INSPIRED BY A TRUE FRIENDSHIP.
In the early 1960s, New York City bouncer Tony ”Lip” (Viggo Mortensen) is hired by an African-American concert pianist (Mahershala Ali) for a tour through the Deep South; he’ll serve as a driver and security. This reality-based dramedy tackles 1960s race relations along the lines of Driving Miss Daisy (1989) and earned the same kind of praise and criticism. That part of the film is handled well enough, but above all this is a refreshing change of pace for Peter Farrelly who’s never really made anything this ambitious before. He has great help from Mortensen and Ali who are simply wonderful. A real crowd-pleaser; funny and engaging.
2018-U.S. 130 min. Color. Produced by Jim Burke, Brian Hayes Currie, Peter Farrelly, Nick Vallelonga, Charles B. Wessler. Directed by Peter Farrelly. Screenplay: Nick Vallelonga, Brian Hayes Currie, Peter Farrelly. Cast: Viggo Mortensen (Tony ”Lip” Vallelonga), Mahershala Ali (Don Shirley), Linda Cardellini (Dolores Vallelonga), Dimeter Marinov, Mike Hatton, Iqbal Theba.
Trivia: Co-executive produced by Octavia Spencer. Nick Vallelonga is the son of Tony ”Lip”. The first film Farrelly directed without his brother Bobby (except Dumb & Dumber, but they both worked on it).
Oscars: Best Picture, Supporting Actor (Ali), Original Screenplay. Golden Globes: Best Motion Picture (Comedy/Musical), Supporting Actor (Ali), Screenplay. BAFTA: Best Supporting Actor (Ali).
Last word: “It was a very hard sell. We had a really good script that I wrote with Brian Hayes Currie and Nick Vallelonga and we really couldn’t get it moved in any way at all because I hadn’t done this type of thing and it wouldn’t have gotten made if not for Viggo and Mahershala signing on. As soon as I hooked them, and I had them without a studio, then people were like, ‘Okay, let’s take a look at this. If Viggo and Mahershala want to do it, then we’re going to take a closer look.’ Even then, they were not looking at it as big a movie as I felt it could be. They were thinking it was sort of a genre movie and budgeted accordingly. It was tough. We had a several week shoot, it was a period piece but we only had $20 million in seven weeks, but it all worked out.” (Farrelly, Slashfilm)