‘The Fare’ 2019; Interview With Brinna Kelly; Star and Writer of the Amazing New Film

Director D.C. Hamilton and writer/star Brinna Kelly have created a mesmerizing Sci-Fi tale that is romantic, entertaining and incredibly mysterious.

Synopsis: When a charming woman named Penny climbs into his taxi, Harris 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.

This film drew me in and held my interest until the very end. I honestly can’t say that about most romantic films, or even most films in general. An homage to The Twilight Zone, The Fare is a seemingly simple story, with simple sets, mostly just the inside of an old yellow checker cab, yet deeply engaging with much more there than you see at first glance.

Heartfelt acting, amazing cinematography, and a fantastic script make this film work perfectly. It is so different from other films of this type and rather than just stay light, takes us to a very dark, yet satisfying place.

In these comments from my review, I think you folks can tell how much I loved this film, so it was amazing for me to get to talk to the beautiful and talented Brinna Kelly. Chatting with the star and writer of The Fare personally was such a treat. She has so much cool information to share about her life and of course this terrific film!

Vicki Woods- Los Angeles Zombie Girl: Hi Brinna, thanks so much for talking to me!

Brinna Kelly: Hello, Hello! Thanks for taking the time to speak to me today!

VW: Your film, The Fare, took me back to a favorite show of mine- The Twilight Zone. After all the horror that I watch, it was the perfect place for me to be! I needed some Sci-Fi and romance in my life! I love your film!

BK: Thanks so much, it means a lot to hear that!

VW: Let’s start with Brinna. Can you tell me a little bit about yourself and your journey to becoming an actress and writer?

BK: Sure, well I have been an actor since I was 11. I was a child actor and I feel like I have always been a part of the industry. I actually don’t know how to do anything else. (Laughs) I went to film school at UCLA and after I graduated, I started getting into writing. I started writing for stand-up comedians, then I moved into writing for a variety show. After that, I started screenwriting, for about 10 years now, and I’ve been a screenwriter ever since. I act periodically whenever I can, especially on my own projects that I’m also producing, because that’s always something I have in my back pocket; something I can do. This is my second feature film that I am the writer on. I also do a lot of rewriting for people too, but I am very excited about this project, The Fare!

VW: Do you consider yourself a writer first or an actress?

BK: That’s a good question. I think I need to leave that decision up to the audience. If they see me first as a writer, or if they see me acting and they think of me as an actor, then that is what I am. I try not to put a stamp too firmly on that, because I just don’t know. I am both.

VW: What was your inspiration for The Fare?

BK: The Twilight Zone actually. Funny you should mention it. I’ve always been a big fan of The Twilight Zone. I discovered it in re-runs as a kid, and I’ve seen every single episode a couple of times. I’m kind of a huge The Twilight Zone nerd and this is my love letter to that show. I think the lead actor was the one who said, The Fare is kinda like if The Twilight Zone had a Valentine’s day episode. So that’s my main, not just influence, but me actively trying to pay homage to an incredible show.

Beyond that- I love Star Trek, I love The X-Files and Black Mirror. I think that there are influences of all three in there too. X-Files specifically with the really, really nerdy alien technobabble that you hear on the radio. Black Mirror is a very post-modern Twilight Zone and I love that as well. And let’s not forget The Twilight Zone re-boots too! Sci-Fi Fantasy is my favorite genre and I was very excited to be able to actually write a piece that is set in that genre. That is something I’ve never been able to do before.

VW: So how long did it take you to get from the original idea to the point that you were ready to start shooting?

BK: About a year before we started shooting, the director D.C. Hamilton, sent me an article that he had found about phantom fares. Evidently, in Japan, after the Fukushima Nuclear Plant accident, many cabbies around the area were reporting these “phantom fares”, the phenomenon where dazed and confused people would get into the cab, mutter something, and as they were driving, sometimes within that ride, the person would vanish. It was a very peculiar article, and DC just sent it to me with a note that said, “I think this would make a very interesting premise for a horror film”. So that’s where the original spark for the idea came from.

