From Epic Pictures, the new Hitchcockian romance movie The Fare is now available on VOD and Blu-ray. Directed by D. C. Hamilton, the movie follows a cabbie who finds himself caught in an endless time loop with a woman who climbs into his cab for a ride. In addition to co-starring in the movie with Gino Anthony Pesi, Brinna Kelly also wrote and produced The Fare. To find out more about what went into the movie, we spoke with Kelly about The Fare and her time as a filmmaker.
Read on for the complete Brinna Kelly interview!
The Fare has a simple yet intriguing premise. You probably get asked this a lot, but how did this idea come about?
Brinna Kelly: First of all, thank you for taking the time to chat with me! The very first spark of inspiration came to me in the form of an email from our director DC Hamilton. He sent me an article about how cab drivers near the Japanese Fukushima Nuclear Power Plant accident were reporting “phantom fares” in the area. Apparently dazed people would climb into the backs of cabs and then disappear somewhere along the ride…The email came with the note: I think this would make an interesting premise for a horror film. I agreed with him, and took that initial idea of a person disappearing from the backseat of a cab and gave it a Twilight Zone twist.
You star in The Fare in addition to writing and producing the film. What can you tell our readers about your character and what it was like to play her?
Brinna Kelly: In the movie, I play Penny, a mysterious woman and the titular “fare.” As a character, I wanted Penny to be engaging above all. I wanted her to be entertaining and spirited, someone who a slightly rough-around-the-edges cabbie wouldn’t mind driving with over and over again, and above all, I never wanted her to bring the audience down with her problems. So as the story goes and you learn more about her, I tried to keep her buoyant and fundamentally optimistic. A romantic, in spite of everything she has seen.
You and your co-star Gino Anthony Pesi had fantastic chemistry on-screen. What was it like working with him behind the scenes?
Brinna Kelly: Gino is hands down one of the best actors I’d ever worked with. That chemistry everyone’s picking up on is the result of the two of us falling very quickly into a spirited rhythm with one another. On set, Gino was both fun and professional. He made everyone in the crew laugh, but also had his lines down to the punctuation each and every day. We only had 6 days to shoot the entire movie, which meant we couldn’t do more than a couple of takes per setup. Given such production demands, I couldn’t ask for a better scene partner.
Producing, writing, and acting all seem challenging in their own ways, yet you’re doing all of these things with your projects. What can you tell me about the pros and cons of wearing so many hats with your movies?
Brinna Kelly: When you’re an indie filmmaker, wearing many hats just comes with the territory. Indie film productions often have tight budgets and can’t afford a full crew, so the producers end up doing the catering and transpo-driving themselves (both of which I did on The Fare, btw.) I suppose the biggest con is that you risk spreading yourself too thin and not being able to concentrate on each specific job. I personally counter that by having my wonderful on-set producer Kristin Starns. During production, she took on the on-set producing duties so I could focus on acting. It’s often times a juggle like that. But the cons are far outweighed by the biggest pro, which is that we get to make a movie! We get to put our work and our voices out there, and, in the end, hopefully an audience will see it and connect with it. That’s a huge privilege and worth overcoming every challenge.
You’ve previously said The Twilight Zone served as a source of inspiration for taking on a story like the one we see in The Fare. As another big fan of the show, I’ve got to ask – do you have a particular favorite episode from that classic series?
Brinna Kelly: That’s… perhaps the toughest question for me to answer, as picking just one episode out of so, so many is very challenging. So, I’ll give you two. The first is the one everyone talks about: “Eye of the Beholder” (season 2, episode 6). But everyone talks about it for a reason. I discovered The Twilight Zone as a child, and this episode left such an impression on me. It was the first time I’d ever considered what perception really was, and questioned the reason behind every belief my child mind took for granted. This episode truly made me realize, beyond any other lesson, that opinions are learned and not innate.
The second episode that left an indeleble impression on me was “The Invaders” (season 2, episode 15). This episode was the first time I experienced a mind-blowing ‘twist ending’, something I absolutely did not see coming that re-contextualizes everything that came before. As a child, I was blown away. (To quote the radio show from The Fare, “WE are the aliens.”)
And that’s the most wonderful thing about The Twilight Zone; and other great sci-fi, it opened my mind up to so many different ideas and points of views that I’d never before considered. It is something that, as a storyteller, I aspire to do every day.
You’ve mentioned being a Trekkie as well. From one Trekkie to another, what was it like to meet Brent Spiner and work with him on The Midnight Man?
Brinna Kelly: Meeting and working with Brent Spiner will always go down in my book as one of those “pinch me” moments in life. I’m not one who usually gets “star struck,” however, seeing Data in the flesh was something else. But, I completely held it together during our first meeting/rehearsal, I was ever professional as both producer and screenwriter during those 3 hours and never once mentioned Star Trek… until the very end. I went to shake Brent’s hand, and I just couldn’t help myself, I said, “By the way Brent, I’m a huge Star Trek fan.” And I’ll never forget what he said back. He said, “That’s wonderful to hear, I personally am not, but I love it when other people are.”
Then Brent went on to regale us for many days with behind-the-scenes stories of Star Trek as well as his famous impression of Sir Patrick Stewart while we were on set. And that’s when I realized something, Brent couldn’t be a “fan” of Star Trek because for him, Star Trek was simply life. But he appreciated the fans deeply and is always gracious when asked about it. On one of our days on set, D.C. Hamilton asked him: “Have you ever gone through a single day of your life where Star Trek didn’t come up?” And Brent cheekily replied: “Well… I thought it would have been today, but then you just asked.”
So there you have it, Brent Spiner is a wonderful and generous human being who wears his status of “geek legend” with grace and good humor. And working with him was absolutely a privilege, even if I hadn’t been a Trekkie.
You’ve done some great work with The Midnight Man, The Fare, and your short film projects. I’m wondering if you can tell me what’s next for Brinna Kelly? Any other planned movies in the pipeline?
Brinna Kelly: Thank you! As for what’s next for me… well, that completely depends on how much people like, and how many people see, The Fare! We’ve done as much as we can with The Fare and now the work is going to have to speak for itself and for us. Hopefully the film can find and connect with an audience and lead people to want to see more from us.
Next up, I have written a horror-thriller with elements of fantasy and dark humor (in the vain of Shaun of the Dead) that I think audiences would really enjoy. It’s a wicked, fun ride and we can’t wait to make it. With some good fortune, hopefully The Fare can help create opportunities that will allow us to pursue that film. But that’s really up to the audience now and our hope is that The Fare will find them. So please support indie film and rate, review and help spread the word! Every comment and every review counts!
The Fare is now available on VOD and Blu-ray. You can watch the official trailer below, courtesy of Epic Pictures Group on YouTube.