Liam Neeson Replacing Mel Gibson in 'Hangover' Sequel

Liam Neeson_2010
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Liam Neeson will replace Mel Gibson as the tattoo artist in The Hangover Part II.

Gibson was cast then let go from the part, described as "pivotal" to the movie by those who have read the script.

While the original movie revolved around a Las Vegas bachelor party that devolves into a drunken lost weekend, the follow-up tracks the same stars -- Bradley Cooper, Zack Galifianakis, Ed Helms and Justin Bartha -- on a misbegotten trip to Bangkok, Thailand.

The tattoo artist is one of the characters the guys need to track down during their adventures. The character is described as "crazy" and "intense," "someone you're afraid to talk to." It is unclear if the part will be altered to incorporate the sensibilities of Neeson.

The actor's deal hasn't technically closed but the actor is already in L.A.

It was Cooper, who starred with Neeson in this summer's "The A-Team" that was instrumental in getting Neeson the part.

Gibson's casting, when made public earlier this week, triggered an internal backlash at the studio and on the film set. Zach Galifianakis appears to be one of those who objected to Gibson, whose anti-Semitic, racist and misogynist rants have made him radioactive in some Hollywood circles, when he said on a podcast last week, "I'm in deep protest right now about a movie I'm working on, up in arms about something."