About five minutes later Fire IslandThe film, written by Joel Kim Booster and directed by Andrew Ahn, offers one of the best needles: the cover of Kathleen. Willy Wonka classic “Pure Imagination”.
The lyrical story of “Pure Imagination” suggests Fire Island is a place that historically LGBTQ audiences can only dream of when it comes to big studio movies – weirdo-centered comedy, racist romance, with a higher degree of relativity via (unstructured) template. But Booster’s modern take on the classic rom-com has made that dream come true onscreen with a mix of Austen and quirky to the point of changing the world – at least the stories about it. LGBTQ on the Hollywood big screen – there seems to be “nothing to it. ”
During the film’s New York red carpet premiere on Thursday as part of Newfest’s opening night, Ahn said The Hollywood Reporter it’s part of a larger vision that he and the LGBTQ-led creative team and cast are working towards. “I thought a lot about this being a movie for my friends, for my gay community,” Ahn said. “I wanted it to show us, as beautiful creatures, that our stories really matter and matter. And that it can be fun, sexy, and needy, at the same time. “
Ahn points to the talent of the screenwriter and the Booster star as being largely responsible for the genre’s seemingly effortless and unifying audience. As a first-time screenwriter, the comedian and actor said he initially “just felt like this wasn’t going to happen,” when it came to the film’s production. But that’s what led to him just going “ball into the wall” in the way he approached it, writing “as honestly as possible and not just trying to write for an audience that I don’t think would be interested in writing.” see it.”
Part of that means that while rom-com roms may be popular, sometimes coms aren’t. Producer Brooke Posch said: “Writing a movie that has something for everyone is almost impossible and I think this is really working on so many levels, across different genres, audience differences,” says producer Brooke Posch. “So every joke isn’t for everyone, but you can still join in on it.”
“This is something that has sold itself and it’s not a single audience,” said producer John Hodges of the film’s dual audience, Austen readers and LGBTQ audiences. “There’s a bunch of characters here and we hope people get to see a version of themselves.”
Booster said he has the support of Searchlight, who he notes “doesn’t pressure me” about the comedy, even if the execs don’t understand the joke. “Sometimes they don’t get the joke and that’s okay. As long as I explain it to them, they don’t need the whole audience to know,” he said.
Part of that larger joke is something deeply rooted in the film’s relationships and racial dynamics among its diverse population. Something that is not a laughing matter? Fire Island Not only is it one of the few LGBTQ-focused romantic comedies from a major studio, but it’s also one of the few big-screen romances to feature two characters of color in the film. a top relationship on screen. Having two gay Asian men lead the film was something Booster said was “definitely on my mind” while making the film.
“We saw a lot of people including white men for that role, and it was definitely the hardest role by far. Darcy is an iconic role and you have to hate him and then you have to love him,” he said. CHEAP. “But in the end – it’s not even a line – we have the best actor for the role and I’m so glad it’s Conrad. [Ricamora]. ”
But around casting choices like Ricamora, Booster’s work uses key moments of humor to highlight how racism and abuse in general affects the series’ oddly colored characters. movies as well as how they navigate love and friendship. More specifically, the film explores how racism inadvertently infiltrates the LGBTQ community, primarily through some of the film’s gay white villains.
That includes Nick Adam’s Cooper, inspired by a combination of Bad girls and BILLIONhe Devil Wears Pradaby Miranda Priestly, who the actor says represents the true social gatekeepers on Fire Island and “in the gay community at large”.
“I think even outside of our own communities, we’ve all met someone like this, who relies on other people’s looks and perceptions to feel better and better than others,” he said. I said CHEAP. “I met this guy. I met him on the island. I met him at a gay bar. I met him at the gym. We all know who he is. And I think it’s important to show that side of our community and the part of the island that’s out there. There are people like that, unfortunately, we all have to navigate around. ”
Ahn says this is something he feels comfortable exploring humorously with the film’s white actors, with whom he openly talks about the issues the film is exploring through the films. Austen’s original prototype. “With each of the members, I talked to them and I got to know them a little bit as a person and I remember feeling very confident that they understood the story and that they understood their perspective. us and where the story comes from,” he said.
“If you really read books like Pride & Prejudice, [Jane Austen is] Booster talks about how easy it is to combine his humorous voice and the story he wants to tell with Austen’s work. “Even today, the comedy in her novels is very good and it’s all about the ways that we’re terrible to each other without being scary to each other. That’s what’s not being said below the surface. “
Having a cast that understands that’s what the director said “really relieved me” after a not-so-positive experience directing a white actor on the set of a TV show. “I was directing an episode with a racist cop character and the actor playing the cop said to me, ‘I’m so excited to be playing this role. I wanted to say racist things,” Ahn recalls. “I immediately felt very unsafe and I don’t like that he gets stoned for saying and doing racist things. So for me, it’s really important to our cast that people of color know that the people who play these villains are not the villains themselves. “
That helped build Fire Island being a safe haven for an uncanny love story – not just about romance, but about friends and family, found or otherwise – allows it to resonate deeply, regardless tell who’s watching.
“The movie shows that in a real group of friends, a sense of racial diversity, physical diversity and personality diversity is very important,” the Miller star said. “And the real experience is that I left this cast and crew with a fully chosen family, which means a lot to me, especially as a weird POC. strange in this country.”
“I think nowadays if we adapt to things like Pride & Prejudice and we have divergent people in this family, we have to show diversity. Also, I don’t think it will reflect reality for me anyway if I go [to Fire Island] with a family and it looks white, to be honest with you,” said Rogers CHEAP about the diversity of the cast in the film. “We were there. We have seen it. ”
Fire Island is currently streaming on Hulu.