Home > Culture > Tor Thanapob’s Career Timeline: On the milestones that led to his superstardom
Tor Thanapob’s Career Timeline: On the milestones that led to his superstardom

The world first really saw Tor when he was a teenager in the famous Thai high-school series Hormone: The Series in 2013. 

But with his boyish charm, phenomenal acting, and a face that’s more than just easy on the eyes, Thanapob “Tor” Leeratanakachorn was able to immediately make his mark into the Thai pop cultural psyche. 

Suffice to say, the rest was history, and, as his stellar talent and accolades prove it, we have been seeing more and more impressive performances by this versatile actor –  both on the little screen and the big screen. 

Fast forward to almost ten years later, most of Tor’s notable works have now become a cultural classic – from his breakout role as a problematic teenager in Hormones: The Series, an autistic badminton player in Project S: The Series – Side By Side, to a self-made, successful bartender and owner in New York City with a past in the latest film, One for the Road.

Here, we take a little deeper dive into Tor’s journey and the milestones that have made him one of the leading working actors in Thailand today.

Tor Thanapob wearing a long-sleeved jacket matching with jeans from Loewe; Watch from Seiko 5 Sports

2011, 17 Years Old

Music Video: Tueng Wela Fung by Da Endorphine

After being scouted to model at 16, soon later, Tor also started starring in music videos. Tueng Wela Fung was the second video he ever appeared in by popular pop singer Da Endorphine. His brief storyline in the video caught the attention of Songyos “Yong” Sugmakanan, one of the leading film directors and producers in Thailand, who is behind hit classics such as Fan Chan (My Girl) from 2003 and Dek Hor (Dorm) from 2006. 

Yong, who specialises and focuses much of his work on youth dramas, invited Tor to join Nadao Bangkok, a Thai media and artist/talent management company, where he was the CEO of GDH 559, a subsidiary of entertainment conglomerate GMM Grammy. 

Little did anyone know at the time, Nadao Bangkok would become the foundation of Tor’s blooming acting career.

2013, 19 Years Old

Hormones: The Series

Hormones: The Series (Season 1), directed by Yong Songyos, was broadcasted for the first time in 2013 and went on to become one of the most popular and critically acclaimed TV series in Thai television history. Hormones, with its storyline following the lives of teenage high school kids as they navigate their relationships, personal lives, home lives, and various other issues, tackles themes that were once considered controversial to showcase on Thai television: from teenage sex, drug abuse, and homosexuality, to pregnancy and school violence. It also shattered other norms in Thai television, which usually only revolved around soap operas, and was conceived in a series, a style usually found in U.S filmmaking and production. 

Tor played one of the main characters in the series named Phai – a rebellious, hot-headed schoolboy who often found himself in trouble for school violence and getting into fights with kids from various schools. 

Phai, in fact, was a character that was developed based on Tor’s past during his formative years a teenager. The Tor back then was a short-tempered, angry, and impulsive high school that would always “put his friends first”, even before his parents, and never once considered the consequences of his actions. This worried his parents to no end, as they would constantly be called into school for his behaviour, but Tor was too young to care. It came to the point where he faced two near death experiences that managed to change him. 

Tor, who now talks about this past of his openly, admits that he would, many times, assemble in groups of 20-30 kids to beat up other students within and outside of school.

Phai, therefore, will always serve as more than a character to Tor, but also a reflection of the young man that he once was. The character, he says, has allowed him to confront and accept his past mistakes and made him realise that while everyone has a past, it’s up to us to accept it or not. 

2017, 23 Years Old

Project S: The Series – Side by Side

Tor’s role as Sakiya Piriroj, or more referred to as P’ Gym, an autistic and exceptional badminton player ,would prove to be one of his breakout roles which won him numerous accolades and awards including Best Actor in the prestigious Nataraj Awards in 2018.

Tor, who previously only played characters that were young, in school, or wore “school uniforms”, was at a challenging time in his life as he came of age and was trying to figure out what to do in his career. P’ Gym, to him, was the answer he needed, and was the project that came into his life at the perfect time.

