Boys Before Friends is an online, loosely-based American adaptation of the manga, Boys Over Flowers. The production team has since stated that the series is an "original work". It was written by Kel and Eriden Williams. The web series was first announced in mid-2013 and began airing on December 26. It was originally suppose to end at sixteen episodes, but ended at seven.
The story follows the strong-willed heroine, Zoey Taylor at Ellison University. The school is controlled by the Liam Montgomery, leader of the powerful clique, the F4.
Ellison University is a school for the rich and elite, however once a year they hold auditions open to talented people. Zoey Taylor is one of these talented people and the college accepts her. Once there though she finds that her dream college is not as perfect as it seemed. The college is ruled by four rich kids called the F4. Zoey tries to stay away from them at first, but eventually stands up to the F4.
Cast and characters
- Claude Racine, Dawn Morrow, and Rose Guess as Zoey Taylor (Tsukushi Makino), a talented dancer, who won an audition for Ellison. She is a headstrong, middle-class girl, and always fights for what is right. Zoey is the first to stand up to the F4. Riley Rae Baker was originally cast to play Zoey.
- Joseph Almani and Kevin Markovic as Liam Montgomery (Tsukasa Domyoji), the rich kid leader of the F4 from Beverly Hills, California.
- Trenton Culkin as Oliver Young (Rui Hanazawa)
- Jason S. Mordeno as Noah McCallister (Akira Mimasaka)
- Erik Thomas as Chase Carlton (Sojiro Nishikado)
- Jackie Aviera as Piper Davis (Yuki Matsuoka)
- Renae Leniece as Aubrey (Makiko Endo/Sakurako Sanjo)
- Suteara Vaughn as Chloe James (Sachiyo Sengoku)
- Mikayla S. Campbell as Fiona Jensen (Shigeru Okawahara)
- Andrew Klasnic as Riley Jensen (Junpei Oribe)
- Tiffany Daniels as Krissy
- Alexia Quinn as Nikki
- Dominic Elliott-Spencer as Chris
- Shane R. Kennedy as Brock
- Matt Poeschl as Derek
- Amanda Paddock as Jade Jones
- Michael Milford as Brian Taylor
The series was first announced through a Kickstarter campaign on June 25, 2013 by the Wazego Collective. They did not reach their goal of $100,000, but the producers have stated that they had a multi-million dollar budget. The producers have not stated whether they obtained the rights to the series from Shueisha, however they implied that they will not be getting sued. They also planned to keep the title Boys Over Flowers at first, before changing it to Boys Before Friends.
They announced that Joseph Almani, Trenton Culkin, Napoleon Tavale, and Jason S. Mordeno would be playing the F4 on September 23, 2013, and that Riley Rae Baker would play Zoey on September 25, 2013. Baker was later switched out with Claude Racine, who appeared as Zoey for one and a half episodes before being replaced by Dawn Morrow. Napoleon Tavale was also replaced by Erik Thomas for unknown reasons. Dawn Morrow and Joseph Almani were let go in the middle of production with allegations from both actors that they were fired. Kevin Markovic and Rose Guess replaced Almani and Morrow for the remaining duration of the series.
Filming was slated to begin on October 21, 2013 in Los Angeles., eventually being pushed to November 7, 2013. It was originally planned for sixteen episodes, but has only seven episodes so far. The production team has stated that they have hopes for the series continuing sometime in the future.
On February 22, 2014, WillKinn Media filed a lawsuit against three of the actors for blackmail, libel, extortion and defamation.