When fans clamored for a sequel to the Metro Manila Film Festival 2020 entry The Boy Foretold By The Stars, leads Adrian Lindayag and Keann Johnson were flattered.
But they didn’t expect a sequel to happen just eight months after the movie premiered. “Sobrang na-excite kami ni Keann na magkakaroon ng continuation because I agree with many of the fans na bitin ‘yung ending ng pelikula,” Adrian said during the series’ online conference.
(Keann and I were very excited that our story would continue. I agree with the fans that the ending movie’s ending left most of us hanging.)
He added, “Na-excite lang ako na lalago ‘yung pag-iibigan nina Luke and Dominic.” (I am just looking forward to how the romance between Luke and Dominic will play out.)
What to expect from Love Beneath The Stars
The Boy Foretold By The Stars, which won 2nd Best Picture at the MMFF 2020, follows Dominic (Adrian) and Luke (Keann) as they navigate their feelings towards each other. At first, they rely on signs to convince them of their destiny but ultimately take matters into their own hands, and decide to be together in the end.
While the movie focuses more on how Dominic and Luke fell in love with each other, director Dolly Dulu said that the sequel series Love Beneath The Stars highlights Dominic and Luke’s relationship with everything around them – their friends, family, and school.
“After ng movie, nag-message na ‘yung Dreamscape [Entertainment] sa amin na they wanted to continue this. Mas gusto nila ‘yung series and mas okay din gumawa ng series compared sa movie… Gusto kasi nila mas makilala pa ‘yung mga characters. Sa series mas mahaba siya, episodic siya, so ‘yun ‘yung naging goal namin. We wanted people to relate more kung sino ba talaga si Dominic at si Luke. So ‘yun ‘yung reason kung bakit siya ginawang series,” Dulu said.
(After the movie, Dreamscape told us that they wanted to continue the story. They wanted it to be a series… They want to explore the characters through the series, that was our goal in every episode. We wanted people to relate more on who Dominic and Luke are. That’s why it became a series.)
Dulu, who also wrote the series, said that shifting the storyline to a series was both easy and a challenge. “Yung thing is sa series, lagi siyang may highs and lows. It always has to end with a bang. Lagi siyang may ganun, may cliffhanger siya sa dulo eh. Eh sa pelikula, dire-diretso lang siya. Doon ako nahirapan.” (The thing with series is it has to always have highs and lows, and every episode has to end with a bang. Compared to a movie, it’s just linear. That’s the hardest part for me.)
They, however, clarified that expanding the story of Dominic and Luke was effortless for them. “Sobrang dali nang buohin kasi kilala ko na ‘yung mga characters ni Dominic at ni Luke. (It was easy to form the story since I knew Dominic and Luke’s characters so well.)
Dulu shared that since the sequel us series, there’s more space to explore more serious themes around Dominic and Luke’s relationship.
“‘Yung tema ‘yung nagbago. Kasi the theme of the movie was really believing in one’s destiny and believing in your soulmate. And then ‘yung theme kasi nitong series focuses more on commitment. ‘Yan ‘yung pinaka-tema ng six episodes na ‘to. Pinagtagpo na kayo ng tadhana, now the challenge comes on how you stay committed to the relationship that fate brought you.”
(The main difference between the two projects is the theme. For the movie, it was believing in one’s destiny and believing in your soulmate. But for this series, it focuses more on commitment. That’s where the six episode revolves. Fate brought them together, now the challenge comes on how you stay committed to the relationship that fate brought you.)
They added, “Hindi lang siya puro happy kilig moments. May maturity involved for all the characters kasi lahat sila may natutunan sa bawat isa at sa lahat nang nangyari sa pamilya at sa sarili.”
(It’s not just about the butterflies in your stomatch. There’s maturity involved for all the characters because all of them learned something from their relationships with their family and theirselves.)
In Love Beneath The Stars’ official trailer, Dominic and Luke starts introducing each other as boyfriends to their families, even as they face the judgment of people around them.
The story turns sour after their conservative all-boys Catholic high school reprimands them for kissing during the graduation ball. The “scandal,” Dominic’s parents’ rejection of their relationship, and Dominic’s growing friendship with another guy, leads to the couple’s fallout.
Keann said that while the series is a roller coaster ride of emotions as compared to the the movie, the message they relay is the same. “[We want] to tell everyone that it’s okay to love someone of the same gender. And at the same time, with this series, we’re not just talking about the love between Luke and Dominic, we’re also talking about their love or their problems outside the relationship.”
“We’re trying to help guide the people who are in a similar situation and help them solve it by telling them the story of Luke and Dominic and how they solve these problems,” he added.
What Love Beneath The Stars mean to the cast
For an out gay actor like Adrian, working on The Boy Foretold By The Stars and Love Beneath The Stars is a personal win.
“Hindi ako makapaniwala hanggang ngayon… hindi ako natutulog nang hindi nagpapasalamat, nang hindi na-eelibs sa mga nangyayari sa mundo. Totoo bang mayroon akong ginagawang ganitong klaseng project?” he said.
(I still can’t believe it… I don’t go to sleep at night without being thankful and feeling in awe of what’s happening now. Is it true that I’m part of a project like this?)
Adrian added that seeing an LGBTQ+ character falling in love on-screen and being represented by a member of the community, has been “a long time coming.”
“Matagal na nating hinihintay na makita ‘yung mga sarili natin sa pelikula at sa TV na na-i-in love. Matagal nang present ang LGBT sa mga pelikula at sa TV pero hindi sila nabibigyan ng rom-com at kilig story… Na-sa-sad ako growing up na hindi ko napanood ‘yung sarili ko na kinikilig. And now, kinikilabutan ako kapag merong nagko-comment at nag-me-message na mga fans na finally, nakikita na nila ‘yung sarili nila sa pelikula at sa TV, na pwede rin sila magka-love story,” he said.
(We’ve been waiting so long to see ourselves falling in love on TV. LGBT members have been present in films and TV for a long time but they’re never given rom-com stories… Growing up, I felt sad that I wasn’t able to see myself falling in love. And now, I’m getting goosebumps every time a fan comments or messages me that they resonate with our love story, that they also deserve to have their love stories because of watching the movie.)
Adrian said the series also reflected his experience in coming to terms with his sexuality and faith. “We have to understand that if only I had a choice then I would choose to be straight because life is so much easier, but I wasn’t born that way. I have natural urges, kasi bakla ako (because I’m gay). I have both a masculine and a feminine side. I embrace all those qualities and I think my purpose is to live out my truth. I hope that, through the series, people will be able to realize their truths too.”
Keann, who is a proud ally, said he’s happy to be part of a project that means a lot to the LGBTQ+ community. “It’s something the community has been waiting for. A sigh of relief that finally – our stories get to be told.”
It is because of this that Keann said that the whole production exerted all their efforts into the project. “We all poured our 110%, we poured our hearts out, blood, sweat, and tears and we’re so thankful to be part of this wonderful production, this wonderful team.”
But more than the cast and crew, Keann said it was the fans who supported the movie, asked for the sequel, and patiently waited for the series. “They’re also partly the reason why this continuation of this big dream that we have came into play,” he said. – Rappler.com
Love Beneath The Stars is set to premiere on iWantTFC on August 16. New episodes will be released every Monday. The six-episode series, written and directed by Dolly Dulu, also stars Nikki Valdez, Agot Isidro, Romnick Sarmenta, Victor Silayan, Iyah Mina, and Vaughn Piczon.