Bill Murray greets Omaha vets at movie screening

‘Greatest Beer Run Ever’ actor in Nebraska to support Vietnam Veterans Memorial Project
"The Greatest Beer Run Ever" actor was in Nebraska to support the state's Vietnam Veterans Memorial Project.
Published: Nov. 16, 2022 at 11:18 PM CST
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OMAHA, Neb. (WOWT) - If you were at Aksarben Cinema on Wednesday night, maybe catching the new film “Wakanda Forever,” you may have noticed a familiar face hanging out: Bill Murray was in town.

The actor was on hand to help support a fundraiser for the Nebraska Vietnam Veterans Memorial project at a special screening of the new Vietnam-era comedy, “The Greatest Beer Run Ever.”

Murray, along with director Peter Farrelly and producer Andrew Muscato greeted a packed Theater 1 at Aksarben, filled with hundreds of veterans and their families.

It helps when you’ve been invited to the stage by two of the state’s most decorated Vietnam veterans: former Secretary of State Chuck Hagel and former Nebraska Gov. Bob Kerrey.

“This is my first visit to Aksarben, and I was promised a ‘daily double.’ I got Hagel and Kerrey,” Murray joked before the film. “Not bad, actually — about as good a couple of representatives the state could ask for.”

Nebraskans will be honoring these veterans even more in the future.

Murray, who plays the colonel in the AppleTV+ film, praised the veterans in the audience to watch the film.

“It’s great to be here. I’m happy to be a part of this film that these guys (the filmmakers) have all done,” Murray said. “But you guys did the heavy lifting.”

Farrelly, who won two Oscars for his last major film including Best Picture in 2019 for “The Green Book,” was emotional while sharing his gratitude.

“When you make these movies, there’s a lot of screenings here and there, and there’s certain ones that stick out — it’s not the premieres,” Farrelly said. “I have to say, making this movie, and being here in front of so many Vietnam vets, men and women, and vets in general, this is the most special night for me. This is why we made this movie, for this night. I’m so grateful. Thank you very much.”

Farrelly also co-wrote the screenplay based on the book by John “Chick” Donohue, the man who is possibly the only in history to make a beer run to his buddies in a war zone.

“The Greatest Beer Run Ever” is a comedy, but also a sobering story based on Donohue’s experience.

“I appreciate the invite, there’s nothing more honorable than being invited to a group of veterans,” Donohue said in a taped comment that rolled on the screen before the movie. “It took me 50 years to get my story out to the public. I know everybody who was there in ‘Nam has a story — it shouldn’t take another 50 years to get their story out. ... It needs to be told, your children, your grandchildren, your great-grandchildren, should know your story.”

Also played during the previews: an update on the progress of the Nebraska Vietnam Veterans Memorial being built in Papillion.

Murray, who is known for his unique brand of wanderlust — even sighted in the past in the Old Market and at a Huskers football game — got laughs talking about thumbing his way across the country as a younger man.

“I love it here. I spent a lot of time hitchhiking across your damn state,” he said. “You know, when you try to hitchhike up by Kearney, where that juvenile corrections home is, you could spend hours out there.”