6 Questions We Still Have After Watching Netflix and Hulu's Fyre Festival Documentaries

Netflix
Netflix

Nearly two years after it engulfed the internet, the disastrous Fyre Festival was recently chronicled in two separate streaming documentaries. Fyre: The Greatest Party That Never Happened hit Netflix on January 18. It was preceded earlier that week by Fyre Fraud, which is streaming on Hulu. Both films examine the poor planning that led up to promoter Billy McFarland’s failed 2017 concert event on a Bahamian island that promised a premium experience and instead delivered cold cheese sandwiches and FEMA tents for housing. The entire fiasco was largely perceived as an indictment of Millennial materialism and the questionable coercion of social media influencers.

After viewing one or both films, viewers may still have some outstanding questions about the Fyre fallout. Here’s what we know about the wayward Woodstock and some of the lingering issues the documentaries raised.

1. Why did Billy McFarland participate in the Hulu documentary?

Billy McFarland—who is currently serving a six-year federal prison sentence for the wire fraud he perpetuated to raise money for the Fyre Festival—was conspicuously absent from Netflix’s Fyre, seen only in archival footage. Viewers of Fyre Fraud on Hulu, however, watched as McFarland sat for an interview and blinked into the camera. (He was filmed prior to his sentencing.) Though he didn’t offer much in the way of substance and issued a string of “no comments,” some people were surprised he chose to cooperate at all.

That participation, it turns out, was a matter of money. According to Fyre Fraud co-director Jenner Furst, McFarland was paid to sit for an eight-hour interview and share behind-the-scenes footage of himself and other festival planners. Furst would not disclose the exact amount they paid McFarland but told The Ringer it was less than the $250,000 figure being reported by some outlets. According to Chris Smith, director of the Netflix documentary, McFarland was also willing to sit for his film—for $100,000 in cash. Smith declined, feeling that it would be rubbing salt in the wound of the vendors and other individuals who had suffered financially as a result of the festival.

2. Did Pablo Escobar really own the island?

Fyre’s organizers and social media planners made considerable hay over the idea that the “private island” where they originally planned to hold the festival was once owned by Colombian drug kingpin Pablo Escobar. It’s not entirely clear why connecting the festival site to a notorious drug lord would be appealing, but in any case, it’s not actually true. The event was held on Great Exuma, which was never owned by Escobar. An Escobar associate, Carlos Lehder, once owned a neighboring island called Norman’s Cay, which Fyre organizers had originally wanted to use as the festival site.

3. Why was there so much available footage of the festival’s planning?

Chalk it up to the age of social media and a desire to chronicle every moment of what McFarland and his team expected to be a watershed moment in pop culture. Fyre hired Matte Projects, a production company, to follow them around and gather footage; Netflix’s film also utilized material shot by an employee at Jerry Media, the ad agency hired to promote the festival, who was filing a daily vlog of the company’s experiences with McFarland.

4. Did any attendees get a refund?

A still from Netflix's 'Fyre' (2019) documentary
Netflix

Some did—but not from Fyre. Many attendees paid between $500 to $2000 for admission, not including deposits to wristbands that were meant to facilitate a “cashless” weekend. Despite a rash of lawsuits, there are no reports of Fyre refunding ticket prices or settling court judgments. Instead, some fortunate customers contested the charges with their credit card companies and were able to get the transactions reversed.

5. Will these be the only two movies made about the festival?

Probably not. After the films premiered, actor Seth Rogen tweeted that he and The Lonely Island creators Andy Samberg, Jorma Taccone, and Akiva Schaffer were still working on a fictional feature film about a music festival that “goes horribly wrong.” It’s unclear whether the festival inspired the project, but at this point, it would be a hard thing for any screenwriter to ignore.

6. Did anyone actually get to swim with the pigs?

Two pigs swimming in the Bahamas
iStock.com/bearacreative

The wild, native pigs of Great Exuma were of great interest to Fyre organizers, who shot promotional footage of models frolicking with the oinking mascots. Later, reports of patrons being accosted by “wild animals” surfaced, though it’s unclear whether any festivalgoer was actually harmed by them. One attendee actually called encountering them the highlight of an otherwise miserable experience. “Fyre is a huge sh*t show but it hasn’t been a total loss. I got to meet [a] swimming pig yesterday,” he wrote.

Matt LeBlanc Says "Weird Things" Happened at the Peak of Friends's Popularity

Warner Bros. Television/Getty Images
Warner Bros. Television/Getty Images

Even though it went off the air in 2004, Friends continues find new generations of fans—so much so that there's even an unscripted reunion special in the works. With all the love surrounding the show, one can only imagine that the actors who played the six main characters have experienced the effects of its popularity—both good and bad.

