Markki Stroem feels safe shooting love scenes with Mike Liwag for Unlocked series

by Jerry Olea
Jul 8, 2020
Singer-actor Markki Stroem (left) and theater actor Mike Liwag (right) star in the first episode of Unlocked anthology series directed by Adolf Alix Jr.

“Cats out of the bag! Watch out for something a little more risqué than your typical BL!”

Pasakalye iyan ng singer-actor na si Markki Stroem sa Facebook post niya nitong Hulyo 7, Miyerkules.

Ang tinutukoy ni Markki ay ang episode nila ni Mike Liwag na “Andrew and Brix” sa Unlocked anthology series na mag-uumpisa sa Hulyo 9, Huwebes, sa online streaming service na GagaOOLala.

Sa istorya, heartbroken si Andrew (Markki Stroem). Kumuha siya ng rent boy (Mike Liwag) upang maibsan ang kanyang lungkot.

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Nainterbyu namin sina Markki at Mike via Messenger nitong Hunyo 7, Martes ng gabi. Kinumusta namin ang shooting nila sa direksiyon ni Adolf Alix Jr.

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Tugon ni Markki, “I had such a blast working with Direk Adolf Alix again!

"He is so easy to get along with and very systematic and professional how he handled the project.

“Due to quarantine, we shot a day after MECQ ended. We had stayed home 2 weeks prior and felt safe to work with a small cast and crew.

“The shoot was quick and very organized.

"The beauty of working with a small cast and crew is that we are able to get to know each other and navigate the set with ease.

“I felt safe while shooting the Love Scenes. Direk and the crew were encouraging and it was so easy to work with my co-actor Mike Liwag.”

Pag-amin ni Mike, “At first, I was nervous.

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"Kasi, it was actually the first time I went out dahil sa covid. So syempre, we needed to ensure that there were safety precautions.

“I'm so relieved that when I got on set, sobrang prepared na prepared. It was so easy working with Direk Adolf and his team.

“From my perspective, they’ve really and easily adjusted sa shooting protocols.

"Sobrang happy ako na it was my first project under this pandemic and syempre with Direk Adolf's brilliant mind.

“Started and finished the shoot na parang walang pandemic. We were really taken care of.”

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WORKING RELATIONSHIP

Smooth ang working relationship nina Markki at Mike, na kapwa disiplinado dahil sa karanasan nila sa teatro.

Lahad ni Markki, “I had heard great things about Mike Liwag because of Laro. Working with him made me respect him as an actor even more. Galing!

“Mike Liwag is such a professional and genuinely kind person. Such a sweetheart on set and very respectful of everyone around him.

“Since we are both from the theater scene, we rehearsed our dialogues and added our little twists to our roles.

“I think our chemistry is palpable. I am excited to see how it all comes together in the end.”

Mutual ang admiration nina Markki at Mike sa sa isa’t isa.

Papuri ni Mike sa co-actor, “Magaling siya. It was my first time working with him.

"What I like about Markki is that, parehas kaming Theater Actors, so when we were reading the lines to memorize and understand, we were actually doing it in a theater way para mas mabilis ang pickup and everything.

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“I couldn’t imagine na we would be able to pull off the scenes, kasi nga, that was the first we've met.

"Pero dahil mabilis kaming nag-get along and with the help of Direk Adolf, of course, talagang super napadali.

“Walang arte and he's really good.”

Lumabas si Mike sa pelikulang Culion na pinagbidahan nina Iza Calzado, Jasmine Curtis-Smith, Meryll Soriano, at Joem Bascon.

Kasama si Mike sa dula ng PETA na Under My Skin, na nagsimula ang pagtatanghal noong Pebrero. Naputol ang pagpapalabas niyon dahil sa pandemic.

QUARANTINE FILM

Anu-ano ang insights nila sa paggawa ng isang quarantine film?

Sagot ni Markki, “It’s a tick off my bucket list to do a quarantine film. Everyone can relate, kasi we are all going through it.

“I wanted to share a story that someone might be going through.

"My heart goes out to all the couples and families who went through heartbreak or found a way to work through problems during quarantine.

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“‘Andrew & Brix’ of Unlocked does just that... Tell a story of love and loss. We enjoyed sharing our learnings and growth through our quarantine life with this project.”

Pag-ayon ni Mike, “Okay naman ang quarantine shoot. Feeling ko nga, mas mabilis. Mas intimate. Our film industry can adjust actually.

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“However, on a personal note, mas gusto ko pa rin yung normal shoot. I always pray for it to go back na sa normal.

“Kasi, mas maraming tao ang mabibigyan ng chance to work—actors man iyan o staff, crew. Basta, lahat ng gumagawa ng pelikula.

