Hulu is releasing a new romantic comedy—a queer, contemporary adaptation of Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice. And more than a rom com, Fire Island is a commentary on classism and racism in queer circles.
Penned by comedian Joel Kim Booster, who also stars as Noah, a modern-day version of Elizabeth Bennet, Fire Island reimagines the Jane Austen classic in a contemporary gay party scene.
Setting an Austen adaptation on Fire Island is unchartered territory, but it makes perfect sense: Fire Island, NY’s iconic gay mecca, fosters the same complex relationships and situations that are perfect for satire.
Booster, a lifelong Austen fan, tells Vanity Fair: “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.”
The film, originally entitled Trip, started out as a series that was supposed to air in 2020 on Quibi, a now defunct streaming platform that offered “quick bites” of entertainment. Fast forward to 2022, Fire Island is now a feature film that looks into the social dynamics among gay men. Booster muses: “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?”
Just a lil tease 😉 pic.twitter.com/lcKVR8ieuU
— Joel Kim Booster (@ihatejoelkim) March 4, 2022
In an interview with Out back in 2019, Booster says of the project: “Specifically The Pines and Cherry Grove (two hamlets on the island) [are] such an interesting lens to view the various manufactured social classes gay men have constructed for themselves – whether it’s body image, race, or literal economic class.”
Booster and co-writer, “Saturday Night Live” breakout star Bowen Yang tackle all the passive-aggressive ‘niceties’ that have been happening on the island, and a bit more. It’s also about pushing back against the idea that racist, classist white muscle gays should run the island and the gay party scene in general.
Boster tells VF, rather emphatically, “Don’t let them win. If we all avoid this island because that’s who supposedly runs the island? I refuse to cede that ground.”
To be quite honest, when Booster promised “Pride and Prejudice with handsome gay boys,” he needn’t say more. But the amount of intracommunity commentary that’s gone into the film makes want to look forward to Fire Island even more.
“We made something really, really special and unique and gay,” Joel Kim Booster tells Vanity Fair.
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.”
Fire Island’s star-studded cast includes Bowen Yang, Joel Kim Booster, Matt Rogers, and Margaret Cho and premieres on Hulu on June 3.
Source: Vanity Fair