Sometimes the making of an outrageous movie is more outrageous than the movie itself, and these behind-the-scenes stories from The Hangover trilogy prove just that. The 2009 original and its two sequels constitute one of the most popular movie comedy franchises of all time. Audiences lapped up the edgy, R-rated humor, and many still enjoy it years later.
The first film follows three friends - Phil (Bradley Cooper), Stu (Ed Helms), and Alan (Zach Galifianakis) - who awake after a bachelor party and attempt to reconstruct the events of their inebriated blackout, which included the disappearance of the groom. The two sequels track the ongoing repercussions of that fateful night, which prove to be equally extreme.
Making the series wasn't easy, but it was certainly memorable for everyone involved. These things you didn't know about The Hangover movies will illustrate that, no matter how wild the film's onscreen events are, the off-camera journey was even wilder.
One of The Hangover's comic highlights arrives after Phil, Stu, and Alan are taken into custody for commandeering a police car. The officer agrees to let them off the hook if they participate in a demonstration for a group of school children. Unbeknownst to the three friends, the event is a taser demonstration.
Director Todd Phillips believed the actors' reactions would be more humorous if they were actually tased. He even showed Bradley Cooper, Ed Helms, and Zach Galifianakis videos of people voluntarily getting tased, hoping to convince them that it wouldn't be too painful.
Warner Bros.' attorneys heard rumors of the idea, however, and immediately prohibited the plan, recognizing its substantial liability.
Mike Tyson plays an exaggerated version of himself in The Hangover, but in 2010, the former boxer revealed that he only agreed to make the movie in order to fund his coke habit. He told interviewer Graham Bensinger that he was "a mess" during production, and that the main actors "had to know [he] was messed up." He also praised his costars for making him look good under the circumstances.
Despite this, Tyson was asked to come back for The Hangover Part II. He did not return for the franchise's third installment.
Mel Gibson was originally slated to play the eccentric tattoo artist in The Hangover Part II. However, because of Gibson's high-profile scandal involving racially intolerant and anti-Semitic remarks, his casting didn't sit well with some of the cast and crew, particularly Zach Galifianakis.
Director Todd Phillips canceled the Gibson cameo after hearing the cast and crew's concerns. "I thought Mel would have been great in the movie," he said in a public statement, "but I realize filmmaking is a collaborative effort, and this decision ultimately did not have the full support of my entire cast and crew."
Liam Neeson was hired to replace Gibson, but when he was unavailable for necessary reshoots, he was replaced with Nick Cassavetes.
The Hangover Part II features a running gag in which the three main characters repeatedly encounter a cigarette-smoking capuchin monkey. While most found the sight comical, animal activists were infuriated when director Todd Phillips claimed the monkey was taught to smoke real cigarettes and subsequently became dependent upon them.
Phillips clarified his statement in 2011, claiming he had become bored with repeatedly giving the same answers during a press junket and was merely making a joke. He also pointed out the strict rules regarding the use of animals onscreen - the monkey's handlers would never have allowed anything so flagrantly inappropriate.