In celebration of PsychoMilk’s 5th year, I’m doing a day-to-day, blow-by-blow account of why Saint Suppapong is a BL phenomenon. I know he will be celebrated by a wider audience sooner than later.
And I have always wanted to chronicle his rise and rise since 2018.
Reality check: Is sex an integral part of an intimate relationship? The answer is most definitely yes. But why is it that sex scenes are often not shown on TV? For obvious reasons, that is the purpose of censorship.
So when you see below scene, should it be censored? Definitely not. It’s a scene with a purpose. It is supposed to support the narrative where the series is based.
But is it porn? No. Not even close.
I want today to be about that defining moment when you decided that Saint is the guy to put your 100% support and why.
As a reviewer since 2007, most of the movies I watched and review have been straight movies – an art film from France or a superhero franchise from Hollywood or a war epic made in the UK. The thing is, gay movies gave me hope and there were plenty but its hard to celebrate the actors behind the characters. Why?
- Hugh Grant in Maurice was stellar and even his costar Rupert Graves but there was no immediate access to get to know them;
- Same case with Nicholas Hoult in Skins, as with Gaspard Ulliel, the amazing French actor;
- An obsession of mine, Time To Leave – perhaps one of the greatest gay films ever made has Melvil Poupaud. He is godlike! Those smashing good looks, but he’s straight playjng an amazing/despicable character!
When Saint arrived in the Philippines, he demonstrated this personal way of making people happy. It maybe rehearsed or part of fan service but wearing a barong tagalog for everyone of his fans further endeared him to me.
I appreciate the extent by which he is willing to take to give something extra for the fans. Some would simply go through the motion but Mr. Suppapong did the extra mile. That is important to me.
That is my Saint defining moment.
Let us talk about the elephant in the room. In these days of fake news, malicious rumors and trolls and online bullying, one cannot be more careful. The current series, featuring Saint and many other Bl actors have been subjected to a lot of praise and criticism. It’s called WhyRU the Series.
Currently, it has enjoyed millions of play-views in both legal and illegal sources. The thing is, any apparent success that Saint enjoys, there are always those who get jealous. The insecurity becomes almost unbearable for them. Take a look at this Tweet:
It’s always good to be critical of a show if you have valid critical objections and that you can explain them to your peers and audience. The problem is when you do criticism for the sake of putting someone down. It’s easy to destroy someone – all you have to do is spread malice and do some photo-shopped shots of people having sex or something close to that. People who have been robotics all their lives will follow and believe you.
The only problem is that Mr. Suppapong has a very active fan club and many will not let go of such innuendos.
Fact check: Before you believe in anything, ask these questions:
- What is the reputation of the Twitter or Facebook account who spread the rumors, purporting to be news?
- What is his Twitter or Facebook history?
- What are the sources of the news?
- What evidences are presented? Are there video clips and photos? Are there testimonials? Are these evidences properly authenticated? Who are the original sources of these clips or photos?
All these talks about Saint being Pete can be quite exhausting. You see, if you are new to the BL universe – especially the Thai scene – you have not experienced the storm that Love By Chance has created during and after the series.
The storm was directed at Saint. It was concocted with malicious intent where managers of his costars have accused him of many unsavory acts.
For the record, there were never any evidence that they have shown – no videos, no testimonies, no recordings. What is especially stupendous is the way people believe the rumors. In these times of fake news, it’s a tragedy that people are easily fooled.
I have been asked by many, why target Saint – what wrongs has he done? Its quite simple:
- His costars felt that Saint is too popular for their own comfort. Its a matter of the degree of jealousy that they felt and how it was translated for their agents to act on the desperation. Yes, you read that right. His costars and their managers were desperate that they need to resort to throwing dirt toward Saint;
- Certain people who have lord it over in Bangkok usually get what they want. It means they can bed young boys who aspire to become actors or models. In Japan, we have Johnyy’s Entertainment where news reports have been censored. In Thailand, there is no comparative party but the same kind of “arrangement” has existed. Apparently, Saint rejects the offer of sex in exchange for fame. These gay overlords are apparently fuming mad for being rejected. You may asked me- what are your sources? What proof do you have? Well, I’m not at the defensive here. I’m just giving them a dose of their own medicine. My answer: do your research and I’m 100% sure, you will arrive at the same conclusion.
