Thailand 's Sahamongkolfilm International has started shooting the third installment in its successful Ong Bak franchise - starring Muay Thai maestro Tony Jaa.

As with Ong Bak 2, Jaa is directing and producing as well as starring in Ong Bak 3, which is shooting in Thailand for release in December this year.

It will follow the story and period setting of Ong Bak 2. The first film in the franchise had a contemporary setting and was directed by Prachya Pinkaew.

Jaa controversially walked off the set of Ong Bak 2 last summer, suffering from stress, but was persuaded to return and finish the film in time for its local December release. It went on to become the biggest opener of the year in Thailand, grossing $2m (baht 70m) on its first weekend.

Sahamongkol is in talks to sell Ong Bak 2 to the US, France, Italy and Japan here at the EFM.

The Bangkok-based powerhouse has also sold Nonzee Nimibutr's pirate action adventure, Queens Of Langkasuka, to Splendid for Germany, EMYLIA for France and Horizon International for Turkey. The film, which stars Thai heartthrob Ananda Everingham, premiered last year at the Venice film festival.