The Hangover is a comedy about a bachelor party in Las Vegas that loses the groom. The morning after their night of debauchery, they have to reconstruct their party to locate their missing friend. The stars – Bradley Cooper, Zach Galifianakis, Ed Helms and Heather Graham – and director Todd Phillips shared their tips for making a Vegas comedy, and continued the same kind of hilarious riffing that made it into the final cut opening June 5th in theaters everywhere.
Ed Helms: “I guess my character, Stu, is kind of a nervous nelly, rule follower of the group.
I can’t imagine why Todd [Phillips] thought I would be right for that part other than the fact that I’ve known Todd for sometime and I’m kind of a nervous nelly rule follower person in real life. So maybe that had something to do with it.”
Zach Galifianakis: “I play a character, Alan, who’s a well intentioned moron who is kind of trapped in adolescence. He wants friends but can’t get any really, can’t get adult friends. I didn’t think that I could play it. The reason, it’s easy to play. When a role seems fun it’s easy to play. It kind of comes organically.”
Bradley Cooper: I play Phil who’s an English school teacher for boys and he’s a father. He’s kind of the guy whose bark is a lot bigger than his bite. He talks a big game, going to Vegas and that he’s going to get crazy and he loves sort of reliving whatever it is that he doesn’t live in his home life. It’s like a lot of fathers who talk a big game, but really they love their family and they’re actually good guys. He’s sort of the problem solver. There’s nothing that he can’t solve and tries to hold it together even when there’s nothing to hold together. I just sort of trusted Todd [Phillips] because I was like, ‘I don’t know if I can pull this off.’ But then about two weeks into it I started to get comfortable and I realized that I was figuring it out. But I’m glad that he thought I should do it because I probably wouldn’t have thought that I could do it.”
Heather Graham: I tried to personalize it more as a hippy stripper, with a New Age/spiritual attitude about sexuality, because the night before we had this true connection and even if he doesn’t remember, I still believe it was true. It’s like a lot of girls fall in love with the guy, but the guy doesn’t necessarily feel the same. But the girl is like, ‘I know it’s there.’ So, I kind of thought of it that way. Like I believe in it.
Todd Phillips: I have been a huge fan of Zach’s for a long time. He’s done standup in LA forever, and people that know standup in LA, he’s one of the top names and he has such a specific style and I always thought to myself, “How could we make this guy work in a movie? How can you take that and just make it work?” So I have been looking for something for Zach for a long time. Then you want people to come from a different place, comedically. Zach and Ed are super funny that they couldn’t be more far apart in the spectrum in terms of what they do. Bradley, I have been a fan of since Wedding Crashers, and I’m friends with David Dobkin, the director, and I remember that when were casting this, we were just talking about actors and his name came up. David was like, “Man, this guy, I’m telling you, he’s poised, he’s good-looking, he’s super funny and he gets it.” So we met and talked about it and went from there.
Ed Helms: Hair of the dog. By that I mean literally shave a dog and eat his hair. It really works.
Zach Galifianakis: Water. A lot of water. Roasted beets and panty hose. Just put them on.
Ed Helms: Bradley and I spent New Year’s at Zach’s farm in North Carolina and his brother was there. Greg. He’s a hilarious guy. I’ll just say this: I was pranked. I found a ridiculous picture on my digital camera later that Zach’s brother gave me as a little gift. That’s where it ends.
Zach Galifinakis: Well, I’m the one who took that picture. My brother just posed.
Zach Galifianakis: That woman was seventy seven years old. I think there’s an age where it becomes non-sexual. We were just talking about it. It didn’t match my skin color. [The prosthetic] looks like a piece of taffy. I would never. To be honest I didn’t want to do the photo. It’s uncomfortable.
Todd Phillips: It is the right shade. You’re wrong. It passed the ratings board so… ”
Zach Galifianakis: All of it I came up with but I didn’t want to do it. It’s funny privately, but in front of an American audience it’s embarrassing. I’m going to walk around airports and people are going to go, “Hey, you’re the guy who wears a jockstrap and jerks off babies.”
Heather Graham: Yeah, they wrote that one in the trades, and then I saw Todd and I was like, ‘Hi. Can I be in it?’ He was like, ‘Yeah,’ but I don’t think they’ve written it yet. I think the sequel is an idea that they want to make a sequel. It’s not like a written-out script.
Todd Phillips: You never know. I don’t know where these things come up. I honestly think they get started on the internet and then things just roll from there. Would we do a Hangover 2? Of course, this movie has to be successful first, so it’s too early to talk about it. But it would be fun.”
Bradley Cooper: I think there’s endless possibility, actually on what you can do. It’s a great hook. The movie has a great hook. So you can take it anywhere.
Zach Galifianakis: Yeah, and I can jerk off a panda.
Ed Helms: I think the only way to heighten this movie would be take it to the next level. Obviously, I think everyone is thinking the same thing, a space station. We’re all astronauts and we get high on moon juice and we forget what happens to Doug and it turns out that he’s floating into a black hole somewhere and we have to fight aliens to get him back.
Ed Helms: The lack of tooth is totally real. This is an implant that I’ve had since I was fifteen. We were able to take it out for three months during the run of the movie. We actually tried camera tests with blacking it out or a prosthetic even, but I looked like a donkey and I wasn’t happy about that. Then I asked my dentist if we could take the implant out and he said yeah.
Todd Phillips: The tooth we pulled out, his tooth he told you, I’m sure. In the script, we had the guy missing his tooth, Ed happened to have a bad implant. We tried to use prosthetic devices and it really changed the way he talked when you put in a prosthetic device, because your whole mouth has to drop. So I started to make Ed feel really self-conscious about his bad tooth, I’m like, “That tooth, man, it doesn’t look good, man, it doesn’t fit in your head. Like, it’s weird looking.” This is like his real tooth, so he was like, “What do you mean?” I was like, “You really should replace that tooth and get a real tooth, That tooth looks like it’s a tooth of a fifteen-year-old.” He was like, “This tooth is good.” So we kept making him feel bad about his tooth until finally he relented and pulled it out. And the we, the production, replaced it with a nice tooth.”
Bradley Cooper: I have no idea. That’s all something that just happened on the internet.
Bradley Cooper: We did get to see a couple.
Zach Galifianakis: I saw The Beatles a couple of times. That was good. Then I saw Cher seventeen times.
Ed Helms: I didn’t see anything. I was actually really bummed because there were a bunch of shows that I wanted to see. But I would shoot five days and then hop back to L.A. to shoot two days on The Office. So I was working seven days a week for about five weeks. I never got to do anything fun. I never got to do anything Vegas-y.
Heather Graham: I think everybody wants us to have debaucherous stories, but I think we were super boring. Like, I did an interview with all the guys, and they were like, ‘What did you do? What did you do? It’s crazy.’ And Zach was like, ‘I took a lot of baths.’ So, like the craziest thing I did was that I went to see Cirque de Soleil. And I took Bradley and Todd to see that Zumanity one, that’s sort of like the sexual one whatever, and they took Bradley up on stage, took his shirt off and starting rubbing him.”
Bradley Cooper: The smoking chair. I’m more interested in that smoking chair.
Ed Helms: I’m more interested how you got into the hospital.
Bradley Cooper: I know. That’s never explained.
Ed Helms: I think it’s probably related to the chicken.
Todd Phillips: They had the chickens to feed the tiger, so it’s tiger food. But they don’t remember that.
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