Oscar winner Mahershala Ali and two-time Oscar nominee Viggo Mortensen have signed on to star in the drama Green Book from director Peter Farrelly, it was announced Thursday by Participant Media. The duo will be joined by Emmy-nominated actress Linda Cardellini (Mad Men).
Participant will produce and finance the film, which will be released through the company’s output arrangements via Steven Spielberg’s Amblin Partners.
Green Book tells the true story of Tony Lip (Mortensen), an Italian-American bouncer with a seventh-grade education, who in 1962 was hired to drive Dr. Don Shirley (Ali), one of the world’s finest jazz pianists, on a concert tour from New York City through the pre-Civil Rights era Deep South. Being that Dr. Shirley was African-American, the men relied on the Negro Motorist Green Book to guide them to the few motels, restaurants and gas stations that they were welcomed in below the Mason-Dixon Line. Confronted with racism, danger, and, sometimes unexpected humanity, the journey opened both men’s eyes to each other, and to the world they lived in.
Farrelly wrote the script with Nick Vallelonga and Brian Currie, and trio will produce alongside Jim Burke and Charles Wessler. Participant’s Jeff Skoll and Jonathan King will serve as executive producers along with Cinetic Media’s John Sloss and Steve Farneth, as well as Kwame Parker. Production is slated to start this week.
“To have Viggo, Mahershala and Linda in my movie is a blessing and an embarrassment of riches. I am looking forward to working with all of them and sharing Nick’s testament to his father with the world,” said Farrelly.
“We are proud to support the whole creative team on this film that beautifully highlights the enduring importance of friendship, family and the freedom to express yourself,” added King.
Mortensen is represented by UTA, Rawlins Company and attorney Stuart Rosenthal, while Ali is repped by WME, Anonymous Content and Sloane, Offer, Weber and Dern. Cardellini is repped by ICM Partners and Mosaic.
Jeff Sneider | Editor in Chief