“Unlike pag quarantine shoot, two actors lang. Paano naman yung iba? Same goes with the staff.”

GAY RELATIONSHIPS

Anim na episodes ang Unlocked anthology, na tumatalakay sa gay relationships sa panahon ng lockdown.

Magkakaiba ang kuwento at focus ng bawat episode, na kinunan gamit ang iPhone. Tatlong tao lang ang crew sa bawat shoot.

Paliwanag ng creator ng series na Direk Adolf Alix Jr., “I wanted to develop stories where the circumstances of the pandemic are a catalyst for a deeper examination of relationships.

“It acts as a purgation of sorts -- be it the physical distance or the paranoia of the situation.”

Ang first episode ng Unlocked na pinamagatang “Andrew & Brix” ay mapapanood umpisa Hulyo 9, Huwebes, sa GagaOOLala, the one and only LGBTQ focused online streaming service in Southeast Asia.

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The five other stories are as follows: a long-term gay couple need to revaluate their relationship after being forced to be together 24/7; a single mother is trying to connect with her lover who is a nurse in the U.S.; an elderly professor reflects on his life after his young neighbor knocks on the door; a teenage boy comes of age and realizes about his real self during lockdown; a man alone in his apartment experiences a breakdown.

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A new episode will be released every week after July 9.

GagaOOLala will also partner up with #ExtendtheLove, a fundraising project to help film workers in the Philippines during the quarantine.

During the 6-week release window for Unlocked, the streamer will donate 25 PHP for every new subscriber coming on to the platform.

UPDATES ON PINOY BL SERIES

Ang tatlong naunang Pinoy BL series ay Gameboys, Sakristan, at Hello Stranger.

Mayo 22, Biyernes, nag-premiere ang Gameboys sa YouTube channel ng The IdeaFirst Company.

Tampok dito ang love story ng CaiReel—Cairo (Elijah Canlas) at Gavreel (Kokoy de Santos).

Markado ang supporting characters na sina Pearl (Adrianna So) at Terrence (Kyle Velino).

Nakaanim na episodes na ito. May natitira pang apat.

Mayo 31, Linggo, nag-umpisa ang Sakristan sa YouTube channel ng VinCentiments.

Kuwento ito ng ZaChristian—Zach (Clifford Pusing) at Christian (Henry Villanueva). Ka-triangle nila si Wolf (Xavier Reyes).

Nakaanim na episodes na rin ito, at may natitira pang dalawa.

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Hunyo 24, Miyerkules, nag-hello ang Hello Stranger sa YouTube channel at Facebook page ng Black Sheep.

Istorya ito ng XavMi—Xavier (Tony Labrusca) at Mico (JC Alcantara). May girlfriend si Xavier, si Crystal (Gillian Vicencio).

Nakadalawang episodes na ito. Ang third episode ay mapapanood ngayong Miyerkules gabi.

Hulyo 11, Sabado, magsisimula ang BL series na In Between: Sa Pagitan ng Kamusta at Paalam sa YouTube channel ng USPH TV.

Matamis na mapait ang kuwento ng TauTep—Taurus (Migs Villasis) at Otep (Genesis Redido). Parehong atleta ang dalawang baguhang aktor.

Ngayong Miyerkules makukumpirma kung tuloy sa Hunyo 12, Linggo, ang first shooting day ng My Extraordinary sa Antipolo City.

Opo! Two words na lamang ang title ng matalinhagang romansa ng ShaKen—Shake (Darwin Yu) at Ken (Enzo Santiago).

My Extra Ordinary ang dating title ng eight-episode BL series na ito, na produced ng AsterisK Digital Entertainment.

Ayon sa AsterisK publicist na si Byx Almacen, malamang na sa Agosto na ito ipalabas sa TV5.

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Ikinakasa na rin ng AsterisK ang BL series na A Kiss To Remember, kung saan kasama sa cast sina Z Mejia at Christian Estrada.

Third week of July naka-schedule mag-resume ang shooting ng Oh, Mando!, na pinagbibidahan nina Kokoy de Santos at Alex Diaz.

Naka-four shooting days na ito nang maabutan ng lockdown. Five shooting days to go pa ang digital series na ito, na nakatakdang ipalabas sa iWant TV.

Agosto 8, Sabado, magpapasiklab ang BL series na My Day sa YouTube channel ng Oxin Films.

Bida rito ang AkiMi — si Aki Torres bilang Ace, at ang BidaMan finalist na si Miko Gallardo bilang Sky.

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Singer-actor Markki Stroem (left) and theater actor Mike Liwag (right) star in the first episode of Unlocked anthology series directed by Adolf Alix Jr.
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