A discussion with "R Bnb" filmmaker Robert Mann on his new feature film
Updated: Oct 6
Bryanna McQueeney & Ryon Thomas in R BnB (2023)
CODY: As you already know, I am a big fan of R BnB. The plot twist at the end was killer. But I want to be careful not to include any spoilers in our interview, so that anybody who is reading or watching can experience it like I did. R BnB is about a wealthy couple who travel to the Hudson Valley in New York for a secluded, romantic weekend to celebrate their first wedding anniversary. They’re staying at a charming Airbnb, like many of us do. Early on, they realize something is off about their Airbnb hosts, who decide to hang around for their stay. Were there any specific stories in the news that inspired your script?
Savannah Whitten, Bryanna McQueeney, Alex Galick & Ryon Thomas in R BnB (2023)
ROBERT: Not anything specific. I had read a few things here and there about it. The basis of the story, it didn't come from any one idea. It basically came from economics. It came from the fact that I had stayed at that identical Airbnb about four years earlier shooting a film called 1031. We never got the money raised for the rest of that movie. Myself, the cinematographer and the producer stayed at that Airbnb. Since we couldn't get the money raised because it was a bigger budget film, I thought, well, what can I do on a budget that I can actually raise the money on? What kind of story and what kind of assets do we have? As a filmmaker, you're always thinking, what assets do I have? Do I have a house? Do I have a restaurant?
Ryon Thomas in R BnB (2023)
ROBERT: The owner said if we ever wanted to come back and shoot, we could come on back. The property was secluded, and had all of these other areas, all of this stuff around it, and I'm like, oh, maybe I could do something there. And then I must have read something about someone being spied on at an Airbnb. And then I just started putting the pieces of the puzzle together. And I said, what would happen then, if a couple comes out, and they stay at this home and realize they’re being spied on? How are they going to get out? How are they going to get away?
Bryanna McQueeney in R BnB (2023)
CODY: It's funny, though, in the last six months or so, I've seen so many stories about people finding cameras in their Airbnbs and hotel rooms. My Instagram explore page is filled with a bunch of security experts who promote these devices that find hidden cameras. There are devices that allow you to lock a door from the inside, even if someone on the outside has a key. I bought one of those for a recent ghost hunting trip. But Airbnbs can be pretty secluded and you never know about the property owners. It’s not like an Airbnb employee goes to a home to check it out in person. There are no safety regulations like that in place, except for host background checks.
Savannah Whitten, Alex Galick, Bryanna McQueeney & Ryon Thomas in R BnB (2023)
ROBERT: Yeah, that’s kind of freaky. The main thing is figuring out what story you want to do, then it’s just about justifying everything the characters have done. You get both the character development and the justification. And I didn't want to just do a thriller film, without some depth to its characters. What are the stakes? Why are these people doing what they do? And also, when you think about it, with Aubrey, and Kylo, really, even though they had all these issues, they could have gone a different route and materialized what they want. They wanted this route.
Bryanna McQueeney in R BnB (2023)
CODY: Have you personally ever had any weird or off putting experiences in an Airbnb?
ROBERT: The only thing that's weird is the actual Airbnb that R BnB takes place in. It was built sometime in the 1800s. There is a tiny room off the kitchen that connects to the main estate. Theoretcially it’s a room someone could use to spy on their Airbnb guests. I think it was actually built as maid’s quarters.
CODY: You were forced to film during a pandemic. Can you talk about some of the challenges that you faced having to film a movie during a pandemic?
Alex Galick, Bryanna McQueeney & Savannah Whitten in R BnB (2023)
ROBERT: First off, my budget went up about 35%. The cost factor? Wow, that was huge. When you're doing a really low budget movie, that is huge. 35% just killed us. We had to keep everyone in a bubble. Usually, you shoot, you go home and then come back. We had to house and feed everyone the whole time, even when they were off set. We tried to keep everyone very healthy. Green drinks on set..
CODY: I can’t even imagine the difficulties your team faced. You would not know it watching R BnB. I can't wait to show this movie to my friends!
With a twisted, chilling plot and intense performances from Ryon Thomas (“The Missing,” “Surviving the Cartel"), Bryanna McQueeney ("Sherlock Holmes and the Adventure of the five Acts,” “Thornhill"), Gloria Mann (The Lennon Report, Point Break), Alex Galik (Dante, The Harbinger, Ruin Me), Savannah Whitten (The Grumbling Peapicker, Impossible Monsters), Marco Reese Maldonado (A Killer Romance), Agnes Artych (Edward, “Halston”), R BnB will leave you on the edge of your seat until the very end.
R BnB, a psychological thriller from award winning filmmaker Robert Mann (The Pumpkin Karver) will be available exclusively October 3rd, 2023 on TVOD Cable & Satellite, In Demand, Direct TV, Dish, & Vubiquity. Also available exclusively on TVOD Digital on iTunes, Amazon, Google, Vudu, & Microsoft.