N-Words, Threequels and Male Nudity: Notes From the Hangover Part II Junket
"Unapologetic" was the word most frequently used by director Todd Phillips and his Wolf Pack cast and writers to describe the outrageous shenanigans that go down in The Hangover Part II, which finds the heroes of The Hangover once again dealing with a bad case of morning-after confusion. This time, they awake disoriented in Bangkok, a place that takes monkeyshines to a whole new level. "Sometimes to make a movie about mayhem," Phillips admitted at Wednesday's press conference, "you have to go to mayhem."
Phillips and Co. naturally test boundaries left and right in The Hangover Part II, seemingly following a group credo to push every kind of envelope imaginable. Drug-pushing smoking monkeys, hedonist crime, Thailand's infamous sex trade -- Part II makes the most of its exotic new setting, but that unapologetic brand of humor crosses controversial racial lines as well in one scene, where Zach Galifianakis's character Alan drops the n-word. Galifianakis defended the joke to journalists at the Los Angeles press conference.
"For someone to say that word so cluelessly, it's funny because it comes out of a place of ignorance," Galifianakis explained. "And Alan doesn't know any better; he's just an idiot. Anyone who would say that so loosely is an idiot. That word can be very inflammatory but Alan is such a dimwit, it's not excusable at all but you're making fun of people that would say that word."
Phillips chimed in. "For me it's really an illustration of how left-footed Alan is with the world," he said. "It's just what you do as writers, as a director, and as an actor. You exhibit these qualities and have certain tools with which to work. I think that moment there just highlights how out of step and out of rhythm he is." As for the genesis of the joke, co-scripter Craig Mazin clarified the thought that went into it: "You don't casually type that one into a script."
Further revelations from the Hangover Part II junket:
The Hangover 3 would be the final film in the trilogy, and would follow a completely new template from the first two films.
"The third would be very much a finale and an ending," said Phillips. "The most I can say about it and what's in my head is that it is not following that template but is very much a new idea."
Phillips is accepting bribes when it comes to finding a Hangover 3 city to follow Las Vegas and Bangkok.
"I'm very open, like the Olympic committee, to being pitched and presented cities, flown around with wine and women, and bribed," he joked. "And then I will make my decision."
If you like Ken Jeong's crazy/naked Asian gangster Chow, some good news.
Phillips could see him in his own spin-off movie.
Speaking of Chow...
Yes, that's really Ken Jeong going full-frontal in The Hangover Part II. "Sorry," he answered. "I run everything by my wife before I do anything so I had full permission to do all the nudity. She's secure with letting me embarrass myself. She always says to me that these movies are good for men because after watching me they always go home feeling good about themselves."
Phillips cast Mason Lee, who plays Jamie Chung's little brother/Ed Helms' future brother-in-law, before learning that his father is director Ang Lee.
He then jokingly asked the young actor to get his dad to shoot second unit on The Hangover Part II.
Actual question posed by a journalist: "Hey guys, you've recommended some restaurants. Can you recommend a really good whorehouse?"
Pause. "I'm just joking." For the record, the cast and crew had no comment.
Awkward pause #3: "What do you think of Asian women?"
Bradley Cooper volunteered the diplomatic answer. "The people in Bangkok in general are beautiful, men and women," he said. "It's just such a beautiful aesthetic, it's incredible. Certainly the women are gorgeous over there but it's not even the aesthetic of them. There's just something about the spirit of the people there. They call it the land of 1000 smiles and there's sort of reason for that. It's just an openness and a gentility. So it's very infectious. There's something about the energy of the women and the people there that is infectious, you want to be around. That's certainly one of the reasons I fell in love with Bangkok and would go back in a heartbeat."
Said Galifianakis: "I've been dedicated to the same woman for a number of years and I don't look at other women."
As for Phillips, he wasn't biting. "It's a bit of a weird question, right?" said the director. "I mean, let's be serious."
Check back here for more about The Hangover Part II, which arrives in theaters May 26.