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Fire Island’s Bowen Yang And Matt Rogers Share What It Was Like Filming Their Britney Spears Musical Number

June is Pride month, and Hulu is definitely getting the festivities off right with the release of Andrew Ahn’s LGBTQ+ romantic comedy Fire Island. Taking place (and filmed) on the iconic queer location, the movie stars a hilarious cast that includes Saturay Night Live’s Bowen Yang and I Love That For You’s Matt Rogers. The two real life friends had plenty of iconic moments throughout the course of the new movie, and recently spoke to CinemaBlend about what it was like filming their Britney Spears musical number for the new flick.

Aside from their work on screen, Bowen Yang and Matt Rogers are hosts of the massively popular podcast Las Culturistas (opens in new tab). As you can see in the video above, I had the privilege of speaking with the cast of Fire Island (opens in new tab) ahead of its release this weekend. That’s when I asked about the pair’s musical moments in the movie, which include a delightful performance of Britney Spears’ classic ballad “Sometimes.” Matt Rogers opened up to me about what it was like to bring that number to life for the R-rated comedy, saying:

In terms of the ‘Sometimes’ sequence, I think we did it like 18 times and it was fun every single time. Just to incorporate the choreo and have Tomás [Matos] who is part of our family now. We just knew it was like iconography, mama. So it was really great to do. And obviously it was like at the height of needing to free Britney too. So it felt like a really great testament to her status as a gay icon as well.

Las Culturistas fans will know that Bowen Yang and Matt Rogers are super enthusiastic about pop culture, so it’s only appropriate that Fire Island would pay tribute to the princess of pop, Britney Spears. And what better way than a fully staged musical number, where Yang gets to make some killer vocal choices? And it’s all the more enjoyable now that Britney is freed from her conservatorship.

Present in the same interview was Joel Kim Booster, who wrote the screenplay for Fire Island and also stars as protagonist Noah. It turns out that the choreography that was incorporated into the movie’s cover of “Sometimes” was a total surprise to him. And as such, his reaction in the scene is super authentic. As the celebrated comic put it,

I didn’t know they were going to do choreography, by the way. They surprised me with the choreography on the day of the shoot. So very them.

Britney Spears is the princess of pop for a reason, including her iconic choreography. So what’s the point of paying tribute to Britney Jean without a little dancing? Clearly the cast of Fire Island made the right choice when bringing this sequence to life.

Bowen Yang, Matt Rogers, and Tomás Matos singing in Fire Island

(Image credit: Fox Searchlight)

Of course, “Sometimes” isn’t the only funny musical moment that occurs throughout Fire Island’s 105-minute runtime. The movie kicks off with the Fox Searchlight logo, where the cast is heard singing the iconic fanfare music. Bowen Yang spoke to the process of recording the track, saying:

The searchlight theme song, we were doing in our podcast studio in LA, we just got the audio there. So it was a beautiful, like, intersection, convergence of those words, and life. It was one of those moments where you go ‘Oh my god. I’m friends with my friend who is doing this movie with me, with my other best friend. It was such a beautiful mix of things.

Talk about your work and life meeting up. The friendships in Fire Island pop so well on screen partly because the cast is actually close IRL. And Bowen Yang’s acting and podcasting careers definitely intersected in a fun way when putting his own spin on the Fox Searchlight fanfare (including a vocal run reminiscent of Wicked’s “Defying Gravity”). 

Bowen Yang singing in Fire Island

(Image credit: Fox Searchlight)

While the Fire Island cast singing the theme song for Fox Searchlight provides an early laugh for audiences, they weren’t always sure if this was the right decision for the new take on Pride & Prejudice. Matt Rogers spoke to how his mind was changed upon seeing the movie’s cut, saying:

I remember when they said they wanted us to sing the fanfare, I was like ‘Is that gonna be too goofy? I don’t know.’ And then we saw the movie and it just starts with ‘drums’ and they come in. It just feels like us. And that, I think, really launches it and it was so exciting.

Luckily for moviegoers, they’ll be able to check out these musical moments for themselves. After all, Fire Island is now streaming on Hulu just in time for the first weekend of Pride month. And the groundbreaking new movie has equal parts laughs and heart.

Fire Island is streaming now on Hulu. Be sure to check out the 2022 movie release dates to plan your next movie experience. 

Corey was born and raised in New Jersey. Double majored in theater and literature during undergrad. After working in administrative theater for a year in New York, he started as the Weekend Editor at CinemaBend. He's since been able to work himself up to reviews, phoners, and press junkets-- and is now able to appear on camera with some of his famous actors... just not as he would have predicted as a kid.