BANGKOK – A highly restricted area of Chitralada Palace appears to have once host an enormous, fully-equipped sound stage and film production facility, according to photographic and video evidence recently leaked to Not The Nation.
Included in the material sent to Not the Nation were previously censored Google Earth images revealing that a densely forested corner of the sprawling Bangkok palace conceals a massive hangar that covers almost ten rai of land.
According to accompanying video footage, allegedly shot within the facility, the contained sound stage is composed of an array of now-abandoned upcountry sets depicting rural Thailand, including a detailed re-creation of an entire hilltribe village featuring a well, thatched huts, pig pens and a small strawberry patch. The village scene is backed by a large painted backdrop depicting the Khun Tan mountain range of northern Thailand. A nearby dressing room holds racks of Akha, Hmong, Lisu and Karen costumes.
Most peculiar is footage showing a lavish trailer with a large garuda emblem fixed to its side. The trailer does not appear to have been used for many years, or even decades, but a scattering of pencils and maps, a walkie talkie, short wave radio, 1980s Canon camera and pair of binoculars were discovered inside.
Another set replicates a more typical Thai village, with a small creek and check dams, fronting a rice paddy. Additional sections include a lake with an abandoned small outboard motor boat, a painted backdrop of green hills, and a field of vetiver grass. Several of Thailand’s largest dams are also realistically depicted on wall-sized backdrops.
Equipment on site includes overhead rain-shower valves, large wind-generating fans, a full array of lights capable of depicting any time of day and a complex system of dolly tracks and hydraulic wire-suspension systems typically used for aerial photography and tracking shots.
A retired actor contacted by Not The Nation has anonymously corroborated the existence of what he called the “Chitralada Studio” but refused to elaborate on the content or theme of the productions.
Citing a fear for his own safety, the actor only commented on his limited roles, including being “dressed up as an elderly, betel-chewing Hmong farmer. The makeup was painstaking and took hours.”
On another occasion, he recalls, “We shot in a small field of opium planted on the lot.” And, “Years later when I was asked to return we did another scene but this time the opium field had been cut down and replaced with a strawberry patch. I had no idea what it was all about. Another time I was simply an extra and told to kneel with my head to the mud for 30 minutes.”
The actor also claimed that in the early 1960s the legendary former CIA operative and Thai silk entrepreneur Jim Thompson was a frequent visitor to the set, though he declined to say in what capacity.
“It was a well-funded operation,” he said. “Hundreds of actors, foreign collaborators, lots of VVIPs if you know what I mean. Fill in the blanks. I have nothing more to say.”
The Internet is already abuzz with speculation about the discovery with “Zen Journalist” Andrew Marshall promising to post 250,000 words of “shokcing (sic) new revelations and insights” into the sound stage by noon Friday. In a teaser to the post, which he noted will represent part one of a new prequel trilogy to his earlier manifesto, Marshall tweeted: “JFK. Moon landing. Watergate. Chirtralada Studio. It’s all coming together.”