Brendan Robinson & Blake Cooper Griffin talk Beerfest: Thirst for Victory

Inspired by the 2006 movie Beerfest, comes Beerfest: Thirst for Victory. In the new movie, a group of twenty-something friends, struggling to recapture the rowdy glory of their college days, reunite to compete in an underground drinking competition and take down the tournament’s evil CEO. The reboot movie debuted June 5 on The CW’s online platform, The CW Seed and stars Blake Cooper Griffin and Brendan Robinson (who you may recognize as Lucas Gottesman from Pretty Little Liars). YEM spoke with Brendan and Blake about the new movie:

Young Entertainment Mag: Your new movie is inspired by the movie Beerfest. Were you familiar with the movie?

Brendan Robinson: Yes!  I saw the original movie when it first came out in 2006 and was a fan.  I’m also a big fan of Broken Lizard’s other movies.  One of the really cool things about doing Beeriest: Thirst for Glory was that it was produced by Bill Gerber, who was the producer of the first film.  So, I knew it would stay true to the essence of what they did in the original movie, and that was really exciting.

Blake Cooper Griffin: Yes! I loved the original. The cast is hilarious. Naturally, I was super stoked when I found out that I was going to be a part of CW Seed’s version. A buddy of mine and I had actually just re-watched the 2006 movie a couple of weeks before I auditioned, so I like to think it was meant to be.

YEM: Is it hard to be a part of a movie that already has a big cult following?

Brendan: Yes and no.  I think while making the film we were all well aware of the original movie’s popularity, and wanted to make sure fans of the franchise would like it.  However, Thirst for Glory isn’t a sequel to Beerfest, but more of a companion movie that exists in the same cinematic universe.  That gave us a lot of freedom to play and make the material our own.  Our director, Matt Johnson, is so creative and funny, and he did a fantastic job putting his own personal touch on the film.

Blake: I think it’s exciting. There’s already a love for the “world of Beerfest.” Our version, Beerfest: Thirst for Victory is obviously not the same as the original. There are different characters and different plot twists, but both versions capture the pure fun of competing with your friends.

YEM: Tell us about your characters.

Brendan: I play Rob. Rob’s a guy who’s at a crossroads.  He’s always lived his life to please other people, particularly his father, and is expected to become an attorney and join the family law practice.  But, deep down, the law isn’t his passion.  He has this nice arc throughout the film where he’s being pulled in several different directions by his dad, his friends, and his heart.  He eventually has to make a choice to remain stifled by his father, or go outside his comfort zone to achieve happiness.

Blake: I play Scott. Scott is sort of the ring leader of the group. He’s been out of college for a few years, and he kind of feels like he’s lost his mojo. He’s realizing that being a full-on adult is a lot of work. He’s still in love with his ex-girlfriend Angie and misses being able to hang out with his friends all the time. I think he sees Beerfest as a way to connect with the “fun Scott” again.

YEM: Can you relate to your characters in any way?

Brendan: Well, both of my parents are lawyers, and I knew that’s not what I wanted to do with my life.  I have that in common with Rob!  But, my parents are the biggest supporters of my dream, which is not the case with Rob.  We also have a similar sense of humor — dry and witty.  The funny thing is, I’m not a beer drinker.  I’m actually not much of a drinker at all.  So, Rob’s love of beer definitely required some imagination on my part.

Blake: I think Scott really cares a lot about his friends and I certainly feel that way too. I’m lucky to have kind, hilarious, fun people in my life. And, I can definitely relate to the feeling of being in a rut. I think we all feel that way from time to time. Also, Scott is pretty competitive, and I have been known to get a little bit…intense.. about winning at game night. Haha.

YEM: Brendan, our readers remember you from Pretty Little Liars. What are some memories you have from being a part of PLL?

Brendan: Yes!  PLL is very special to me because it was my first big job.  I learned so much from being on that show.  It was such an amazing experience to work on the Warner Brothers Studios lot everyday where there’s so much Hollywood history.  One of our soundstages, Stage 7, was also where they filmed Casablanca, My Fair Lady, The Music Man and tons of other historic films.  They actually call it “the lucky stage” because more movies filmed there went on to win Oscars than any other stage on the lot.

I also have so many great memories of the people who worked on that show.  Marlene King created a really special work environment where everyone was made to feel like they were an important member of “the family.”  She’s a really kind and giving person!  Everyone really liked each other and liked coming to work each day.  I miss that!!

YEM: The movie premieres on The CW Seed. Is it different to be involved in a movie that is specifically on a digital platform?

Brendan: I’d say that the only thing that’s different is that people can watch the film immediately on their phone or tablet.  I think that’s a cool thing, and that this particular brand of comedy really works well in a digital format.  Everyone at the CW has been super supportive of our movie, and just wanted us to make the best thing we could.  That’s the luxury of digital platforms.  Many of them just want their creators to make good content instead of being concerned with the kinds of things that are important to traditional networks and film studios, like numbers and target demos.  It’s a fun space to work in, for sure!

Blake: The CW has so many awesome shows, so it’s always fun to work with a network that you already watch all the time. And CW Seed is awesome because it broadens the opportunity for new kinds of shows the network can do. One of the major advantages is that you can watch whenever you want to. CW Seed really offers a personalized experience, so if you’re feeling like binging episodes of Life Unexpected you can do that, and then you can follow that up by watching our movie. I think it really puts the viewer in control.

YEM: If you could remake any movie from the 2000s (other than Beerfest), what would it be and why? 

Brendan: That’s such a great question!  I tend to gravitate more toward comedy, so I’d have to go with one of those.  “13 Going On 30” but with a role reversal, maybe?  But then that would pretty much be a reboot of “Big.”  Haha!  Or, how about “Big 2” but directed by Tom Hanks?  Now, I’m just trying to come up with ways to get Tom Hanks involved because I would die to work with him.

Blake: How about Catch Me if You Can? I would play Leonardo DiCaprio’s character. In fact, can I just do remakes of his entire career?

Beerfest: Thirst for Victory is streaming now on The CW Seed.