Kokoy and Elijah: Spotlight on BL series’ exciting leads
Adapting is the new art form in the time of Corona. So, at the height of the pandemic, the think tank of The IdeaFirst Company (TIFC) challenged themselves to create a series that can be shot remotely with everyone just in their homes.
The result of this is “Gameboys” (GB), a series on TIFC’s YouTube channel. It already hit over a million combined views after just two episodes—with fans not just in the Philippines, but also in the USA, Europe and Latin America—and has started a new trend of Filipino “BL” (Boys Love) series that has a global following. It celebrates online romance during this time of “See You Zoom,” instead of “See you soon.”
“GB is ultimately about love overcoming all boundaries—even physical ones set by our new reality,” says executive producer Jun Robles Lana. “It is about two people who find each other at a time when they can only connect virtually. I think that is what makes it so resonant with audiences around the world. We want to believe that you can still find love and companionship even in the middle of a pandemic.”
Starring Kokoy de Santos and Elijah Canlas, GB is the first Filipino project to ride the latest wave of successful Asian BL series. Make way for Pinoy bromance, millennial style.
Here’s my chat with Kokoy (K) and Elijah (E):
What convinced you to do “Gameboys” even if it’s quite a daring project?
K: After reading the script, I fell in love with it. It’s such a fresh concept. The two lead characters being on different screens made it all the more interesting for me to do.
E: I have complete trust in everyone at TIFC. They always produce amazing, quality stories. There wasn’t any convincing needed at all. Roles like that of Cairo (my character in GB) that are far from my personality and difficult to portray are the type I love to do.
In real life, would you be open to having a boy to boy romance?
K: I’m not saying no because for me, love has no gender. When we love, we must accept everything about a person.
E: Love is flexible. Love is not only found in one way. I am not close-minded. I’m open to all ways.
What’s your fave scene and dialogue in GB?
K: “Choke me, daddy” (a scene in Episode 1)
E: My favorite scenes are in Episode 10, but we can’t talk about that yet. Hard to choose a favorite line since the show’s very well-written. But there’s this line that always comes up every time we shoot. Whenever Kokoy and I mess around, our director Ivan Payawal always throws the line, “Puro ka biro. Lahat na lang sa ’yo laro.” To us.
What’s the most challenging part about doing GB under quarantine?
K: How to make “hugot” emotions from my cofactors, even without holding them and without seeing them in person. But our director is so good, so it becomes easier.
E: The fact that you don’t have physical company. The fact that the team is not with you in person. And that applies to all: In terms of acting, set-ups, and overall fun. Everything’s better when you’re with the team in person. But all these challenges come with newfound lessons and a rewarding experience.
What are you learning from the character you portray in GB?
K: When you want something or someone, fight for it/him/her. When you love someone, show it. Not just romantically, but also with family and friends.
E: That everyone has his or her inner battles. They may not talk about it all the time or at all. But we should treat most humans with complete understanding and empathy. You never know what a person is going through.
What do you find hard to understand about girls?
K: Mood swings, but that’s part of what we also must love about them.
E: Everyone’s difficult to understand sometimes. Anyone from any gender.
What’s the naughtiest thing you’ve done?
K: Secret. Too many to mention (laughs).
E: I like hiding.
What makes you “kilig” and what makes you “bad trip”?
K: Kilig? When someone I like appreciates me. Badtrip? Buhol na wires, because I’m OC (obsessive compulsive).
E: Kokoy makes me kilig. But other than him, I always get kilig whenever I see people genuinely caring for and helping each other. What makes me bad trip the most are self-centric and egoistic people who think that the world revolves around them, and as long as they’re not affected by a certain thing, they don’t need to care at all. INQ