The trailer has been released for Zac Efron’s new Apple TV+ action-comedy The Greatest Beer Run Ever, which is based on a fascinating true story.
“A real guy actually did this,” says massive font across the scene as the three-minute trailer opens.
Initially set in New York in 1967, the story is about John ‘Chickie’ Donohue, a “sandhog” - an underwater or underground labourer - who gets frustrated with all the Vietnam antiwar demonstrations. He has attended dozens of soldiers’ funerals, and worries that the servicemen will see the demonstrations on TV, and think that no one at home has their back.
Provoked by these thoughts (and bolstered by the words of barman Bill Murray) on one drunken night in a bar he declares that he will take beers to his friends in Vietnam. And so the story begins.
“I’m Chickie Donohue and I’m not supposed to be in Vietnam,” says Efron in the trailer. Then there are scenes of his character travelling to Vietnam, and finding his various friends who are posted throughout the country. He meets Russell Crowe’s character Arthur Coates, a war photographer who helps him on his journey.
“Smuggling beer into a war zone. That’s not the smartest thing I’ve ever heard of. Certainly not the worse either,” says Coates.
While the film is being billed as an action-comedy, it looks like it’s going to pose some more thought-provoking questions too.
“You don’t get it, do you Chick? This isn’t a John Wayne movie where you know who the good guys are and who the bad guys are,” says one of the soldiers to Donohue.
The Greatest Beer Run Ever has been directed by Peter Farrelly, who directed well-loved comedies such as Shallow Hal, Me, Myself and Irene and There’s Something About Mary. In 2018, he co-wrote and directed Green Book, which went on to win an Academy Award for Best Picture and Academy Award for Best Original Screenplay.
Alongside Efron, Crowe and Murray, Jake Picking (Top Gun: Maverick), Will Ropp (The Way Back ), Archie Renaux (Shadow and Bone) and Kyle Allen (American Horror Story: Apocalypse) will also feature.
The film is going to premiere at the Toronto International Film Festival in September, before being released in selected theatres and on Apple TV+ at the end of the month.
The film is based on the book of the same name that was written by Donohue alongside reporter Joanna Molloy, a former reporter for the New York Daily News. Initially, no one believed Donohue’s adventure story as he has retold it over the years.
“For half a century, I’ve been told I was full of it, to the point where I stopped even telling this story,” said Donohue, 80, to the New York Times. They ran a story on the unlikely tale back in 2017.
But there are pictures of Donohue en route, and some of his friends have corroborated his story: “I said, ‘Chickie Donohue, what the hell are you doing here?’” said retired New York City police detective Tom Collins, 76, in an interview. “He said, ‘I came to bring you a beer.’”
“He came through at a time when society didn’t want us and the protesters were on us. But that’s Chickie. He’s one of the nicest but craziest guys you ever want to meet,” added Collins.
The Greatest Beer Run Ever in selected theatres and on Apple TV+ on September 30