Thai celebrities come under Kardashian-style scrutiny in ‘Deane’s Dynasty’ | Inquirer Entertainment

Thai celebrities come under Kardashian-style scrutiny in ‘Deane’s Dynasty’

By: - Entertainment Editor
/ 12:10 AM October 05, 2023

Cast of “Deane’s Dynasty”: Lydia (center), with (clockwise, from top left) Ploy, Lydia’s brother Dunk, sister Ducky, Aerin and Matthew—PHOTOS COURTESY

Cast of “Deane’s Dynasty”: Lydia (center), with (clockwise, from top left) Ploy, Lydia’s brother Dunk, sister Ducky, Aerin and Matthew —PHOTOS COURTESY OF HBO/HBO GO

Of the many interviews we’ve conducted since we began writing for Inquirer Entertainment, it’s our recent four-on-one chat with the beautiful and eloquent cast of HBO and HBO Go’s Kardashian-style Thai reality show “Deane’s Dynasty” that had us feeling like we were in an episode of the eight-part series.

The reality show follows the lives of power couple, Lydia Sarunrat and Matthew Deane, their famous friends Aerin Yuktadatta and Ploy Chermarn, as well as special guests like Guy (Ratchanon) Suprakorb, Haru Suprakorb and Buakaw Banchamek, as they navigate the ups and downs of fame, family and career. Directed by Patrick Carr, “Deane’s Dynasty” premieres on HBO and HBO Go tomorrow and will launch two new episodes every Friday.


During the interview, we felt we even had more “filter” than dashing singer, actor and former MTV VJ Matthew, his lovely but headstrong wife, Thai R&B princess Lydia, and their similarly accomplished friends, newly married “One Night in Bangkok” actress Aerin and award-winning actress Ploy. (Ploy is best-known in the Philippines for playing that tricky dual role in the groundbreaking 2007 boys’ love film, “Love of Siam,” starring Mario Maurer and Witwisit Hiranyawongkul.)


When we began referencing the “Kardashian”-style dynamics and voyeuristic appeal that keep their show fascinating, Aerin pointed out that viewers need to manage their expectations for the series because “we’re far from the Kardashians.”

Chiming in, Lydia quipped, “And we’re not as rich (laughs)!” Then, we added our two cents’ worth, “Well, you guys are easier on the eye, that’s for sure!”

Then, at some point, our question about Matthew and Lydia’s running discussion—and constant source of conflict—about contraception began a “subtle” argument that had Lydia insisting why Matthew should go through it as soon as we wrapped up our interview! Oops.

As you can see, all these frank exchanges are par for the course in “Deane’s Dynasty.” It’s this rare level of candor that bodes well for viewers who are eager to rally behind the growing popularity of Thai content such as this in the age of streaming and social media.

Asked if they weren’t worried about the level of intrusiveness that comes with the territory, as well as the candor required from participants of shows like this, Aerin admitted, “We were kind of worried because honestly, we aren’t the Kardashians. And I know that people expect to see lavish lifestyles. But for this show, we stuck to our realistic lives, which are far from [being just] glitzy and the glamorous.

“Instead, each episode is packed with more drama and real-life situations. So, I think the intense drama you’ll see throughout the series will steer viewers away from thinking about all the glitz and glam too much. And it’s [more than] enough.”


3 years to iron out

While everything about the episodes seems to have an easy flow about them, it hasn’t really been as easy behind the scenes. In fact, it took HBO Asia three years to iron out the production’s logistical kinks. Thereafter, the actual shoot for its eight episodes took one year to finish.

So, we asked Matthew, Lydia [aka Dear], Aerin and Ploy what they found attractive about doing the show. After all, they’re also huge social media stars (Ploy has 9.2 million followers, while Lydia has more than 5 million fans). To do the series, what were their “nonnegotiables,” and how different has it been from preparing content for their respective social media platforms?

“This whole project started off from our own vlog, ‘Daily Deanes’ (which has more than a million subscribers on YouTube),” Lydia shared. “When HBO came to us, they were like, ‘We want to make a bigger and better version of ‘Daily Deanes.’ It’s HBO—a global platform. It’s a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity that you can’t turn down. And there has never been a project like this from Thailand.

