Cast: Bradley Cooper, Ed Helms, Zach Galifianakis Justin Bartha, Ken Jeong, Jeffrey Tambor, Mike Tyson, Paul Giamatti
Director: Todd Phillips
Genre: Comedy, Drama
Running Time: 102 minutes
Synopsis: In "The Hangover Part II," Phil (Bradley Cooper), Stu (Ed Helms), Alan (Zach Galifianakis) and Doug (Justin Bartha) travel to exotic Thailand for Stu's wedding. After the unforgettable bachelor party in Las Vegas, Stu is taking no chances and has opted for a safe, subdued pre-wedding brunch. However, things don't always go as planned. What happens in Vegas may stay in Vegas, but what happens in Bangkok can't even be imagined.
Release Date: 26th of May, 2011
About the Production
I'm still putting the broken pieces of my psyche back together.- Stu
In the summer of 2009, Todd Phillips' "The Hangover" became a record-breaking hit, surpassing all expectations, including those of the filmmakers. "We set out to make a funny movie, but you never know until you start showing it to people. Once we began screening it, we realised it was something special. But we were really surprised when it just took off," acknowledges Phillips, who directed and co-wrote "The Hangover Part II."
Dan Goldberg, who served as a producer on "The Hangover," returns as a producer on the sequel, marking his sixth collaboration with Todd Phillips. He recalls, "We knew we had a movie that made people laugh, but no one could have predicted 'The Hangover' would become this incredible phenomenon, least of all us. And then it kept building, which was amazing and so gratifying."
"There was some kind of lightning in a bottle that the first film captured,"observes Ed Helms, returning in the role of Stu, who is-this time officially-the groom.
"We found it to be hilarious, but you can't be sure until a movie is out there if it's going to resonate with anybody else. Thankfully, it did."
Todd Phillips adds, "I know my movies primarily attract a certain audience because of the outrageousness of the comedy, but 'The Hangover' connected across the board. I think that's largely because of the love between the four guys. Their friendship feels authentic; it's just this magic combination."
That on-screen friendship is a reflection of the off-screen camaraderie of the cast, filmmakers and crew, which only added to the appeal of continuing the story for all involved. However, they knew that if the characters went down the rabbit hole of bad decisions once more, it would have to be an adventure worthy-in both scope and absurdity-of the first film.
The director offers, "We believed audiences would want to spend more time with these characters, but we had to run them through a new set of paces. We wrote the movie to be in the spirit of the first 'Hangover,' so, structurally, there are similarities, but we attacked it as if it was an original movie."
"There was some caution because, after the success of 'The Hangover,' you might think if the guys just walked off into the sunset, that would be fine," says Zach Galifianakis, who again plays Alan, the instigator. "For me, the bottom line is we all enjoy working together and, on a movie like this, it's especially good to team up with people that you both like and trust."
Todd Phillips reveals, "This is the first time I've worked with the same actors playing the same roles. It added to the comfort level and gave us a natural shorthand." For the further adventures of Phil, Stu, Doug and Alan, the starting point from Todd Phillips' perspective was finding a city that would be a catastrophically bad idea for the guys. There was one place that really fit the bill: Bangkok.
"I think comedy is always best when it feels a little bit dangerous, like it can go into unexpected places," says Todd Phillips. "Once we decided on Bangkok, that pretty much defined the movie. It just sounds like trouble, especially for our guys."
"We knew we had to adhere to certain tenets of the movie," says Bradley Cooper, reprising the role of Phil, the de facto leader of the group. "We wanted aspects we loved from the first film to be in this one, but in a fresh, totally new context. Todd's idea to set it in Bangkok upped the ante completely. We had a huge car chase, motorcycles, riots, shootings… There's a lot of action in this movie."
Being in a vibrant, vital foreign city with an infamous wild side also raises the comic stakes for three American men untethered from everything they know. "When you go to battle with Vegas, everyone speaks English, you can get where you need to go, you can use a phone and call someone," screenwriter Scot Armstrong says. "But in Bangkok, you're navigating a place that's totally unfamiliar. You have no straws to grab on to."
"Thailand itself was a huge canvas," adds screenwriter Craig Mazin. "Bangkok opened up so many possibilities for us to have these characters get totally out of control and then deal with the next day regret."
Though Scot Armstrong and Craig Mazin hadn't worked on "The Hangover," they felt they already knew the characters, having been huge fans of the movie. "I don't think I've laughed harder than brainstorming in Alan's voice or Stu's voice or Phil's voice," says Scot Armstrong. "I felt like I could put those three in any situation in the world-even shopping at the grocery store or waiting for food at the drive-through-and I knew what they would say."
