Nick, you introduced the film last night by telling us we might not be too fond of your character. What are the challenges of creating a less likable character in a comedy?
NA: Cooper is a delicious villain. He’s an antagonistic, vain, really superficial guy that is one of the social gatekeepers of Fire Island and helps to represent the classism that exists in that microcosm. And, as Andrew was discussing, the lack of straight people allows us to then oppress each other. That’s where Cooper comes in. I looked at it from—we know that person. No matter whether you’re gay or straight we know who that person that needs to feel better than or above someone else to combat their insecurities. And so, I took it from a place of he’s obsessed with everything superficial because he is very self-loathing and really has no self-esteem. His existence is dependent upon the gaze of others and is contingent upon feeling better than them to make himself feel better. He has to have the best parties, he has to be dressed the best. And when someone comes in from what he considers to be of a lower caliber class than him and they are succeeding more than him in either a love connection or romance, he tries to meddle in any of their pursuits and sabotage. It was a lot of fun to play a mean guy.
What was your favorite item your character wore that really showed who he was?
NA: Well, there’s a scene at my house where I’m at the top of this grand staircase wearing a Versace robe, Versace underwear and slides, and a Christian Dior choker that I wear the entire time. And I feel like that really sums up Cooper’s energy. Even when he’s just lounging in the house, he’s in the most expensive designer clothing.
AA: That’s amazing. I will say our costume designer David Tabbert had this really wonderful idea with Nick’s character, where he said we should do designer head to toe, each look because that’s just what this character would do. He’d go to the store and just buy a head-to-toe look. And I love that idea. And it made for just fun, subtle comedy. It’s like, “Oh, you got someone who’s always matching.” And then I loved Nick’s hair and makeup in the film. At first, we had discussed that Cooper should always look perfect and Matt as if he doesn’t have sweat glands anymore because of Botox. But then we decided because it was so hot when we were shooting it was just too hard to control. It’s like, let’s lean into the shine. He’s slick the entire time. And he’s so beautifully shiny through the movie. He’s like a seal. I love it.
I thought the music cues in the movie were exceptionally well done.
AA: We worked with a really wonderful team over at Searchlight. Our music supervisors were just so excited for this film because music is such a big part of the island experience and a big part of queer culture. We had really wonderful Asian American and queer artists. Our cover of Britney Spears’ “Sometimes” is done by a wonderful queer group, called Muna. We have a queer Asian American artist named Wills that has a song that plays during T. It’s just really special to be able to showcase the range of talent within the LGBTQ community. And then we had a really wonderful composer Jay Wadley, who I worked with on my last movie “Driveways,” who is just such an emotional composer. He really wears his heart on his sleeve. And he just found the sound of these relationships. We had a theme for Will and Noah, we had a theme for Howie and Noah. And I think it really adds to how the audience tracks the relationships.