He says he was trying to "mix it up" with journalists by telling them the wacky tale: "Sorry for the confusion."
Todd Phillips, the director of The Hangover sequel, says he was just goofing when he claimed the monkey featured in the upcoming comedy had been trained to smoke. "I have PETA after me because the monkey's become addicted to cigarettes," he even claimed.
But after the article hit the web, Phillips released a statement to Movieline
, insisting it was all "a joke."
"If you read the story, it doesn’t even make sense," he said.
When he does press for a film, Phillips said, "it tends to get repetitive, lots of the same questions over and over. Sometimes I like to mix it up with the journalists. Obviously, the monkey in the film NEVER smoked a single cigarette. There are people on set whose sole job is to protect that monkey. Even if I wanted her to smoke it wouldn’t be allowed. By the way, she also appears to do cocaine in the movie, but I guarantee you that she didn’t do that either (I can’t, however, comment on Ken Jeong’s cocaine use in the film).
"Sorry for the confusion, but it definitely is a funny headline “PETA pissed after Todd Phillips gets Hangover 2 monkey addicted to cigarettes,”" added Phillips. "Definitely one for the office wall."