Their first true litmus test of the script was the response of the actors themselves. "To crack them up with new ideas or lines of dialogue is a big deal," Craig Mazin remarks. "And Todd Phillips' attitude is that that the writing never stops, whether it's by us or them, because any one of these guys can ad-lib a line that just destroys."
"The first movie has become such a part of popular culture, but I think if anyone can top it, it's Todd Phillips, and he has," says Justin Bartha, returning as Doug. "Even just reading the script made us laugh so hard, because it just takes these guys so much farther over the edge."
"What makes 'The Hangover' films is how far we go after the fact," Todd Phillips says.
"The punch line isn't 'The Hangover'; it's the distance we travel after the punch line that makes these movies what they are."
I can't believe this is happening again…- Stu
"The Hangover Part II" unfolds two years after the incidents in Vegas. "We catch up with the guys to find that everybody's life has progressed," Todd Phillips describes. "Well, almost everyone-Alan is still living at home with his parents. But Doug and Tracy are happily married and expecting; Phil has had another kid; and Stu has met a wonderful girl and is engaged to be married. Her parents are from Thailand, so that's where they've decided to hold the wedding."
Given his history with certain pre-wedding customs, Stu has set one specific limitation on his friends. Ed Helms notes, "Stu, being understandably a little gun-shy from his experience in Vegas, wants no part of traditional bachelor party. He's so close to getting everything he wanted in life and is desperate not to screw it up."
"You really feel for Stu in this movie, and Ed Helms brings so much heart to what he goes through that you're just rooting for him the whole time," Todd Phillips says.
Phil is, to say the least, disappointed in Stu's "bachelor brunch" idea. "Phil is just a big talker," allows Bradley Cooper. "He actually has quite a nice life at home, but he's this alpha male who probably got married right out of high school and still wants to live those rare moments of cutting loose with his male friends."
For the director, Bradley Cooper's Phil is "the most grounded of the guys, which isn't saying much," Todd Phillips laughs. "He's the most level-headed, which enables the other guys to go off the rails."
With so much baggage going into his wedding, Stu wants to make sure he does nothing to jeopardise his already tenuous relationship with his future in-laws, Joi and Fohn, played by popular Thai actors Penpak Sirikul and Nirut Sirichanya, respectively. Therefore, Stu has left one conspicuous name off the invite list. "What happened in Vegas happened, but Stu didn't come away feeling that Alan was his lifelong friend, like Phil and Doug," Todd Phillips explains. "Alan, however, has his own delusions about how tight they all are, so when Alan gets wind of the wedding, he is very upset that he wasn't invited."
A self-described "stay-at-home son," Zach Galifianakis' Alan embodies what Todd Phillips finds funny in male relationships. "Women have a much more elegant way in their relationships," the director states. "But there's an awkwardness to the way men behave that is exemplified in these movies by how left-footed Alan is around these guys. The reality is that Alan's best friends are probably his dad, his mom and his dog. He so badly wants human connection that he always overdoes it."
The dynamic between Phil and Alan that evolved in the first film is further explored in this one. "I think that's my favorite part about this movie, because their relationship becomes really rich," says Bradley Cooper. "In the first one, Zach Galifianakis and I improvised a lot of that, not always knowing if it would even play. But in this one, it's built in already and we can take it even further. It's like making a movie with your brothers. No one has to think too hard about the process; you just go with it. Our only real objective is that people will laugh their asses off."
In "The Hangover Part II," more of Alan's sensibilities are exposed through Zach Galifianakis' singular comedic style. "The script was perfect, but it's sometimes fun to not say the line you were supposed to say just to see if you can make someone laugh when they're not supposed to. But Bradley Cooper and Ed Helms are such pros, they're hard to break," Zach Galifianakis smiles. "Todd Phillips' sense of humor is not about telegraphing the joke necessarily, but letting jokes hit that you don't expect. And I think all of us really like the unexpected."
In spite of the potential for disaster, Doug guilts Stu into inviting Alan to the wedding. "He makes it nearly impossible for Stu not to invite Alan because he is, after all, Doug's brother-in-law," Justin Bartha relates. "Doug doesn't think there could be any harm in Alan coming along. Fortunately for Doug, he doesn't end up paying the price when everything goes terribly wrong."
As in the first movie, Doug again misses out on the worst of it-that is, if you don't count being trapped for hours on a roof in the Vegas sun. Says Todd Phillips, "We needed Doug to be the voice of sanity and reason…to be the anchor keeping everyone at the hotel relatively relaxed and at bay. The downside is that Justin Bartha is so good and so funny, but in these movies he's either stuck on the roof or is safely back at the hotel."
