The Beauty of Complex Characters, the Power of Excellent Actors 🎬 and how #GameboysTheSeries taught us that it's about time BLs should normalize having both:

A Character-Study and Acting Appreciation Thread —
Much has already been discussed about how DIFFICULT it was to film Gameboys remotely. But did we ever acknowledge how CLOSE UPS are so important in films and how 90% of Gameboys...was the actors DIRECTLY STARING at the camera?

Golden Globes Best Actor winner Michael Caine says:
Of course, technology has evolved along with MORE advanced WAYS of filmmaking. But one thing remains the same: An actor should be able to look at the camera and tell a story with as much HONESTY as possible.

GAMEBOYS gave us that — during one of the darkest years in history.
#GameBoysTheSeries has been critically-acclaimed for numerous reasons but most especially for its triumphant contributions in elevating the genre: 1.) Destruction of BL stereotypes is SO MUCH FUN. 2.) Having a CAST ENSEMBLE capable of fully EMBRACING their roles is POSSIBLE.
It's a bitter pill to swallow but it's the truth: BL isn't exactly the go-to genre if you want to be wowed with impressive acting skills. There's definitely a few EXCEPTIONAL standouts throughout the years, but the sad reality is most BLs still prioritize AESTHETICS over SKILLS.
This valuable piece of insight from Oscar award-winning Best Actress Meryl Streep is a very apt explanation of probably why @theideafirst_co has achieved this level of CREDIBILITY in their storytelling: because they casted actors based on the MERIT of their acting WORK HISTORY.
This is not to invalidate actors with no prior experience; in fact one of my all-time favorite BLs is starred by an absolute newcomer who aced the auditions. The gist of it is this: ACTING SKILLS MATTER. A LOT.

@theideafirst_co knew it's about time for BLs to be taken SERIOUSLY.
We're so used to BLs being mere stepping stones to launch new faces to the industry.

GAMEBOYS is an absolute anomaly because its creators casted their most TALENTED, COMMITTED AND FEARLESS YOUNG ACTORS. It's so RESPECTFUL how they see BL as a genre worthy of HIGH CALIBER ACTING.
Entrusting Kokoy de Santos and Elijah Canlas to be lead stars for GAMEBOYS was not just a POWER MOVE; @theideafirst_co was literally FLEXING that they don't have to choose between TALENT and VISUALS; because why choose when they can give us BOTH and still offer so much MORE?
There's no ONE way to do films or shows, but Gameboys creators @junrobleslana and @percinotpercy understood this: A GREAT STORY REQUIRES GREAT STORYTELLERS.

No revolutions happen overnight, but choosing Elijah and Kokoy, actors they knew the capacities firsthand, was CRUCIAL.
I know: talks about VISIBILITY in casting has sparked a very SIGNIFICANT discussion that is just as deserving of attention. I'm all for that 100%. Right now I'm just grateful for all the VITAL baby steps @theideafirst_co is taking to establish that HEALTHY STORYTELLING is KEY.
Being part of SO MANY fandoms taught me that the most important rule is to NEVER put any content/celebrity/artist/company on a PEDESTAL because NOTHING will ever be perfect. But years and years of suffering from terrible BLs has made me fiercely protective of the EXCELLENT ones.
That, for me, is what made Gameboys such a trailblazer: because it empowered us to never settle for mediocre, passable content. That it's high time we normalize STORYTELLING BRILLIANCE. That we should never get tired of always ENCOURAGING BRILLIANCE in forms of art we consume.
One of the best things about GAMEBOYS is how it introduced to us the beauty of COMPLEX CHARACTERS like never before. Their conflicts are raw and relatable, their personalities are refreshing and intricate yet still grounded to truth. EVERY ASPECT OF THEM IS SO RIVETINGLY HUMAN.
And that's what HEALTHY storytelling approach is: recognizing that negativity exists, and choosing to highlight the UNIVERSAL pursuit of becoming BETTER. @ashmalanum has written such a powerful story because he was EMPATHETIC enough to be UPSET about unjust BL tropes.
Everyone's jaw dropped and everyone's ego was threatened and triggered on first sight of @adriannaso_ in Episode 2.

We didn't know then that we're seeing for the first time perhaps the MOST PROGRESSIVE AND DELIGHTFUL FEMALE CHARACTER AND SWEETEST FRIEND IN BL history ever. ♥️
Comparing women is an absolute no-no, but it's inevitable that every strong female characters in BL would be measured according to the standards Yihwa has set.

Pearl is a remarkable reminder that EMPOWERED female characters are not dead; that QUEENS PREVAIL even in a pandemic.
For me it's like this: Yihwa is FIRE, Pearl is WATER. Where Yihwa is red lipstick, unfiltered sass and literally kicking asses of thugs, Pearl is sun hats and stilettos, horoscopes and kdramas, "research skills", compassion, positivity, going the extra mile to help friends.
I mean, I don't know. Look at those pictures again and these. Was it really just a coincidence that when she's not wearing earthy and warm colors like beige, yellow and pink, she's portrayed wearing a lot of BLUE, exuding such a TRANQUIL and NURTURING aura?
I don't know how @ashmalanum did it but he has successfully written a character that OBLITERATED 4 common problematic female tropes in BL through Pearl.

