2017.

You have many TV dramas under your belt, whether they are supporting roles or main lead roles. Was there a time when you found it difficult to turn yourself into a given character? And if there was one, which role was the most challenging and why? 

Mond: I am going to tell you one fact about me: I don’t care about whether I play the lead or supporting role because each role that I have portrayed before is special to me. I always try to add some personal elements to my characters.

Whenever I find a role that I am about to play compelling, I try to put myself in the character’s shoes, and without hesitation, I also try to absorb the character in full. I always do my best to convey the character’s feelings to the audience. While working on projects, I will give myself time to understand the character’s life, his motives, and his body language. This way, I try to add more layers to the role. And after analysing it, I keep rehearsing it until I get used to the character I am about to portray.

On the other hand, I will also give time to Mond Tanutchai, the real me, to be myself and to do things I love that keep me motivated and empowered. Being truly myself, and giving myself time, allows me to get into a character when I shoot, and leave it when a director says “Cut”.

I find it hard to play a role that I have played before because such roles require a higher level of nuance in order to give a unique portrayal. For instance, I play a police officer in Khun Mae Mafia (2020) and P.S. I Hate You (2022). There is a big difference between both characters because each character’s actions and thinking processes vary. I am telling you, acting is a never-ending process. You always have to use your creativity and imagination.  

Mond - Image © GMMTV
Mond – Image © GMMTV

There are a few film/TV directors out there that enjoy giving their actors artistic freedom while filming. How much artistic freedom do you usually get when you are on set? Do you often follow a script from A to Z or are you allowed to improvise while filming? 

Mond: Since I have worked on many shows before, I found it interesting that the majority of directors have various ideas or visuals in their minds on how their show should look like. There are moments when I feel that some directors do not have a grasp of a particular character, and at times might give inaccurate directions to the actor who is playing that character. And, as an actor, I will never hesitate to protect the character I am going to play. The reason why I am saying this is that we, as actors, work hard to deliver a story of a certain character to the audience, and in my humble opinion, I believe that actors sometimes understand the nature of their character better than directors. Directors generally concentrate on many other parts of the show, not only directing, but they also deal with lighting, camera work, script supervising, make-up and costumes. They have to deal with all of the above things on top of the directing itself. So, [at times], they don’t give full attention to the characters on set. [For that reason] I often discuss a role I play with a director until we find a good balance that works for both of us.

Prior to filming, we read the script, and when changes are needed, we try to fix them to make sure the character is well-balanced within the narrative. I always want to make sure that the character is a believable one. What I am also trying to say is that I will often stick to a script, having said that, I improvise at times, too. Honestly speaking, improvisation is one of the tools that, while making a show better, also adds a new light to a story. Although improvisation can be used in most scenes, this often must be discussed with a director beforehand to see whether an improvised scene can be used to conform to a character’s nature. 

P.S. I Hate You and Midnight Motel are your latest TV dramas, with the first one already streaming in Europe. While we are still waiting for Midnight Motel to be released, it is worth mentioning that both of the shows are different from what you starred in before (apart from Not Me, 2021); they are crime-focused, suspenseful dramas. What attracted you to the role of Sun in Midnight Motel and Lieutenant Term Tapanon Bawonratana in P.S. I Hate You

Mond: [In terms of] P.S. I Hate You, I took on this role because I liked the plot. The show’s narrative was something that has never been seen before in Thailand. I portrayed a police officer before, therefore the parts of Tapanon and my other character that was also a police officer are surprisingly similar. So, when I was filming, I was curious to see how I could create a different character to the one I played previously. I sat down and searched for various things in Tapanon’s character that I could show to the audience, and I made sure that he was different from the old character I played a while back. I’m glad that my character is appreciated by so many people. Lieutenant Term is willing to do everything for love because my perception of him is that he is a good person who everyone adores, unlike Sun from Midnight Motel, who I perceive as a villain. 

If you compare Sun to an animal, he is like a fox from a cartoon who is viewed as cunning, sly, mischievous, and manipulative. At the end of the day, some people hate Sun, but actually, some people emphasise with the character as well. I’ve never played a villain like this before, and it was my first time doing something new in acting. 

