It’s been a while since the art of the chug made it to the big screen. But leave it to the Broken Lizard gang (the same great minds that gave us frat house favorite “Super Troopers”) to craft a delicious beer comedy. “Beerfest” tells the story of American brothers Todd and Jan Wolfhouse (Erik Stolhanske and Paul Soter); when they fly to Munich to spread the ashes of their deceased grandfather at Oktoberfest, they stumble upon a centuries-old, underground beer-drinking Olympics called Beerfest. The brothers partake, but are shamefully walloped in the competition. The pair returns to Beerfest the following year with a motley crew of beer-swilling all-stars: Barry Badrinath (Jay Chandrasekhar), a skillful player with a dark past; Phil Krundle (Kevin Heffernan) aka “Landfill,” the chugging machine; and Charlie “Fink” Finklestein (Steve Lemme), the lab tech with a masters degree in All Things Beer. They come thirsty not just for beer, but for victory. Chandrasekhar, Heffernan and Lemme took a moment to share a few beery thoughts with DRAFT.
Where did you guys get the idea to do a movie about beer drinking?
JC: We are beer drinkers ourselves. Experienced beer drinkers. Actually, when we were in Australia promoting Super Troopers, no one knew who we were. But they had us going around in police uniforms to promote the movie in malls and tire festivals. Well, like a tire store opening. They had this outdoor tire celebration—the tires were stacked up everywhere and there were free hotdogs and beer. They wanted us to get up there in our police costumes and say hi and tell the crowd that we were Super Troopers. We decided it was a better idea to challenge any five guys to a beer-drinking competition, like a chug race. So, at first we were shouted at (we were the visiting team), and people were screaming, “Aus! Aus! Aus!” for the Australians. And we actually lost.
Some people might raise their eyebrows at a comedy about drinking massive amounts of beer.
JC: The only time you ever hear about beer in the official public discourse is in a negative way. How people are alcoholics, they beat their wives, they drink and drive. All of those things are obviously bad. But there are several hundred millions of gallons of beer and booze that people drink every year. We’ve drunk several thousand gallons of those. So it’s not a matter of changing the conversation, but it’s like “Hey, remember why we drink–because it’s fun and funny.”
SL: One thing we do in the movie—just to make sure our characters are responsible— is have a fishbowl where we all put our car keys. It’s pretty much the message that everyone agrees on across the board: You do have to be responsible. You can’t just get as shit-faced as you want and get in your car and drive down the sidewalk.
We’d assume during filming you weren’t actually drinking beer. What were you guys chugging?
JC: There is a lot of real beer in the movie. But we used Diet Coke and O’Doul’s to make a dark beer. Now, when I go to a bar, that’s what I drink—Diet Coke and O’Doul’s.
Are there any interesting drinking games you guys came up with for the film?
SL: We had a made-up game that took place in a bowling alley. You had to sit behind the pins with your legs open, and you had to chug a beer. Once you finished the beer that’s when you could jump up and get out of the way.
Which actor in the movie would win a real-life beer-drinking contest?
KH: Will Forte from SNL. He chugged a liter of beer in about six seconds flat. And then he puked. And then he went back and did it again.
Steve, your character is a bit of a beer geek. Anything you had to do to prepare to for that role?
SL: It’s best to learn about things through trial and error. So, myself, knowing my whole life I was going to play this part, I started a personal mission to drink every single beer in the entire world. I’m about 1/8 of the way there. I figured over the next 60 years I would complete my task, and then we can make Beerfest II.
Any favorite beer memories?
SL: I was in Copenhagen, sitting by the water, drinking an ice-cold Tuborg served in the perfect European glass. I remember that as the most perfect beer I’ve ever had.
KH: My most precious beer I drank out of a rugby cleat after practice one day.
For more information, visit www.beerfestmovie.com