Zach Galifianakis Interview For ‘The Hangover Part III’
It’s been two years. Phil (Bradley Cooper), Stu (Ed Helms) and Doug (Justin Bartha) are happily living uneventful lives at home. Tattoos have been lasered off, files purged. The last they heard from disaster-magnet Leslie Chow (Ken Jeong), he’d been tossed into a Thai prison and, with him out of the way, the guys have very nearly recovered from their nights prowling the seamy side of Las Vegas in a roofie’d haze, and being kidnapped, shot at, and chased by drug-dealing mobsters in Bangkok. The only member of the Wolfpack who’s not content is Alan (Zach Galifianakis). Still lacking a sense of purpose, the group’s black sheep has ditched his meds and given in to his natural impulses in a big way – which, for Alan, means no boundaries, no filters and no judgment – until a personal crisis forces him to finally seek the help he needs.
‘The Hangover Part III’ reunites stars Bradley Cooper, Ed Helms, Zach Galifianakis and Justin Bartha as Phil, Stu, Alan and Doug. Also returning to the cast are Ken Jeong as Leslie Chow; Heather Graham as Stu’s first wife, Jade; and Jeffrey Tambor as Alan’s father, Sid. Joining the ensemble for the first time is John Goodman, starring as the guys’ new nightmare, Marshall. Todd Phillips directs from a screenplay he wrote with Craig Mazin, who previously collaborated with him on the screenplay for ‘The Hangover Part II.’ The film is set for a May 23rd release.
Alan is not doing too well in the beginning of this film, and the guys stage an intervention in the hopes of getting him into a facility where he can get some help and put his life in order. Naturally, Alan is resistant, but he finally gives in to the promise of a road trip with his three best friends….
Zach Galifianakis: Yeah. Alan is having some kind of mid-life crisis…. if he was to live to 120 (laughs). Alan’s 60 years old, he looks good. But really, he’s having a bit of a mid-life crisis, even though he doesn’t really know it. The story for the third one starts basically when something happens to Alan’s life, he has a meltdown and he hasn’t been the most responsible adult there is. Alan has to be told he’s having a midlife crisis because he’s not aware of it. He has no idea. I guess it’s more like a coming-of-age crisis, but it’s hard to come of age when you’re already over 40. People are concerned, and they try to help Alan. But that’s how it starts: helping Alan. It’s so nice and innocent.
Given some of the outlandish things you’ve have had to do in these films, what is your reaction when you first read them in the script? Do you mark specific things down in your calendar when shooting, for example, “Ok, today is the day I have to take my pants off”….
Zach Galifianakis: For me, I read the script and then I forget until a couple of days until we’re shooting a scene that, “Oh, yeah. I’ve got to do this now, I’ve got to take my pants off,” or this or that (laughs). But I think I purposely forget, because if I did think about it I would start protesting that I don’t want to take my pants off or whatever it is (laughs). So you just have to take a leap of faith with these movies and do what’s best for the humor, really. I love the jokes in this one, we’ve got some good jokes. There’s some pretty good high-octane action stuff, and there’s also emotion in this one. It has a lot of what I think people want to see. If you want some laughs they’re there, if you want to see a car crash… if that’s your thing, that’s there (laughs). But then also some emotional moments, hopefully.
With your Wolfpack trio of Alan, Stu and Phil, how is it working with Bradley and Ed – and even Todd Phillips – on those characters now after a number of years? And then you’ve known Ken Jeong for over a decade…
Zach Galifianakis: I’ve known Ken since around 1997, we would do stand-up together in coffee shops. We didn’t think we’d ever end up in a movie, the way we were going back then (laughs). But that’s definitely a nice element, to have an old pal that you get to act with. And now with Bradley and Ed, we’re kind of like an old bickering family now – but bickering with love. What’s helpful when you work with people like Ed and Bradley is that they don’t have a problem getting advice or notes on a scene, and similarly they don’t have a problem giving advice or notes on a scene. So it’s not like we’re directing each other, but we have suggestions that we’re so comfortable with sharing with each other. It’s very collaborative that way. And Todd lets us do that, and I think it helps the movie.
And then how was it working with John Goodman, someone new to this franchise?
Zach Galifianakis: It’s neat to be acting with John Goodman, who wouldn’t want to be acting with John Goodman? And he’s funny, I like him, he’s a giggler – we went to dinner and he giggled a lot. Which is what I tend to do, and I like that in a grown man…. and he’s very grown.
These films seem incredibly physically, and I know you’re not that great with heights. How did you find the scene where Alan and Phil rappel down the sheer side of a hotel tower. I understand the sequence was actually captured on a soundstage; however, it still required you and Bradley to vertically navigate portions of a 60-foot façade….
Zach Galifianakis: Oh man, Alan and Phil are climbing down from the roof with bed sheets. I was hanging from 60 or so feet, with no net below – but there’s a harness obviously. We had harnesses, so it was completely safe, but my irrational mind told me otherwise. All I’m thinking about up there is earthquakes, because if an earthquake happens there’s nothing you can do. You think somebody is going to be there to take you down? They’re all going to scramble to get out (laughs). I would just be dangling, if I was lucky enough to survive the earthquake… this is just where my mind goes (laughs). It would be just me and an empty stage while armageddon has happened, dangling from 60-feet. Did I mention how much fun it is to be in the movies? I’m afraid of heights. If I were two inches taller I’d live my whole life in fear because that would be too high for me.
These movies are always physical, Todd’s movies are always physical. This is my fourth movie with Todd and there’s always a lot of physicality. You’ve got car chases, fights, gun shots…. and that kind of stuff is fun, you’re a grown man and you’re living in a little fantasy world. You get to drive down the highway when no one is around – it’s neat, to bring back that word. It’s very neat.
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