‘Fire Island’: How Jane Austen’s ‘Pride and Prejudice’ inspired raunchy gay rom-com

It is a truth universally acknowledged: filmmakers will be adapting Jane Austen novels into movies from here to the end times. But few so far have been as inspired as Fire Island, the Joel Kim Booster-written, Andrew Ahn-directed romantic comedy that reimagines Pride and Prejudice’s Bennett sisters as five gay men who hit the eponymous LGBTQ summer destination in Long Island for a week of sex, drugs and electronica.

“I think there’s something about how Jane Austen observed Regency Era society, how people were communicating across lines, how they were making assumptions about each other, and how that might keep you from creating a really special connection. And I think that happens within the queer community,” Ahn told Yahoo Entertainment during an interview where he was joined by co-star James Scully.

“We’re very good at judging people, because it’s a survival skill. We need to be able to assess, ‘Is this person going to hate me because I’m gay?’ We use that judgment within the community sometimes, unfairly, and it keeps us from making connections. So I think Joel really shrewdly saw that parallel and took it to the extreme with this movie.”

Booster, along with co-stars Bowen Yang, Conrad Ricamora and Matt Rogers, says the origin of the idea dates back to a trip he took to the resort getaway that’s billed itself “America’s First Gay and Lesbian Town.”

“The whole genesis to the entire movie was my first trip to Fire Island with Bowen where I took Pride and Prejudice as my beach read,” he says. “Reading that story, the parallels felt so clear, and it felt so relevant to what we were experiencing on the island at that moment.

“I’ve loved Pride and Prejudice since I was a little boy. I loved the BBC miniseries with Jennifer Ehle and Colin Firth, and I loved Joe Wright’s [2005 film] with Keira Knightley. And for me, it just seemed like something that I could do. And at first I said it as a joke, and a little bit of a threat. … But after a couple years, it really just crystallized.”

Watch our full cast interview above.

Fire Island is now playing in theaters and streaming on Hulu.

Video produced by Jen Kucsak and edited by Valerie Volpacchio

Watch the trailer: