Fakes Gets Real – Exclusive Interview

We all know Vancouver has some suspicious people running suspicious businesses, whether it be the drug dealer on the side of the road who gives my friend edibles, or the creepy guy I found through craigslist who sold me an unreliable old toaster which exploded after I used it several times. Now, everyone knows about fake ID’s and by that I mean, there are chances that they’ve used a fake ID in the past. To sneak into bars, clubs, and some other establishments. Not me though. I had far too many limitations. But let’s get into the series, which gets into how to make fakes. Hence the name, Fakes. Created by David Turko, Fakes follows the story (or rather, stories) of two besties, Zoe and Rebecca. Zoe (Emilija Baranac) is the responsible person who often looks out for her best friend Rebecca (Jennifer Tong) who on the other hand is a lot more reckless. At least that’s how some of the perspective is, but it’s hard to tell what they’re really like when it comes to the two different perspectives. The two girls have their stories mixed together in a weird wonderful and harmonious mix that makes for the most interesting concept of how they started their own fake ID business, worked their way up and became super successful, get a great place to live, and have lots of money… only for them to lose everything when the feds raid a party of theirs. But how did they get there? Well, the series will take us on a lot of adventures through two different points of view as we learn what they’ve been up to, and more. I wanted to learn more about the process of filmmaking, so I spoke to David, the two lead actresses, and supporting actor Richard Harmon, who played Tryst, an employee at a trendy clothing store. They gave me the whole truth about Fakes in one of the funniest interviews I’ve ever had. Now sit back, and prepare for the not-so-harsh reality of making this series.


HNMAG: Congratulations on the CBC premiere. What was the experience like filming the series?

David Turko: Fantastic.

Jennifer Tong: So great. 

David Turko: These three were an absolute dream and delight to work with. It’s truly been the best experience of my career.

Jennifer Tong: Everyone was so welcoming and warm and cooperative, I felt like being able to experiment and try new ideas, bring new ideas to the table. It felt really welcome to play with that and we all got along so well, the cast and crew. It didn’t really feel like work, it felt like hanging out with my friends and doing something really special.

Emilija Baranac: I would agree with that, it really felt like we connected so quickly. For me, it was a dream come true to do a dramatic comedy. That was a first for me, and there were a lot of challenges within that, but it was fun and to get to do it with such a lovely group of people.

Richard Harmon: It was fantastic, I’ve known David for a very long time so working with him was something I’ve always wanted to do when we got the opportunity to do so. The freedom we were allotted as actors on the show was truly second to none. There was plenty of room to play, David was not precious with his dialogue. Truly it was a more original experience more-so than anything I’ve done in my career. 


HNMAG: Were there any ideas you really wanted to go with but couldn’t?

Richard Harmon: No, I think anything I wanted to do got in there.

David Turko: That’s true…

Jennifer Tong: Usually since it was such a collaborative environment, and we all felt comfortable, a lot of creativity sprung from that, and there was one scene where me and Emilija would take jello shots. Non-alcoholic, those Asian ones that are lime flavour and they come in these little thingies. The first take, I was like “Yeah, this is a great idea!” but by the 11th take I was like “This is not a good idea…”. We felt so sick, but it was worth it. 


HNMAG: Richard, you said you know David very well, how did you two get to know each other? Have you two worked on any projects together before this?

Richard Harmon: We have known each other since the first day of preschool, 26 years ago. He got to watch me start acting at a young age when I was growing up so he got to kind of experience the ups and downs that I’ve gone through. He helped me through the downs and experienced the ups with me. When he wanted to get into writing a film I told him it was a terrible idea. But it worked out, so I’m pretty happy for him. I got the opportunity to work with my best friend and as my boss it was a pretty funny situation.


HNMAG: Would you describe him as a good boss or bad?

Richard Harmon: I absolutely love him, and the other people he worked with. Unbelievable show runners.

David Turko: Thank you. I appreciate it.


HNMAG: And as for the subject matter of crime and fake ID’s, did any of you do any particular research on that subject matter before getting to work on this?

Richard Harmon: Oh no, I’ve been drinking for years.

(everyone laughs)

Jennifer Tong: I’ve never made a fake ID before so that wasn’t something I was knowledgable about. But there was one particular scene that we shot where it’s sort of a timelapse of Zoe and Rebecca making fake ID’s. I feel like that was really interesting to see because we had someone through each step and we had to follow the steps and they had to explain why we were doing each action and so we kind of got taught how to make fake ID’s. 

Richard Harmon: I’m pretty sure we were illegally making fake ID’s.

David Turko: Oh, a hundred percent.

Richard Harmon: Pretty sure we were breaking the law.

David Turko: They were TOO good. I’m pretty sure for my research, I’m on every watch list for googling how these are made. We wanted to be as authentic as possible so I had to learn how to do it. I actually have one of the printers you can print them on that made it in this show because the art department needed it. There was a lot that I researched, in preparation for the show.

Richard Harmon: And that’s how we’re funding season 2!


HNMAG: It’s a comedy-drama series. What was the experience having these two genres blended together?

Richard Harmon: I think life is just funny and it’s also sad. I’ve never understood the concept of sticking to one or the other. I think if you just tell the story, we seemingly lean in the comedy more-so off the top. The more and more you go, the more you connect with these characters, you care about them, or the situations they’re put in will affect you as an audience member. I think David and these two just did a fantastic job of playing those stakes and I believe when the audience sees it they’ll have to care.

Jennifer Tong: It’s definitely equal parts heartbreaking, heartwarming, and funny, and dramatic. All of it, all at once which is life and kind of what hooked me with the script from the beginning. It just feels so good to do.

