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Red Door Animal Shelter Gets Screen Time in New Movie 'Drinking Buddies'

By Benjamin Woodard | August 2, 2013 7:46am
 Actor Jake Johnson wears Red Door Animal Shelter's red T-shirt in his new flick "Drinking Buddies."
Famous T-Shirt
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WEST ROGERS PARK — A little neighborhood animal shelter scored a starring role in indie film "Drinking Buddies," opening in theaters next month.

Well, its T-shirt did.

In a three-minute scene of the movie, actor Jake Johnson, who plays Nick Miller on Fox's "New Girl," sports a red shirt with the logo of West Rogers Park's Red Door Animal Shelter, 2410 W. Lunt Ave.

Shelter employees and volunteers are thrilled.

"I was very excited and very proud," Toni Greetis, who helps run the shelter, said when she heard about the shirt's onscreen appearance. "We got part of our 15 minutes of fame."

The new film, directed by Detroit native Joe Swanberg, is available to watch on iTunes and other streaming services now. The flick will be released by Magnolia Pictures on Aug. 23.

"Drinking Buddies" follows lead actors Olivia Wilde and Johnson, who are co-workers at a Chicago brewery. They flirt. And flirt. But are in committed relationships with characters played by actors Ron Livingston, known for his roles in "Office Space," "Band of Brothers" and "Sex and the City," and Anna Kendrick, star of 2012's "Pitch Perfect" and nominated for an Oscar for 2010's "Up in the Air."

The sexual tension — lubricated by lots of brew — is through the roof.

Greetis and the shelter's volunteers plan to have a viewing party when it hits theaters.

So how did the T-shirt make its way onto the big screen?

It turns out the movie's wardrobe supervisor, Liz Rench, had volunteered at the shelter in 2004.

But it wasn't her who picked out the shirt, she said.

Her designers visited Chicago thrift stores for costume ideas and by chance picked out Red Door's shirt from the racks.

"It worked, and [Johnson] liked it," said Rench, adding that the beat-up shirt matched his grungy, bearded persona. "I think that he liked that it was an animal shelter. It was just kind of a fluke."

Johnson confirmed Rench's story.

"I love animal shelters. I have two rescue dogs," the 35-year-old actor said via email. "Wardrobe picked this shirt and we thought it looked good. An animal rescue is easy to support."

The movie was filmed in Chicago last summer, largely in Revolution Brewing's brewery in Avondale.