RIP to bitchy exes, toxic fangirl-shippers, damsels in distress, zero-personality side characters.

Even with a beauty so intimidating, @adriannaso_ has proven that girl characters in BL can be EXTREMELY LIKABLE too. Her laughter is lovely, her delightful energy is contagious, her jokes are cute, her virtual hugs are warm and necessary.

Adrianna SLAYED and OWNED this role. 💯
See, that's the brilliance of actors being casted according to their past work; this is actually Adrianna's THIRD queer role to date, and each time she keeps REINVENTING herself to a more fantastic version.

She's EARNED this and we'll no doubt love her harder in PEARL NEXT DOOR.
The addition of @kyleVelino is in a different method but still a testament to how IMPACTFUL acting skills are, nonetheless. Two years ago he auditioned for a movie by @theideafirst_co but didn't get the role. Two years later, they remembered him and offered TERRENCE CARREON.
Consideration of past work also still applied in his case because prior to Gameboys, Kyle mostly played villian-type albeit minor roles.

Terrence's character was what solidified my absolute faith in the series' writing. I have never seen a two-faced manipulator this TERRIFYING.
It's SCARY because @ashmalanum wrote such compelling lines and they found someone with the face of an angel who can deliver them in IMPRESSIVE AMBIGUITY.

Everytime Terrence opens his mouth, we question everything we know for the past episodes; EVERYTHING WAS SUDDENLY UNRELIABLE.
And it only gets scarier and scarier because several episodes later, we realize that it's not really just the fear of ENCOUNTERING someone like Terrence; it's the fear of realizing that deep inside we're actually BECOMING someone like him.

You know a series is genius when it can make you want to plot murder for a character in one episode and then root for his healing several episodes later. You understand his fears and flaws and genuinely hope one day he'll get his confidence and joy back. It's so damn satisfying.
Out of all the Gameboys artists, @kyleVelino is perhaps the one with least exposure to LGBTQ portrayals in media and it's admirable that his uncertainties about the role wasn't about whether it will be detrimental to his career, but WHETHER HE WILL LIVE UP to the expectations.
I still don't have enough material to say anything conclusive about Wesley and Achilles but I love how these two characters stand for INTELLIGENT gay representation. I love how it mirrors real life that @MiggyJimenez23 began as child actor and @KychMinemoto_ started with theater.
INTELLIGENCE is such an UNDERRATED personality trait not often highlighted in gay media depiction and it's so wonderful that we have Wesley representing practical and academic excellence while Achilles stands for emotional maturity and self-sufficiency. I AM SO EXCITED.
Gameboys is a very SMART show featuring very smart characters and it makes me incredibly happy how invested the media is in the intricacies of the plot itself. I panicked for Miggy here but his calm response really speaks of how well he STUDIED and IMBIBED his Wesley character.
I am equally relieved that Kych has a good perspective of taking on the role, considering it a PRIVILEGE while still grasping the enormous weight of RESPONSIBILITY of representation. Instead of praises for his acting, he considers fan appreciation of Achilles as ultimate reward.
Leonardo Dicaprio has spoken about the importance of ATTITUDE and perspective of SELF in getting roles and I think this speaks for all of the Gameboys actors.

Especially Kokoy: the one with the wealthiest LGBT roles exposure, always just hovering on the fringes of mainstream.
Kokoy is so CRIMINALLY UNDERRATED. I will never understand how someone with this level of acting range hasn't gotten more mainstream recognition.

His very nuanced portrayals are so spot-on, which goes to show how incredibly DEDICATED he is in internalizing his roles.
In every TV and Film role Kokoy takes on, he gives a ridiculous amount of passion as if it's always his LAST. But he's been through so much for someone so young: his roles are always SUFFERING and in pain.

@kkydsnts isn't lucky to have Gameboys. GAMEBOYS IS LUCKY TO HAVE KOKOY.
There can be no better actor to pioneer the first Filipino BL than Kokoy de Santos, who is the very real embodiment of GAVREEL ALARCON.

@kkydsnts character portrayal perfectly captures the straightforward, Filipino CHARM and CHARISMA.

