“Giving voice to characters that have no other voice—that’s the great worth of what we do.” — Meryl Streep
Acting is all about emoting; the “spur of moment” mechanics coupled with some phenomenal skills define an actor’s self-worth. Most characters have fictional existence; it depends on the said actor’s caliber to breathe life into a mannequin and turn it into a relatable individual. Some make or break history, portraying roles that become memorable, whilst others are lost in transition. In today’s feature, we will be talking about some of the most exceptional BL actors in the current generation!
Krishna Naidu’s Choices
Film Thanapat, To Sir With Love
If an actor can make you cry tears of anguish; that it means his job is done. Because not everyone can make you empathize with a fictional character, like you can feel their emotions. Film Thanapat is one of those few actors whose expressions are a vivid portrayal of the inner turmoil faced by his character role. Currently starring in Thai Lakorn To Sir With Love, Film’s portrayal of main lead, Tian is winning hearts across the subcontinent. The fact that he has been successful in establishing a strong connection with his audiences proves his distinction. Born as the heir, Tian has always led a sheltered life and was groomed to take on the mantle someday. The biggest deterrent on this path is his sexuality and his father’s immense disapproval against homosexuality. Film’s rendition is heart wrenching, and it explores the theme of homophobia quite explicitly. Although the show is shot in a different era, homophobia is still prevalent in the current times and so are the stigmas related to it. Film’s performance is awe-inspiring as he subtly delivers the emotions and pain experienced by his character. Definitely one of a kind!
In Sarin Ronnakiat, The Miracle of Teddy Bear
When I started with this drama, I knew nothing about In Sarin, apart from the rumors that he is openly gay (which was vaguely mentioned on some social media handles). Now, we don’t know about the truth behind these rumors; but In Sarin’s acting skills are certainly worth mentioning. Portraying an inanimate teddy bear who suddenly resurrects into a human being might seem like an easy job; only it isn’t. Taohu is a very complex character and yet one of the most endearing ones. Sarin’s good looks added to the charm, but the fact remains that he has immortalized Taohu by embracing the finer nuances that were relative to the role. Taohu has a close connection to his owner, Nut. Obviously, Nut doesn’t realise that the handsome stranger in his house is his favorite teddy bear. They don’t forge an instant connection; Nut is a difficult man, full of fears and insecurities. Taohu literally goes through hell, earning his owner’s trust and approval; while trying to mend Nut’s relationship with his ailing mother. Sarin’s soft portrayal of the besotted teddy bear was much appreciated and his chemistry with co-star Job Thuchapon was undeniably impressive. One of my favorites!
Kim Ji Woong, Roommates of Poongduck 304
I never thought I would get enamored with a smirking boss whose sole existence hinges on annoying his younger intern; but then it is nearly impossible to resist a handsome devil like Kim Ji Woong. His second outing in the BL industry was even better than the first, Kissable Lips (wasn’t impressed with the Vampire romance). As compared to his earlier works, Roommates of Poongduck 304 is quite engaging and coherent. While his enchanting looks add a sophisticated charm, Kim Ji Woong has come a long way since his “The Sweet Blood” days. His acting has improved by spades and the recent portrayal of a hardheaded boss is a true testament to his capabilities. While he played openly gay characters in his former projects, Ji Ho Joon (Roommates of Poongduck 304) is mostly depicted as a heterosexual player. The show plays on the “Gay for You” theme as Ji Ho Joon slowly falls in love with his landlord/subordinate Seo Jae Yoon (Yoon Seo Bin). Both Kim Ji Woong & Yoon Seo Bin have a comfortable camaraderie (which is quite evident from their social media posts) and share an excellent chemistry. 2022 was definitely their year to shine!
Pond Ponlawit, 180 Degree Longitude Passes Through Us
It’s a tough call battling decades of prejudice and homophobia; especially when the struggle is against your family members & loved ones. Pond Ponlawit’s Wang faces the challenge of confronting age-old beliefs, imprisoning one’s mindset in a self constructed cage. Despite being a rookie actor, Pond delivers the pain and suffering experienced by his character as he fights to stand beside the person he loves; even if the said person isn’t strong enough to accept their relationship. His constant mental battles with his mother are rather taxing and arduous, and yet Wang tries his level best to resist the social norms. He questions him persistently and stands up against injustice. Pond’s portrayal will leave you deeply wounded; as he tries to connect on a philosophical level with his love interest, In (Nike Nitidon), while warding off his mother’s attempts to tear them apart. 180 Degree Longitude Passes Through Us was a metaphorical journey; Pond rather makes a strong impression with his honest attitude and daredevil act.
