‘Fire Island’ Star Joel Kim Booster Responds to Billy Eichner’s Remarks About “Disposable”
Joel Kim Booster is weighing in on Billy Eichner’s recent comments regarding his upcoming LGBTQ rom-com Bros getting a theatrical release.
Booster, the writer and star of this summer’s Hulu film Fire Island, took to Twitter on Sunday to offer his thoughts about Eichner recently speaking to Variety about his Universal Pictures release, Bros, which is touted as the first LGBTQ romantic comedy to receive a theatrical release from a studio. Eichner told the publication that his film felt historic because it would be hitting theaters, rather than being “some streaming thing which feels disposable, or which is like one of a million Netflix shows.”
Social media users wondered whether Eichner might have been referring to such Hulu projects as Fire Island, an updated take on Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice featuring a group of gay friends enjoying a getaway at the titular beach destination in New York, or Hulu’s 2020 holiday film Happiest Season starring Kristen Stewart. This apparently led Booster to explain that he had been without cell service in the desert when the Eichner interview published and that the Billy on the Street star, in addition to being his friend and first comedy boss, supported him throughout the process of making Fire Island.
“It seems like he was pretty inarticulate in his excitement about his movie getting a theatrical release, which is really fucking cool and something I’m sure the studio and his publicist is making him constantly talk about,” Booster wrote. “God knows I’ve said plenty of dumb shit without a publicist’s help.”
He continued, “I’m so proud of my movie and all the people who helped make it happen and am so grateful it was accessible to so many people on streaming, and don’t see it as any less valuable because of that. That being said, I’m also excited to see Bros on the big screen and wish Billy nothing but the best. I truly hope you can enjoy both or neither of our movies without pitting them against each other (even though that is obviously a very fun thing to do and basically what gay Twitter was created for).”
Booster went on to say that he has spoken to Eichner, the co-writer and star of the film that is premiering at the Toronto Film Festival ahead of its Sept. 30 release, and that they’ve cleared the air. Booster added that he is not dwelling on the situation and is focused on other things.
Following the initial attention surrounding his comments, Eichner posted a Twitter thread in which he apologized “from the bottom of my heart” to anyone who felt offended or insulted. “I was not at ALL referring to the quality or monumental impact of streaming films, I was referring to the way that, historically, LGBTQ+ content has often been considered niche and disregarded by Hollywood,” he wrote.
The star added that he is “very proud Bros is one of many projects – theatrical, streaming, online, etc – where so many of us are finally getting to tell our own LGBTQ+ stories.”
Prior to the June 3 launch of Fire Island, Booster told The Hollywood Reporter that he wasn’t sure if he wished the film had landed a theatrical release. Debate has continued in recent years over whether rom-coms, which developed into a cottage industry from streamers, can return to prominence on the big screen.
“I wish everyone could have the experience of watching this in a movie theater if they would like,” Booster said at the time. “But do I think it’s vital, and do I almost think it’s more helpful that it’s streaming from the jump? Yeah, I do. I think that it’s going to find an audience of people who maybe don’t have access to see a movie in a movie theater right now.”
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