Jerome Ponce sees nothing wrong with straight guys playing lead roles in boys’ love series | Inquirer Entertainment

Jerome Ponce sees nothing wrong with straight guys playing lead roles in boys’ love series

/ 12:30 AM February 18, 2021

Even the boys’ love (BL) series “Ben X Jim Forever,” which became successful enough to warrant a Season 2, did not escape the critical eyes of its viewers.

Observers are saying that the lead roles shouldn’t have been given to straight guys but to those who are actual members of the LGBTQ+ community.

“I may not be part of the community, but I make sure to give my best in all the roles I portray. The reason we are called actors is that we are capable of not just pretending to be the character, but also of feeling it and living it,” Jerome Ponce, who plays Jim, said during a recent media gathering organized by series producer, Regal Entertainment.


BL is a genre depicting the romance between male characters. Easy Ferrer’s “Ben X Jim Forever” is about childhood friends who met in a reunion years later and fell in love amid the pandemic quarantine. Its Season 1’s finale aired on Nov. 26.


“I was also asked why I agreed to take on another gay role. I simply said that, at this point in my career, my target is to play as many character roles as possible,” Jerome pointed out. I just didn’t expect this particular one to become a huge hit; Teejay (Marquez) and I end up being part of what they said was one of the most successful love teams this pandemic.”

Teejay said he would gladly accept any role that comes his way, “especially if its story is beautiful and it imparts a message. Critics will always be there. As long as I know that I am able to do justice to the character of Ben, then I’m OK. My goal really is to inspire people. Since we are now promoting Season 2, it means we did something good in Season 1, and the audience noticed this,” Teejay explained. “I’d rather dwell on the positive. There will always be bashers, and dealing with them is part of our job.”

Jerome Ponce (left) as Jim and Teejay Marquez as Ben

‘Cope with isolation’

Teejay said being part of a successful series like “Ben X Jim Forever” has changed him. “This is my first job during the pandemic. I’m thankful to Regal for giving me work at a time when many are losing jobs. While shooting Season 1, my thinking was that I just want something to do. Now, things are different,” Teejay pointed out. “I’m now more dedicated to the project because I know that I am able to make people happy; that I’m giving them something to look forward to on a weekly basis; that I’m helping them cope with isolation and other negative effects of the pandemic.”

Meanwhile, people started taking notice of Jerome in programs like “Be Careful With My Heart,” “The Good Son” and most recently “A Soldier’s Heart,” where he also played a gay character who falls in love with a fellow soldier. “But it was Regal that gave me my own series,” he declared.

“I really had no idea about same-sex relationships, even though I have friends from the LGBTQ+ community. I’m happy that they’re my friends. I didn’t encounter any problem with any of them,” Jerome began. “But when I said ‘yes’ to doing a BL, I expected people to look for any mistake that I might commit and criticize me for it. When Season 1 came out, I was surprised to have received positive messages. People would thank us and say our series helped relieve them of work-related stress.

Love in the real world

“These comments boosted my confidence. I took them as a sign that I should just carry on with what I was doing. The series changed me in a way. I now have a higher level of understanding of love (among gay people). Also, people now understand why I chose this role, and what kind of career path I want to take as an actor.”


Season 2 will be about Ben and Jim falling in love “in the real world,” Jerome said. “This means that one should not expect that the things he pictured in his mind would actually happen for real. It’s not like that in the real world,” he explained. “If you love a person, don’t expect him to love you back with the same intensity. There will always be obstacles and there are reasons that these obstacles are present. That’s the real world—minsan sablay, minsan sakto.”

However, Teejay said the audience could expect all the elements they appreciated in Season 1 to still be present. “Friendship, love and kilig will still be there. In fact, the kilig factor will be doubled because you will not just get to see Ben and Jim, but also other interesting characters who will make their love journey more exciting,” he said.

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The eight-episode second season began streaming on Feb. 12 on the Regal Entertainment YouTube Channel and Facebook page.

TAGS: Jerome Ponce, Teejay Marquez

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