With Fire Islandfilmmaker Andrew Ahn made his first major-studio film, going into business with Searchlight Pictures after previously helming indie fare like spa night.
And from what Ahn told vulnerability recently, Searchlight had many notes about Fire Island—from its script (the studio thought the Noah-Will beach scene was unnecessary) to the soundtrack (the studio wanted “Levitating” by Dua Lipa).
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Ahn also described his back-and-forth with Searchlight about the nudity in the film, which is now streaming on Hulu:
I was like, “I want ad*ck.” It’s Fire Island. It’s sex scenes. It’s orgies. Like, you’re going to see d*ck. I understood that erect d*ck 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.
Ahn also said he was “dying” to put a good perineum on screen. “It’s such an underrepresented erogenous zone,” he quipped. “Representation matters.”
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Joel Kim Booster, who wrote and stars in the film, discussed the nudity of the film in a Chicago Grandstand interview, saying, “We didn’t want to shy away from anything. We didn’t want to shy away from the realities of what it is to be on that island, both the sex stuff but also the racism and classism and body expectations. We wanted it to feel like a real Fire Island experience and we were very upfront with the studio about that. And to Searchlight’s credit, they were very open to letting us go there.”