I took that and I marinated on it and I’ve always wanted to do a time-loop as a storytelling mechanism. I think it’s interesting and I wanted to experiment with that. So, I put the two together and I wrote about 80% of the script, and then I couldn’t figure out the ending. So, I set it aside because I didn’t have a deadline on it; this was just something that we were going to produce on our own. But then about 8 months later we had a very specific window of time open up, where we could actually get together and make this film happen. All of a sudden, we were in a rush to finish the script, that I still didn’t have an ending for. Maybe it was the benefit of having a deadline, which doesn’t always work for me, but it did this time because within the span of one night I figured out the ending. And then I realized I had to kind of rewrite the rest of it, in order to fit that ending. So, in about a week and a half, I rewrote the script to what it is now. Basically, I added the romance element to it, which didn’t exist in the original. That became The Fare.

VW: How long did it take to do the shoot?

BK: We did it in the one-week span of time that we had available, that the crew and the cast were going to be available. We shot the movie in 6 days. I think once we got a total of 25 pages done in just one day! It was kinda crazy!

VW: It probably helped to do this film quickly, that it is a very small cast.

BK: Yes, it’s really just three characters and they change and evolve as the story goes on. Harris, his fare Penny and his boss, the dispatcher over the radio. It is just the dynamics between the three of them in this endlessly looping ride, that they take over and over again.

VW: What were some of the cinematography tricks that made this film work so well?

BK: The Black & White elements and all the various filming techniques were of The Twilight Zone era. We used very little CG and very little modern-day help. We shot the cab and all the interiors on rearview projection, which is how they did it in the time of The Twilight Zone. We shot all the exteriors as day for night, which is how they did it back then. We really tried to take that extra step to make it really look and feel like something from a different era.

D.C. Hamilton. the director, and Josh Harrison, the cinematographer had the cab in a studio, and they had the wheels on these little things like scooters, so they could spin the cab. Then they had their dolly trucks all around it so they could spin the cab and spin the cameras. They would just do these long, long takes where everything around us would move; we would be still, but the car would not be on. We basically just lived in that studio for 5 days. Gino and I would get 1 to 2 takes per setup, because we didn’t have the time, so we did it sort of like a stage play.

VW: You two had some amazing chemistry in the film, so you and your co-star Gino Anthony Pesi must have gotten along well.

BK: Yes, we did! Gino is wonderful. He is one of the most professional actors I have ever worked with and he’s very easy to get along with. He is very charming in the movie and in real life, so I was very lucky there!

VW: The Fare could have been a pretty boring and repetitive film, but it wasn’t. It was so fun and easy to watch. Why is that?

BK: That was probably one of my biggest concerns going in because this is the first time I had written anything that narratively looped. Basically, you have various versions of the same thing; the same scene over and over. So, my worry was how to not let the story get boring, and to keep each scene lively. Keeping the film engaging to the audience was our number one goal performance-wise and for myself as a writer as well. Hopefully, that worked for every drive and every repetition, until we finally stop repeating of course. We hope all the little subtle differences are picked up on by the audience. The film should lead them, and hopefully they don’t guess too far ahead.

VW: Yes. this is definitely a film you should go into knowing as little as possible! How do you feel about being compared to the film, Groundhog Day?

BK: I love Groundhog Day, so I have no problems with it. It is a time loop movie. I could be compared to worse. (Laughs) It’s a comedy, so that’s different. I tried to do something while writing this particular time loop, that so far, I have not seen done before. Generally speaking, when working in a time loop mechanism, which is not new at all, many movies and TV shows have used it, the protagonist that the audience follows is always the person who is experiencing the time loop linearly and that was something that I specifically wanted to do differently. Harris, Gino’s character, our lead actor, he’s not the character experiencing the loop linearly, he figures it out while he is in it. Someone else is aware that they are in a time loop, experiencing it while everyone else isn’t. In The Fare we are following a person who isn’t aware he is in a time loop and we get to watch his moment of discovery, and that’s something I feel like I’ve not seen before in traditional time loop narratives, and something I really wanted to explore.

