MANILA -- Screen heartthrobs Jerome Ponce and Teejay Marquez had their first day of shooting Thursday for their new digital series "Ben X Jim" in Barangay San Isidro, Antipolo.
Produced by Regal Entertainment, the project takes a fresh angle in the glut of boys love (BL) series with actual face-to-face and intimate encounters of the actors.
In their first foray in BL themes, Ponce and Marquez portray childhood friends who fall in love with each other amid the confining space of quarantine in their neighborhood amid the pandemic. Director Easy Ferrer conducted a sex orientation seminar with the stars before starting the shoot.
Producer Roselle Monteverde told ABS-CBN News that all protocols were followed in the estimated one-week lock-in shooting of the film, including swab tests done on all the actors and production staff.
Other actors chosen for "Ben X Jim" include Sarah Edwards, Kat Galang, Ron Martin Angeles and "It’s Showtime" Bidaman Johannes Rissler.
The series, which will run to 6 to 7 episodes, is set for release this October on YouTube and Regal's digital platforms. An uncut version showing the more detailed romantic moments of the main characters is also being planned for showing in a new OTT platform of a telecom firm.
Regal is also eyeing a TikTok partnership for "Ben X Jim" to cater to Marquez's 2 million followers on social media.
Also showing this October is the much-awaited 6-episode BL series “Better Days,” which highlights the same-sex relationship of a vlogger and a chef amid their celebration of Southern Tagalog cuisine.
Set in Laguna, the series stars influencers-turned-actors Chesther Chua and Benedix Ramos who are both YouTube content creators with over 100,000 subscribers under their name.
Like other shoots during the pandemic and close-open quarantine restrictions, the production of "Better Days" was hampered by delays but the cast and crew are glad they have finally finished a project that offers a vision of a better future after the pandemic.
It is produced by Unframed Film Production, Lovejohn Media with Uncle Scott Global and Rough Road Productions.
Director-writer Carlo Obispo, best known for his work in Cinemalaya’s "Purok 7 (Zone 7)" and "1-2-3," said “Better Days” takes a positive light of boys love.
“Nung nagbe-brainstorming kami ng producer ko na si Kristian Villaflor, nag-agree kami na magiging inspirational siya. This is inspired by our BL couple friends na ‘yung love nila is founded on ambitions, goals and dreams at sabay nilang ina-achieve together for a better future,” Obispo said.