In the summer of 2009 Todd Phillips’ The Hangover became a smash hit and stars Bradley Cooper, Ed Helms and Zach Galifianakis became three of the biggest, most sought-after names in Hollywood. The success continued with the first sequel, The Hangover Part II, which sent the characters to Thailand where they had to deal with another missing night. But this weekend, as you’ve read on the posters, it all ends.
To celebrate the finale of The Hangover franchise, The Wolfpack returned to Caesar’s Palace Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas, Nevada, where Warner Bros. held a press event for the new sequel and held roundtable interview where reporters could talk with the actors and filmmakers behind the series. Read our extended conversation with the three main stars below, in which the trio talks about their favorite memory from the set, the evolving darkness that has grown more significant from sequel to sequel, and bringing more heart to the characters.
Was there a point for each of you where the three of you realized the first Hangover had changed your careers?
Ed Helms: There was a moment, I think, that all of us shared, at a dinner in London. After the US premiere we went over to London to promote it, and we were getting box office returns from that opening weekend while we were in London, and Warner Bros. PR folks were all with us and we were getting a lot of input. Like, “Do you guys understand what’s happening here? This is gonna change your lives.” I think we all just had a little deer in the headlights moment at that dinner, and I’m so grateful we were together for that because otherwise who knows, we might have gone insane. That’s when it felt like something crazy was happening to our lives.
Do have a favorite memory or moment of the Hangover trilogy now that it’s over?
Zach Galifianakis: I think there’s a day when we were filming the first one that we all kind of agree, as far as a working experience... the most I’ve ever laughed in my life was the day we shot the first one, I don’t know if you recall, the older gentleman scene when we were in the hospital with him, and he’s nude. I got the giggles so badly, [pointing to his co-stars] and so did he, and so did he. There was nothing but euphoria running through my body, how much I was laughing. I had to walk off the set I was laughing so hard. That was also the day the election came in 2008. That was a really happy day. A day I will never forget because my body was just beaming with just happiness, because of the giggles from that day and then also what happened that night was a pretty special night.
Bradley Cooper: Then we went to Venice after, and there was a windstorm that night.
Galifianakis: Yeah, there was a windstorm that night. It was kind of a special night. But you know, we have so many good days. We have a lot of -- these movies have been really good to us and we enjoy working together, I think, for the most part.
One thing I was really impressed by in this was just how much heart there is. I was wondering how much insight you brought to your character since it was the last film.
Cooper: I think it’s more along the lines of where I wanted the movie to end up. I think we all think about in terms of the story rather than each individual character. That’s what’s been so special about it, it’s been such a communal endeavor. The filming of the movie, the logistics of it, every day in tacking a scene, it does feel like it’s the four of us. Ideas are thrown and shared and there’s no ownership at all. People sort of say that about collaborative experiences, but this really is the case. It started in the first one, but it really manifested itself in an economical way in the third one. Alan is one of the most incredible creations of a comedic character in decades in film, so the fact that the story revolves around figuring out who this guy is, how can we tame the beast, was a wonderful choice that Todd Phillips made - hopefully one that the audience wants to see. My hunch is that it will be, because there’s no more lost night, there’s no more inebriated nights devastation. It’s really just let’s take care of our friend.