Thai BL Contemporary History: The names you should know

As BL fans, most of our attention is directed towards the actors who play our favorite characters. Ask any fan of Thai BL who their favorite actor is, and without skipping a beat, said fan will give you a list of five to ten actors. Ask the same fan who their favorite Thai BL, director, writer or producer is, and they may stop to think about it or they may completely draw a blank.

Actually, I should amend the above: casual fans of Thai BL may hesitate when asked who their favorite Thai BL director, writer or producer is, but hard-core fans like myself, will answer quickly. If you are new to Thai BL, you may not know who are the top directors, best known writers or producers, so here is a list that I compiled of who is who in the behind-the-scenes world of Thai BL.

The Pen Names (aka pseudonyms): The Writers

Dek-D.com: A Thai-language youth-oriented website, featuring a large online community, education-related content, and a writer section. The majority of Thai BL series have been adapted from novels first published on Dek-D. Dek means child/youth in Thai.

Mame: The writer behind the hit series, Love by Chance, TharnType and Don’t Say No. She is the writer who has the most novels adapted into Thai BL. Mame will frequently publish tweets which suggests that she is involved in the entire casting and production process of her novel’s adaptations. While critics will point out to Mame’s penchant to portray toxic and abusive Semes, while also writing weak, flat or non-existent female characters, others will point to Mame’s tendency to create interesting characters who are often both likeable and dislikeable. Mame also likes to touch on dark subjects, loves steamy scenes and is fond of talking about or featuring abuse or rape. Still, to this date, she is one of the most successful Thai BL writers in terms of the number of TV adaptations of her novels, with a total of six series adapted from her books.

Jittirain: The woman who wrote the novels that later became the immensely popular 2Gether The Series. She also wrote Theory of Love and Fish Upon The Sky. Personally, I consider Jittirain the most successful Thai BL writer ever, as all of her series have enjoyed a considerable amount of popularity. Unlike Mame, the adaptation of Jittirain’s series tend to be lighter, fluffier and less steamy. However, like many other Thai BL authors, Jittirain is not without issues. Her novels tend to be highly formulaic, and her Ukes while adorable and likeable, tend to lack agency and often become subverted by the will and jealousy of the Seme. In Jittirain’s novels, Ukes tend to be flat characters.

Chiffon_cake: The writer behind 2Moons, 2Moons2 and 2Moons3: The Ambassador. While not as successful as Mame or Jittirain, this is a pen name every Thai BL fan should know. Like Mame, Chiffon has been known to be involved in casting and production of the series that have been adapted from her novels. The upcoming Destiny Seeker is also based on a book by Chiffon.

BitterSweet: She is the writer and scriptwriter behind SOTUS and SOTUS S. She was the first writer to have one of her works adapted by GMMTV, the powerful studio arm of GRAMMY. Like many others on this list, her works were first published by Dek-d.com

Indrytimes: After Mame and Jittirain, Indtrytimes is probably the most famous BL writer in Thailand. Indrytimes wrote the first Dek-D Thai BL novel adapted to a TV series, “Love Sick: The Chaotic Lives of Blue Short Guys”. Yes, we are talking about the woman who created the novel on which Love Sick The Series is based on. In my opinion, her effective use of stream-of-consciousness narration, her relatively realistic portrayal of healthy homosexual relationships, and her characterization of Seme-Uke dynamics, are all ways in which she set herself apart from other writers in this list. Whether she knew it at time or not, she was a trendsetter and a game-changer. Without Indrytimes and Love Sick, Thai BL series would not exists as we know it.

Fluke Teerapat: The only actor to ever pen a script for a Thai BL series who has also never directed. Fluke is credited as the screenwriter for the upcoming series My Ride. Fluke also wrote the script for another series that was cancelled. Thought he is probably best known for his role as Wad in SOTUS, Fluke started acting in 2014, playing opposite Fluke Natouch in My Bromance.

Behind the Cameras: Directors

New/P’New: Acclaimed director, producer and writer, New Siwaj, is one of the most consistent, successful and popular directors of Thai BL. He got his start very early on, working with P’Andy and Cheewin (see below) on Love Sick and Make It Right. In 2018, he directed and produced, Love by Chance, which was the most watched BL on LineTV for several years until it was surpassed by the hugely popular, 2Gether The Series in 2020. His critically acclaimed Until We Meet Again, which aired in 2020, quickly rose to the top of many BL fans Top 10 lists. New is the cousin of Love Sick’s Captain Chonlathorn and he is said to be in a relationship with a BL actor (Is it Yatch? I can’t remember!). Series directed and produced by New are known for their steamy sex scenes, “good” kissing scenes, great secondary couples, intense emotional scenes, and a certain degree of queer-awareness. Note: Many people refer to him as P’New. P is used in front of the name of Thai men and women who are older than you, but since New is younger than me, I simply refer to him as New. Don’t say P’New if you are older than him! New is in his early 30s.

