Todd Phillips has been planning a sequel for ages
Given that The Hangover took an astonishing worldwide gross of over $460 million to become the ultimate summer sleeper hit back in 2009, a sequel was always going to be on the cards. However, director Todd Phillips claims he always had plans to make a second movie even before it made such a killing.
We were thinking of sequel ideas when we were shooting,” Phillips told MTV back in 2009. “It sounds cocky, but we were doing it more because it was just fun to talk about ideas while hanging out on the set. Now that the movie has really connected, it’s something we’re doing for sure.”
“I love The Hangover so much,” he continued, “and I think we could crush it with the sequel. I’ve never had more fun making a movie, ever. Not that Old School wasn’t fun, but these guys were so hungry and ready to kick ass everyday. We just all gelled so well.”
How lovely. Not that Phillips was the only one to wax lyrical about a potential sequel, with two of his stars helpfully chipping in with potential storylines.
“I hope The Hangover 2 is just Doug,” said Justin Bartha, who unsurprisingly plays Doug. “He loses the three friends and has to go find them. I have a feeling that’s not what’s going to happen, but either way, I’m very excited about it.”
“I think we would go take a submarine to Atlantis,” suggests Ed Helms, “and live with people that are half-person, half-sea horse. I’d probably hook up with Ariel the little mermaid , and there would probably be a little Caribbean crab that sang calypso songs.”
Okay, we’re sold, but perhaps surprisingly, it took a little while before Zach Galifianakis was…
Zach Galifianakis was unsure at first
Whilst Warner were understandably champing at the bit to get a second film made, beardy star Galifianakis was concerned at the prospect of pushing the same gag too far.
“I think (the original) worked because there was some fresh jokes,” said Galifianakis to IGN. “They've become so saturated now, comedies. Cursing has become the new wit and it just drives me crazy when I see that. The Hangover had some cursing in it and all that stuff, but my character didn’t curse. I asked if he could not curse. There's little elements like that that maybe were kind of new to people. Also, nobody knew the cast and that in a weird way helped.”
But surely with the same director and cast, the old chemistry would resurface? Not necessarily, according to Galifianakis.
“I'm not running to do The Hangover 2 ” he continued. “I told Todd, the last thing I want is the Police Academy chain all of the sudden. You've got to be careful with something like that. The movie's really good, why bother with a sequel? Obviously, the reason is executives have Bentleys to pay for. I would love, love, love to work with those guys again but the script has to be good!”
All fair points, and hopefully ones that suggest Phillips will have had to have worked hard on the script to get Galifianakis back on board. Bradley Cooper however, was far less tricky…
Bradley Cooper was always keen to return...
Whilst Galifianakis was wringing his hands over the prospect of diminishing returns, Bradley Cooper was simply eyeing the chance to re-team with his old mates from the first movie.
"Even if it's not a good script, I'd do it!” he said shamelessly. “When you have an experience like this with people you get along with, it's a rarity. So if someone says, 'Do you want to spend three months doing it again?' you’d do it in a heartbeat! It's a very intimate thing you go through, shooting a movie. You find out whether you really like somebody, or you very much dislike somebody pretty fast. It's like doing a sport together."
Meanwhile, Cooper has his own ideas as to where the sequel should go. Zach Galifianakis, look away now…
“We've gotta go to space or something,” says Cooper. “Some weird things (have) to happen (to top the original). We'll probably lose Doug again. I hope we lose Doug again. That'd be fun. Could we do it again? I don’t know. Home Alone 2 barely got away with it and that's only because they had Catherine O'Hara shout ‘we did it again!’”
All the key players are back on board...
Despite Galifianakis’s reservations and Cooper’s naff ideas, the sequel is definitely going ahead, and happily, all the original stags are returning to the party. And it seems as though it won’t just be the studio execs who’ll be eyeing a new Bentley…
Deadline revealed that Cooper, Galifianakis and Helms will all be paid $5 million each to appear in the movie (a fivefold increase on their fees from the first outing), whilst Phillips will pocket a cool $10 million to direct. Not bad for a job that’s supposedly such great fun.
