In an exclusive interview with Villain Media, actress/screenwriter/producer Brinna Kelly talks about her irresistibly thrilling and romantic, The Fare. Find out what happens when two strangers find themselves caught in an endless looping ride into the unknown.
When a charming woman named Penny (Brinna Kelly) climbs into his taxi, Harris (Gino Anthony Pesi) finds himself entranced. That is, right up until she disappears from the back seat without a trace. As he desperately tries to make sense of what happened, he resets his meter and is instantly brought back to the moment she first climbed into his cab. He and Penny find themselves trapped in an endlessly looping ride that changes their lives forever.
With The Fare available on Blu-Ray and VOD, Brinna Kelly discusses how the concept came about, creating the dynamic chemistry between her role as Penny and Gino Anthony Pesi’s Harris, and developing the comedy within the script. Check out our review of The Fare as we head out into the actor’s studio to discuss the craft of filmmaking.
Villain Media: Tell me how the premise came about.
Brinna Kelly: About a year before we shot the movie, I get this email from our director, D.C. Hamilton. There was a link in this email to this article about phantom fares. In Japan, after the Fukushima nuclear power plant accident, cab drivers in that area would report, taking up phantom fares. Basically, people would look dazed and confused, would get in the backseat of the car, and just disappear along the way to their destination. Apparently, it was a phenomenon reported by various cab drivers.
The email came with a note from D.C. that said, “I think this would be a great premise for a movie.” And that is where the original idea came from. From there, I married that idea with the writing mechanism of a time loop movie. I always wanted to do a time loop movie. I always wanted to write a script with that particular storytelling technique.
VM: The humor really stands out in your script. At one point, and I’m paraphrasing here, Penny says, “I must have told you I was an FBI agent many times, but clearly you only remember me telling you I was a stripper.” Tell me about incorporating the humor into the script.
BK: [Laughs] Actually, comedy is my background. When I first started as a writer, I used to write for a stand-up comedian. And then, I wrote for a sketch comedy show. And then, I transitioned to be a screenwriter for feature films. I love humor. Humor is the best way to get on the audience’s side. It makes a character likable and interesting. I love these moments between characters that are funny, charming, and witty.
It lends a lot to the characterizations, especially Harris and Penny. I think they are funny people. It connects the two of them. They make each other laugh. It’s very easy to write humor, especially when there are characters charmed by each other. The humor comes out naturally because these are two people on a really good date.
VM: I’m glad you said charming because that’s what I feel Penny really is. Penny serves as Harris’ moral conscience at times. Tell me what interested you about the role of Penny.
BK: Penny is a vulnerable character. She isn’t a character who’s all on the surface. She is a character who’s got a lot going on. She’s got depth; a tragic background. But she’s also a funny, optimistic person. I really wanted to bring that duality, that melancholy side of her and that side that’s enthusiastic. She is incredibly charmed by Harris. I wanted to bring that to the screen myself. That’s why I was very fortuitous and very grateful to write for Penny.
VM: I thought it was interesting how the taxi felt like it was another character. Penny can sit anywhere in the taxi and yet it still feels intimate. Tell about about creating that intimacy through the setting.
BK: I’m so glad you said that! The taxi is its own character. It has its own relationship with Harris. It’s an extension of him, of his warmth, his personality. With the design, we wanted a 1950s checker marathon cab that would work. It has a lot of character; it’s big. It’s got that checkers stride across it. We wanted it to feel the cab is almost alive.
It shuts down when it gets into trouble. It warns him about things. It’s how he communicates to the dispatcher. The cab is Harris’ chariot; like his horse. I wrote the taxi as if it were a character. I think D.C. and our cinematographer, Josh Harrison, were able to translate that very well onto the screen. There are four characters in this movie; the cab is one of them.
VM: I love how the move feels like I’m watching a play; like it’s almost theater-like. Tell me about creating that chemistry with Gino Anthony Pesi.
BK: We were very, very lucky that Gino came onboard to play Harris. Not only does he completely embody that character, right away he brought the warmth, the humanity, and the playfulness. He has this masculine energy to juxtapose Penny’s feminism.
Gino and I didn’t know each other very well before we shot the film. Sometimes, people find that surprising! We met nine days before we started filming. Chemistry is something you either have or you don’t. We had it! We also didn’t rehearse very much. We wanted that spontaneity. We wanted to be in the moment. Both of us have a theater background, a film background. We built a trust that we knew what we were doing. When the camera started rolling, we had that spontaneous energy in the air and let it happen between the characters.
VM: How did The Fare change you as an artist?
BK: The Fare is the first film script that I’ve written that’s so overtly romantic. I’ve written a lot of things, but it’s not the central core of the story. As an artist, I realized I have a more romantic bone in my body than I originally thought. It’s definitely something I would like to definitely explore and do more projects in that vein.
We shot The Fare in six days. To me, it gave me a lot of confidence as a producer that I am able to put together that people like in a very limited amount of time. If I can do a movie in six days, if I had more time, we can do it better. It was nerve-wracking going into it. I didn’t know we were going to be able to pull it off. At the end of the last day, the entire cast and crew looked at each other and we knew we pulled it off. People got a little misty-eyed. It was a nice feeling! It was something I was able to share with the entire cast and crew. This has been a great learning experience for me!
VM: How can the readers of Villain Media find your movie?
BK: The Fare will be available On Demand, iTunes, Amazon, and on Blu-Ray starting November 19th. I hope people like it!
VM: What are you working on now?
BK: I have written several scripts that I would love to see get made. I have a horror/comedy. I think audiences will love it! It is my goal to make something like a Halloween classic. I hope to get this one made. My collaborators have read the script. We hope The Fare will connect with audiences. And they would want to see more from us. Maybe we will get the opportunity to get the next one made!
[Writer’s Note: This interview has been edited for length and clarity. Links are highlighted in bold.]
The Fare is available nationwide on Blu-ray and Digital HD, including iTunes, Amazon Instant Video, Google Play, Vudu and more.