Published: December, 2009
The Hangover’s Zach Galifianakis, Ed Helms, and Bradley Cooper reunite to talk sequels, prosthetic penises, and what they’ll do if the funniest movie of 2009 actually wins an Oscar. (Hint: It involves a tiger)
IT’S BEEN MORE than six months since The Hangover, director Todd Phillips’s wickedly depraved comedy about a Vegas bachelor party gone wrong, became the shock blockbuster of 2009, earning $450 million worldwide and counting. And while the movie will be remembered for its R-rated raunchiness (stripper marriages, Mike Tyson’s stolen tiger, a final-credits slide show featuring Zach Galifianakis receiving oral sex from what appears to be a middle-aged mom), it was the chemistry of its three relatively low-watt stars—Bradley Cooper, Ed Helms, and Galifianakis—that gave it a sui generis spark.
“I felt we’d been seeing the same faces in comedy,” explains Phillips. “These three guys, although certainly not nobodies, hadn’t been in a ton of movies. There’s a freshness to it.”
The Hangover trio have remained friends, spending a wild New Year’s Eve at Galifianakis’s North Carolina farm (“My brother did something in the woods that is unspeakable,” says Galifianakis, refusing to elaborate) and keeping tabs on one another’s burgeoning post-summer-smash careers. Meanwhile, there’s the inevitable progress toward a Hangover sequel, reportedly due in 2011. Says Helms, totally in earnest: “I can’t wait to get back to work with these guys.”
When did you guys first start to think that The Hangover was going to be a big movie?
ZACH GALIFIANAKIS: I remember going to dinner with Brad and Ed and saying, “Doesn’t this movie seem like it’s going to be good?” I’d never been in anything good.
BRADLEY COOPER: It was the first opportunity for all of us to do starring roles. I remember thinking, “When are the other actors who are the stars of the movie going to come and shoot their scenes? The whole movie about the three of us? That’s so fucked-up!”
ED HELMS: We all had a lot of healthy skepticism. We all knew that we were having a good time, but there wasn’t any sense that the movie would be really big. The minute you start to expect big things, that shit always just blows up in your face.
GALIFIANAKIS: By the way, when I say, “The movie is going to be good,” I mean, “It’s not going to be embarrassing.”
But then the movie opens, and it turns into one of the highest-grossing films of all time.
GALIFIANAKIS: We were hearing things about great test audiences, but you take that with a grain of salt. But when it came out, it just validated the test stuff. I’ve been approached by, like, old people about the movie—people you would never think would go to see it.
HELMS: The cross section is just staggering.
GALIFIANAKIS: It’s like a guy in a golf outfit, then some goth kids. It’s just weird. The movie had a denominator that people liked.
HELMS: Everybody loves hangovers.
Do fans ask you to repeat one of your lines? Is there a question you always get?
HELMS: I get asked about the tooth so much [in real life, Helms’s front tooth is fake] that when they ask, “Was it special effects?” I’ll sometimes just be like, “Yes.”
COOPER: Have you really resorted to that? That’s hilarious. Oddly, for my character, a lot of people love saying, “Paging Dr. Faggot.”
GALIFIANAKIS: I get a lot of mothers with newborns wanting me to jerk off their baby.
Has this movie changed your lives?
GALIFIANAKIS: Professionally, more people call you to be in stuff. And I get better tables at Sbarro.
Zach, how often do you get asked if you used your real penis or a prosthetic for that final bit in the end credits?
GALIFIANAKIS: My mom was with me a week and a half ago—and I heard someone ask her about it and she thought it was real. I was like, “Mom, are you crazy?”
HELMS: You know, I get asked a lot about Zach’s member.
What do you say?
HELMS: Well, come on! It’s so white, it looks like it was made out of ivory. I would hope it’s not real.
When was the last time you watched The Hangover?
COOPER: This morning.
Is there a favorite line in the movie that’s not yours?
GALIFIANAKIS: My favorite never gets a laugh. We’re talking about that satchel thing that I wear, and Bradley goes something like, “Joy Behar wears one.” It’s the kind of thing that makes me and Bradley and Ed laugh, but the audience is like, “Who’s Joy Behar? Does she really wear one of those things?”
COOPER: My favorite moment is when we’re all in the bed with Justin Bartha and Ed is in his underwear. He’s just gotten off the phone with his girlfriend, and he does his ?exing thing. When we shot that, I thought it was so funny.
HELMS: I think one of my favorite lines is when Zach says, “This isn’t the real Caesar’s palace, is it?” COOPER: And then he goes, “I didn’t think so.”
HELMS: Did you improvise that?
GALIFIANAKIS: I think so.
HELMS: Classic Galifianakis.
What’s the story with the sequel?
COOPER: Everything’s in motion, and luckily everybody wants to do it. I guess you could run the risk of possibly tainting the first movie if it’s not good, but you can’t -really think about that. Just the idea of getting back into these three characters with Todd at the helm—I can’t think of anything better, to be honest with you.
GALIFIANAKIS: Who cares what the end product is? We’ll just get to hang out and work together.
Will you guys be voting for one another for the Oscars this year?
COOPER: I don’t vote in the Oscars, unfortunately.
GALIFIANAKIS: I saw Ed passing out ?yers at the Grove [an L.A. mall] for it to be nominated, and I think that is supertacky.
HELMS: The really crazy thing is that Warner Bros. asked me to submit “Stu’s Song (What Do Tigers Dream Of?)” in the best-song category for the Academy Award. So we went through the rigmarole of actually having it transcribed and writing out the score. Todd and I made an official submission. It’s so ridiculous.
GALIFIANAKIS: Oh, Ed. That would be the greatest thing in the world.
COOPER: Could you imagine?
GALIFIANAKIS: If you win, you have to go accept it with a tiger on a leash.
HELMS: It would be hilarious.
GALIFIANAKIS: Though you may lose.
COOPER: To Phil Collins.
© 2009 GQ Magazine | Written by Jason Gay | No copyright infringment intended.