Thousands gathered here for the final day of CinemaCon, wrapping up the week-long convention of theater owners with a presentation on the upcoming sequel, as the Wolf Pack reunites in Thailand for Ed Helms’ character Stu’s bachelor party and wedding. Unfortunately, his smoking hot wife-to-be asks them to take her teenage little brother along, and guess who vanishes without a trace this time?
Check out the footage and an exclusive Q&A with director Todd Phillips below, where he discusses Mel Gibson’s scrapped cameo, Bill Clinton’s rumored cameo, and how crazy is too crazy for these stories.
ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY: So, where will you set Hangover 3?
TODD PHILLIPS: Ha! I don’t know if we’re gonna make Hangover 3, but I love the movie we just made, and we had such a sick time on it that I’d be open to it. We had such a good time doing this one. The guys, there’s just no ego. It’s just us making a movie. It feels like we’re making an independent film. It’s weird, because everyone just wants to make it cool. So for that reason alone, I’d do it again.
I thought it might be harder to make the sequel, because no one was watching the first time. Was there more pressure or interference on it because of the first movie’s success?
The harder part is you’re not flying under the radar, which is always better to do. But the better part is, I’ve never made a movie where so many people have been anticipating it. There was something fun about being in Bangkok at 4 in the morning, and you’re shooting and so tired, but you stop and think: ‘People are going to see this.’ You know what I mean? When we were here, in Vegas, making the first one, you turn to Ken Jeong and say, ‘That was great!’ but a part of you thinks: ‘But is anybody going to ever see this?’
Bill Clinton was in town, in Bangkok, giving a speech. It had nothing to do with us. We went to it because his office invited us. Ed Helms happened to be sick that night, so me, Zach and Bradley went. We saw him speak, and one of his guys came over and said, “The President would like to invite you to dinner.” So we had dinner with him, and the next day he came by the set just to hang. He wanted to bring his guys because they loved the movie — and he loved the movie. It was very cool. But that was it.
Did you offer to him: “Hey, would you like to get in front of the camera?”
No, I mean it was such an honor. I don’t know where your politics lean, but it was the f—ing President of the United States. It just blew our minds. He was like, [slipping into an Arkansas drawl] “I loved The Hangover. How’d you get Mike Tyson to do that?” He flies all over the world, and his guys are like, “He watches movies all the time.” There was a photo of him [on set] because he showed up with 25 cars, and people were already watching out set.
What’s your perspective of the Mel Gibson issue? He was cast in a cameo, but then there was an uproar from some of the cast and crew and he was dropped.
That goes back to what we were saying about just not being under the radar anymore. That would never have happened on the first movie. But it’s hard to defend something when you haven’t even shot it yet. We hadn’t even shot that scene, and then it got out, and suddenly I was defending something I never even got a chance to film. It was a little bit annoying, but…
Who was against it?
It was a vibe from the crew, and some of the cast. Personally, I love [Gibson]. He’s my boy. And I fought for it, but there’s a point where you have to go, “Well, it’s a two-minute cameo in a movie versus the tone of this family on the set.” And we’re going to have to go and film another three months in Bangkok. At what point do you fracture that — over something that may or may not work in the movie, ultimately?
How crazy is too crazy in a movie like this? Do you have to be careful to push the envelope but not push it too far?
What’s cool about the first Hangover is that no matter how absurd it is, it does take place in the real world. It actually all makes sense. I won’t use the word Nazis, [laughs] but we were logic police as far as that for Part II. It has to make sense. Why would this happen, and why would that happen?
The Hangover: Part II opens May 26. Sounds like Bill Clinton will be there, if only with a ticket.
For more film news, follow Anthony Breznican on Twitter @Breznican.