When you hear the name Peter Farrelly, odds are a slew of comedy hits come to mind – Dumb and Dumber, There’s Something About Mary, and more. For the next few months however, I’d like to bet his name comes up in “Best of 2018” and awards season conversations thanks to his latest feature, Green Book. The movie does have a good deal of fun-loving humor and banter, but it’s largely focused on the crushing reality of racism in the 1960s. Green Book is based on the true story of Tony Lip (Viggo Mortensen), a white bouncer from the Bronx, who’s hired to escort a world-class black pianist, Dr. Don Shirley (Mahershala Ali), on a tour from Manhattan to the deep South. It’s a road trip that highlights the importance of kindness, equality, learning from those around you and also embracing your differences.
Green Book is a movie that rocked me to the core in the best possible ways and left me eager to spread the heart it exudes, so it probably goes without saying that it was a huge treat to get to sit down with Farrelly to discuss his experience making the film. We talked about the team effort of making a movie and why it was vital to have the entire crew involved in the creative process of making Green Book, the balance of drama and comedy in the movie, and more. You can hear about it all in the video interview at the top of this article.
Here’s the official synopsis for Green Book:
Academy Award nominee Viggo Mortensen (Eastern Promises, The Lord of the Rings trilogy) and Academy Award winner Mahershala Ali (Moonlight, Hidden Figures) star in Participant Media and DreamWorks Pictures’ Green Book. In his foray into powerfully dramatic work as a feature director, Peter Farrelly helms the film inspired by a true friendship that transcended race, class and the 1962 Mason-Dixon line.
When Tony Lip (Mortensen), a bouncer from an Italian-American neighborhood in the Bronx, is hired to drive Dr. Don Shirley (Ali), a world-class Black pianist, on a concert tour from Manhattan to the Deep South, they must rely on “The Green Book” to guide them to the few establishments that were then safe for African-Americans. Confronted with racism, danger—as well as unexpected humanity and humor—they are forced to set aside differences to survive and thrive on the journey of a lifetime.