Arriving in Thailand, Stu is reunited with his bride-to-be, Lauren, who is marrying Stu despite her father's objections. Ed Helms elaborates, "Fohn despises Stu because he sees Stu as a milquetoast-y, spineless nerd…which is half-true but not altogether fair."
Cast as Lauren, Jamie Chung counters, "Lauren thinks Stu is so adorable, she couldn't help but fall in love with him. It doesn't matter that her father doesn't approve. She is a woman with a mind of her own. She has always done what she wanted to do…and she wants to marry Stu."
In Fohn's eyes, Stu also suffers by comparison to Lauren's little brother, Teddy, a gifted cello virtuoso and a brilliant pre-med student at Stanford-all at the age of 16. Teddy also presents an immediate affront to Alan's idea of the primal, hard-fought privilege of belonging to the Wolfpack. "Alan is very into the Wolfpack, the four guys, brothers for life," says Todd Phillips. "And, suddenly, there's this new character who's thrown into the mix. Teddy threatens Alan in a very territorial way."
To play Teddy, Phillips chose newcomer Mason Lee, who makes his official feature film debut in "The Hangover Part II." "Teddy was a challenge to cast because you want him to have chemistry with the established characters, and Mason seemed to fit right in," says Todd Phillips.
Still in college himself, Mason Lee says his first thought was that he would get to hang out with guys who were legendary at his school. "I was very excited, but I was also nervous that I would laugh during all my scenes. It turned out I wasn't the only one, so it was okay. It was quite an experience."
In Thailand, Phil hasn't given up on some form of a bachelor party and proposes they have one nightcap before Stu ties the knot. Lauren is not only supportive, she convinces them to bring Teddy along. Bradley Cooper expounds, "Phil wants to mark the occasion in some way and talks Stu into having at least one drink on the beach and, of course, something goes awry."
"It's a simple story about regular guys looking to have a good time," Zach Galifianakis says, then corrects, "-well, not looking to have a good time, just trying to not repeat the same mistakes. But then something happens. A mistake. A very bad mistake."
"Stu thought he had all his bases covered in this," Todd Phillips asserts. "They each have one drink at a bonfire and it's sealed beers so no one can slip anything into it. Because of what happened in Vegas, he thinks he has carefully constructed a situation that cannot get out of hand."
And that is the last memory they have until they wake up the next morning.
We had a sick night, bitches… Don't you remember anything?- Chow
In a painful moment of clarity, the guys are shocked out of the haze of another epic hangover by a number of grave developments. In Vegas, their hotel room was trashed, but at least they were the same place they started. This time, they're not even in the same city. "Instead of the luxury resort, they wake up in some sleazy hotel room in the middle of Bangkok and have no idea how it happened," says Todd Phillips. "When they find a severed finger in a bowl of water-a finger not belonging to any of them-right away the stakes are elevated."
Getting the finger is just the beginning: Alan's head is now shaved; Stu has a raw, fresh tattoo that is the mirror image of Mike Tyson's; and there's a capuchin monkey in the bathroom. This interloper is played by animal actor Crystal, whose resume rivals any of her human co-stars, including a film called "Failure to Launch," with one Bradley Cooper.
Owned by Birds and Animals Unlimited, Crystal is trained by Tom Gunderson and lives with him and his family, along with a menagerie that includes another capuchin, Squirt, who serves as her understudy. Despite her film experience, Tom Gunderson acknowledges, "It was a big challenge training Crystal to perform some of the intricate behaviors she had to learn, especially with all the distractions in some of the scenes."
Although Crystal could be counted upon to do anything that was deemed safe, one trick was positively simulated. "Crystal does not smoke; in fact, she hates any form of smoke," Tom Gunderson emphasises. "Ethically speaking, neither I nor Todd Phillips-who loves animals-would have ever let her hold, let alone smoke, a lit cigarette, even if it weren't against AHA regulations, which it is. But there was never even a question." The smoke, as well as the burning end of the cigarette, were entirely created with CGI by visual effects supervisor Robert Stadd.
"Crystal was a dream," Todd Phillips declares. "Between takes, I would put my finger out and she would hold on to it like a little kid does. I just fell in love with her; we all got very attached to her."
There's also another "guest" in the room: Mr. Chow, whose reveal is just as startling as it was in the first film. Ken Jeong returns in his breakout role. "Ken Jeong was such a big part of 'The Hangover.' He became a favorite of fans, and I couldn't imagine this movie without him," Todd Phillips states.
