Lead cast in transvestite Thai kickboxer biopic

By Advocate.com Editors

Originally published on Advocate.com November 05 2002 1:00 AM ET

Agence France-Presse reports that featherweight kickboxer Asanee "Art" Suwan, ranked fifth by the World Muay Thai Council, will put on gloves and lipstick to play famed transvestite kickboxer Nong Toom in the upcoming film Beautiful Boxer. "Katoey," or "ladyboy," Nong Toom won the hearts of the sport's fans over a 60-bout career. "I strongly believe that Nong Toom's life will be an inspiration to many, and I will do my best to do justice to the role," Suwan said at a casting announcement ceremony. The $2.5 million film is set to be released internationally in late 2003.

Nang Toom gained fame in the late 1990s by unabashedly wearing lipstick in the ring and announcing that his goal was to earn enough money from competing to pay for a sex-change operation. The kickboxing star became a woman in 2000 after retiring from the sport.