Peter Farrelly tours New Jersey for “The Greatest Beer Run Ever”, with Zac Efron and Russell Crowe


Marine Corps Veteran John “Poussin” Donohue traveled the world in 1967 for a very specific mission:

Deliver beer to friends serving in the Vietnam War.

Reaching the finish line seemed highly unlikely – even Donohue was pretty sure he couldn’t do it – but he pulled it off.

The story of how can be found in “The greatest beer race of all time», Donohue’s book and Joanna molloy it will soon be a feature film.

Oscar winner Peter Farrelly (“Green Book”) is directing the Apple Original film in New Jersey and Thailand.

Zac Efron (“Hairspray”, “The Greatest Showman”), 34, stars as a young “Chickie” Donohue. Oscar winner Russel crowe, 57, shares the limelight as a journalist in Vietnam.

Production is currently underway in Thailand and is expected to start in Jersey City in November.

Crowe starred as New Jerseyans John Forbes Nash Jr. in “A beautiful spirit“(2001), James J. Braddock in”Cinderella man“(2005) and Richie Roberts in”american gangster”(2007). But this time around, her role has it in Thailand, not Jersey.

The film adaptation of “The Greatest Beer Run Ever” will show how Donohue (Efron), a 26-year-old merchant seaman at the time, brought beer and friendship to his fellow soldiers and found himself stranded in Vietnam when the Tet offensive began. in 1968.

“Chickie” decided to make the trip to Vietnam – he had been there twice as a merchant seaman – at the request of George E. Lynch.

Lynch – a bartender who called himself “The Colonel” at Doc Fiddler’s, a watering hole in Manhattan’s Inwood neighborhood where Donohue grew up – opposed the war protests and felt soldiers were lacking Support. Donohue agreed they could use a moral boost.

When Donohue arrived in Vietnam to find every soldier on his Inwood list, people assumed he was a CIA agent because he was not in uniform.

The Greatest Beer Race of All Time: A Memory of Friendship, Loyalty and WarWas self-published by Donohue and Molloy in 2017 and became a bestseller when it was picked up in 2020 by William Morrow / HarperCollins. The story, which is currently # 8 on the New York Times bestseller list for paperback, was adapted for the screen by Farrelly and Brian Hayes Currie – who was part of the Oscar-winning “Green Book” screenplay team – with Pete Jones (“The Leisure Class”).

André Muscat, a “The Greatest Beer Run Ever” producer who chose Donohue and Molloy’s book, lives in Jersey City and is originally from Basking Ridge.

Donohue and his Vietnam veteran friends – the beneficiaries of his epic beer run – were the subject of Muscato’s short documentary in 2015, “The greatest beer race of all time” produced by Pabst Blue Ribbon, one of the brands of beer he delivered to soldiers.

Director Peter Farrelly in 2019. Farrelly, who won the Oscar for Best Picture and Best Original Screenplay for “Green Book”, shoots “The Greatest Beer Run Ever” in Thailand and New Jersey. Frazer Harrison | Getty Images

The video, posted on YouTube, caught the attention of production company Skydance, which signed on for the feature film adaptation. Apple Original Films joined the Farrelly Project this year.

Muscato is also the director of “New worlds: the cradle of civilization», A film which premiered in July at cannes film festival. The documentary was filmed in 2018 at the Acropolis in Greece during the last European performance of Bill Murray, Jan Vogler and his friends’ New worlds to visit.

Murray, who sings (“I Feel Pretty” from “West Side Story,” among other selections) and reads poetry in the Muscato film, was reportedly wanted for one of the roles in Farrelly’s film – possibly The Colonel.

Actor Kyle Allen, who will appear in Steven Spielberg’s next version of “West Side Story” – which was shot in Paterson with Clifton’s Rachel Zegler as Maria – is also attached to the film Farrelly. He will play Bobby Pappas, Donohue’s childhood friend.

Jake Picking (“Top Gun: Maverick”) will play Rick Duggan, another friend of Donohue. Archie Renaux (“Shadow and Bone”) plays his friend Tommy Collins, and Will ropp (“The Way Back”) plays Kevin McLoone, another friend of Inwood.

“Green Book” star Viggo Mortensen and “Teen Wolf” actor Dylan O’Brien, who grew up in Springfield Township, were previously associated with the project (O’Brien to play Donohue).

In 2019, Peter Farrelly – known for co-directing Farrelly Brothers comedies like “There’s Something About Mary” alongside his brother, Bobby Farrelly – won the Oscars for Best Picture and Best Original Screenplay for “Green Book” . The controversial comedy-drama, starring Mahershala Ali and Mortensen, was co-written by Paramus’ Nick Vallelonga and based on the story of Vallelonga’s father, “Sopranos” actor Tony Lip (Mortensen), who served from driver to pianist Don Shirley (Ali) on a concert tour of the South in the early 1960s.

Ali won an Oscar for playing Shirley, but members of the pianist’s family filmed the film, claiming they were not consulted. Shirley’s brother called the film “symphony of lies. “The film has been criticized as another example of the problematic ‘white savior’ trope in his handling of racism. Vallelonga said he based the story on his father’s relationship with Shirley and the screenwriter’s interviews with the pianist before. his death in 2013 (Tony Lip died the same year).

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Amy Kuperinsky can be reached at [email protected] and follow up to @AmyKup on Twitter.