Fire Island director had to fight for nudity: ‘I wanted d**k’

LGBTQ

Joel Kim Booster in Fire Island. (Searchlight Pictures)

Fire Island director Andrew Ahn said he had to fight for the 2022 Pride and Prejudice adaptation to include nudity.

Many of the more sensational moments of the 1813 Jane Austen novel include coy hand-touching and the odd exposed ankles. But Ahn wanted his version to be a little different.

Speaking in an interview with Vulture, Ahn said he had to strike a bargain with the slightly squeamish Searchlight Pictures, the studio that produced the critically-acclaimed rom-com.

“I was like, ‘I want a d**k’,” Ahn told the internment news outlet. “It’s Fire Island. It’s sex scenes. It’s orgies. Like, you’re going to see d**k.”

He continued: “I understood that erect dick was going to push us into NC-17 territory, which would seriously limit who could see the movie.

“But I remember asking: ‘Can I have two soft penises, one for each orgy?’

“And to their credit, our producers were like: ‘How many? Where?’ Then finally, they came back to me being like: ‘We’ll give you as many butts as you want.’

“And I was like: ‘You know what? I’ll take that deal.’ I could have put more butts in it.”

Director Andrew Ahn. (Amanda Edwards/Getty Images)

But the battle for the on-screen butts wasn’t the only thing Ahn and Searchlight Pictures struggled over.

The company wanted “entertainment, first and foremost” out of Fire Island, which explores the highs and lows of queer love and sex at a vacation gone wrong. Ahn, meanwhile, wanted “authenticity”

This was a “tough process”, Ahn said.

“They had a certain kind of expectation of what a gay film should be,” he said.

“There were music cues where they were like: ‘Do you want to throw in Dua Lipa in there?’ And I was like: ‘I love Dua Lipa — I don’t know if this fits in that moment.’”

Searchlight Pictures, of course, wanted Dua Lipa’s “Levitating” included in Fire Island.

Ahn, though, is more of a Vengaboys fan.

“Working on Fire Island really makes me want to make a gay Asian American film that feels closer to my own experience,” he explained. “It makes me want to make a GAMEBOI movie.

“I want Cascada and Kesha and Vengaboys all over the soundtrack — I want ‘Boom, boom, boom’.

“The beauty of what [actor Joel Kim Booster] did with this project is that it’s going to inspire other people to tell their versions of this gay Asian American experience.

“The impact of this film won’t necessarily be seen until many years down the line, but I think it’s going to be there.”

Fire Island, named after the gay haven of the same name in New York, follows a group of friends (including Booster, Margaret Cho and Bowen Yang) on their annual beach getaway.

The Hulu flick is sufficiently gay, to say the least (it uses Legally Blonde as a verb, for a start). But it’s earned huge plaudits for centring the experiences of queer Asian people in a way Hollywood so rarely does.

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