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Why Joel Kim Booster Doesn’t Want His Next Movie to Be Emmy-Eligible

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When Joel Kim Booster receives the coveted Rising Star Award at this year’s SCAD TV Festival on Feb. 7, the honor will be a capstone to a remarkable few years, including two recent Emmy nominations for Fire Island, a 2022 Netflix comedy special and a new Hulu series in which he co-stars alongside Chrissy Teigen and David Chang. The award will also celebrate, specifically, his work on Loot, the ensemble comedy about a billionaire divorcée (Maya Rudolph) who starts to give away the bulk of her fortune. The show’s second season’s release was delayed by a WGA strike-related production shutdown, which means that despite the timing of the Atlanta-based soiree, almost nothing is known about the upcoming episodes. 

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“One thing I am allowed to say is, it’s a much more joke-dense season,” Booster says. “It needed to be a plot-heavy first season, so we weren’t really able to settle into our characters until later, so now we’re able to dive right into the goofiness. And I’m with Maya’s character a lot more, which is really exciting for me.”

While Loot was on hiatus, Booster spent his time over-perfecting the script for Searchlight’s Again, Again, Again, a comedy about a gay man serving as man of honor for his closest female friend (he’s also a producer). “I don’t mean this to sound bad, but I’m much more attached to my writing than my acting,” he says. “My writing is very personal, whereas I can treat acting more like a ‘job.’ My investment is different.” He recently spoke with THR about his road to multihyphenate mastery. 

What’s been your favorite thing about working on Loot?

I love working on a show where the top line loves their family. As busy and prolific as Maya is, she’s still spending her weekends at dance competitions at the hotel by the airport. You realize you can be that famous and not be so bought into the bullshit of Hollywood. 

Season one ended with Maya and Adam Scott in bed together. Will Severance’s return hamper his time on the show?

It’s all already shot because when the shutdown happened, we only had five days left. And I think most of Adam’s stuff was shot in New York — I just watched, and there are a lot of phone calls and things like that — because of Severance stuff. We don’t leave any dangling plot threads from season one.

Maya Rudolph and Booster in Loot. Courtesy of Apple TV+

Have you felt any resentment, post-strike, in coming back to work with the studios?

It’s weird. During the negotiation period, you are upset, and it’s hard not to have a little bit of anger toward the studios over how long it lasted and how difficult it was. But all of the people we deal with, the creative execs, they had no say in any of that and they wanted to be back at work as much as we did. I’m trying not to take it out on any of the people I’m working with directly at the studios, but the emotions are still there.  

Will the success of Fire Island help bolster your negotiations with Again, Again, Again on things like a theatrical release?

It’s a much smaller movie in scope than Fire Island was, so in many ways it makes less sense as a theatrical movie. But I’d love two weekends in a theater before it moves to streaming. Give me the Bottoms treatment. Ideally, I would like for my next movie to not be eligible for an Emmy. I don’t think I even knew Fire Island was eligible until I was nominated. 

Joel Kim Booster (left)alongside his Chrissy and Dave Dine Out hosts Chrissy Teigen and David Chang Maarten de Boer/Disney

How do you navigate your personal success alongside your creative cohort, many of whom are also your close friends? 

Everybody wants a Fire Island sequel, but what they actually want is to see that chemistry and energy replicated. So I think my strategy is to continue to cast my friends in projects and scratch that itch. But what is so nice is we’ve all found success individually, too. Nobody is left behind. 

This story first appeared in the Feb. 7 issue of The Hollywood Reporter magazine. Click here to subscribe.

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