Matt Rogers Knows His "Fire Island" Character Is Doing the Most

Matt Rogers Knows His "Fire Island" Character Is Doing the Most

Watch out! This post contains spoilers.


Matt Rogers got to live the dream in the summer of 2021. That’s when he and two of his very best friends — Joel Kim Booster and Bowen Yang — brought to life the script for “Fire Island,” written by Booster and inspired by their real-life adventures. “I live under a lucky star,” he tells POPSUGAR. “Seriously.”

“When you’re doing a movie that is about friendship and that is about chosen family, to be there with your literal sisters does a lot of the work,” he explains. ” I think we’re good performers, but I also think we’re great friends.”

For “Fire Island,” Booster mapped the plot of Jane Austen’s “Pride and Prejudice” on a group of gay friends spending a week on Fire Island. The area is a historic gay vacation getaway on Long Island, partially because, for decades, it gave LGBTQ+ people a place to socialize outside of the eyes of straight society. But as “Fire Island,” directed by Andrew Ahn, skewers, the community can also be incredibly exclusionary, elitist, racist, and sizeist. Booster and Yang’s Howie and Noah try to navigate all these things on their quest for love as the movie’s Elizabeth and Jane.

And that makes Rogers’s Luke the Lydia. Rogers didn’t need a refresher on Austen’s plot, because he studied it in high school and even wrote his AP Lit essay about it. He says, “The essay was, ‘Choose a novel that you’ve read this year, and take two characters from it and explain how one character is a foil for another character. How the character’s existence in the piece heightens a theme for the main character.’ I wrote my AP Lit essay about the relationship between Elizabeth Bennet and Lydia Bennet, and I got a five. That means I got three college credits, baby, and it’s crazy because now I’m portraying that relationship with Joel in the film.”

Rogers is “proud” of how Booster interpreted Lydia’s story and that he got to portray it. In “Pride and Prejudice,” Lydia is disgraced when she runs away with Mr. Wickham, thinking he will marry her. But he soon proves to be a scoundrel, only intent on ruining her reputation. Mr. Darcy steps in with enough money to force Wickham to marry Lydia. When readers see Lydia for a final time, she seems thrilled to be the new Mrs. Wickham, though her sisters and father are outraged.

“I think Lydia, in this incarnation as Luke, gets that dignity that Lydia did not get in the book, and some closure, or at least the beginning of some closure that Lydia does not get in the book,” Rogers said. “He’s not doomed.”

But for Rogers, one of the most interesting parts was diving into the deep insecurity he found at the center of Luke, who would do anything to get attention from Dex (Zane Phillips), the Wickham of “Fire Island.” “In really seeping myself into the character in this world, I really asked myself the question, would Luke hook up with Dex again? And I think he definitely would,” he says. Just as Lydia still tries to make things work with Wickham, Luke gives that same power over to Dex.

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