“Moreover, we wanted to learn how it all works in shows like this, because we’ve been fans of other reality shows from overseas. Now, we realized that it actually involves a very big crew. You have 30-something people in your face every single day—like 24/7—for a year. And it took about three years to put everything together. When they’re with you that long, it’s impossible to keep up that filter, practice censorship or put up that wall for segments that you don’t want to show to the entire world.

“With content from our social media platforms, they’ve gone through a certain amount of selection. We can choose what we want to show because we edit our own blogs, and pick the photos and video clips we like. “However, with ‘Deane’s Dynasty,’ you can’t shout ‘cut’ or tell them to stop shooting and say, ‘Take that scene out’ or ‘I don’t want people to see that part of me.’ So, viewers will actually see all the ugly things in life as well, including those that have never been seen by people before.

“But [the good thing about it is,] it’s also very human, very relatable. You get to see the genuine relationships that we have, whether it’s with family or friends. You’ll see all the different dimensions—all 360 degrees of it. It’s just very real.”

A ‘great challenge’

Matthew said they had to get used to the idea of having people follow them around the whole day.

He recalled, “After a couple of days, the walls started coming down and we sort of just went all-out. Elaborating on what Dear said, you initially say, ‘Oh, it’s HBO … damn.’ Of course, we’d love to have a show on it!

“But then, it sort of hits you—oh, it’s going to be a reality show! We’re going to have to open up our real lives to cameras, to the world. They’re going to see the real us, our real personalities, our emotions, our vulnerability.

“So, we took a step back and thought about it. Then, we said, ‘OK, this could be something cool because we’ve never done something like this before. It’s a great challenge. And it’ll also be a great tool for us to show the world that this is how Thai celebrities live when the cameras are off.

“It will also allow us to show a bit about Thailand and particularly Southeast Asia to parts of the world where people may not know that much about how tight the family unit is or how important [extended] family or respect for elders is in our culture. That’s truly something we’re proud to showcase.

“The experience is made even more exciting by the presence of our friends, Aerin and Ploy—because we all have different personalities. They really added to the merry mix because of how differently we handle different issues and the life struggles that we go through during various periods of the shoot.”

Lydia (left) and Matthew Deane

Lydia (left) and Matthew Deane

The rest of our Q&A with the “Deane’s Dynasty” cast:

The show is instructive viewing for other celebrity couples because it shows how you’re just as human as the plain Joes and Janes out there. In Matthew and Lydia’s situation, there’s been a lot of “to and fro” about Lydia wanting Matthew to get a vasectomy, while Matthew seems to want to really grow, uh, Deane’s Dynasty, so to speak. When you talk about deeply contentious issues, who always gets the last word?

Lydia: (Laughs) It’s still an ongoing issue right now!

Matthew: As of now, I’ve been able to sort of have it my way. But as it is in Thailand as with the rest of the world, we live by the “happy wife, happy life” maxim. So, at the end of the day, it usually goes the way that she wants (laughs).

Lydia: So after this interview (turns to Matthew), we’re going to book your vasectomy!

That issue came up because Lydia wants to focus on her career again after breaks brought about by marriage, motherhood and the long COVID break—it’s a huge theme in the show’s first few episodes. What are your tips to women who want to pursue a professional career on top of motherhood?

Lydia: Viewers will definitely see the struggle that I go through just trying to juggle everything in life. I mean, even having time for myself is almost nonexistent. It’s also a struggle for many women every single day, no matter what profession they’re in.

I think it’s all about balance. I don’t think it’s ever going to be easy or perfect, but it’s up to the individual how she decides to manage her issues appropriately. But a close-knit group of friends and family can help you make good decisions and navigate all the difficult times that you have to face in life.

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Ploy, you, Aerin and Lydia were in the cast of a TV show more than a decade ago—which explains your believable bond as friends here. But what’s your takeaway from doing this particular series?

Ploy: I’ve learned a great lesson in life, and that is love conquers all. Love can push you through life and help you navigate whatever situation [you need to hurdle], no matter what happens. I have learned about the power of love from my friends and family, and I hope that the audience would learn this lesson, too.

TAGS: HBO, reality show, series

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