Emilija Baranac: It feels real in that sense, it felt just like real life and easy to settle into these characters and these stories, find the joy and all the things!

Photo Courtesy of David Astorga

They made some pretty good points about the truth. Now, I’ve only seen two episodes but I was slowly starting to piece together what could possibly be true or not. But I had to figure out the truth behind the exaggerated truth, so I asked for a bit more on perspective.


HNMAG: Let’s talk more about how both Zoe and Rebecca are narrating their perspectives. Do people find out which is telling the truth eventually or is it more of a mix? 

Jennifer Tong: It’s more of a mix, I think. I don’t think EITHER of them are telling the truth.

Richard Harmon: Yeah, I agree with that. But is anything really TRUE?

Jennifer Tong: It’s because they’re each living their own separate realities. Of course it’s not going to line up, although it may be true to them.

Emilija Baranac: In real life when you experience the same thing with someone, you’re going to remember it differently, especially in Zoe and Rebecca’s case they’re TRYING to have the last word. 

David Turko: In the writing, there definitely is an objective truth we’re tracing just so we have a cohesive story and we hope that it has an audience of people that can pick up where there are similarities between the two POV’s. If they agree upon certain details, they are clearly talking about this thing. But where we have the fun and make it more of a gray area, the details that each girl might change things slightly and how that reflects themselves and the other girl as well. We never do want to say who’s the liar, and who is telling the truth. It’s a messy and beautiful combination of the two.


HNMAG: With all the different details, how do you keep things from getting too confusing for the audience?

David Turko: There is an ultimate story that’s being told and moving forward, so in the writing process we’re always tracking what’s actually happening. We never want it to be ambiguous or deliberately quirky. It’s just like you get a puzzle piece from episode and then you watch the next one to get another.


HNMAG: To Emilija and Jennifer, did you two enjoy working together?

Emilija Baranac: Yeah. When we had a cast read that we did through Zoom and I was very nervous on that with how to convey chemistry with someone through a screen but I felt immediately with Jen that we were just clicking. Maybe Jen felt something different, but I felt it. We were just kind of playing off each other and when we met the first time and I saw Jen doing her thing I was just like “Ah yeah, this is Rebecca like 100%”. It just helped me to get into Zoe and we had a really nice flow.

Jennifer Tong: For me, it was definitely the first time we met in person. When we had a first rehearsal with our block director Jasmine, we did some improv and watching Emilija, I was like “All of it makes sense now, this is working so perfectly”, and from that point on I remember both of us sitting in a hotel lobby after a rehearsal and going “Is this a big deal for you? Because it’s kind of a big deal for me” and from that point on I knew that it was going to be so fun and going to work everyday with my best friend because we just got along so well and clicked. 

Emilija Baranac: I think it was also a special unique experience in that it was a first time for both of us in such big roles and to have the opportunity to do it together felt really special. I felt supportive with my partner in crime! (laughs)

Jennifer Tong: Ride or die!


HNMAG: Richard, can we expect Tryst to get really involved as the episodes progress?

Richard Harmon: I think you’re going to get your wish. I absolutely adore him and am so happy the way that the two characters seem to see him because it allows me to have a lot of fun. Whatever version of truth it is for them, that version of Tryst to play is pretty fun. There’s also opportunities coming up that you’ll see more of his side of things, and a little more of his truth whether or not that should be there. I hope people enjoy more Tryst.


HNMAG: Were there any on-set difficulties at the time?

Richard Harmon: I really don’t think there was…

Jennifer Tong: I have a couple! There was one time when we had to drive to Langley in a storm, and me and Emilija had kind of a late night and we wrapped then ended up staying at a hotel nearby because it was crazy stormy. Thankfully we were able to find lodging. 

David Turko: One kind of issue that came up being a Canadian show is legal tender. I learned on the show if you have a bill that looks real enough and has that fine print, that’s illegal. All the cash we had on the show had to be real Canadian cash. Our props truck had thousands and thousands of dollars in cash at times so that was a problem I never heard of or thought about. I assumed we would use fake money, but counterfeiting laws in this country are more strict in that regard. 

Photo Courtesy of David Astorga

That’s a surefire way right there that they will have thieves raiding the set, Richard then commented, and Jennifer was sure the government would be watching David even closer now. 


HNMAG: Now that that’s on the record, what kind of special on-set precautions will you be taking in the future?

David Turko: Our props team was excellent, they kept track of the money. We talked about it in a production meeting even.


HNMAG: What about shooting in Vancouver? Did you all have a great time doing film work out here?

Richard Harmon: Oh, yeah. That’s home for all 4 of us, so it was amazing to be able to shoot at home playing home as home and represent our city as best as we could. I think that was just a great opportunity. 

Jennifer Tong: Definitely one of the most special parts of the show is Vancouver playing Vancouver. Being able to show the Lion’s Gate Bridge and be on the Stanley Park Seawall and not have to hide it as something else. I loved it and I feel a sense of pride around it as well.


HNMAG: With another season, what other adventures can we expect the characters to get into?

David Turko: Without giving away our plan for season 2, we’re going to need to have to move beyond Vancouver at some point but I can’t say much more.


Sounds like things are about to get pretty exciting, and already the actors got excited into wondering where they would end up next. Jennifer said she wanted to dig out her passport and wouldn’t mind a trip to Hawaii. Until then, we’ll have to see what they do in Vancouver, and we can. Because Fakes is being released on CBC Gem for free streaming on September 1st. For all you readers outside of Canada, be sure to check Netflix.

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