“Sleep with Me” is a queer female love story which won the Audience Award for Best Episodic when it made its world premiere last July 19 as a selection in the Episodes section of the 40th Outfest LGBTQ+ Film Festival in Los Angeles. Tickets to the premiere, which was attended by Lovi and director Samantha Lee, quickly sold out.
“Nakakatuwa dahil bago pa siya ipalabas dito, naka-receive na siya ng award. It’s nice na na-recognize siya sa ibang bansa. Hopefully, ma-enjoy rin ito ng ating mga Kapamilya sa Pilipinas. Lahat kami sa team pinaghirapan talaga ito,” said Lovi during an exclusive interview at the ABS-CBN compound in Quezon City recently.
It’s the first time for both Lovi and Janine to work together on a project.
“Super-exciting to work with Lovi for the first time. Hindi ko talaga maisip noon paano ko siya makaka-work. When the project was pitched to me, it was even before she transferred. So the whole time, wishful thinking lang talaga na magawa namin (ito) and I’m so happy we were able to do it. And it’s such a unique story pa.”
Lovi said that she’s thankful she got to work with Janine in a unique series.
“We would always run into each other, and we would meet backstage sa mga studio and never kaming nagka-trabaho talaga. The fact that I finally got to work with Janine sa ganitong klaseng storya kasi I’ve always wanted to work with her as well. I was always thinking ano ba yung mga hindi cliche’ story kasi puwede naman ako magcast as her sister. Yun ang mga usual things na maiisip mo but this one is different so thankful ako kasi ganitong project pa ang pinagsamahan namin,” she said.
Janine and Lovi are hopeful that their roles will impart eye-opening lessons.
“I play Harry, a disc jockey. She’s very happy, optimistic, happy-go-lucky, and very independent. Parang maganda talaga yung outlook niya on life and open talaga siya sa possibilities. I’m a late-night radio DJ and yung meeting namin is that she’s always awake at night. Narinig niya yung radio show ko,” Janine said.
For her part, Lovi said: “Si Luna naman meron siyang condition. Basically she sleeps at daytime so parang balugtad yung body clock niya. So kung si Harry ay parang Sunshine, si Luna naman ay complete opposite. Talagang may sarili siyang mundo and she avoids people because of her condition so complete opposite talaga sila. Parang sun and moon ang ipinapakita rito na contrast.”
Both stars said that they were not surprised at all about the topic of the film.
“I was excited kasi it’s something I’ve never done. I think we should have more of these kinds of stories. And I’m happy that Janine and I get to use our influences as actors in this project,” said Lovi.
Janine added: “Malaking bagay rin talaga kung sino ang mag-di-direct and we know that Direk Sam has done quality films on this topic. I’ve seen her work and I was excited dahil alam ko magiging maganda yung kanyang kuwento coming from her.”
To prepare for their roles, the two stars shared their enthusiasm when they attended workshops for the series.
“There’s this exercise na I don’t know to explain it pero she was taught paano galawin yung wheelchair and me naman how to walk,” said Lovi.
“Me naman, in this series, I’m a wheelchair user so I was able to get my wheelchair few weeks before the shoot para lang I’ll be comfortable with it. So I have to make it convincing, and it’s a different lifestyle talaga (if you’re on a wheelchair). I was able to talk din with other wheelchair users kung paano talaga sila gumalaw on a wheelchair,” Janine said.
In doing intimate scenes, Janine reacted: “In any project naman, nakakanerbyos talaga. Awkward. Pero dito sobrang naalagaan ka, it was a close set. So ginawa talaga nila ang lahat para maging comfortable kami. Si Lovi nakakatawa. Lagi siyang nagsasabi ‘Janine, can I do this?’ “
“Sabi ko kasi sa guys, usually, you don’t have to ask. Ganun pala ang feeling. Kasi noon sinasabi nila after the love scenes, sorry, sorry, sabi ko naman, no, you’re fine! Don’t worry. Just do what you need to do as an actor. This time, ako naman sorry ng sorry kay Janine. Gets ko na kung ano ang nararamdaman nila kapag gumagawa ng intimate scenes,” recalled Lovi, as she laughed.
Aside from the tender love story between the two female leads, the story will also shed light on the social injustices experienced by those who are not able-bodied, heteronormative individuals.
“I think Janine and Lovi’s characters both have their own set of issues that they deal with, that makes them excluded from society at large. It’s about people’s stories that don’t get told a lot,” direk Samantha, who is also known for her queer films “Baka Bukas” and “Billie and Emma,” said in a recent interview.
“The story is really something that I don’t think has been shown in the Filipino setting. I’m so excited for people to learn more about this topic and alam kong madaming makaka-relate. And at the core, it’s a love story na talagang you’ll get attached to and it will make you feel things,” Janine also said.
Stream all six episodes of “Sleep with Me” on Aug. 15 for free on the iWantTFC app (iOs and Android) and website (iwanttfc.com).