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How Fire Island Brought Sexy, Messy, Gay Asian Stories to Life

How Fire Island Brought Sexy, Messy, Gay Asian Stories to Life


Out talks to Joel Kim Booster, Bowen Yang, & Conrad Ricamora about starring in one of this year's best gay romantic comedy films.

A new, sexy, and queer AF retelling of Jane Austen's Pride & Prejudice, Hulu's latest gay romantic comedy film Fire Island is exactly the kind of movie we need right now.

With a well-rounded cast that features four queer Asian characters (the likes of which include a lesbian den mother played by comic legend Margaret Cho), one of the things the film examines well is what it's like navigating the modern gay dating/social scene when you're a person of color in a predominantly white queer nook of America, like New York's Fire Island.

And that's all thanks to the film's masterminds: writer and lead star Joel Kim Booster and director Andrew Ahn (of Spa Night fame)!

Out got the chance to speak to the film's stars, including Booster, Bowen Yang, Conrad Ricamora, and Matt Rogers!

"I think for me it was just about realism," Booster told Out when asked about crafting a film that centered around the complex, hilarious, and sometimes messy lives of queer Asain characters. "I think that so often we see just one dimension of a character, specifically a gay character and especially with Asian characters. We get trapped in these boxes so easily, and I think that I saw this as an opportunity not only to showcase a character like Noah, but also contrasting him with someone like Bowen, which is based somewhat on our real relationship, on our real friendship. And then with adding Conrad and Margaret."

He continued:

"I wanted to show that we're not a monolith. That there is sort of a breadth of experience and the ways in which we experience discrimination differ based on other intersecting factors and things like that. And so I wanted to complicate things. I wanted it to show how complicated it is to navigate, as an Asian person, as a gay person, this world that we have, and show the breadth of experience."

"It goes back to what Joel says about the realism of it is that," Saturday Night Live comedian and Out cover star Bowen Yang added. "As much of a reverie as it is to like go to Fire Island and get caught up in the fantasy of it, what your expectations are and all that, these are people who are hopefully representative of anybody who goes there regardless of their race. They enter in as multidimensional people who have their hangups, their hopes, their dreams. I think that all is suffused really neatly into all four of those Asian characters."

"I love that we all get to be messy and complicated because I think we're all messy, complicated people," How to Get Away with Murder alum Conrad Ricamora said. "Talking about how the movie is based in realism and that it's not being preachy. I do think that there's room for other movies to delve into our trauma, but we've had so many of those movies and this feels like such a relief to just be able to have fun and exist in a really real way. We're not ignoring issues that might exist, but we're also not just living in the trauma. 'Cause we don't."

Fire Island is now streaming on Hulu.

RELATED | Watch the Fire Island Stars Serve Up Their Best Marisa Tomei Impressions in This Brand New Clip

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Raffy Ermac

Raffy is a Los Angeles-based writer, editor, video creator, critic, and the digital director of Out.

Raffy is a Los Angeles-based writer, editor, video creator, critic, and the digital director of Out.