In a surprise win, Universal/DreamWorks/Participant Media’s Green Book took best original screenplay at the Golden Globes on Sunday. Many awards season bloggers were betting on Fox Searchlight’s The Favourite or Annapurna’s Vice, but Green Book‘s win here is a potential indicator of what could be a best picture musical/comedy win for the Peter Farrelly-directed film (which many award season prognosticators are expecting) by the end of the night. Farrelly co-wrote Green Book with Nick Vallelonga and Brian Hayes Currie.
The movie is based on the life of Vallelonga’s father, Tony Lip, a former club bouncer who becomes the driver to African American pianist Dr. Don Shirley during his musical tour in the Jim Crow South. They are opposites, but learn to respect each other’s differences and form a very tight bond.
Vallelonga took his time bringing the story to the screen out of respect for Shirley who wanted the movie to happen after his death (both Vallelonga and Shirley died in 2013). Vallelonga had interviewed both thoroughly. He told Currie about the movie, and he then pitched Green Book to his friend Farrelly. But Currie didn’t hard sell Farrelly; he soft-pitched the idea and let the Dumb and Dumber director get back to him. Interesting note: Shirley never wrote any of his music down in compositions, so for the film, they had to be transcribed by ear.
Originally, Focus Features was planning to release Green Book, but big Uni absorbed after recognizing the great commercial play for the film. Audience exit scores have been stellar for the film.
Green Book has grossed $35.2 million at the domestic box office since its release November 16 and Universal is planning a wide theatrical break again on the pic.