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Exclusive Interview With ‘Hangover 3? Stars Bradley Cooper, Ed Helms & Zach Galifanakis

The Source
Published: May 22, 2013

It’s been two years. Phil (Bradley Cooper), Stu (Ed Helms) and Doug (Justin Bartha) are happily living uneventful lives at home.

Tattoos have been lasered off, files purged. The last they heard from disaster-magnet Leslie Chow (Ken Jeong), he’d been tossed into a Thai prison and, with him out of the way, the guys have very nearly recovered from their nights prowling the seamy side of Las Vegas in a roofie’d haze, and being kidnapped, shot at, and chased by drug- dealing mobsters in Bangkok.

The only member of the Wolfpack who’s not content is Alan (Zach Galifianakis). Still lacking a sense of purpose, the group’s black sheep has ditched his meds and given in to his natural impulses in a big way-which, for Alan, means no boundaries, no filters and no judgment-until a personal crisis forces him to finally seek the help he needs.

And who better than his three best friends to make sure he takes the first step. This time, there’s no bachelor party. No wedding. What could possibly go wrong? But when the Wolfpack hits the road, all bets are off. One way or another…it all ends here.”

Check out our roundtable interviews with the Wolf Pack below.

At what point did you folks know there was going to be a third one? How early in this project?

Brad: A third one? Not until after the second one.

Ed: It was well after that when the conversation really picked up steam. Yeah.

Zack: Well the first one, we talked about the second one while we were still filming the first one. I think.

Ed: We started joking about it during production, and then it got serious as the numbers started to stack up.

Brad: But even before that. Warner Brothers, before the movie even came out, wanted to do a second one. Before it was even finished editing.

Ed: But I don’t think…If I remember correctly we all sorta felt like 2 was gonna be it while we were making it. And there was a lot of conversation like during 2, like this is it. No way there’s gonna be third.

I like the addition of Melissa McCarthy in there, but I have to ask where you guys cracking up trying to do that lollipop scene in the shop? Because it just seems like one of those scenes you’d have to keep re-doing it.

Zack: I don’t think there was a lot, there wasn’t too much giggling in that one. We knew we only had her for a couple of days I think. And we wanted to use the most of our time. With Melissa, she’s just pretty professional, uh and I think she made us a little more professional in a way. Uhm it was kinda having this…And also, you know, there’s not a lot of women that have strong roles in these movies, so it’s really nice for the energy movie. I really appreciate that we did that finally. Uhm, but there wasn’t a ton of giggling when Melissa was there. The giggling happens mostly…well a lot of it’s here (Ed and Brad laugh), this happens sometimes. When he gets giggly it gets really great (referring to Bradley).

Ed: Yeah, you’re a tougher crowd.

Zack: Yeah he’s more disciplined.

Ed: but when Bradley laughs, it’s like, we’re really into something.

Gentlemen, you have set in stone this model now. And its of course gonna span other things i.e Mike Tyson now on stage. Have any of you seen the stage performance?

Brad: No, I can’t wait to see it.

I think you set something in motion with him. Can you talk about him and when you knew he was not coming back?

Brad: I think Mike would be where he is now without the Hangover. He’s an unbelievable person that just, ya know, keeps growing. Uhm and we got to like…Mike, I think like us, we did two movies with him over 3 years and he went through a tremendous amount of changes from the 1st and the 2nd, as we all did, he kinda grew with us. He was a big part of the first and second one, even though he wasn’t in it for very long and I love him, that’s a guy, he’s fantastic.

Zack: I went to the Beacon Theater last week, where his show was, and I saw some people coming out of, and I asked the usher if it was Mike’s show. And it wasn’t, but I was gonna by and say hey to him if he remembered me. But uhm, I think as far as your question about the third one, I think the intent on the third one was to change up stuff as much as we possibly could and having Mike back, I think would seem like that’s not changing things up a little bit, but working with him, I think Bradley is right, he is an interesting dude, he really really is. And he’s had a hard past, and I think the way, it seems like he’s redeeming his life. It’s just spectacular and beautiful.

There’s definitely a more hard-boiled tone to a lot of the film. Can you talk about how Todd brought that to you guys?

Ed: Do you think that 3 is more hard-boiled feeling than 2?

I think so, there’s a higher body count, that’s for sure.

Zach: Yeah we get mixed things, some people think 2 is darker.

Ed: And I don’t even know if we have clarity. I feel like the big change for 3 was going from these guys finding out what happened and being very reactive and sorta like “there’s this new information, we have to do this now”. Where as 3 is this very proactive story of like “we have a plan and we’re gonna do it”.

Like a quest instead of an investigation.

Ed: Yeah exactly. I’m gonna use. So yeah, it’s a quest and in that, that just changes everything and I do think that in the spirit of heightening things comedicly, thematically, everything it was a natural direction to kinda take things into a more intense place. And hopefully, the juxtaposition of intensity and levity gave us some even brighter comedy moments too if we did our jobs right. I think, I’m so proud of the comedy in Hangover 3, I think that there are so many great chuckles, where as I feel like in Hangover 2 there’s longer stretches of intensity punctuated with comedy, but I think there’s a lot more consistent chuckles in 3.

Zack: And also I think, now that I think about it, the 3rd one, it does have a body count, you’re right, but I think it’s balanced with this emotional thing too, where you kinda see some heart strings pulled so I think maybe that equals it out more in the 3rd one. It has that, the 2nd one doesn’t have that, it’s kinda jokes, high intensity, perversion, danger. Here there’s a little bit of softness to it in third one, along with a body count.

