Zac Efron’s a Man on a Mission in ‘The Greatest Beer Run Ever’ Trailer
Russell Crowe and Bill Murray also star in co-writer/director Peter Farrelly’s follow-up to the Oscar-winning ‘Green Book’
After years of making wacky comedies such as ‘Dumb & Dumber’ and ‘There’s Something About Mary’ with their gross-out, slapstick style with brother Bobby, Peter Farrelly signaled a real gear change with 2018’s ‘Green Book’, a based-on-truth story of racism and understanding that won three Oscars, including Best Picture.pete
So how do you follow that? Turns out, you blend a true-life story boasting real emotions that also has big comic energy to it.
‘The Greatest Beer Run Ever’ is that story. Set in 1967, it follows John “Chickie” Donohue who decides to do something totally outrageous to show support for his neighborhood friends still fighting in Vietnam… He’ll travel to the frontline by himself to bring the soldiers a little piece of home — their favorite can of American beer.
However, what started as a well-meaning journey quickly turns into the adventure of a lifetime as Chickie confronts the reality of this controversial war and his reunions with his childhood buddies thrust him into the complexities and responsibilities of adulthood.
Bill Murray – a frequent Farrelly collaborator – pops up as The Colonel, the local barkeep who challenges Chickie to take on the mission in the first place, while Russell Crowe plays Coates, a war correspondent that Chickie meets on his unlikely undertaking.
Still, despite his decidedly non-uniform clothing (he was a Marine Corps veteran but travelled to Vietnam in checked shirts and regular pants) leading some soldiers to suspect he’s with the CIA, he still brought beer and cheer to friends and other troops.
Farrelly adapted the story from the memoir ‘The Greatest Beer Run Ever: A Memoir of Friendship, Loyalty and War,’ written by Joanna Molloy Donohue, which became a bestseller in 2020.
Yet that wasn’t how the director learned about the story. He was sent the short documentary that shares the movie and book’s name, directed by Andrew J. Muscato and featuring interviews with Chickie and his friends talking about the wild adventure. You can watch it below.
Upon learning that the rights were squatting at Skydance Productions, Farrelly got in touch to find out where development stood.
“I said, ‘Hook me up, I wanna talk to ‘em about it,’” he tells Empire Magazine. “I sought it out and they had no script, they had no nothing, but they wanted to do the story so I just knew that’s what I wanted to do next.”
Working with ‘Green Book’ co-writer Brian Hayes Currie and ‘Hall Pass’ collaborator Pete Jones, Farrelly scripted the new movie, talking with Chickie and his friends to get the gossip on their experiences.
From there, he shot in New Jersey and Thailand, the latter standing in for war-era Vietnam.
And he’s pleased that the one person above all Farrelly wished to impress gave it his stamp of approval. “The person I want to please the most is Chickie,” Farrelly says. “If everybody loved this movie except for Chickie, I would hate it, it would be a disaster for me. I just want Chickie to look at it and say, ‘That’s how it happened,’ and by the way, that this is his reaction. He said, ‘The way I was even thinking, that’s in the movie.’ It’s really great.”