Some may cringe at his cheesiness but watching him always dazzles me because Gavreel is such a stellar reminder that we need more CONFIDENT GAY representation in BL who are UNASHAMED of their sexuality and does not consider professing their love as a blow against their pride.
It's strange how people find the emergence of his flaws in Episodes 11 onwards shocking when these traits have been intricately HINTED at from the beginning. As early as episode 2, we were shown how he hates being ALONE, and in Episode 5 he deadass literally said he was JEALOUS.
While @elijahcanlas_ is so skilled at reaching INSIDE of himself to give his characters DEPTH, @kkydsnts is so good at going OUTSIDE and ABOVE his role through adlibs and AMAZING sincerity of dialogue delivery. How he fumbles through words and how his BREATHING hitches? GODTIER.
Kokoy pours so much of himself in every character, especially Gavreel, that it's so hard sometimes to SEPARATE viewing the role and him as an actor.

It's heartbreaking when he talked of his rejections here, because it tells us HOW MUCH WE DON'T KNOW about what actors go through.
Perhaps it's why Kokoy's performance here is equal parts REWARDING AND HEARTBREAKING when Cairo confessed his love to him for the first time. After such a long period of fierce, desperate love, Gavreel cries such beautiful TEARS of happiness, questioning if he is WORTHY of this.
Filipinos hate this word so much, but there's no better word for it: Both GAVREEL and @kkydsnts are such perfect icons of RESILIENCE.

That's maybe why GAMEBOYS has struck so many hearts worldwide: because we all want to one day reap our hard work and find love pursuing us back.
That is perhaps one of the many joys of acting: every job well done is an achievement not only as an ACTOR but as a HUMAN BEING. To wear, walk around in other people's shoes and tell their stories.

Saoirse Ronan, one of the actresses Elijah looks up to, said this on STEREOTYPES:
Elijah has the MOST DIVERSE FILMOGRAPHY among the Gameboys actors and this speaks volumes about his VERSATILITY.

His confession of struggling to grasp Cairo as character is in itself a PROOF of how DISCERNING he is: because Cairo is REALLY MEANT TO BE DIFFICULT TO UNDERSTAND.
It's so AWESOME, it's almost hilarious: GAMEBOYS really gave the YOUNGEST actor in the cast the MOST DIFFICULT, MOST UNLIKABLE CHARACTER ROLE in the series.

But it makes sense because it's @elijahcanlas_: an actor so naturally GIFTED and SENSITIVE in HUMANIZING every STORY.
Listen, the BL industry is literally TSUNDERE COUNTRY. This stereotype is the oldest in the book and understandably the HARDEST to reinvent.

I've only seen a handful of successfully executed tsunderes in the past and Elijah's CAIRO LAZARO will be one of the MOST MEMORABLE EVER.
What makes Elijah's portrayal of Cairo so special is how his TSUNDERE is executed with LAYERS and PURPOSE.

Tsunderes in BL are usually just Tsunderes to ENHANCE the GRATIFICATION when they fall in love. But Cairo is like this FOR A REASON.
Do you know what makes this montage so PAINFUL? It's not just because you're grieving for Cairo's Dad. You are also MOURNING FOR THE LOSS OF HAPPY CAIRO that Gavreel first fell in love with.

You miss his gorgeous smile. You want to bring him back. But HE WILL NEVER BE THE SAME.
If ever anyone looks down on the BL genre in terms of acting, all you have to do is show them @elijahcanlas_'s WINNING performance in this scene. The way his fists violently curled and shook, his MAGNIFICENT wail of grief is one of the most PIERCING dramatic content in DECADES.
No seriously, you need to watch that scene again and look at his HANDS. And then look at him here in one of his films as he wielded the gun while crying.

Elijah has EXCELLENT, HAUNTING EYES, but when a scene can't allow him to use it, HE USES HIS WHOLE BODY TO GIVE THE EMOTION.
It might be instructed through direction or just a delightful coincidence, but I love how @elijahcanlas_ gives such subtle hints of how Cairo craves for affection with the way he holds on to things.

It's in details like this that proves he is KING when it comes to VULNERABILITY.
Elijah has a very MAGICAL way of shifting aura based on the role he's playing. He presented Cairo to us with perplexed, repressed INNOCENCE and soft undercurrents of SENSUALITY.

His NONCHALANCE as he surprised Gav in this scene made me understand why Gav is DYING TO KISS HIM.
It was not just foreshadowing, it's an UNDERSTATEMENT: @elijahcanlas_'s Cairo is the ONE WHO IS VICTORIOUS.

Elijah was able to show not just classic character development; silently, he has turned it to a JOURNEY of saying FAREWELL to CHILDHOOD and mustering the COURAGE to grow.
His wisdom, his compassion, his deep love for his craft; there are COUNTLESS reasons to fall in love with @elijahcanlas_. He doesn't just deserve prestigious acting awards; he deserves awards for merely EXISTING and being an EXCELLENT HUMAN.
The future of BL is UNCERTAIN. But if @elijahcanlas_ and @kkydsnts and the rest of @theideafirst_co are part of it, it's a HOPEFUL future to look forward to.

The Philippines has been waiting to show the world its brand of STORYTELLING. The world is now ready for the Philippines.
You can follow @raikantopinisms.
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