Ed: I will say this, the first time I saw Hangover 3 I thought it was really silly. And I think maybe that’s because I had lived with the intensity of it, having shot it, and was past that already. But like when Mike Epps gets shot, it cuts right to Zach peeing himself (laughter from the panel).

Zach: But I think Todd probably thought this out, like 4 seconds is not enough time to cut to the pee, I need 7 seconds, ya know what I mean. The way he cut to it, the timing seemed perfect. It’s hard to do so much shooting somewhat and then cut to a joke, it’s difficult. And who knows if the audience will like it, hopefully they do, but yeah you’re right.

I didn’t even think that was a joke actually, you looked so shocked.

Zach: Thank you, was my real urine…and then we shot us ringing the doorbell for 4 f*cking hours.

I think the action in this movie is good because it keeps you going. There’s not a lot a whole lot of time to think about what just happened before. But take us to the roof of Caesar’s Palace. Was that all real, did you guys really repel down there?

Brad: We repelled down a fabrication that the studio bought. The studio hanger, they rebuilt a façade of the Caesar about 7 floors. So it was still very very high, it was the highest stage that they had, the Warner Brothers. But yeah we didn’t repel from the Caesar’s Palace.

Zach: But we were dangling from a wire on stage.

Brad: Yeah it was pretty hardcore.

Zack: Yeah I’m a little afraid of heights and it was not…I’ve never bought adult diapers and thought this might be a time to do it. I was frightened very very frightened.

When you guys filmed the first one, obviously in Vegas at least, you all kinda flew under the radar mostly, I mean because you weren’t stars then like you are today certainly. How much more difficult was it this time to maneuver around?

Brad: Not at all, that was the incredible thing about it. This city is just so indifferent to anything someone is doing. It didn’t matter. We were surprised just how indifferent it was. I mean with the 1st one we would walk into the elevator with tiger scratches on our neck and nobody would even blink. And even though the Hangover has had a huge impact, especially with Caesar’s Palace, ya know, going into a convenient store and seeing Zach’s face on a t-shirt or an impersonator outside. Still we could maneuver without any real issue.

So we’ve been told that Todd is the guy, it’s his vision, all three of these movies. By now, by the time you come on set for the third one, is he kinda trusting you guys a little more to add in?

Brad: Oh he was trusting from the beginning of the first one, yeah that hasn’t changed. And it is his vision, ya know you help him execute his vision, but yeah I think the reason why we’ve come back 3 times is because we are included in that and it’s something that he’s open to have morph. And if there’s a better idea, he’ll take it in a second and there is really a sharing of ideas with no ownership. Uhm, it’s incredible and that starts from the top down, he creates that. He is very militant and structured, but at the same time very open. I f a scene’s not working, just because he wrote it, he’s not gonna say let’s just film it. In fact, quite the opposite, he’ll stop everything. We’ll all sit and work on it and then come back.

Even in 3rd, do you feel you’ve taken more ownership of your characters and developed them a little more on your own?

Zack: I think Todds definitely open to that, I mean, we all help each other with that too. I was saying yesterday, there have been times when Ed would come up to me and say, “Hey I don’t think I should say that line, that sounds like an Allen line” and vice versa. We will talk and give each other suggestions, ya know, and so does Todd. And we ask Todd if this is ok. Sometimes Todd will, he’ll say no right away if he doesn’t like something, so you learn to just say it without asking permission. That’s what you do. Because I was asking permission in the beginning of the 3rd one. Remember? And we talked about it like let’s stop asking permission, let’s just do it.

Ed: And he actually appreciated that I think too, because I remember that same thing of like if you ask him he’ll always say no because it’s like there’s no time. So he just wants to get it done, but if we start doing it he’s always so psyched to hear the fresh ideas coming from everybody. We’ll talk about it between ourselves.

Brad: And we learned a lot, it’s definitely like we learned a lot from the first one what worked and we police each other. And it’s true, that’s really been a big help with the 3rd one, because it was about 2 weeks into filming, and we all sorta said we’re not really getting those moments that we need and we really, it was a very conscious decision to change that. And we did, and I think the movie benefited hugely from it.

If you were the audience would you identify with your characters more or would go for another?

Brad: I think one the reason why it’s been so successful, it’s not even identifying with any three, but it’s being happy to be a part of the group, the wolf pack. There’s a sense of oh we get to spend time with all three of them, rather than seeing the movie through any one individual character’s eyes. It’s sort of knowing who you are as a person watching the movie and being a part of it and I think that’s kinda the main draw and why people, I think, connect to it. Because they see the way they interact and you just wanna be around them.

Zack: And I also think that the three characters, ya know, they’re pretty basic guys as far as, ya know we all maybe kinda have these guys in our lives. Ya know kind of the straight and narrow kinda nerdy guy, the leader cool guy, and whatever the fuck Allen does. But, you always have a weird uncle, so I think that part is what makes it relatable to an audience.

Ed, which last day was worse for you? The movie or the Office?

Ed: Hmm gosh, it’s been a rough 8 months. These two big career entities winding down, but I feel like both of them uhh…It’s a crazy coincidence that they’re ending simultaneously. But they are both ending in a great way and it’s great for both of them and uh no I gotta find out what’s next.

“The Hangover Part III” hits theaters this Thursday, May 23.

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