Cheewin: Actor/director Cheewin Thanamin got his start with New Siwaj, under the guidance of P’Andy, in the first and second season of Love Sick. In fact, Cheewin does a cameo in Season 1 of Love Sick. Cheewin was also involved in directing (and acting) in episodes of Make It Right. More recently, he has directed a number of popular BL series, including Why R U? The Series and YYY. Director Cheewin is known for his love (and use) of color, his proclivity for the absurd, and his penchant to portray Yaoi tropes. Cheewin is set to direct the upcoming That’s My Candy

P’Andy: If INDRYTIMES is the mother of Thai BL series, then Andy Rachyd is the father. He read Love Sick and decided he wanted to make a series based on it. Besides Love Sick, he has directed My Tee, Make it Right and TGIF, among others. He is also credited as a screen writer in Love Sick Season 1. The list of actors (and even directors) that P’Andy has mentored or directed is long and it is a who’s who of the biggest BL stars: Khaotung, Phuwin, Neo, Toptap, Gunsmile, Sing, Captain, White, Frank, Drake, AJ Chayapol, Baifern, Gameplay, Sammy, Pineare, Ohm Pawat, Plan, Mean, Beam Papangkorn, Earth Pirapat, Na Naphat, Ja Phachara, New Thitipoom and both Cheewin (as an actor and director) and New Siwaj (as director). P’Andy’s strengths include the ability to get the most out of young and unexperienced actors. There is something very unique about a P’Andy series and it is hard to explain. He is great at the little things: the main leads will hold hands, look at each other tenderly and appear so comfortable with each other that you wonder if they are a real couple or at least, if they are good friends. Also, I am pretty certain that I have cried in every single P’Andy series I have watched, because the emotions always seem so genuine and real. On the other hand, his series have atrocious pacing, editing and sound. This was most obvious in My Tee, where so many plot elements and events appeared disconnected from each other and where most of the outside scenes have terrible audio. Regardless, as fans of BL, we should all be grateful for what P’Andy has done for Thai BL, as without P’Andy, there most likely would be no Love Sick, Toptap, Phuwin, Ohm Pawat, New or Cheewin. The BL world would be much smaller and much sadder.

Chookiat: Also known as Ma-Deaw Chookiat Sakveerakul or Mathew. Award winning director Chookiat is considered by many to be the grandfather of Thai BL. In 2007, Chookiat wrote, directed and produced, the sleeper hit, critically acclaimed and award winning movie Love of Siam. Besides, sweeping all the regional awards that year, Love of Siam became Thailand’s submission to the 81st Academy Awards. Chookiat also wrote and directed the critically acclaimed Dew (starting Ohm Pawat). He is also the director behind Slam Dance, a teen drama with a BL side story. Regardless, Chookiat biggest contribution to BL, and the reason you should know his name, is Love of Siam. While, some consider Love of Siam to be the first Thai BL movie, in reality Love of Siam was a queer movie, wrapped in teen angst and sprinkled with family drama. However, the movie did lay the foundation for what BL in Thailand looks like and established the formula used in Thai BL to make homoerotic dramas palatable to the wider Thai public (e.g. masculine “gays”.) Love of Siam tested the waters and showed that Thailand was ready (and craving) homoerotic dramas. Soon after Love of Siam was released, fanfics for the movie appeared in online platforms. Thai Bl as we know it, was born.

Mean Phiravich: Best known for his role as Tin in Love by Chance, Mean Phiravich recently became the first BL actor to also direct a BL series. Mean’s directorial debut, The Yearbook, adapted the series from one of his own short film school projects, which he also wrote. I will know more about Mean’s directing style once I finish The Yearbook. Thus far, he seems like a competent and sensitive director.

Aam Anusorn: Known for Present Perfect, Present Still Perfect, Call it What you Want and 2Moons2, Aam has become a household name in the Thai BL community. Interestingly, he is a loud critic of the Thai BL industry and recently published a documentary about the behind-the-scenes of this industry, BL: Broken Fantasy. This documentary is available on YouTube. I am still not sure if he is brilliant or has just been incredibly lucky because 2Moons 2 had a very capable cast, but the weak script and lackadaisical directing resulted in a forgettable series. 2Moons 2 barely took off before it was all done. However, most folks I know have told me that his movies, Present Perfect and Present Still Perfect, are very good I need to watch them so that I can properly judge. The series Call It What You Want has also been well received by the BL fandom, but I have not watched it yet.

Backaof Noppharnach: A highly successful director, Backaof has produced, written or directed, some of the most popular Thai BL series, including Still 2gether, Fish Upon The Sky, Dark Blue Kiss, A Tale of Thousand Stars, and the award winning and critically acclaimed He’s Coming To Me. He is also directing the highly anticipated Bad Buddy, which will star Ohm Pawat and Nanon Korapat as the lead couple. His series often feature unambiguously gay characters, physical comedy, and overtly dramatic climaxes. He also likes to have a surprise “twist” in all his series, even if the surprise is pretty obvious. While New and Cheewin can vacillate between brilliant and mediocre and Aam Anusorn sometimes makes me wonder if he is good or just lucky, with Backaof there is no doubt that he is brilliant: he is one of the most consistently good directors in Thai BL. Considering he will be working with Ohm and Nanon and have the backing of GMMTV Studios, I expect Bad Buddy to be among the best series of the year, whether it airs in 2021 or 2022.

Money Makers: The Producers

Pchy (Pronounced Pych): Best known for his role as Mew in Love of Siam and for singing the OST of the original 2Moons, this actor turned-singer (or is it the other way around?) just recently became an executive producer with the premiere of The Yearbook. Pchy is a smart guy, and I expect anything Pchy is involved with to be intelligent, sensitive and original. Though Saint’s project has an older genesis date, Pchy beat him in terms of airing date, to become the first BL actor to also be an executive producer. The multi-faceted Pchy has also written a soliloquy about his character in Love of Siam, and has composed and written several OSTs for Thai BL series and movies.

Saint: The one and only Saint Suppapong, well known among Thai BL fans for his role as Pete in Love by Chance, and Tutor in Why R U?, has now become an executive producer in the upcoming Thai BL series Secret Crush On You. Saint announced his involvement with this series many months before Mean and Pchy announced The Yearbook. Thus, technically speaking, he should be listed as the first BL actor to become the executive producer of a Thai BL series.

Did I missed someone?

Did I missed someone you think is important but I forgot to list? Let me know in the comments below.

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