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Tuesday, May 4, 1999 Published at 11:21 GMT 12:21 UK


King And I remake in new row

Deborah Kerr and Yul Brynner starred in the 1956 original

A group 60 extras in the controversial remake of The King And I have accused studio bosses of short-changing them, according to a Malaysian newspaper.

The local Star newspaper reported that the Malaysian Thai extras complained about 20th Century Fox to the police after they said they were kept waiting on the location of Anna And The King, on the northern Langkawi island, for three days.

"To aggravate the matter, an official chased us away when we sought an explanation from him," said a representative of the group.

[ image: Jodie Foster plays English tutor Anna Leonowens in the new version]
Jodie Foster plays English tutor Anna Leonowens in the new version
The extras also complained to Malaysian Prime Minister Mathahir Mohamad, demanding compensation for travel and accommodation expenses.

The row is the latest controversy to hit the $60m remake of the 1956 classic, which starred Deborah Kerr as Anna Leonowens, tutor to the children of King Mongkut of Siam, played by Yul Brynner.

Jodie Foster and Hong Kong action hero Chow Yun Fat star in the new version, which 20th Century Fox claims is more historically accurate than the original musical.

Production is taking place in Malaysia because Thailand - which banned the original film because it claimed it was historically inaccurate - rejected the script for the remake, despite revisions by Fox.

The Thai film board said the revised script still contained inaccuracies which were insulting to the Thai monarchy and barred Fox from shooting the remake in the country.

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