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Ella May Bruccoleri & Arian Nik

29th March 2024

Photographer & Editor-in-chief: Owen James Vincent

Digital Editor: Pankhuri Bhutani

Interview: Jordan Arthur

Styling: Rasa Balciunaite

Grooming for Arian: Joy Adenuga

Hair for Arian: Olivier Mathis

Make Up for Ella: Alex Spikings

Hair for Ella: Lucy Muyanga

With mystery, chills, and twists abound, 'Passenger' is a new thriller from ITV and we’re so excited to welcome two of its stars to ReVamp as our latest cover stars. Ella Bruccoleri and Arian Nik play two small-town cops at the centre of increasingly weird events in their small community, and they join us here to tell us all about this exciting new show!

Hi guys and welcome to ReVamp! What can you tell us about your new ITV show ‘Passenger’? Who are your characters, and where do we find them at the start of the series? 

E: It’s a very strange, wild ride of a TV show. Fargo meets Twin Peaks meets Happy Valley. I play Probationary Constable Ali Day, a militant vegan and environmentalist who is also the school swot of the local police force. She and Nish have a love/hate relationship and are very much plodding on looking into missing bins and potholes and the like, until things start getting weird in Chadder Vale.

A: The show is set in a tight-knit fictional northern town called ‘Chadder Vale’, a town that has its own secrets and past but nothing a friendly smile or a primmed bush can’t cover. I play Support Officer Nish Chowdry working alongside Riya (Wunmi Mosaku), Linda (Jo Hartley) and Tweedle Dee - I mean - Ali (Ella Bruccoleri). When you first meet Nish he’s an absolute coaster - very comfortable working his 9-5, going home to his parent's house, locking his bedroom door and gaming, snacking and sleeping till he has to leave again. Life’s good, lonely at times. But good.

‘Passenger’ has been described as a comedy-thriller. Arian, we know you’re no stranger to genre-crossing projects like your ‘Count Abdulla’ series. But a question to you both is do you have a preference when it comes to which of ‘Passenger’s’ genres you lean into? Or does the show work because it plays with both?

E: I think that’s exactly why the show works. It treads that line of dark deadpan comedy and thriller perfectly. I definitely feel myself leaning more into the comedy though, that’s where Arian and I have been having the most fun.

A: It has to be both. I think the alchemy of comedy and thriller is essentially what makes PASSENGER so different. Andy’s writing beautifully captures the northern spirit and humour all the while exploring themes of isolation, loneliness and fear which all lend themselves to the genre-blend beautifully. All we did was play the truth of the scenes, however absurd or funny they were. 

Arian wears YYAtomic

Ella wears Horde Studio and G.H. Bass

You play Chadder Vale police officers in this series, working under Wunmi Mosaku’s hardened big-city cop. Your characters in particular have something of a Scooby Doo/Mystery Inc energy about them (which I mean as a compliment!). I bet playing out a mystery like that is a lot of fun?

E: I love this comparison! I’ve always seen myself as a bit of a Velma. Occasionally you almost wish you hadn’t read the end of the scripts so that you can actually try to solve the mystery for real and find out what’s going on at the same time as everyone else!

A: Listen, I’ll take any reference to our characterisation being close to that of Scooby or his gang as the highest of compliments. Working with Ella creating these characters and their dynamic was magic. We out-goofed each other in every scene and just had a laugh while everyone around us ran around making the show.

Were there any scenes in particular that you got to play together where afterwards you thought “that was really cool?”

E: I really loved our gaming chat. Vice City versus San Andreas. But pretty much every scene with Arian was a joy to play to be honest. Both Lee Haven Jones and Nicole Charles (our directors) allowed us to go for it with improvisation at the top and ends of scenes and sometimes it seemed to run on for ages, with Arian and I trying to out-do each other and make each other giggle, which felt like a huge privilege to be allowed to do as a job every day.

A: The highlight for me had to be shooting the final moments of the series - we were 10 feet under in Alderly Edge Copper Mines. It was dark, eery and cold. It’s rare as an actor you get to just play the reality of your surroundings. We were underground for the best part of 12 hours with no natural daylight or phone signal. The fear was real. We did go mad. Thank god for the snacks.  

Arian wears cardigan from Amor-Lux

Ella wears shirt from Femponiq, Vest from Horde Studio, Jeans from YEF Studio and scarf from Shaku

West Yorkshire stands in for Chadder Vale in the show. The fictional town is depicted as one with a precarious economy and a less extravagant way of life. But that’s against the lovely backdrops of Cornholme. What was it like filming up there?

E: Ahhhh I loved it quite honestly. It was my first long stint filming up North, near where I’m from and that felt really special and almost like being accepted into a lovely little fold of actors and crew members up there who all seem to know each other.

A: This was one of the first times I’ve had the opportunity to film across little pockets of Yorkshire. I’m from Leeds originally but Cornholme, Wigan and Todmorden were all new to me. Every location we shot in carried its own natural beauty which leant into the ‘Americana’ edge the shows design carried. The locations really helped anchor the visual language of the show.  I remember the first day on the job we were on a night shoot in Haigh Hall Forest. The entire place had been covered in snow for the scene which gave an already beautiful forest an otherworldly feel. It was like stepping into Narnia. Mad. 

Arian wears shirt from Jie Ni / Ella wears blazer from Jie Ni

Finally, collectively as a pair, can you tell readers why they should tune in to ‘Passenger’ on Sundays, Mondays and catch up on ITVX in one sentence?

E: What you think is going to happen is absolutely NOT WHAT IS GOING TO HAPPEN.

A: You know those shows that you miss at the start and have to catch up on cause everyone is talking about it and you feel like you weren’t invited to the party? Don’t let that happen with Passenger. This show is wholly original and unlike anything ITV viewers have seen. Strap in. 

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