Actors Viggo Mortensen and Mahershala Ali are set to star in director Peter Farrelly's New Orleans-shot drama 'Green Book,' which takes its title from the guidebook 'The Negro Motorist Green Book,' which was published annually from 1936 to 1966.
By Mike Scott
NOLA.com | The Times-Picayune
As half of the Farrelly Brothers directing team, Peter Farrelly is most well-known for such gross-out comedies as "Dumb and Dumber" and "There's Something About Mary." With his next project however, which this week filed paperwork to shoot in New Orleans, audiences will get to see a decidedly different side of him.
Farrelly's Universal-backed "Green Book," which is in pre-production and is scheduled to start shooting after Thanksgiving, is a civil-rights-era road drama starring Oscar-nominated "Captain Fantastic" actor Viggo Mortensen and Oscar-winning "Moonlight" actor Mahershala Ali. The film takes its title from a guidebook published annually between 1936 to 1966 called the "Negro Motorist Green Book," which listed businesses -- restaurants, hotels, nightclubs, service stations and the like -- that served black customers.
"It's a true story in 1962, where this black concert pianist named Don Shirley had a tour of the South and he was afraid, as he should have been," Farrelly told IndieWire in June. "So he went down to the Copacabana and hired the toughest bouncer, played by Viggo Mortensen, to drive him. It's these two guys on the road for three months touring the South and all the (things) they run into. I'm really looking forward to it."
Farrelly co-wrote the script with Brian Currie and Nick Vallelonga. According to Variety, Vallelong's father was the real-life bouncer on whom the film is based.
"Green Book" will be shot on an estimated budget of $28.9 million, according to paperwork filed Monday (Oct. 30) with the state. Of that, $20.5 million will be spent in Louisiana, with $14.8 million of that being earmarked for in-state payroll. Principal photography is expected to last 35 days.
The production will mark a return to town for both of the film's lead actors. Ali co-starred 2008's "The Curious Case of Benjamin Button" and 2016's "The Free State of Jones," both of which were filmed in the New Orleans area. Mortensen appeared in 1996's "Albino Alligator" and 2009's "The Road," both of which were also shot in New Orleans.