-Bamboo, the River Kwai and early morning viewing. (90’s).

A couple of years after a trip to Thailand I was back in the UK living with my folks. I came down for breakfast one morning and my old man said, “Simon, you remember that war film you were in in Thailand once?” Yes, I said. “What was it called”?

‘Bullet in his Head’. What a horrible title! He continued talking. “I woke up in the middle of the night, turned the TV on and I could have sworn I saw you on television tied to bamboo in some river. I wandered over to the newspaper, turned to the back page and checked the tv listings. Yep, there it was, ‘Bullet in his Head’, 2.30am!

It was another call from the modelling agency off the Khao san road that initiated a great couple of weeks work tied to bamboo in the middle of the river Kwai.

About 20 of us were bussed up to Kanchanaburi, checked into a smart hotel and were told to be ready for a 5.30am pick up to take us to the movie location. So we hit a couple of bars, got back late to bed and struggled out into the minibus for the half hour journey to the set and to a great fried breakfast.

10 of us were POW’s, the other ten were supposed to be navy seals. Our 10 spent most of our acting time tied to bamboo as worn out, dirty, tired and desperate prisoners. The navy seals were supposed to be our heroes. After ten days shooting, (filimg that is) they stormed the bamboo village, killed all the Viet cong, (acting), blew up the village, (literally and frightening), cut us free and we all ran across the river, jumped into a helicopter and raced to our freedom.

We were great POW’s. We partied all night, sometimes just getting back to the hotel in time for our 5.30 am minibus departure. Usually hung over, slightly dirty and dazed we made great pow’s! We spent ten days lazing in the sun between takes, earned $40 a day, got ourselves on tv and went back to Kaoh San road quite a bit richer. The only down fall was that one of our mates got a bad infection after sitting on a thorn or being bitten by an insect. He spent the whole time in hospital. We visited when we could and fortunately, between us we managed to conjure up some good will and everyone contributed some of their wages to give him quite a reasonable sum.

I found the video on the Internet, ordered it, received it, watched it, saw myself and my mates…and saw more blood and guts than I cared to watch. I threw it in the bin!


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