Mond - P.S. I Hate You - Image © GMMTV
Mond – P.S. I Hate You – Image © GMMTV

What is your acting process? How do you feel minutes prior to playing a character on camera?

Mond: Once I learn everything about the character, I later rehearse, meditate, and I make sure that I prepare well while practising with my co-stars. In addition, we will practise our dialogues to check our compatibility. I make sure to be aware of eye contact and gestures to make the audience understand the character’s emotions and relationship dynamics. On top of that, the dynamics between the actors are significant. The actors must be relaxed to play the role naturally while also focusing and being aware of what is happening in the scene through observation and listening.

Comments and suggestions from my co-stars also play an important role in developing my own acting and the way scenes will play out.

Is there a particular role you would love to portray in the future? 

Mond: I’ve been a fan of action movies ever since I was a kid. I have many favourite films and series, such as Fast and Furious, John Wick, Peaky Blinders, Prison Break, and [Korean shows] Vincenzo and K2. I like the way I feel when I watch movies, that thrill, you know. Films like that really make me want to play similar roles. I was given an opportunity to learn martial arts while applying for a TV series, and I later used these skills to add some small details to the show. Even though it seems exhausting to be part of an action film or series, it would definitely be a lot of fun to act in one. 

Are you mostly concentrating on your acting career right now, or have you thought of expanding your modelling and singing career as well?

Mond: I am very passionate about acting, and I give a lot of time to it. While at the same time, I am constantly taking singing lessons to improve my skills. But, in all honesty, it isn’t easy. I’d say that practice makes perfect in all art forms, regardless of whether it’s singing, acting, or even dancing. I have to practise over and over again until I get better. I hope, one day, my skills are good enough for you guys to hear me sing.

Mond - thai Actor - Image © GMMTV
Mond – Image © GMMTV

When you are not working, what do you do to get away from it all and relax?

Mond: I enjoy doing a lot of things in my free time. I am a sportsperson, and I enjoy both ordinary and extreme sports such as golf, basketball, tennis, swimming, horse-riding, wakesurfing, rock climbing, etc. Exercise not only makes my body strong, but it also helps me to stay in shape at all times. Working out helps me release stress from working [on and off set].

Apart from sports, I also play games, listen to music, watch series, or lie in bed at home. It is another kind of happiness and comfort that helps my body and mind to relax – it is the simplest way to make yourself happy. Spending time with my loved ones, family, friends, and pets brings me happiness, too. In addition, going to places I have never been to, doing things that I have never done before, eating new food, and trying something new together with the aforementioned people is always special. 

For those who have never visited Thailand, what places would you suggest visiting? Especially for those who are into art, music, and cinema.

Mond: People often say Thailand is rich in cultures, people, and tourist attractions. I recommend you guys to visit Thailand. In the North, we have Chiang Mai, a city with mountains, temples, and Northern cultures. Down in the South, we have beautiful beaches and oceans. People here are very generous and friendly to foreigners, and I am sure you guys will have a blast. For those who are interested in art, there are always traditional and contemporary art exhibitions around Bangkok. There is a place called River City, which exhibits various forms [of arts]. If you have never been here before, I would tell you to give it a shot because I know that Thailand is a lovely place for you guys to see.

What do you hope to achieve in 2023, and do you have any new projects set for release? Perhaps you are already working on something new? 

Mond: This year, I want to develop my acting skills to another level, and I want to become so good that I’m ready to play in Hollywood movies. I think that this is a goal of many actors, including myself. For my acting career, I am also looking forward to playing my new character for the show that I’m currently working on. I also want to set up some businesses, like a small bar and a Chinese restaurant in Bangkok. If you miss me, or want to learn more about me, feel free to visit my official social media accounts. Thank you for supporting me, and I’m looking forward to meeting you guys someday. 

Written and interviewed by Maggie Gogler

Images © GMMTV

*We would like to thank GMMTV for their assistance with the interview.

View of the Arts is a British online publication that chiefly deals with films, music, and art, with an emphasis on the Asian entertainment industry. We are hoping our audience will grow with us as we begin to explore new platforms such as K-pop / K-music, and Asian music in general, and continue to dive into the talented and ever-growing scene of film, music, and arts, worldwide.

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Asian Cinema, Film, General, In Conversation with, Television, Thai Dramas / Cinema


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