In 2011, actress and producer Teri Fruichantie began working on a series of hilarious You Tube shorts called “Hollywood is Hard”. The adventure/comedy, alternate reality series was based on two girls; Frutron (Fruchantie) and Kimmy Kim (Amber Bollinger), both navigating through the cartoon world of Southern California.
The series became an instant success and helped strengthen a friendship with cast and crew that’s led Fruchantie to produce her first feature-length film, “Drugs & Other Love”.
Written and directed by Noah Applebaum, “Drugs & Other Love” is the story of a how a charming, terrible older sibling keeps his stoner roommate brother high on drugs so he can win the heart of a lovely lady dope dealer who happens to owe money to a ruthless gangster.
“Drugs & Other Love” features a talented cast of actors, including Bollinger, John Weselcouch, Angelina Spicer, and Tommy Sotomayor. Prodcution recently completed on the film which is expected to be released later this year.
I recently spoke with producer Teri Fruichantie and director Noah Applebaum about the process behind “Drugs & Other Love” and more in this exclusive interview.
How did this film project begin?
Teri Fruichantie (Producer): In 2013, we were shooting some HIH episodes when Noah Applebaum visited our set as a guest of our director, Andrew Bentler. Noah really liked what we were doing & the two of us stayed in touch. A few months later, he brought up the idea of a script he had been working on with two female characters that had a similar dynamic to the Hollywood is Hard girls. After reading the script, I knew right away it was something I wanted to be a part of.
Noah Applebaum (Director): I had acted, produced and provided soundtrack to a couple of features with my friends in Ohio before I moved to LA. After I wrote DAOL, I really wanted to find a bunch of funny and talented people to see if we could all create a larger film family. When I met Teri (Fru) & Kimmy Kim, they both fit the script like a glove.
What’s it like working with Teri?
NA: She’s a kickass producer and the funniest person I know. I remember we work shopped the script together and ended up writing 5 or 6 drafts together until we had a tight, shootable movie. It was very exciting.
How would you describe the story of “Drugs & Other Love”?
NA: The story is about an older brother who keeps his younger brother on drugs in order to hook up with his sexy, lady drug dealer named Foxy. Foxy owes money to a local small-time kingpin & when she and her sidekick get kidnapped, the two brothers take it upon themselves to rescue the girls & save the day.
What was the casting process like?
TF: The cool thing about the process was that once people started hearing about the film, they really wanted to be a part of it. Since most of our friends happen to be professional actors we also hired on a lot of them as well.
NA: The male lead was the hardest to cast. I originally had written it for a buddy of mine but as the project developed and the scope of the production changed we had to shift directions. So we camera tested with someone else we thought was our guy but that proved to be a tough fit as well. Then one day one of Teri’s friends invited us to see his amazing play, “Women Are Crazy Because Men Are A##holes”. That was when we saw our lead – John Weselcouch. It was like the “Dreamweaver” scene in “Wayne’s World”. We just had to have him!
What was the filming process like?
NA: Lots of indie films go fast and furious but I wanted to stick to an 8-9 hour day. At that pace we only had enough budget to shoot for two weeks, which actually turned out to be OK because it allowed me to get a decent edit started before we picked up for the second half. We kind of did it in an unorthodox order but that kept the cast and crew energized.
What can you tell me about the music soundtrack for “Drugs & Other Love”?
NA: A soundtrack can make or break a movie and we were really lucky to have incredible artists involved in this project. We’ve got reggae artist Robbie Rule, Son Stokes Army and a bunch of really amazing bands from Pittsburgh like Shaky Shrines and October. We also have YNGNFRSH doing a cameo in the movie performing their song, “I’m Thirsty”.
AXS: Now that the film is complete, what’s next for “Drugs & Other Love”?
TF: Now that the film is wrapped the next step is post production, which I anticipate being more fun than the hustle n’ bustle of shooting the monster. We’re fully focused on making this film the best it can be. It’s a project we all can share and be very proud of. After producing 80+ videos for YouTube, producing a feature-length film like this feels really good!