John “Chick” Donahue will forever hold the title of the greatest beer run in world history. The year was 1967, and typical of many of the best military stories, Donahue’s incredible tale of hops-inspired friendship began in a bar.
The recently separated Marine veteran, then 26, was toasting with a group of friends in New York City when one member of their party suggested the zany idea of smuggling a little in-person support — and beer — into Vietnam for their deployed friends.
Donahue volunteered for the job, and within days, was on a Merchant Marine vessel armed only with a backpack full of booze, a few pairs of shorts and Hawaiian shirts.
Chick’s journey of trading in the opulence of the City That Never Sleeps for the war-torn jungles of Vietnam, one that put him in dangerous proximity to the Tet Offensive, would eventually form the foundation for the aptly-named book he co-authored, “The Greatest Beer Run Ever: A Memoir of Friendship, Loyalty and War”.
Now, that story is slated for a big screen adaptation courtesy of Oscar-winning director Peter Farrelly (“Green Book,” “Kingpin,” “Dumb and Dumber”) and a cast that should excite cinephiles everywhere.
“The Greatest Beer Run Ever” — why mess with a fitting title? — is set to star Zac Efron (”The Greatest Showman,” “Bad Neighbors,” “Down to Earth”) in the role of Donahue, Deadline first reported, with Russell Crowe (”Gladiator,” “A Beautiful Mind”) and Bill Murray (too many classics to adequately summarize) expected to be involved as well.
Farrelly, whose Oscar-winning 2018 film “Green Book” starring Mahershala Ali and Viggo Mortensen grossed $321 million internationally, is sharing scriptwriting duties with Brian Currie (”Green Book”) and Pete Jones (”Hall Pass”).
The film is expected as an Apple Original Films feature, according to Deadline, with production scheduled to begin in August.
So, raise your glasses, because this is going to be a fun one.
Jon Simkins is a writer and editor for Military Times, and a USMC veteran.