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‘Fire Island’ First Look: Joel Kim Booster and Bowen Yang Star in a Jane Austen-Inspired Gay Rom-Com

Screenwriter and star Booster originally was set to sail at Quibi before the streamer went under. Now, the rom-com heads to Hulu on June 3.

Joel Kim Booster in the film FIRE ISLAND. Photo by Jeong Park. Courtesy of Searchlight Pictures. © 2022 20th Century Studios All Rights Reserved

“Fire Island”

Jeong Park. Courtesy of Searchlight Pictures. © 2022 20th Century Studios All Rights Reserved

New York’s Fire Island is about to get even steamier.

Hulu shared a first look at the upcoming Fox Searchlight film “Fire Island,” starring Bowen Yang, Zane Phillips, James Scully, Matt Rogers, Tomas Matos, Torian Miller, and Margaret Cho. The gay-centric rom-com centers on a group of friends who embark on a week-long vacation filled with hook-ups, debauchery, and friendship make-or-break moments; screenwriter Joel Kim Booster also stars, while Andrew Ahn (“Spa Night”) directs. “Fire Island” premieres on Hulu on June 3.

And, it turns out one streamer going down flames led “Fire Island” to get the greenlight from Hulu. Filmmaker Booster revealed that the film was originally supposed to premiere in 2020 on short-lived streaming platform Quibi, which specialized in episodic “quick bites” of entertainment.

“My Comedy Central pilot had been passed on — I was so depressed — and my agent was like, ‘You should write a show that’s based off this essay,'” Booster told Vanity Fair. The inspiring essay was written by Booster for a now-dead blog about his connections to Jane Austen as a gay man. “I was like, That’s the dumbest idea you’ve ever had, David. Don’t ever talk to me again. That’s so stupid.'”

Booster eventually wrote a half-hour pilot version of “Fire Island,” then-titled “Trip,” while flying to Japan. The series was bought by Quibi before it shut down after seven months of operation in 2020.

“The day that I found out Quibi was folding I was like, ‘Oh that’s it, there goes that,'” Booster said. “I think I lean more toward it’s a miracle that any queer shit gets made.” Fox Searchlight later saved the series and expanded it into a feature film instead of 10 mini-episodes.

In fact, “Fire Island” was inspired by another (albeit, much longer) miniseries, the BBC adaptation of “Pride and Prejudice,” which Booster would watch with his mother “at least once a year.” Jane Austen’s novel of the same name was a cornerstone for “Fire Island,” as well as 1995 classic interpretation, “Clueless.”

“I can’t even tell you how many times I’ve watched ‘Clueless,’ from a time before I even understood most of the jokes,” Booster said. “Jane Austen’s observations about the way people are awful to each other without being awful to each other—I was like, ‘Oh, my God. This is shade. This is what gay men do all the time.'”

“Saturday Night Live” breakout star Yang added, “A Jane Austen narrative meeting an Asian-American narrative meeting a queer narrative: Those three helices come together in a way that’s greater than the sum of their parts. And to say that something is greater than a Jane Austen narrative is insane, unhinged of me, to do. But I said it.”

“Fire Island” addresses head-on the intersections of race, class, and dating as a friend group vacations together.

As Booster described the plot: “What happens when gay men are put together on an island and there are no straight people to oppress us? How do we oppress each other?”

Yet, Booster continued, “It makes me really nervous when people say, ‘This movie’s going to be really important.’ Like, please don’t. I don’t need that. I feel like the stakes are really high for me. I have a biweekly breakdown in front of Andrew, and then we’re done, and I go to set and everything is good.”

Booster added, “You just can’t wait around for the industry to catch up with you. You have to just do it.”

“Fire Island” will be released June 3 on Hulu.

Check out first look images below.

Matt Rogers, Bowen Yang and Tomas Matos Photo by Jeong Park. Courtesy of Searchlight Pictures. © 2022 20th Century Studios All Rights Reserved

Matt Rogers, Bowen Yang, and Tomas Matos, “Fire Island”

Jeong Park

Bowen Yang and Joel Kim Booster in the film FIRE ISLAND. Photo by Jeong Park. Courtesy of Searchlight Pictures. © 2022 20th Century Studios All Rights Reserved

Bowen Yang and Joel Kim Booster, “Fire Island”

Jeong Park

Bowen Yang, Tomas Matos, Matt Rogers, Torian Miller, Joel Kim Booster and Margaret Cho in the film FIRE ISLAND. Photo by Jeong Park. Courtesy of Searchlight Pictures. © 2022 20th Century Studios All Rights Reserved

Bowen Yang, Tomas Matos, Matt Rogers, Torian Miller, Joel Kim Booster, and Margaret Cho, “Fire Island”

Bowen Yang, Tomas Matos, Matt Rogers, Torian Miller, Joel Kim Booster and Margaret Cho in the film FIRE ISLAND. Photo by Jeong Park. Courtesy of Searchlight Pictures. © 2022 20th Century Studios All Rights Reserved

Bowen Yang, Tomas Matos, Matt Rogers, Torian Miller, Joel Kim Booster, and Margaret Cho, “Fire Island”

Bowen Yang, Tomas Matos, Matt Rogers, Torian Miller and Joel Kim Booster in the film FIRE ISLAND. Photo by Jeong Park. Courtesy of Searchlight Pictures. © 2022 20th Century Studios All Rights Reserved

Bowen Yang, Tomas Matos, Matt Rogers, Torian Miller, and Joel Kim Booster, “Fire Island”

Matt Rogers, Zane Phillips and Tomas Matos in the film FIRE ISLAND. Photo by Jeong Park. Photo by Jeong Park. Courtesy of Searchlight Pictures. © 2022 20th Century Studios All Rights Reserved

Matt Rogers, Zane Phillips, and Tomas Matos, “Fire Island”

Jeong Park

James Scully, Nick Adams and Conrad Ricamora in the film FIRE ISLAND. Photo by Jeong Park. Courtesy of Searchlight Pictures. © 2022 20th Century Studios All Rights Reserved

James Scully, Nick Adams, and Conrad Ricamora, “Fire Island”

Jeong Park

The cast of the film FIRE ISLAND. Photo by Jeong Park. Courtesy of Searchlight Pictures. © 2022 20th Century Studios All Rights Reserved

“Fire Island”

Jeong Park

Tomas Matos, Matt Rogers and Torian Miller in the film FIRE ISLAND. Photo by Jeong Park. Courtesy of Searchlight Pictures. © 2022 20th Century Studios All Rights Reserved

Tomas Matos, Matt Rogers, and Torian Miller, “Fire Island”

Conrad Ricamora and Joel Kim Booster in the film FIRE ISLAND. Photo by Jeong Park. Courtesy of Searchlight Pictures. © 2022 20th Century Studios All Rights Reserved

Conrad Ricamora and Joel Kim Booster, “Fire Island”

Jeong Park

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