Here is a report from The Guardian on Japan issue:
Johnny Kitagawa, 68, has been accused of sexually abusing many of his young male charges, including one aged 12. Police, abandoning a traditional reluctance to pursue such cases, have announced an investigation. |read more|
Further readings – On Thailand and Homosexuality. | Link |
In conclusion, Saint will not go back to portray Pete. It was quite a painful experience that he was quite amenable to do even at his own expense but he just had enough.
Here is Saint in his own words:
I think if they want me to take part in the series, they would’ve contacted me before finishing the teaser. |source|
Of course, things can change even Saint can change his mind. But at the moment, I think he has a certain integrity that rejects the offer of money.
Let me start by saying Saint Suppapong Udomkaewkanjana first caught my eye when I randomly watched Love By Chance.
While on semi-hiatus from BL, my work – which requires plenty of travels – kept me away for much of the time after Lovesick Season 2 and Waterboyy, the movie.
Saint has this luminous, positive aura that made him seem unreal. He is a sight to behold and in that LBC moment when he fell while Perth’s Ae rescued him after the crash, I know for sure that I’ll be enchanted by BL once again.
To describe him as handsome is an understatement. While music and even movie lovers ogle at Kpop boyband members (EXO, BTS, Got7), his onscreen presence rivals even that of popular Korean celebrities.
In the beginning, he is not a very good actor though. He was tentative and conscious of his acting. Not in the way of some of cinema’s greats – when they need to be conscious of their performances. Think of diCaprio in Basketball Diaries or Robert Pattinson in Cosmopolis and Life or Yuya Yagira in Destruction Babies or Nicholas Hoult in A Single Man. You can observed their “conscious” effort to be in character.
Like Pattinson who was lambasted for his perfs in The Twilight saga, Suppapong fell short on his acting efforts – specifically in the first few episodes of LBC. Similarly, both have massive followings which became instrumental on how they react to criticism. Unlike Pattinson who is described as critical of himself and often says what’s on his mind in a frank and blunt manner, Mr. Suppapong relishes his charming self and often deals the press with smiles and unlimited goodwill.
Funny though that his heartfelt and often conciliatory efforts are used against him by fans (and trolls) of his rivals and their agents and managers. But that is in itself another day to account for.
Unlike some of his peers, he is often quoted as never been afraid to play BL roles. If you think about it, playing BL gave him the opportunity to interact with fans and in turn were able to grab high-profile ads and endorsements that kept him financially secure and independent. At least for the time being.
Not a good actor? Really now.
Comparisons are often made when it comes to acting. That’s the gold standard and some critics can be actor centered in their review, which I often describe my style.
I have yet to find a match to Gun Atthaphan or Singto Prachaya or Fluke Natouch in terms of performance delivery and style, but to be critical of Saint, I have my reasons. I would say, its a matter of facial expressions – how to use the eyes and mouth in both subtle and obvious ways. That is where I find the room for improvement.
It is not entirely an actor’s fault to be considered as lacking in depth or intensity, yet it is that rawness in Saint that endears him with fans. I would bet my bottom dollar that 99% disagree with me.
“To be an interesting actor – hell, to be an interesting human being – you must be authentic and for you to be authentic you must embrace who you really are, warts and all. Do you have any idea how liberating it is to not care what people think about you? Well, that’s what we’re here to do.” – Sanford Meisner on Acting. |source|
That rawness and tentativeness serve as a litmus test for Mr. Suppapong and rightly so, on the same series he did something that made me aware of his efforts to grow and improve on his craft.
Saint’s coming out scene, with Thai drama actress Um Apasiri Nitibhon.
And I have three specific scenes:
- His coming out scene with his Mom who happens to be a dramatic actress;
- The multiple scenes with his bully and tormentor which have been violent and disturbing. These scenes alone make up for the tentativeness in other aspects;
- His arguments with Ae about opening up with their feelings. Special mention is Ae’s birthday and his efforts to surprise him.
I think these efforts on Saint’s part show his genuine desire to become a better actor and he has done so on his first series.
What he did in WhyRU episode 5 is an example of his growth as an actor.
Notes: Except for Yagira, DiCaprio, Pattinson, and Hoult play gay. I also interviewed Hoult and Pattinson and lucky enough asked them about their roles. Hoult is very forthcoming and friendly who explained to me clearly about his role in Skins. Pattinson appears pre-occupied but is as receptive as Hoult. The interview happened before Hoult was cast in Tom Ford’s A Single Man while Pattinson was promoting Little Ashes, his gay film.
Acting by using facial expressions is very impactful. Examples are twitching the mouth when angry or about to cry, eye movements (wide, wild eyes) and complemented tear drops can be more effective than verbal.