After writing and directing 2 Cool 2 Be 4Gotten in 2016, director Petersen Vargas takes the helm of Black Sheep’s first digital series Hello Stranger which pairs together Tony Labrusca and JC Alcantara for the first time under the BL or Boys Love genre. “When we were building the story, we wanted something that would really resonate. Of course we’re doing a love story between two boys but at the end of it, we’re doing a rom-com so we really wanted to tell a story na lahat tayo na-e-experience din yung pakiramdam and even setting it during lockdown, setting it in these hard times, parang we wanted to shine a light na parang sa lahat ng nangyayari sa mundo ngayon, ang hope pa rin natin is makatagpo ng konting ligaya at konting pag-ibig. Yun lang naman ang gusto namin i-offer sa Hello Stranger. Ganun siya ka-simple. It’s a love story, as simple as that,” he shared during the Hello Stranger virtual conference.
Aside from being a love story, Vargas stressed that the relationship between friends were also an important aspect of the storyline. “Side by side with the love story, at the core of it, story din siya of friends. It’s a barkada story. Sobrang importante nung barkada as a vehicle for Mico (JC Alcantara) to accept himself and this show also normalizes it, na it’s not a problem. We’re not making problems out of someone’s love preference or inclination to love. This is a show where everyone supports how each other loves and ganun siya ka-simple,” he explained.
Hello Stranger was also a directing challenge for Vargas who had to do it virtually while his stars shot their own scenes in their own homes. “It works a little bit differently especially for the lead cast kasi of course given our limitations, all the supporting cast were really shooting themselves at their own capacities but Tony and JC they had camera operators on set. We were very lucky that we found it possible for them to have that so at least we get to see beyond the digital space nung mga characters. Nangungulila ako sa human contact on the set kasi nag-lo-long ako for that energy kasi minsan dun nangyayari yung magic. Pero with this experience, I could also say that there’s magic with the distance that we have, the fact that we’re all strangers literally. We have never met in person pero to be able to build on something and bank on something as intangible as that, parang magic din siya in its own way. Happy ako kasi sobrang game ng cast. I feel bad for them but more than that I’m happy kasi they’re really willing to give it their all,” he said.
As early as now, Vargas said he is excited for the possibility of the series gaining enough traction for a succeeding seasons. “Abangan natin. Marami kaming hinahanda na ikakatuwa ng mga tao ngayon pa lang. I hope that people really support. We are hoping for all the lovely possibilities,” he added.
Hello Stranger also stars Gillian Vicencio, Vivoree Esclito, Patrick Quiroz, and Migs Almendras. The series is available on the Black Sheep Facebook page and Youtube channel.