After wreaking havoc on Las Vegas and Thailand, the R-rated adventures of Hollywood’s most famous Wolfpack is coming to an end.
But before The Hangover Part III hits theaters on May 24, stars Bradley Cooper, Ed Helms, Zach Galifianakis and director Todd Phillips sat down with The Hollywood Reporter to discuss the comedy franchise that has taken home over $1-billion at the box office.
The wide-ranging interview yields previously unknown facts like the almost-casting of LiLo, the A-list stars that were originally considered for the Wolfpack, the secret behind Ed Helms’ missing tooth, Ken Jeong’s nude trunk scene and what happened with Mel Gibson’s cameo in The Hangover II.
Here are some excerpts from THR’s oral history of The Hangover, which you can read in its entirety here.
Lindsay Lohan was in the running for the role of stripper Jade
B-list star Lindsay Lohan missed out on a chance to appear in The Hangover after director Todd Phillips decided she was too young to play the role of the Las Vegas stripper who marries Stu (Ed Helms). The part of Jade went to Heather Graham (who was fantastic I might add). This news does make you think how LiLo’s career might have been different if she had scored the part. Actually, not really.
“I did meet with Lindsay Lohan a little bit [before casting Heather Graham], and we talked. Honestly, it felt like she ended up being too young for what we were talking about. People love to attack her for everything, like: ‘Ha, she didn’t see how great The Hangover was going to be. She turned it down.’ She didn’t turn it down. She loved the script, actually. It really was an age thing.”
Huge stars passed on playing the Wolfpack
Having watched parts one and two, can you imagine anyone other than Zach Galifianakis as Alan? I can’t. But in The Hangover’s earliest conception, Jonah Hill, Jake Gyllenhaal and Thomas Haden Church were all eyed for the brother-in-law role. Jack Black and Paul Rudd were also offered roles, which they flat-out passed on. Producers also wanted the film’s budget trimmed without any proven stars, and Phillips ended up deferring his up-front salary for a portion of the profits (a wise move that netted him $70 million).
When we were writing, we did have [other actors] in mind. Quite honestly, we were writing the brother-in-law as a younger brother they had to take along with them — like a Jonah Hill character instead of Zach [Jake Gyllenhaal also was considered]. Then we thought it’d be so much more awkward if it was an older brother who’s still at home. [Thomas Haden Church was strongly considered.]
Ed Helms’ missing tooth was really missing
And here I thought Stu’s missing tooth was a clever piece of CGI. Turns out the Ed Helm’s tooth had been missing all along.
“We wrote [Stu's missing tooth] in the script, and then we were talking about how we were gonna do this. We started talking to these guys who do implanting, and then Ed comes to me and goes: ‘You know, this isn’t real. This tooth is an implant I got when I was 15.’”
A nude Leslie Chow was not part of the plan
Admit it. The trunk scene with Ken Jeong’s Leslie Chow had you clutching your gut in laughter. Turns out, Mr. Chow and his tiny penis was actually Jeong’s idea. As the scene was originally written, Chow hops out of the trunk in tighty-whities. Ken took it to a whole new level.
“My genitals and Bradley Cooper’s neck are very good friends. Todd said midway through filming, “Bradley, if this is too uncomfortable for you, let me know.” And Bradley said something to the effect of, ‘Todd, until you brought it up, I really didn’t realize how creepy this actually is.’”
Mel Gibson was fine with not getting a cameo in ‘The Hangover II’
Once Hollywood’s biggest star, Mad Mel’s losing streak seemed to be coming to an end when news broke that he had landed a part in The Hangover II. Sure, the role as the tattooist who inks Stu’s face was just a cameo, but if there was anyone in need of a career makeover it was Gibson. After objections from some of the cast and crew, the role was eventually played by Nick Cassavetes.
“I’m a huge fan of Mel Gibson as a filmmaker and as an actor, and he was going through a weird thing at that time, and I thought, “Wouldn’t it be cool if we had him come in and do this role?” So I went over to his office and met with him. In fairness, I hadn’t consulted with the crew and the cast, which is a family. I hadn’t even cleared it with Warner Bros. I was just like, ‘I’m just going to show up, and we’re going to do this thing, and it’ll be great.’ Not everybody felt the same way about him.”
Gibson was OK when he found out he wasn’t going to be playing the part, but I still think that scene would have been more memorable with Mel in the tattooist’s chair.
Part III will mark the conclusion of the trilogy (we’ll wait and see if they stick to that promise) and the filmmakers are ditching the ‘what happened last night?’ formula of the first two. This time the Wolfpack get kidnapped by John Goodman who orders them to track down Mr. Chow.
The action will be split between Tijuana (Leslie is, er, into cockfighting down there), Los Angeles and Las Vegas.
Having been royally disappointed by Part II, I really, really hope the third instalment sends the boys out on a high note.
Check out the final trailer and let us know what you think in the comments.