Son Woo Hyun, To My Star 2: Our Untold Stories
Kang Seo Joon is inarguably one of the most loved persona in the Korean BL industry. The character’s popularity could be attributed to his unabashed honesty or Seo Joon’s undying love for partner, Han Ji Woo (Kim Kang Min). Beneath his sunny disposition, Seo Joon is a very complex character. He is insecure, yearns for company and loves deeply. Son Woo Hyun plays this character with a honesty that is heartwarming and endearing. So, while the general audiences spend a lot of time cursing Ji Woo for his cowardice (in the sequel), they empathized with Seo Joon’s pain and suffering. Soo Woo Hyun is one of those few actors who is quite comfortable in his own skin; he portrays his character’s traumatic past with the same ease as he depicts Seo Joon’s outgoing personality. The fact that he sings well is an added advantage. A terrific actor with elan and classic good looks!
Kim Kang Min, To My Star 2: Our Untold Stories
While everyone waited with bated breaths for the premiere of the second season, the audiences had high expectations from this sequel. We were anticipating a breezy ride, hoping that our besotted couple would have moved to the next stage in their lives. So, imagine the shock when we were met with heartbreak, chaos, and pain. The entire season encapsulates the reasons behind Han Ji Woo’s abrupt decision to break up with Seo Joon. Avid fans were frustrated with Ji Woo’s unreasonable behavior and there were many who wished they could drill some sense into his head. Kim Kang Min must be applauded for maintaining the consistency in his role; playing a difficult character like Ji Woo requires lots of mental preparation and fortitude. Ji Woo always has a tight control over his expressions and is quite reserved; it’s hard to understand him and that often leads to misunderstandings. This dark juxtapose in their characters is what makes the “Seo Joon- Ji Woo” romance so memorable. Seo Joon’s cheerful nature is like a balm to Ji Woo’s suffering soul. Kang Min’s performance was praiseworthy and we are totally looking forward to the possibility of a renewal.
Mile Phakphum, KinnPorsche
Self financing a mega project like KinnPorsche while acting as the main lead is a tough call; but then Mile Phakphum has both the aura and inclination to play this sexually charged character. Kinn’s daily life is comparable to a megalomaniac drama, which encompasses dodging fervent murder attempts while trying to protect his father’s empire. Mile had to embrace the technicalities of playing a mafia heir while romancing his diffident love interest, Porsche. The best part about this show was the unhindered portrayal of sex and sensuality; Mile’s fiery hot chemistry with co-star Apo Nattawin was much appreciated. I was awestruck by his performance, which was both flawless and intriguing. His handsome looks and real life persona do add to the charm, as Mile has both the sophistication and risque that is attached to this role. Kinn is an absolutely sensual creature (you will understand my point, if you have read the books) and Mile embodies that sensuality with ease. He is comfortable in his own skin, even in the NC scenes; it makes the act so much more believable and realistic. Definitely an actor par excellence!
Apo Nattawin, KinnPorsche
If Mile’s portrayal of Kinn was enchanting, then Apo’s rendition of Porsche was equally riveting. Porsche has an understated charm that instantly draws people’s attention. As a bartender, he often uses this charm on his gullible customers. That is, until he meets Kinn and his entire world is turned upside down. On the hindsight, Porsche considers himself as straight. Obviously, a sudden change in sexuality can be frightening, but Porsche handles it rather mildly (as against the textbook version, who gay panics for almost three fourth portions of the book). Apo adds his own stamp to this tough character, making him much more likable and realistic. Frankly, Apo’s disposition adds a rustic edge to this role, and he portrays it with an honesty that touches your heart. Mile & Apo are so comfortable in doing NC scenes, they have literally raised the bar to insurmountable levels. I don’t think we will ever see a Thai BL couple with a chemistry that is comparable to theirs. Porsche’s rise from a low-lying bartender to becoming the mafia boss is quite historic and we are looking forward to his next journey!
Earth Katsamonnat, My Only 12%
The first half of this show mostly depicts Seeiw as a childish and clingy individual, a trait that could be attributed to his lifelong dependence on best friend, Cake (Santa). While Cake is mostly oblivious to his childhood friend’s affections, the ensuing heartbreak and suffering pretty much becomes the selling point of this show. Earth is adept at playing roles that are emotionally charged and subservient. It could be Tar from “Love by Chance S1 & S2”, In from “Until We Meet Again” or Seeiw from “My Only 12%”. The show charts Seeiw’s journey as he slowly blossoms into a confident diva. Earth has a strong on screen presence, an excellent chemistry with his co-stars and his performances are always commendable!
