Mahershala Ali and Viggo Mortensen hit the road in the trailer for Peter Farrelly's upcoming film Green Book. The movie was inspired by the real-life friendship between musician Don Shirley and his driver, Tony Vallelonga (Ali and Mortensen's respective roles in the movie).
Set in 1962, Green Book reveals what happened when black classical pianist Shirley hired Vallelonga (an Italian-American bouncer) to drive him through the U.S. south on a concert tour. The film's title refers to the term for the guides that black travelers would use in order to avoid danger and find safe places to visit and/or stay during their trips through the pre-Civil Rights era segregated Deep South. In addition to directing, Farrelly (aka. one-half of The Farrelly Brothers) cowrote the Green Book script with actor/writer Brian Hayes Currie (a frequent Farrelly Brothers movie collaborator) and the real-life Vallelonga's son, Nick Vallelonga.
The Green Book trailer is now online, ahead of the movie's debut at the 2018 Toronto International Film Festival in September. In a related interview with EW, Ali spoke about what led him to make the project one of the immediate followups to his Oscar-winning performance from Moonlight two years ago. He explained that he not only appreciated how Green Book draws inspiration from a real-life friendship, but also that it subverts the interracial buddy duo trope where "the black guy is serving as some sort of grounding force and reality check who’s coming from a low-income or working class environment, for the wealthier, more affluent character". You can watch the Green Book trailer in the space above, then check out the film's official poster below.
Speaking of subverting expectations - Green Book marks a sharp departure from the many raunchy comedies that Farrelly has spent much of the last 25 years churning out. Farrelly and his brother have tackled buddy road trip adventures before with the Dumb and Dumber films (and, to a degree, Stuck on You), but the trailer indicates Green Book will stay far, far away from the broad slapstick and crude gags of those Farrelly projects. Indeed, between its socially relevant subject matter and lauded stars (both of whom are highly accomplished character actors), Green Book is the first full-blown awards season contender to feature a Farrelly at the helm.
Judging by the trailer, Ali and Mortensen should have good screen chemistry in Green Book, regardless of the overall quality (or lack thereof) of the film around them. The movie would certainly benefit from a strong critical reception, when it comes to standing out at both the domestic box office and next to the other Oscar-hopeful releases arriving this fall. Green Book will hit theaters over the crowded Thanksgiving frame (on the same day that sequels Creed II and Ralph Breaks the Internet are slated to arrive), but may yet manage to keep its head above the water, despite the intense competition.
- Green Book (2018) release date: Nov 21, 2018