The Uncensored Oral History of 'The Hangover'

With the third installment out May 24, director Todd Phillips, Bradley Cooper and the execs behind the biggest R-rated comedy franchise in history tell all about Lindsay Lohan's meeting, Mel Gibson's ill-fated cameo and how they tricked the baby's mom. Plus: Who made $70 million?

HELMS: It was a room full of trannies. There were naked people walking around us.

COOPER: My favorite moment of all three movies is Ed's performance when he comes out of there, and he's talking to [his character's soon-to-be father-in-law]. I usually don't break, but I could not stop. (Laughs.) His performance in these movies is so underrated. He does the sickest shit, and people don't realize that he has to be able to balance comedy with the real circumstances his character goes through, which anchors the entire first movie and the second one, too.

TYSON: The fact that in the second movie they used my tattoo on Ed's face -- that's better than to put my face on the [poster].


With Phillips and the cast committed to wrap up the trilogy, The Hangover Part III shot in fall 2010 in California, Mexico and three weeks in Las Vegas. Jeong returns, and Melissa McCarthy joins the cast as a love interest for Galifianakis.

PHILLIPS: [Hangover III] is a very different story. Nobody wakes up in this movie -- there's no forgotten night. But it definitely is a movie that uses what happened in the first two movies. It's very much all one big story of [how that moment when] Alan buys drugs from Black Doug in the first movie basically f--ed their lives up for six years.

MAZIN: When Todd and I were working on the third movie, we never sat down and said, "Let's be outrageous." That's a ticket to stupidity. We think, "OK, what is this person's problem and how bad is their situation?" For Alan, how progressed is his disease?

PHILLIPS: Personally, I gambled less [while shooting Hangover III]. I had a gambling problem. I remember in the first one, I was always in my pajamas downstairs gambling every night, smoking. All the pit bosses knew me. I was getting in fights.

HELMS: It was terrifying.

PHILLIPS: We have a sequence in the third movie where we had to get six Vegas properties working together. So all of a sudden, the Bellagio is letting us control its fountains, even though we're based at Caesars and they're competitors. It's like Warners and DreamWorks. But all of a sudden they're all working together because they know that The Hangover is good for Vegas.

COOPER: That's a difference from the first one. We stole a moment in the first one, like a cool slo-mo walk with the fountains, and we kept trying to time it right. Cut to the third one, and Todd controlled the fountains. He had the f--ing button.

ROBINOV: He probably stole that, is my guess. (Laughs.)

HELMS: There are Hangover slot machines now.

GRAHAM: My agent made me do a video for her son's bar mitzvah. He did this whole funny spoof where he gets drunk, gets a tattoo and then he comes to my house. That's how in-the-culture it is. And it was my agent, so of course I had to do it.

TYSON: Now people come to Vegas to see me. They say, "Where is Mike Tyson's house at?"

COOPER: And guys dress up as Alan for a living.

PHILLIPS: And Ed. Like they have Spider-Man on Hollywood Boulevard.

GALIFIANAKIS: I think his name's Thaddeus. I went down to see him. He was pretty good. He moved to Vegas to do it.

PHILLIPS: When we were location scouting, there was Stu and him, and I go, "I gotta take a picture." The Alan one, who was very belligerent, turned around: "It's $10." I go: "I made the movie. I just want to send it to the guys." I didn't have my wallet on me. Luckily the Stu character recognized me.

VIDEO: Ken Jeong on a 'Hangover' Continuation: 'I Would Love to Do More Mr. Chow'

With the third film likely to be huge, a fourth would seem inevitable.

PHILLIPS: This is the last [one], for sure.

HELMS: I am pitching a fourth to Disney.

PHILLIPS: The story is very much a final story and feels wrapped up. The only loose end in the Hangover series, quite frankly, is with Alan's character, and what's his deal and is he going to be OK? That's what The Hangover III is ultimately about, his journey into somewhat normalcy and stability after the loss of his father. Stu has gotten laser surgery [to remove his facial tattoo], but if you look close, you see there's a little bit of a scar.

HELMS: A lot of people just think I have bad skin.


Twitter: @THRMattBelloni, @LaceyVRose

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