Santa Pongsapak, My Only 12%
Although a rookie actor, Santa Pongsapak has the elan and caliber that has put him on the top of this list. Despite being paired opposite of a veteran actor like Earth and their ample age difference, Santa never falters in his performance. His acting is awe-inspiring and you can’t find faults in his performance. The first half of this show illustrates Cake as a self-absorbed individual; he rarely cares about anyone else and is mostly lost in his own world. His only weakness being his strong connection with Seeiw. They are interdependent on each other and are rarely apart. Although he doesn’t harbor any romantic feelings for his best friend, Cake enjoys the fact that Seeiw depends on him a lot. Their friendship evolves into a more serious form after Cake returns from his stay abroad. Cake grows despondent on realising that Seeiw has grown independent and doesn’t depend on him anymore. Santa’s rendition of Cake’s despondency and hurt is so believable that you can’t help but feel empathetic to him (despite the hurt that he causes in the first half of the show). He is currently starring in the on-air show “Between Us Series” and I’m looking forward to watching his future projects.
In 2022, there have been many amazing actors/actresses in BLs. Some have shown phenomenal talent this year. Picking my top 10 was extremely hard. I had to rewatch some of my favorite series to remind me why. I am so very proud of these actors as I watched them grow and come into their own. They have made me realize how much I love and admire them for all they do to bring a smile to our faces. Working in this industry is not an easy task, but they make it look easy. I am one fan who will always stand behind “my boys” and support them in whatever they do, wherever they go and with whomever they love. After long deliberation, I have chosen the top 10 from 2022.
Gun Atthaphan Phunsawat, Not Me Series
Gun is such an astonishing actor. I fell in love when I watched Theory of Love. I followed him throughout his career and I’m proud of seeing his immense growth. When I watched him in Not Me, I was completely blown away by his acting skills. Gun played both Black and White, who were identical twins separated at a young age due to an unusual trait they shared where they literally felt each other. Gun enacted both roles flawlessly. Black stayed with his mother and grew up disliking the political scenario in Thailand whilst rebelling against the system. White lived with his father in Germany. He was sheltered and given the best life could offer. He knew nothing of how the system worked once he returned home. You could tell when he was White, even when he was portraying Black. White’s innocence was done with subtlety. Black’s hatred came through strong, but not in an aggressive way. You could see the love he had for his brother Black, his protector. Gun has played many characters in his career, mainly which were sweet or innocent ones. In Not Me, he got to play the tough guy, while also portraying a sweet, naive guy. I adore Gun and will support him in all his future endeavors; whichever way he turns I will be always support him.
Joong Archen Aydin, Star in my Mind
Joong was and always will be my Ming. I fell in love with this sweet, beautiful soul then and I am proud to be his fan. I was so excited when I heard he has a new series. I followed him ardently since shooting for Star in my Mind commenced. Seeing Joong grow into this mind-blowing, exceptional actor, and singer was a heartwarming experience. In this show, he played the complete opposite of Ming. Khabkluen is a confused, quiet, uncertain, and afraid man who cares for someone of the same sex. It was interesting watching him play the cold and seemingly unloving person, who deep down loved Dao and had absolutely no idea how to tell him. His actions were subtle at times, and at other times downright obvious. I watched Joong grow into his character, and once I heard him sing the theme song, my heart was full. He is a truly inspirational person to me and has been there helping me overcome some of my insecurities. I know I will never have the chance to meet him, but if I could, I know I would cry just seeing him in front of me, as that is how grateful I feel for him.
Pavel Naret Promphaopun, Coffee Melody Series
Pavel is another one I have followed for about 2+ years now and watched him grow into a phenomenal actor and singer. Watching 2Moons2 and seeing Pavel play P’Forth as a tough, loud person, then watching a sweet, shy, and very quiet Plen was an intriguing experience. He is so versatile in his acting and I, for one, have loved watching him mature and come into his own. He played his character with the expertise of a veteran actor. He made Plen his own and made me fall in love with Pavel all over again. I have also had the pleasure of watching him on his other platforms and see the real Pavel, and he is an amazing person with a heart of gold. The main reason I watched Coffee Melody was to support Pavel, and I wasn’t disappointed in the least. I had to wait every week to watch this incredible actor as he made me smile, laugh, and cry. That is quite a feat for an actor. I will support Pavel in his future endeavors. He has so many talents and I can hardly wait to see where he goes from here.
Zee Pruk Panich, Cutie Pie Series
I have been following Zee since Why R U, which is the first series I saw Zee in, where I saw this incredible actor take on this difficult lead role and totally nail it. I was excited to see him in another series and can’t wait to watch him. I have followed him from the beginning and watched this beautiful person overcome some tough obstacles. When I watched the first episode of Cutie Pie, I was hooked on Zee’s talent once again. He made me hate him, cry for him and love him all at the same time. I watched as his character seemed to be evil and malicious to his lover and then I watched as he let his guard down. He let his true feelings show and made me appreciate him. I am amazed how Zee has grown and become a beautiful man. I, for one, will always support Zee no matter what. He is an incredible person and I will always support him.
