Alan being Alan, however, obviously has repercussions for the people that he feels he is closest to, namely Stu and Phil. As established in Part II, Helms’ character doesn’t have a tremendous amount of trust to give to his bearded “friend,” and while he would rather just live a quiet life with his new wife and dental practice, the relationship constantly pulls him into more and more trouble.
“I don't know that Stu needs any of it. He would be so happy to have a boring life…if Alan would just let him have a boring life,” Helms said when asked if Stu actively goes looking for trouble hanging out with Alan. “I always see Stu as the reluctant guy that just gets sucked in. He's sort of like Pacino in the last Godfather. He's just trying to get out, but gets sucked back in. And it makes him a richer, more complex person, because he probably would be pretty boring otherwise. That said, I think Stu would be perfectly happy to be boring. But it wouldn't make a very good movie.”
Phil, on the other hand, is a different story entirely. There has always been a certain level of hostility between Stu and Alan – and who could blame him, given that the relationship has led to a lost tooth and a Mike Tyson face tattoo – Galifianakis’ character has always looked up to Cooper’s, their relationship similar to the nerd who tries to become best friends with the captain of the football team. Phil has always been a bit more forgiving of Alan’s transgressions, but in The Hangover Part III there will be a few more ups and downs.
“All the guys have been through so much in the last two movies, and I think that has bonded them and it also has instilled animosity as well,” Cooper said. “In the relationship between Phil and Alan, I'd say they're probably closer, but it has its peaks and valleys in this movie. That's one of the things we loved that happened in the first movie. Zach and I sort of created this thing and then it's kind of worked its way through the three movies, which is fun.”
The film certainly digs further into the relationship between Alan, Phil and Stu, but another important element is the increased presence Ken Jeong’s Chow, who became a breakout and oft-quoted star thanks to his small part in the first Hangover movie. That role expanded in Part II, but in the new film he will be an integral part of the plot. And with that increase in screen times comes more details about the character.
“In this movie you're going to see different layers of Chow,” Jeong told us shortly after his performance firing away at some crazy chickens. “It's become a fully realized and layered character. And Todd Phillips and Craig Mazin…have just taken great lengths to give it a lot of depth, and it's really been wonderful. I just can't even believe they're giving Chow so much depth, and I love it. Honestly, this is everything I ever wanted. Everything I ever wanted is in this movie. That's about as blunt as I can put it. This is just one of the happiest moments of my career.”
And while the movie may not be following the same “bachelor party/forgotten night” premise seen in the first two installments, that doesn’t mean there won’t be elements that tie it back to the other stories. In addition to traveling back to Las Vegas, there are even actors, like Heather Graham, who come back, and plot elements that were previously ignored that get explored.
“We liked the idea that lightning had struck twice in these poor guys, and we knew that the third one was going to be a true conclusion, a true finish,” Mazin told us. “What was unfinished business and what needed to be fixed and solved for these three people to move on with their lives?”
Added Helms, “There are ways that both of the first two movies weave into a narrative that you didn't see coming. I loved the show Lost, in part because the writers were so nimble in how they would take things from previous episodes, that probably weren't created with any intent towards a larger narrative, and they would get woven into narratives in a really elegant and exciting way. And that's what this story is [for] Hangover III. It pulls things from One and Two that you didn't know may have been part of a larger narrative, but actually, in Three, it is, and it's really cool and surprising.”
This is only the beginning of our Hangover Part III set visit. The rest of this week we’ll be posting our interviews with the stars and filmmakers behind the anticipated comedy blockbuster, so stay tuned!