Jason Statham won't be the only new international action star joining the ensemble cast of the Fast & Furious franchise for its next installment. According to The Hollywood Reporter, Tony Jaa - the martial arts star who has earned worldwide fame with his series of Ong Bak movies - is now in talks to join the cast of Fast & Furious 7, which is being directed by The Conjuring's James Wan.
The movie will actually be the first English-language film that Jaa has made, even though the Thailand-born star has been acting since the mid-90s. As is typical with casting announcements in this franchise, the actor's role is being kept a secret for now, and it's not even known if he will be playing one of the good guys or one of the baddies. In addition to Statham, the film is also set to feature UFC champ Ronda Rousey, who was announced as being part of the cast earlier this month.
Said Jaa in an email to THR, "I have been a big fan of the Fast and Furious franchise. The films are fast paced, fun and keep the audience involved. There is a great mix of humor and action, something I really appreciate. There is no better film to be involved in for a first U.S. studio production." He also seems to be excited to get the chance to work with some of the series' established stars, saying, "Having a chance to work with Vin Diesel and The Rock already makes me a winner."
In his 19 year career, Jaa - who grew up as an elephant herder - has only been in 14 movies, but has earned widespread acclaim thanks to his performances and martial arts skills featured in the Ong Bak trilogy. To get a taste of what he can do, watch the three trailers below - and make sure that you don't pull a muscle when your jaw drops to the floor.
If Jaa winds up playing one of the antagonists in the film, Dom and his gang are going to have their work cut out for them.
Fast and Furious 7 is gearing up to start production in September and is expected to shoot extremely quickly so that the production can meet the previously announced July 11, 2014 release date. Expect a lot more news about the film to come out about the movie in the next few weeks.