The Boys Are Back For Another Hangover
LOS ANGELES - Here are some hijinks and a few highlights from The Hangover Part II, which the cast and crew may or may not want you to know.
Details are provided by director Todd Phillips and features Bradley Cooper, Zach Galifianakis, Ed Helms and Ken Jeong. They reunited for a press gathering recently at the Beverly Hilton Hotel to talk about the anticipated followup to 2009's The Hangover, opening May 26.
In the R-rated sequel, cynical teacher Phil (Cooper) and weirdo Alan (Galifianakis) end up in Thailand to attend the wedding of dentist Stu (Helms).
After a refined pre-wedding dinner at an exclusive resort, the buddies decide to go out for one drink.
Cut to the morning after in a sleazy Bangkok hotel. The trio haven't lost Doug (Justin Bartha) this time, but must find the missing Ted (Mason Lee), who happens to be the over-achieving younger brother of Stu's fiancee. Lee is actually the son of director Ang Lee (Brokeback Mountain; Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon), but Phillips had no idea until after he was hired.
Returning to the comedy action is criminal Mr. Chow (Jeong), and former heavyweight boxing champ Mike Tyson; new to the fold is Paul Giamatti, who plays a businessman with a suspicious connection to Mr. Chow.
If The Hangover guys felt the pressure to repeat the original's success, they weren't admitting it.
Remember, 2009's The Hangover became the highest-grossing R-rated comedy of all time. "At least we know a lot of people will want to see the second one," said Phillips.
The eight weeks of filming in Bangkok were hot, humid and an insanely crowded ordeal, which turned out to be the perfect backdrop.
"To make a movie about mayhem, you have to have mayhem," said Phillips. Still, the formula from the first remains. "We didn't want to lose that investigative element. We were going to own that template."
While in Bangkok, the crew constructed two bars and a tattoo parlour that were so real-looking, a few tourists tried to enter them.
Speaking of the tattoo shop, that's where the controversial Mel Gibson was supposed to do his two-minute cameo as a tattoo artist. Phillips had to withdraw his invitation when the cast and crew complained. Replacement Liam Neeson was unable to do re-shoots, so director and part-time actor Nick Cassavetes ended up doing it. "A lot of those tattoos are Nick's," said Cooper.
In contrast to the Bangkok craziness, there was the exclusive Krabi resort off the coast of the Andaman Sea in southern Thailand, where Stu's wedding is supposed to take place. The cast and crew enjoyed the 14 days of luxury -- well, most of them did.
"I couldn't wait to get out of there," Cooper said. "Setting a movie in a resort town is probably the worst idea you could ever have, because it just takes the energy out of everything."
Apparently, it didn't matter where Helms filmed. He was sick from food poisoning for most of the shoot. "I should leave the rest up to your imagination," said Helms. "Let's just say my body exploded."
The drug-dealing, cigarette-smoking Capuchin monkey in Part II is played by the scene-stealing Crystal, occasionally seen on Phil's (Cooper) shoulder.
For the record, no cigarette was inhaled by the monkey while making the movie. The smoke and the burning end of the cigarette were computer-generated later. But the scene-stealing is all Crystal.
"I mean, she's like a total diva now," said Cooper, smiling.
Jeong said he was thrilled to return as the gangsta Mr. Chow, even though his character is featured briefly in a full-frontal nude sequence in Part II. The actor confirmed that he had "full permission" from his wife. "She's secure with me making a fool of myself."
Phillips is already considering a third Hangover, depending on how well the second one does. "The third would be very much a finale," he said. "But it would be a new idea and a new city."
The Hangover II opens May 26.