Exploring The Darkness With Todd Phillips On The Set Of The Hangover Part III

By Eric Eisenberg 2013-04-17 09:56:58discussion comments
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The Hangover Part III Abbey Road

Is there a reason behind why there's been a two-year gap between both of them? In the actual…

A two-year gap?

In the timeline of the story. Is that intent?

Not really. It's just this is when we catch up with them. Yeah, it's not specifically-- This crisis that's happening now happens to be two years later.

As a writer, this is the most time you've spent with the same characters, I would imagine. Does it make the process easier?

I think it makes it easier in some respects, because you just know what Alan would say at this moment. We'd just look at each other and we'd go, "Clearly, it's that." And it's harder also, because you go, "Oh, is this the same sort of vibe?" Or "Is this the thing--" You know? So you're trying to change up. I mean, I think it's how television works. People say, "Oh, you're doing a third Hangover. How can you do a third Hangover?" It's like, people do twelve years of television shows and nobody says, "How do you do that?" Because they love the characters and you're involved in it. I don't feel like we've spent too much time with them. I love being able to explore Alan, Chow and Phil deeper in these things. It's what they get away with in television. It's why we love shows on HBO that are…you're getting more into it and more into it.

Does your character, Mr. Creepy, get to make an appearance?

He reappears for a moment, yeah. He does. He's up to no good again. For no reason.

Now, you said this will be the last one. Obviously three is a nice number to end on, I guess, for a series. But why not do a fourth one?

It is funny how a lot of movies do three and then they just sort of… it does feel like the story that we're telling ends here. Because it feels like the one thing that was unanswered in those movies was, how is this guy going to turn out? Meaning Alan. How is he going to be okay? It doesn't make sense. So I feel like, through this, once that's complete there isn't really much else to do with it. We wouldn't do it. Yeah, we would never do another one.

And you mentioned earlier that you had been planning this third part of the series for a while. How much did it change while going through that development process?

It still changes with time. The idea was, "Oh, let's do another one and let's take it in this direction," but the specificity of things and the story, that changed so many times. It changes through the writing, it changes through even the shooting. So it does change a lot. It's not like it was this architect laid-out blueprint that just sort of worked perfectly. We're constantly fixing it.

Ken [Jeong] was talking about how he was on for four days in the first Hangover and how this role has really evolved going into this one. Was there anything specific that you wanted to grow?

Well, it's the same thing I was talking about with television. It's like, these writers in TV, they fall in love with certain characters. If you watch a show like Homeland, and it's like, "Oh, that character didn't seem like a big deal in the beginning, but clearly they fell in love with this character," and they keep… and I think Chow's a perfect example. Chow was never meant to be more than a four-day part in a movie. The movie was huge, people loved it, people got a kick out of Chow, we make it a little bigger. It's sort of like writers falling in love with their characters, and the same thing, I think, happens in television all the time.

You fall in love with them, but you torture them.

Of course. Yeah, that's true.

Craig [Mazin] actually said that there was an element from the first film that most people had been overlooking that's going to be reintroduced in this film. Is that something you just stumbled across and realized that it would be a cool thing to bring back? Obviously, I don't want to reveal…

No, no. It's not something we stumbled across, it was something… as we were talking about, again, the movies being all in one universe, we talked, "You know what would be interesting? A thing we never explored is this."

As far as Tijuana research, was that already taken care of on your end?

Yeah, I had that covered. But we don't really go there in the way we do Vegas. It's a funny thing, in all of these movies, we don't do the cities like you think because we're doing them the next day in the other two movies. And in this one, they're not there partying in Tijuana, they're there for information and because of a lead, sort of. This movie is very much a little bit of a mystery, a little bit of a heist movie, a little action in it. But we always have some action in the movies.

I'm curious about the John Goodman role. Is it similar to what was seen with Paul Giamatti in the second film, or is it a different type of role?

I think it's pretty different. He's a pretty dark guy in this movie, as everybody's a little bit darker. John Goodman's pretty dark – I love John Goodman. He was so fun to work with. We're done with him now, but he just came in for, I don't know, maybe two weeks, and he was just great to work with.
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