As reported by Digital Spy, Matt LeBlanc, who played Joey Tribbiani, spoke during a pre-recorded interview on The Kelly Clarkson Show about "weird things" that happened while he was filming Friends. When pressed to give an example, LeBlanc recalled a time he saw his house, along with the homes of the five other cast members, on the news—while he was home.

"I remember one time, it was during the week, I had been flipping channels and watching the news and for some reason, they had a split-screen on the TV, six quadrants," he told Clarkson. "Each was a live shot of each one of our houses, like a helicopter shot. I was watching it and there was no information or news, it was just showing [our] houses."

Even though the actor found the situation bizarre, there was a very practical silver lining. “I remember looking closely at my house and thinking, 'F**k I need a new roof.' So the helicopter flies away and I get the ladder and I go up there,” LeBlanc added.

[h/t Digital Spy]

7 Timeless Facts About Paul Rudd

Rich Fury, Getty Images
Rich Fury, Getty Images

Younger fans may know Paul Rudd as Ant-Man, one of the newest members of the Marvel Cinematic Universe. However, the actor has been a Hollywood mainstay for half his life.

Rudd's breakout role came in 1995’s Clueless, where he played Josh, Alicia Silverstone's charming love interest in Amy Heckerling's beloved spin on Jane Austen's Emma. In the 2000s, Rudd became better known for his comedic work when he starred in movies like Wet Hot American Summer (2001), Anchorman (2004), The 40-Year-Old Virgin (2005), Knocked Up (2007), and I Love You, Man (2009).

It wasn’t until 2015 that Rudd stepped into the ever-growing world of superhero movies when he was cast as Scott Lang, a.k.a. Ant-Man, and became part of the MCU.

Rudd has proven he can take on any part, serious or goofy. More amazingly, he never seems to age. But in honor of (what is allegedly) his 51st birthday on April 6, here are some things you might not have known about the star.

1. Paul Rudd is technically Paul Rudnitzky.

Though Paul Rudd was born in Passaic, New Jersey, both of his parents hail from London—his father was from Edgware and his mother from Surbiton. Both of his parents were descendants of Jewish immigrants who moved to England from from Russia and Poland. Rudd’s last name was actually Rudnitzky, but it was changed by his grandfather.

2. Paul Rudd's parents are second cousins.

In a 2017 episode of Finding Your Roots, Rudd learned that his parents were actually second cousins. Rudd responded to the discovery in typical comedic fashion: "Which explains why I have six nipples." He also wondered what that meant for his own family. "Does this make my son also my uncle?," he asked.

3. Paul Rudd loved comic books as a kid.

While Rudd did read Marvel Comics as a kid, he preferred Archie Comics and other funny stories. His English cousins would send him British comics, too, like Beano and Dandy, which he loved.

4. Paul Rudd wanted to play Christian in Clueless. And Murray.

Clueless would have been a completely different movie if Rudd had been cast as the suave Christian instead of the cute older step-brother-turned-love-interest Josh. But before he was cast as Cher’s beau, he initially wanted the role of the “ringa ding kid” Christian.

"I thought Justin Walker’s character, Christian, was a really good part," Rudd told Entertainment Weekly in 2012. "It was a cool idea, something I’d never seen in a movie before—the cool gay kid. And then I asked to read for Donald Faison's part, because I thought he was kind of a funny hip-hop wannabe. I didn’t realize that the character was African-American.”

5. Paul Rudd idolizes Paul Newman.

In a 2008 interview for Role Models, which he both co-wrote and starred in, Rudd was asked about his real-life role model. He answered Paul Newman, saying he admired the legendary actor because he gave a lot to the world before leaving it.

6. Before Paul Rudd was Ant-Man, he wanted to be Adam Ant.

In a 2011 interview with Grantland, Rudd talked about his teenage obsession with '80s English rocker Adam Ant. "Puberty hit me like a Mack truck, and my hair went from straight to curly overnight," Rudd explained. "But it was an easier pill to swallow because Adam Ant had curly hair. I used to ask my mom to try and shave my head on the sides to give me a receding hairline because Adam Ant had one. I didn’t know what a receding hairline was. I just thought he looked cool. She said, 'Absolutely not,' but I was used to that."

Ant wasn't the only musician Rudd tried to emulate. "[My mom] also shot me down when I asked if I could bleach just the top of my head like Howard Jones. Any other kid would’ve been like, 'F*** you, mom! I’m bleaching my hair.' I was too nice," he said.

7. Romeo + Juliet wasn’t Paul Rudd's first go as a Shakespearean actor.

Yet another one of Rudd's iconic '90s roles was in Baz Luhrmann's Romeo + Juliet, but it was far from the actor's first brush with Shakespeare. Rudd spent three years studying Jacobean theater in Oxford, England, and starred in a production of Twelfth Night. He was described by his director, Sir Nicholas Hytner, as having “emotional and intellectual volatility.” Hytner’s praise was a big deal, considering he was the director of London's National Theatre from 2003 until 2015.

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