Award-winning Thai film "6ixtynin9", which bagged global accolades after its release in 1999, is making a return to the screen with its distinctive twisted sense of humour — as a six-episode series premiering on Netflix today.
6ixtynine9: The Series marks the comeback of renowned director Pen-Ek Ratanaruang after a five-year hiatus from the silver screen. It serves as an extended retelling of his previous masterpiece, which clinched the coveted Don Quixote Award at the Berlin International Film Festival and the FIPRESCI Prize at the Hong Kong International Film Festival in 2000.
Following a similar storyline to the film, the dark crime comedy series revolves around Toom (Davika “Mai” Hoorne), who’s recently lost her job during the Covid-19 pandemic. She stumbles upon a mysterious box filled with cash that has been mistakenly delivered to her doorstep.
The cause of the mix-up? A loose screw on her front door, which led to her apartment being labelled as Number 9 instead of Number 6.
When two gangsters come back for their errantly delivered parcel, she accidentally kills them, setting off a chain of ill-fated yet darkly amusing encounters that unfold throughout the show.
Adapting the 90-minute film into a six-hour series allowed Pen-Ek the freedom to delve into the storylines and characters with greater depth than before. The format also challenged him to craft each episode in a way that captivates and sustains viewers’ attention.
“We put a lot of thought into creating the right opening for each episode. Unlike movies that only need to climb to the climax, choosing how to end each episode also requires skill. We needed to leave something to intrigue the audience before revealing what’s coming next,” he explains.
While nearly half of the original film’s crew, including cameramen, line producers, wardrobe personnel and editors, returned for the series, the cast was entirely new. “The magic of the series comes from these five to seven characters,” says Pen-Ek.
The series boasts an impressive ensemble of talented actors, including Patara “Foei” Eksangkul as Tud, a rapper who is facing tough times, and Trisanu ‘Man” Soranunas John, a young and charming police officer. Thanaporn “Mine” Rattanasasiwimon joins the mix as Jim, an alluring woman whose career revolves around leveraging her body and appearance.
Leading the cast is Mai in her first collaboration with Pen-Ek. To prepare for her role, Mai made a bold decision to trade her flowing locks for the shortest haircut she’s ever had. She wanted to jolt the audience from associating her with a certain look. “No matter how good my performance is, it is difficult to change their perceptions and they will still know it’s me playing the character,” she said. “That’s why I wanted to do whatever I could to get rid of my movie star look, so that I could completely be Toom.”
6ixtynin9 The Series premieres on Netflix today.