Olivia Wilde and Jake Johnson star in "Drinking Buddies." ("Drinking Buddies" )
For national audiences, stars Olivia Wilde ("House") and Jake Johnson ("The New Girl") are the two biggest reasons to see "Drinking Buddies." But Chicagoans will want to see it to support its two local stars—Revolution and Three Floyds breweries.
Both breweries have roles—one on-screen, one behind-the-scenes—in the film, which was directed by Chicago filmmaker Joe Swanberg and will debut at Austin's South by Southwest festival in March.
The film follows the relationship between Kate (Wilde) and Luke (Johnson), two definitely-not-single brewery employees who nonetheless find that long hours, shared experiences and, well, beer complicate their plans for a platonic friendship.
"I imagine everybody has their own alcohol stories," Swanberg said, explaining his choice to center the film around beer. "Things they’ve done while drunk that they wish they hadn’t, whether it’s romance-related or not."
Many of the brewery scenes were filmed at Revolution's Kedzie Avenue production facility, while Three Floyds brewer Andrew Mason consulted on the film and provided key real-world advice and detail.
"[Andrew Mason] and I knew each other since high school," Swanberg said. "I'm a homebrewer, but I’ve never worked in a brewery or anything like that. So that was actually part of what sounded fun to me, getting a peek inside, using the film as a way to explore that world."
And when it came time to choose a location for the film, Swanberg, a native of Naperville, said there was little question he'd stick close to home.
"With any movie, you could set it anywhere. Chicago beer is what I know about. It was a very easy and fun thing for me to actually be knowledgeable about," Swanberg said.
After the film's debut in early March at SXSW, Swanberg hopes to screen it around Chicago. He said fans can keep an eye on his Twitter feed (@joe_swanberg) for updates about showings.
"For the actors and everybody involved, it’s just excited to be part of this [craft beer] thing that’s becoming a bigger conversation," he said. "Other than the people who are already brewers, it’s a fairly new topic anyway that’s exciting to learn about."
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