Also returning is Justin Bartha, who will probably be hoping for a slightly meatier role this time around, providing Cooper doesn’t get his way. Intriguingly, Ken Jeong has also been confirmed to reappear, although surely it would be a little contrived for his Mr. Chow to run into the boys again? IMDB has him down to play the same part, but we reckon he’ll pop up in another, similarly OTT role.
That’s the cast in place then. So what are they going to be getting up to?
Ed Helms is getting married this time...
It’s been an open secret for a while that the sequel will not be taking place in Vegas, but will instead see the boys head out to Thailand. Well last month, Collider managed to dig out an official synopsis from some Warner PR bumf that finally puts some meat on those bones.
“In the follow-up to the record-breaking hit comedy The Hangover ,” begins the pitch, “Phil (Bradley Cooper), Stu (Ed Helms), Alan (Zach Galifianakis) and Doug (Justin Bartha) travel to exotic Thailand for Stu’s wedding. After the unforgettable bachelor party in Las Vegas, Stu is taking no chances and has opted for a safe, subdued pre-wedding brunch. However, things don’t always go as planned. What happens in Vegas may stay in Vegas, but what happens in Bangkok can’t even be imagined.”
Well, permit us to have a go anyway. Thailand may be a country of startling natural beauty, but we’ve got a sneaking suspicion Phillips might go down the beach-party-and-ladyboys route. In fact, the chaps over at Latino Review claim to have a source that confirms just that.
Reportedly, the boys inevitably find themselves dragged into a spot of partying, only for Stu to sleep with a transsexual, and all hell to break loose. Yep, that sounds fairly probable to us. His bride to be won’t be happy. Speaking of whom….
Jamie Chung will play his fiance
Hang on a minute, last time we checked in with the Hangover crew, Ed Helms’ character was cosying up to Heather Graham’s tart with a heart. And only last year, Graham herself had expressed an interest in rejoining the project, if only for character to give Helms a “pregnant striptease.”
Well sadly (right choice of words?) that no longer looks to be happening, as Graham will not be returning after all. It seems a bit of a pity, given that The Hangover was probably the best thing she’s been in for years, but never fear, as Sucker Punch ’s Jamie Chung has been cast in her place.
Chung is set to play Helms’ new fiancé, so expect her to spend a lot of time making sour noises down the phone, as Bradley Cooper and co. try and get her husband-to-be out of whatever trouble he’s got himself into.
There were a few raised eyebrows last time around over the slightly two-dimensional nature of the female roles, so maybe Phillips will have attempted to flesh them out a little more this time around. However, the director is quick to suggest there will be plenty of other stuff to be offended by…
The sequel will be as shocking as the original...
The first film wasn’t short on “did they just do that?” moments, with the faux-masturbating baby one of the more memorably crude moments. However, Phillips is determined that none of that shock-value should be diluted for the sequel, and argues that studios now know what they’re going to get when they hire him.
“I don’t have to argue with Warner Brothers about an R-rating (any more),” said Phillips to Collider. “I don’t have to argue about putting in a masturbating dog or whatever. The Hangover has a lot of those fights for you, so in a weird way it’s alleviated so much pressure.”
So there will be plenty more gross-out gags to come, then? It certainly sounds like it.
“You know, I’m like a 14-year old,” continues Phillips, “I just think (that stuff) is funny. I have a problem. I’m a moron. I am, and it’s embarrassing to like talk about it in an adult way because I know what you’re thinking. I think I’m a moron, too.”
We certainly don’t think so, although when we heard about who Phillips had lined up to cameo, we had our doubts…
Mel Gibson was going to cameo...
After Mike Tyson’s surprise appearance in the first film went down so well, Phillips was keen to rope in another controversial star for the sequel. Despite all odds, that star turned out to be raving loon and sometime actor, Mel Gibson.
Gibson had reportedly been cast as a Bangkok tattoo artist, before rumblings of discontent from other cast members cause Phillips to change his mind. After kicking up a massive media storm over Gibson’s involvement, the director eventually released a prepared statement announcing that the Braveheart star would not be appearing after all.