This was also when Tor would start to seriously experiment with method acting. Before taking on the role, Tor spent around 7 months with autistic children, and, as he puts it in his interview, took on the role of P’ Gym to help represent this minority group that is often left behind in society. It was a breakout role to him personally as well, as he discovered how he could give back with his work and platform. His exceptional representation of P’ Gym soon opened more doors for Tor, as viewers started to really recognise his profound talent as a serious, versatile, and gifted actor.

2018, 24 Years Old

Project 9×9

9×9 was a one-year project that Tor considers life-changing and even went as far to say that it was his “biggest teacher”. 9×9 was a boy band ‘idol’ group consisting of nine members, which included both actors and singers: Krissanapoom “Jaylerr” Pibulsonggram, Teeradon “James” Supapunpiyo, Chonlathorn “Captain” Kongyingyong, Sivakorn “Porsche” Adulsuttikul, Paris “Ice” Intarakomalyasut, Lapat “Third” Ngamchaweng, Vachirawich “Ryu” Aranthanawong, and Jackrin “Jackie” Kungwankiatichai. 

The group, which was formed by 4nologue in collaboration with Nadao Bangkok, went through intensive training for a year intended to develop each members’ dancing and singing skills. Tor, as an actor, said that he struggled at first as he wasn’t used to, or confident enough, in his singing and dancing capabilities. He admits that the project taught him all there is to know about being a performer: from singing, being on stage, and dancing, to even getting to star in another hit television series along with his bandmates: In Family We Trust.

2020, 26 Years Old

The Last Promise

The Last Promise saw Tor starring alongside veteran actress Aff Taksaorn, who made her return on the screen with this project after 8 years of hiatus. It tells the love story between Ornrapee, played by Aff, a strong, successful, and smart single mother of a grown son who is a widow that lost her beloved husband in a plane crash while she was pregnant. Her husband, who she always believed would one day return, was then reincarnated as a handsome young man named Thichong, played by Tor, who is around the same age as her son. 

Tor, who admitted in our interview, said he felt immense pressure to be working alongside such a tenured and respected actor, as well as to not be a burden to her as Aff, herself, was also under high pressure and expectations as she makes her return to the screen. 

The series went on to become a massive success, with critics and viewers alike praising the two actors and their chemistry. Looking back, Tor said he’s very grateful for this project, as it brought him to meet Aff, who he now calls a sister. 

Image Credit: @thanapob_lee via Instagram

2022, 28 Years Old

One for the Road

One for the Road was a movie where “for the first time in my life, I was very satisfied with my performance on screen,” Tor muses.

In this 2022 hit blockbuster directed by award-winning Thai director Nattawut “Baz” Poonpiriya and produced by legendary Hong Kong director Wong Kar Wai, Tor describes his experience embodying one of the film’s protagonists, Boss, as one of his most challenging works yet.

“It felt like I was on a rollercoaster the entire time,” he says in the interview. It was also the first time that the actor got to work with Baz, who is the mastermind behind the critically acclaimed and record breaking film Bad Genius (2017). Tor says he felt immense pressure working with him as he felt “lost” and rather “directionless”, as Baz’s approach to filmmaking was something very different from what Tor has ever experienced.

Image Credit: @oftr.movie via Instagram

“But once I saw the premiere for the first time, everything clicked.” Tor reflects, “I now understand why he did the things that he did, and I now have tremendous respect for Baz in his approach and direction.” 

Looking back now, Tor says that One for the Road is a film that he encourages everyone to see.

Tor Thanapob’s Career Timeline: On the milestones that led to his superstardom

Pear Maneechote

Pear is Senior Writer for Prestige Thailand Online and Lifestyle Asia Thailand. A Communications and IR graduate, she's passionate about storytelling. She covers fashion, entertainment, beauty & makeup, the arts, and spends too much time writing articles that are way too long. Prior to Burda, she was a news journalist covering culture, politics, science, anthropology, and history. When not working, she loves to spend hours on Tiktok, sleep, and go to the beach.

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