Earth Teerapat, Scent of Love
For me, Earth will always be Wayu in my heart. Knowing the pains he has been through, and the obstacles he has overcome, I am so proud of the talented actor he has become. When I heard he had a new series, I was over the moon with excitement. Although only three episodes long, Scent of Love was amazing to watch. I saw the young, innocent Earth all grown up and looking like the amazing actor I always knew he was. Then, My Secret Love premiered, and that was when I fell in love with him all over again. I watched as he played his character with maturity that I had not seen in a long time. His dancing and singing were above par. I loved that he came back to the series with a vengeance and showed the world that he was amazing. I always knew he was and I never doubted. I can’t wait to see what 2023 brings for this outstanding, beautiful actor/person. Whatever it is, I will be right there cheering him on!
Earth Katsamonnat, My Only 12%
Earth Katsamonnat is such an adorable, sweet, kind, and loving persona, his talent is beyond comparison. I fell in love with Earth in Love by Chance and have been following him throughout his career. I have never been disappointed in this young man. He carries himself with a confidence and assuredness that blows me away. He is mostly cast in sweet and shy kind of roles, which he does with an expertise. I would love to see him play an antagonist. I am truly positive he will play it in a mind blowing manner. I always feel like I must protect him. He is that precious to me. I will be anxiously awaiting his new show in 2023. I will be first in line to support him!
Fluke Natouch Siripongthon, Oh My Sunshine Night!
Fluke caught my attention in Red Wine in the Dark Night where he was outstanding. Fluke played a crazy psychotic killer and I was awestruck. I was shocked when I saw him in UWMA, which was a polar opposite character. I was pleasantly surprised with his portrayal of Pharm. I’m always excited to see his new series. I have watched this amazing soul work his magic in every series. I am enamored with this young man and his many talents. I hope 2023 will bring more work to this phenomenal actor.
Fluke Pongsakorn, My Ride The Series
I am so in love with Fluke as he brought Mork to life, as comparable to the written word in the novel. He is a fair newcomer and I for one was impressed with his acting. I had waited for over 2 years to watch this show and Fluke didn’t disappoint. When the main actors were picked, I did all the research I could. I was nervous since adaptations don’t always work out well. Fluke made Mork his own, and I was blown away by his act; as I saw Mork come to life in front of my eyes. I was so overwhelmed by his incredible skills. Bringing my favorite character to life and never doubting it. I have re-watched this series several times and each time I find something different to love Fluke for. I am truly impressed by him and hope to watch more of his shows in the future.
Meen Nattakrit, On Cloud 9
In my opinion, Meen was the best pick for playing the character-Tiew. I have watched Meen in both Once in a Memory and Calculating Love. He proved his acting talents in both series. In On Cloud 9, I was once again blown away by his caricature. This was a series that was perfect from the actors to the cinematography. Meen portrayed Tiew with such a honesty that I was hooked. I was anticipating each episode as I wanted to see more of the phenomenal actor and experience what more he could bring to this series. He was sweet, loving, and caring from the opening scene to the very last. I can only imagine what this amazingly talented actor will bring in the future. I, for one and very excited to see his future works!
Perth Nakhun, KinnPorsche
Perth is such a breath of fresh air in the BL world. In My Engineer, his character was this cold, very quiet person, and then in Cutie Pie, he played his fun-loving self. In KinnPorsche, his part was too short, but he was my favorite character in this series. He is so adorable you cannot help but fall in love with him. I truly hope he gets more leads in more show, his screen presence is amazing. Although there is no confirmation about My Engineer 2, I would LOVE to see RamKing again. Another reason I love Perth is his love for POKEMON. He is a huge fan as I am. I love watching him talk about his favorite Pokemon’s. His face lights up and you get to see the kid inside him. I pray for more from Perth in 2023!!
These were my “Top 10 BL Actors” in 2022. They all have a special place in my heart, as each in their own way has helped me become a better person. I have overcome some of my obstacles as I watch these immensely talented actors overcome some pretty hard obstacles in their own life. Each one has made an impression on me and I will always support “My Boys”. They are immensely talented, have huge hearts, and honestly care about their fans. Someday I wish I could meet each one and tell them how truly amazing they are in everything they do. Every single one is “My Boy” and I love them to the moon and back, no matter what. As I wrote this piece, I teared up. I am very passionate about these men and I only want the best for them always. No matter where they go or what they do, I will be there cheering for them.
With this, we are rounding up our features on “#TeamBLXpress Top Ten Favorites”.