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Bradley Cooper, Ed Helms and Zach Galifianakis Talk About ‘The Hangover’

Zach Galifianakis, Bradley Cooper and Ed Helms  The HangoverZach Galifianakis, Bradley Cooper and Ed Helms in ‘The Hangover.’

© Warner Bros Pictures

Bradley Cooper and Ed Helms (The Office) star as friends of the groom-to-be, Doug (played by Justin Bartha), who take the nearly married man to Vegas for one last wild night before he says ‘I do’ in Warner Bros Pictures’ The Hangover. Zach Galifianakis co-stars as Doug’s future brother-in-law, a guy who has some serious personality issues, in the R-rated comedy directed by Todd Phillips (Old School).Together in, appropriately enough, Las Vegas for the film’s press junket, Cooper, Helms and Galifianakis talked about why they were right for their roles. “I guess my character, Stu, is kind of a Nervous Nelly, rule follower of the group,” said Helms. “I can’t imagine why Todd 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…”

“I play a character, Alan, who’s a well intentioned moron who is kind of trapped in adolescence,” offered Galifianakis. “He wants friends but can’t get any really, can’t get adult friends.”

That explanation prompted Cooper to ask, “Did you think that you could play it?” To which Galifianakis replied, “No, 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.”

And Cooper had this to say about his character, Phil, a married English teacher: “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.”

Cooper doesn’t think he’s a lot like Phil in real life and he wasn’t completely sure this was a part he was meant to play. “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.”

Playing buddies onscreen came fairly easy for Cooper, Helms and Galifianakis. Even though they didn’t get to rehearse prior to shooting The Hangover, they quickly fell into a rhythm. “Zach and I knew each other reasonably well,” said Helms. “We were acquaintances beforehand. Zach and Bradley were also acquaintances. I had met Bradley once before at a party where he offended me.”

“I was actually nervous. I was like, ‘Oh, I love you on 30 Rock,” laughed Cooper.

“It was very cool, obviously. I had really not done anything more though than shake Bradley’s hand. But we met up in Todd’s office a few weeks before production and went over stuff and immediately were laughing and having fun together. Then the table read was really exciting because it went great and everyone just inhabited their roles quickly,” explained Helms. “The roles were pretty similar to our dynamic. The dynamic of the three guys in the movie kind of, in maybe a more grounded way, reflects our friendship.”


What Happens in Vegas

When the guys wake up after a hard night of drinking and whatnot, Ed Helms’ character is missing one of his teeth and there’s a burning chair, a chicken, a tiger, and a baby in their hotel suite. And Doug, the groom, is mysteriously missing. Some of the aforementioned items are ultimately explained, however some are just left dangling, leaving the audience to speculate as to where they came from.And speaking of animals, that chicken was interesting to work with but the tiger was a bit scary, according to the trio of actors who had to deal with her on the set. “That tiger was not drugged,” said Cooper. “It was very much around and it was terrifying. Katie her name was, a terrifying tiger. ”

Helms added, “Here’s the thing, that tiger had no idea what its name was. The trainers were like, ‘Katie! Katie! Katie!’ It was just doing whatever it wanted to do.”

In addition to sharing the screen with a tiger, a chicken, and Mike Tyson, Galifianakis had to appear in a jockstrap in The Hangover, something the actor says he really didn’t want to do. “They wanted tighty-whities and I said, ‘I’ve seen that a thousand times in movies. Why don’t we do a jockstrap?'”

Something else Galifianakis didn’t want to do involved a disturbing scene with an adorable baby in which he makes it look like the little guy is doing something he shouldn’t be doing in public. “I didn’t want to do that either. Can I tell you that I came up with it, but I didn’t want to do it. 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.'”


Hangover 2 is a Possibility

Warner Bros would like to see more of The Hangover gang, and the studio has already greenlit a sequel based on this film’s pre-release buzz. If they go ahead and do The Hangover 2, Cooper thinks there’s a lot of different ways they could take the story. “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. “”Yeah, and I can jerk off a panda,” joked Galifianakis.

Helms said, “I think the only way to heighten this movie would be take it to the next level. 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.”

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The Hangover hits theaters on June 5, 2009.


June 5, 2009 - Posted by | 1

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