The Hangover’s Ed Helms Recalls Actually Removing His Tooth To Film The Comedy With Bradley Cooper

Zach Galifianakis, Bradley Cooper and Ed Helms in The Hangover
(Image credit: Warner Bros)

It’s awards season, and during this time of the year, we often talk about the crazy lengths certain actors go to really delve into their roles. For example, Lady Gaga stayed in her House of Gucci accent for almost a year, and Andrew Garfield learned how to sing ahead of Tick, Tick… Boom!. But here’s a throwback movie fact we don’t talk about enough: Ed Helms full-on removed a tooth to play Stu in The Hangover

Back when the movie came out, it was reported that Ed Helms actually had his tooth pulled ahead of starring in the movie with Bradley Cooper and Zach Galifianakis. But now with nearly 15 years have passed since The Hangover's release, Helms spoke about it in greater detail. During his episode of Hot Ones, the actor said this: 

Once we got into pre-production, Todd (Phillips), the director, was like, ‘How are we gonna do this? What are you comfortable with?’ And I said, ‘Well, I don’t know. We’ll talk to the visual effects guys.' And they said, ‘OK, we’ll just try blacking it out.’ So we did a little screen test just Halloween pirate costume-style with just some black on the tooth, which actually looks good in person, but on camera it looks terrible.

The first part of the story is that they tried other options (thankfully).  Ed Helms put a marker to one of his teeth to make it look like he’d lost a tooth on Stu’s fateful night in Las Vegas. However, it did not look good. Helms continued: 

I was like, ‘I wasn’t going to say anything, but this tooth is actually fake in my mouth. And I can ask my dentist if we could take it out.’ I mean, it’s been a permanent implant since I was a teenager. I went to my dentist and he said, ‘Oh yeah, no problem.'

The dentist removed the crown placed when Ed Helms was 20 years younger, and for three months, the actor was visibly missing a tooth to star in The Hangover. He also said this: 

I had to go back and shoot The Office at the same time, so he made me a retainer with a fake tooth on it, which made me sound drunk because my tongue couldn’t form words, but we got through it.

Talk about commitment! Even though it was an implant in his mouth, to even go to the dentist for a role and have them take out an implant and then replace it goes to show that Ed Helms was willing to go the extra mile. Then the former Office star would wear a retainer to play Andy Bernard during that time. Pretty crazy, right? 

That’s not the only wild thing to happen during the production of The Hangover. The Las Vegas cops were also called while the movie was being shot thanks to Ken Jeong going nude for an improvised sequence. 

The Hangover hit theaters in the summer of 2009 and was one of the biggest successes of that year. It was the sixth highest grossing movie of 2009 domestically under Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen, Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince, Up, The Twilight Saga: New Moon and Avatar. On the worldwide charts, it was the tenth in line, which is incredible for a comedy that reportedly cost $35 million to produce.

 Plus, the careers of just about every member of The Hangover core cast are doing incredible over a decade after the film’s release. So in that sense, it seems like pulling a tooth was worth it for Ed Helms. Just don’t expect a The Hangover sequel anytime soon. 

Sarah El-Mahmoud
Staff Writer

YA genre tribute. Horror May Queen. Word webslinger. All her writing should be read in Sarah Connor’s Terminator 2 voice over.