Candy first mentioned Juan Miguel Severo's BL series the moment the writer and creator hinted at the possibility back in April, and we've been excited about it since. Gaya Sa Pelikula, which stars Ian Pangilinan and Paolo Pangilinan, was officially released in the last quarter of 2020 and is now available for streaming on Netflix!
The hit local series has since made headlines for its sincere portrayal of young, queer love, and meeting half of the love team did not disappoint. In an interview with Candy at the Preview @ 25 House Party held on December 5, we got to ask Ian about working with the cast and crew, and his experience shooting the show.
Ian Pangilinan as the "mysterious" Vlad
In Gaya Sa Pelikula, Ian plays Vlad, who "gets himself in a sticky situation hiding from his own family and proposes that he and Karl (Paolo Pangilinan) become housemates for the rest of the semester break in exchange for good cash."
It's a series produced and starred in by members of the LGBT community themselves, and that created synergy that was felt on and off the set.
"I think the best thing about working on Gaya Sa Pelikula was definitely having a bunch of people in a project whose primary goal is to make the project beautiful," Ian says.
"Especially in the fast-moving industry that we have, we have a lot of people who are in it for the money, who are in it to just get a movie done, to get this character done with...
"And to each their own. But there's something beautiful about people who truly believe in a story, who believe in one project, and do their best to make the project appear as beautiful as it can be.
"There's a sense of teamwork that is to be cherished definitely and hopefully emulate that in our future projects."
One thing he says he learned while working on Gaya Sa Pelikula is that being a true ally means supporting the entire SOGIE spectrum, and that includes all the different personalities and coming-out experiences, even the ones that aren't cinematic or loud. He stresses that if you want to support somebody—basically anybody—from the LGBTQ community, it's not just about celebrating the milestones and using them to make a statement (not that there's anything wrong with making one, but timing is everything).
"It's important to make room for the people who don't necessarily fall into those categories," Ian says. "It's important to learn how to be an ally to, for example, somebody who would rather not make it a huge deal.
"It's important to know how to reach out to people who want their coming-out experience to be, you know, more casual, to be more contained, and at the end of the day being LGBTQ does not fall into any specific (category)...
"Let's just all be prepared to love that spectrum of colors, the best way that we can."
Wanna learn more about Ian? Here are must-know facts about the rising star:
1. Ladybird (2017) is one of his favorite films.
"For me kasi sobrang universal yung experience of growing up, growing as a person, going through all of those awkward stages and then learning from them, realizing that you're not the only one with problems in the world," explains Ian in an interview with Preview.ph. "I just love that movie for being able to capture that so well and so seamlessly as if so it's not preaching anything."
2. He's also a theater actor!
Some of the plays and musicals under his belt include Tabing Ilog (he played Rovic, which was originally portrayed by John Lloyd Cruz), Ateneo Blue Repertory's productions of Rent and Spring Awakening, and Ateneo Fine Arts' Reasons To Be Pretty.
3. He identifies as an introvert!
"Me, I am very much an introvert. I think I'm probably an extroverted introvert, but an introvert nonetheless," he says during the interview. But debunking misconception, when asked about what he's looking forward to in the post-pandemic future, Ian reveals one thing he misses the most is "being able to interact with people in person."
4. He comes from a family of achievers.
In an interview with Globe Studios, Ian mentioned that growing up, he always felt like he didn't know how to compete with his over-achieving older siblings who were good at math, sciences, and even leadership.
5. But Ian is a bit of an over-achiever himself.
Ian graduated from Ateneo de Manila University with a degree in Management Engineering, known to be one of the most challenging courses in the institution. This was on top of having very active participation in orgs and productions, which also takes up a lot of a student's time. Looks like he held his own pretty well.