VW: Do you have a favorite part of the film?

BK: My favorite scene is the “getting to know” you scene. The sequence in the middle of the movie where Harris and Penny are just playing around. It was called the fun and games sequence in the script. It’s where their relationship is blossoming and in what felt like a very desperate situation they start to live a little bit and not feel so bad anymore, because they’re having a very human connection with each other. That’s my favorite scene, and because it was very fun to shoot. We actually shot a lot more than was in the film. We shot it on our last day of shooting, so Gino and I were comfortable with each other, the chemistry was popping and the dynamic between the characters was very good. It’s also just a very fun scene to watch, it was filmed well and has a very good rhythm,

VW: I heard a rumor that you are working on a horror film? Yay!!!

BK: Yes, the next script, actually the next two scripts I have written, that I absolutely love, are both in the horror genre. It is a genre I am a huge fan of because I’m a huge fan of Halloween and all things macabre, and that fits my personal taste. It’s kind of my dream and career goal to make a Halloween classic. One of those movies that people watch around fall and Halloween time. So I have two scripts, slightly different and budgets that would both work. One is a horror-comedy, kind of like Shaun of the Dead. I have a background in comedy, I used to write for stand up comedians. Then the other is a horror fantasy and domestic thriller which I think would be a lot of fun because there are musical elements in it. I can’t wait to bring either or both to the screen and hopefully I will have an opportunity to do that if The Fare resonates with audiences, gets seen, and does well.

VW: How do you feel about being a woman filmmaker in a world that is run primarily by men? I really love supporting women in indie films!

BK: I know it’s better, but I think I can go so far as to say, as much as there is a movement to get minorities and female filmmakers and writers more of a voice, it still hasn’t changed much.  I attended a dinner a few months ago that was all of the filmmakers that had films released from the distribution company that I’m with, and I looked around, and except for one other woman who was a friend of mine, it was completely white men. It sort of puts me in the mentality, that in the back of my mind I always know that I have to fight harder, work harder, and do more to have my voice heard. I always knew that, so, me choosing to be in this field means that I accept that that’s my reality. Until it fundamentally changes, I will continue to work harder, fight harder and do more, so that my voice can be heard. Hopefully more women and minorities will keep doing that and keep fighting. Hopefully, someday there will be more balance in the industry than there is now. For now, at least for me, I work primarily in genre. I have written action films, sci-fi and horror films, but it’s still not balanced right now. It’s rare for someone like me to be heard. That’s why this film means a lot to me. And I hope it finds an audience. It’s ultimately up to the audience to support women in filmmaking, to support independent filmmaking, and to let us have a voice. There are a lot of women in horror. We need to see them more! I see more all the time, and it is encouraging!

VW: Thanks for the fantastic interview Brinna! And thank you for fighting the good fight and helping the world see that women and minorities deserve and need to be a huge part of filmmaking! The Fare is amazing! I am sure that audiences will love it as much as I do!

BK: That is the nature of indie filmmakers. Opportunity is rare and competition is fierce. In horror specifically, to be able to make the next one, you really must have your last film speak for you. That’s what I’m hoping The Fare will do and I very much appreciate your efforts in helping with that endeavor. I hope the audiences who will like it- will find it. Because I think this is a film that will speak equally to Sci-Fi fans, Fantasy fans, Horror fans, Mystery fans and, to both men and women. Oft time when I see advertising for horror, I think women get a little left out of the equation and I hope that’s not the case here.

For more info on The Fare check their Facebook page for ordering information, or order directly from the Epic Pictures website

The Fare is available nationwide starting November 19th on Blu-ray and Digital HD, including iTunes, Epic Pictures, Amazon Instant Video, Google Play, Vudu and more.

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  • 10 Things You Didn't Know about Brinna Kelly
    5 December 2019 at 3:10 am - Reply

    […] to “The Fare” so she can have the chance to bring both of these scripts to life. As she told The Blood Shed, for one to make it in the horror film genre, the last film made must speak to the audience before […]