“I thought Mel would have been great in the movie,” said Phillips, “and I had the full backing of Jeff Robinov and his team. But I realise filmmaking is a collaborative effort, and this decision ultimately did not have the full support of my entire cast and crew."
Who do we think pulled the plug then? Well we can’t be certain, but as Heatworld.com flagged up earlier this year, Zach Galifianakis gave a rather intriguing interview at around the time of Gibson’s announcement.
“In a movie you're (just) acting in, you don't just have a lot of control,” he told Comedy Death Ray. “You just show up and vomit your lines out. I'm not the boss. I'm in a deep protest right now with a movie I'm working on. I’m up in arms about it But I can't get the guys to (listen)...”
Coincidence? Quite possibly. However, if anyone could get Phillips to reverse his decision, it would probably be Galifianakis. In any case, Mel won’t be making his comeback just yet, but that’s not to say the movie will be cameo free…
Paul Giamatti and Liam Neeson will appear instead
Hot on the heels of Gibson’s departure came the news that he’ll be replaced by the infinitely more wholesome figure of Liam Neeson. Thankfully, the Irishman has revealed there is no bad blood between Gibson and himself, which should mean he won’t find a torrent of garbled abuse on his answerphone any time soon.
“Mel and I did a movie together about 20 or 25 years ago,” Neeson told Access Hollywood. “It was a long time ago. So, we know each other. I didn’t realise it was his part at the time, but I spoke to Mel about it and he’s cool. We’re all cool.”
Meanwhile, Neeson is delighted to be joining the production, after declaring himself a big fan of the original. “I just laughed my leg off when I saw The Hangover ,” he told Variety. “I was shooting in Berlin earlier this year and rented it on the hotel TV. I don’t think I’ve laughed harder in my life!”
Neeson won’t be the only famous face to crop up either, with Paul Giamatti also confirmed to have taken a part. Whilst we don’t yet know who he’ll be playing, the Sideways star has also had a bit to say about the whole Gibson casting debacle.
“At one time in our lives we wouldn’t have known about that stuff,” he told Indiewire. “It would have happened behind closed doors. I wouldn’t have a problem employing the guy, personally. But I get it, I understand it. People are not used to having people express that level of rage publicly. I still wouldn’t want to punish the guy though.”
Fair enough. Although even without Mel, there will be at least one disgraced celebrity in attendance…
Bill Clinton has also filmed a cameo...
That’s right, former President and occasional cigar enthusiast Bill Clinton has been spotted on location in Thailand! Clinton was reportedly filming a scene with Bradley Cooper and a shaven-headed Zach Galifianakis in which the trio exchange words before jumping into a rickshaw.
That’s about it as far as details go, but we’d imagine the former Pres will probably be playing himself, unless he’s been taking acting lessons from Arnie on the quiet.
What we really want to know though, is whether there will be any cigar gags, and whether Bill will be sending up his reputation as a womanizer. Seeing as there weren’t any rape jokes to accompany Mike Tyson’s appearance, we’d say the chances are slim…
The film will face some stiff competition...
The Hangover 2 is currently slated to come out in the last weekend of May next year, putting it into a cramped summer market that’s bursting at the seams with potential blockbusters.
The comedy will be competing with the final Harry Potter film, Pirates 4 , Transformers: Dark of the Moon , Green Lantern , Thor , Captain America and X-Men: First Class , to name a few. It’s a summer line-up like never before, and one that Jon Favreau has described as a “box office bloodbath.”
“It’s Omaha Beach, it’s going to be a bloodbath,” said the Cowboys And Aliens helmer. “There’s never been a summer like this next summer. It’s going to be bloody. There’s not a weekend where there won’t be teeth on the floor. The audience wins but it’s going to be rough for people making these movies.”
But is Phillips scared? Not one bit. “We are making an epic comedy. I say that with all confidence that we are making a really worthy follow-up to The Hangover . Any pressure has been alleviated just by having all of those guys back in a room every day and just working out scenes and laughing every day. I'm really excited about it.” Amen to that.