The Hangover Movies: 14 Behind-The-Scenes Facts
Usually studios push for the PG-13 rating to get that teen dollar, but The Hangover’s completely out-of-control rager in Vegas made it one of the highest grossing R-rated comedies of all time.
It was more than daunting for Ed Helms, but Mike Tyson had one hell of a time. Although the real-life story was the stuff of wedding nightmares, these 15 behind-the-scenes gems prove that (mostly) everyone had a pretty great time.
The Hangover was based on a true story.
Okay, the real story took place months before the wedding, but they had to amp up the stakes!
Producer Chris Bender of BenderSpink productions heard the story of how his producer friend Tripp Vinson went AWOL from his own Bachelor Party in Las Vegas and thought of spinning it into a movie.
In 2002, Tripp was engaged to Adriana Alberghetti. About 30 people stayed with Tripp at the Hard Rock Hotel in Vegas, and went out partying for the night.
After a series of parties across restaurants, bars, and strip clubs, everyone woke up in the morning hungover, and Tripp was missing. He later recalled, “Waking up in a strip club where I was threatened with a very, very big bill that I had to pay.”
Ed Helm’s missing tooth.
It wasn’t camera trickery or the much cheaper piece-of-black-tape option.
Ed Helm had an adult incisor that never grew properly, so he wears a dental implant, and it was actually pretty easy to remove the tooth for the toothless scenes.
While filming The Hangover, Ed also starred in The Office, and he said, “I never told anyone on the show because they would lose their minds. So I would show up to work on The Office with this appliance in my mouth, and it really affected my speech. If you watch those episodes, I sound drunk.”
Bradley Cooper quit drinking five years earlier.
His roles in A Star Is Born and The Hangover Trilogy were pretty saucy, but Bradley Cooper got sober in 2004.
In a 2012 interview with The Hollywood Reporter, he said,“I don’t drink or do drugs at all anymore.” Noting he gave them up at 29, when their toll was unbearable. “I thought, 'Wow, I'm actually gonna ruin my life. I'm really gonna ruin it. Being sober helps a great deal.”
They began developing the sequel before the original was even released.
Talk about blind confidence.
Because the test screenings went so well, Warner Bros. was so confident in The Hangover that they allowed producers to develop a sequel two months before the movie even hit theaters.
They even made sure to lock in Todd Phillips, Bradley Cooper, Ed Helms, and Zach Galifianakis by promising them a percentage of the sequel’s box office returns in addition to their substantial paychecks.
Old School helped Todd Phillips land Mike Tyson.
Who doesn’t love Old School?
Mike Tyson initially turned down the offer to appear in the movie, so luckily director Todd Phillips and actor Justin Bartha (Doug) ran into him at ‘some cheesy club in Caesar’s Palace."
There were shots consumed, and Tyson changed his mind after learning that Todd Phillips directed 2003's Old School.
The Hangover meets Clue.
Chad… In the strip club… With the Tequila.
In 2018, Hasbro released a The Hangover-inspired version of Clue called "Clue: Lost in Las Vegas.”
Players are tasked with finding their missing friend instead of uncovering a murderer.
It was Ken Jeong’s decision to go nude.
First he got his wife’s, and Bradley Cooper’s permission.
He said, “My wife knew about the nude scenes. I got her permission.”
“It was my idea to do it naked. No one made me do it. I thought, if I do that, this movie will go like a bottle-rocket. Bradley and I are good friends. We did All About Steve prior to The Hangover. He and I had dinner the night before we shot that scene. I talked about my plan. Bradley loved it. As an actor, he was encouraging me to be fearless, too.”
“So by the time we shot the scene, and I was naked, and my genitals were on his neck, we were more concerned about things, like, ‘Okay, how does the camera work?’ We were not nervous about it.”
Jack Black turned down the role of Alan.
The role of Alan was offered to Jack Black, but he turned it down. The character underwent significant rewrites, with Jake Gyllenhaal, Jonah Hill, and Thomas Haden Church being considered as Doug’s younger, badass brother.
They ultimately decided to make Alan the older brother-in-law, so they took 40-year-old Zach Galifianakis.
Those classic songs were improvised.
Stu’s song, “Doug” and Zach Galifianakis’ “Three Best Friends” were both completely improvised.
The baby was played by 4 different sets of twins and a dummy.
We can understand two Olsens in Full House, but this is a bit much.
Due to their unpredictable behavior, and those pesky child labor laws, it’s not uncommon for babies in movies and TV shows to be played by twins, but eight different tots played Alan’s little buddy Carlos (whose actual on-screen name was Tyler).
The one that got the most screen time was Grant Holmquist. Grant and his twin shared the bulk of Carlos’ scenes, with Grant playing about 58% of the role, and Avery had about 40%.
That leaves 2% for the six other babies, and the physical scenes (like Carlos smacking his head on the door of a car) for the dummy.
Bonus fact: Grant reprised his role of Carlos/Tyler in The Hangover: Part III
Mike Tyson credits The Hangover for sobriety help.
Mike Tyson admitted that he accepted his role in The Hangover to help pay for his drug habit, and that he was high on cocaine when he was filming his scenes.
In a conversation with Tony Robbins, he said "I met the guys in a club, they were in the VIP section and I said, 'This is where I normally sit, nobody's normally here,'" he explained. "So I went in there, I'm checking these guys to see what they're doing in my section. It was Zach, the other guy, and he said, 'We're going to be in a movie with you,' and I said, 'Yeah? When?' And he said, ‘Tomorrow.'"
"I didn’t know as I was drinking and smoking back then, doing drugs so I didn’t know I was involved in the movie.”
Tyson also said that this actually helped him get sober and get his life back on track.
Todd Phillips waived his salary.
Not for charitable reasons or anything.
He waived his salary in favor of partial ownership, a decision that paid off handsomely. Seems like everyone was incredibly confident in this movie’s success.
Ed Helms was juggling The Hangover and The Office.
This seems like one of those good problems.
Ed Helms told the Hollywood reporter, “Just trying to close my deal was such a nightmare, because NBC was in first position with my schedule. We got a really nice verbal commitment from Greg Daniels (the show runner of The Office) to cross-board all of my scenes into two days a week.”
“I had to agree to charter my own flights, these little tiny jets, which I paid for. I’d go from Vegas to Van Nuys Airport at 4 in the morning, because we were doing shoots all night, then I’d land in Van Nuys, drive to the set and shoot all day on The Office, completely Red Bull-ed out of my brain.
Greg Daniels said, “There was no sleep in the schedule. He was exhausted.”
Todd Phillips discovered Ken Jeong on YouTube.
Todd Phillips said, “My first exposure to Ken Jeong was his YouTube videos with Mike O’Connell. The Mr. Chow character that we wrote was always supposed to be a 60-year-old Asian guy, and I kind of resisted bringing in Ken for it. He came into my office, and we did this read-through, and Ken just lost his mind. The whole place was like, “What the f*ck is going on in there?”
Ken Jeong said, “One of my friends was actually auditioning for another part, and he happened to be in that same casting room. He was like, ‘Man, it sounds like you’re the Tasmanian devil.’”
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Top Image: Legendary Pictures & BenderSpink