Not that I want to spoil it, but who was the first person to say, “Let’s decapitate a giraffe.”

Todd Phillips: I think that was me, honestly.

Was that from a childhood fantasy with animal crackers or something?

Todd Phillips: I literally was just thinking and I was in the shower, and I was thinking of a horrific way to start this movie to just say, “Here we go. Strap in.”

Craig Mazin: Well, there was originally a thing about this giraffe and Alan was going to have a pet giraffe, but there was no decapitating, and then we got rid of it. And it went away, and then you came back one day, like, “I think we should start...”

Todd Phillips: It’s so random. Yeah, yeah.

Craig Mazin: Any other director would have had the giraffe duck. That’s why I like working with this guy.

When I saw Due Date and the second Hangover, both of those movies have like a real sort of meanness to the comedy that I feel like this movie actually has less of. Was there a deliberate choice to make this one less mean?

Todd Phillips: I think honestly it’s in response to where the story takes you. Due Date had to feel that way. You had to feel Robert Downey’s frustration and the kind of character he was for him to be healed through the Ethan Tremblay character. Hangover II feeling mean, it doesn’t feel mean to me, but this one is definitely a more emotional film, dealing with Alan’s real life and Alan meeting someone who is equally left-footed as him in Melissa McCarthy. That in and of itself is just going to add a sweetness to it. But it wasn’t an intentional, “Let’s make this less mean.” It’s just where the story took us. So, if you’re going to tackle Alan’s story, it’s naturally going to be a little bit more emotional because he’s naturally a little bit more genuinely fucked up.

When you choose to focus on Alan and Chow, who are as crazy as they are, how careful do you have to be to make sure that Bradley and Ed’s character have something to do and that they still have a presence in the film instead of just being spectators?

Todd Phillips: I think that’s an interesting question and it’s just something you have to do and you have to be mindful as you do it. It’s the same as saying, you know, when you do an ensemble movie, it’s going to focus sometimes in one direction. It doesn’t mean the other guys are replaceable or don’t need to be there. I feel like, again, it’s always been these three guy’s journey together going through this thing. Alan takes a more active role - but Alan took a way less active role in the other two movies, but he still felt very much a part of it to me. So it was just switching things around.

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