In Thailand, Mr. Chow shows a side of himself the guys haven't seen…or at least don't consciously remember. "I think Chow is more of a bon vivant this time around," says Ken Jeong. "In the first movie, he was angry a lot, but in this movie, he's really in his element. I was talking to Todd about this, and our theory is he loves to laugh. His sense of humor kind of softens his psychotic killer edge, and that's his saving grace."
The appearance of Chow doesn't change the fact that they are still short one person: Teddy. Somewhere in the midst of their wild night they lost him and now, as Chow ominously informs them, "Bangkok has him." Stu can't show up for the wedding without Fohn's favorite-in fact only-son. Finding him sets into motion the guys' odyssey into the darkest corners of the city to discover the calamitous nature of their predicament.
During their crazy tour of shame through Bangkok, the guys also encounter some surprising personalities, including grizzled ex-pats, Russian drug dealers, mob figures, and even a Buddhist monk. One not so Zen-like character is Kingsley, an enigmatic crime figure, played by Paul Giamatti.
Todd Phillips was thrilled to integrate Paul Giamatti into the cast. "Paul Giamatti has always been one of my favorite actors," the director says. "We had so much fun with him, and I think he dug the whole experience."
Paul Giamatti confirms that, adding he relished the opportunity to mix it up with Todd Phillips and his castmates. "These guys are so good at what they do; I was just trying to keep up with them. They're so precise and professional, but it's not just random. They know exactly what's going to make a moment funny. It was a pleasure just watching them work, and, of course, I include Todd Phillips in that. He's incredibly specific about what he wants but also let's everybody go and have a good time. It's a tricky balance that he's able to maintain effortlessly."
Dan Goldberg notes that spontaneous improvisation within the framework of the script is the linchpin of Todd Phillips' unique brand of comedy. "Todd Phillips is a great writer, as well as a director. He has been quoted as saying, 'Our script is basically where to park the trucks. It's when you get on the set that you really work out what the movie is going to be about,' and that's true. Todd Phillips knows the sensibility of the movie-not just what's funny but also the sense of its dangers and darkness. He'll just keep on honing a scene until it's right. It's fascinating to watch and I'm glad I had a front row seat."
Ed Helms adds, "Todd Phillips really fostered a team feeling among the whole cast and crew, and we developed a shorthand about how to adjust scenes and dialogue and make it all happen very quickly. That's what the creative process is all about. It's exhilarating, it's fun, and it's a testament to Todd Phillip' leadership."
"Todd Phillips is the leader of the Wolfpack," Justin Bartha affirms. "When we're shooting, he gets as close to the edge of frame as possible, and when he has an idea, he'll just spit it out in the middle of the action. I think that lends an immediacy to the scenes and makes the whole thing so alive."
For Todd Phillips, a movie is, in fact, a "living, breathing organism. It's constantly shifting and changing, and you have to really be open to those changes. What might have been great six months ago when you were sitting in a room writing might not make as much sense once you're in Bangkok."
In Thailand, another old friend eventually emerges. "The question we always got when people found out we were doing this movie was, 'Is Mike Tyson coming back?'"
Dan Goldberg says. "For our part, we knew we wanted him back." "I believe we owe a lot to Mike Tyson," Todd Phillips states. "Casting him in 'The Hangover' was one of those 'ah-ha!' moments. We've become good friends and everyone in 'The Hangover' family just loves him to death."
The feeling is mutual. After the release of "The Hangover," Mike Tyson was amazed at the response he got from a new generation of fans. "I was at a mall and people were jumping up and down, saying, 'Wow, we saw you in 'The Hangover,'" Mike Tyson remembers. "It was totally overwhelming. These were kids that had never even seen me fight. I'm so grateful to Todd for including me in this and to be involved with the whole cast."
Bangkok has them now.
"The Hangover Part II" took the cast and crew half a world away, where the location itself would infuse the story with even more material. "It took Todd Phillips a long time to formulate what he wanted to do with this film because he has a lot to live up to," Dan Goldberg comments. "And going to Bangkok just solidified that for us. It's the last place in the world that these guys should be, which, of course, makes it the perfect place to send them."
To understand and digest this new playground, the filmmaking team took multiple research trips even as the script was being written. While the majority of filming would actually take place in Thailand, production designer Bill Brzeski took thousands of pictures to use in creating several key sets on soundstages at the Warner Bros. studio in Burbank.
The quintessential moment of the guys waking up-this time in a decrepit Bangkok hotel room-was the focus of a massive build in one of the soundstages on the lot. "This is my third movie in a row with Bill Brzeski, and he does low-rent looks better than anybody-and I mean that as a compliment," Todd Phillips states. "The hotel set felt like it had been there for 80 years and nobody had cleaned or maintained it in all that time."
Bill Brzeski and his team created a minutely detailed environment atop a steel platform to represent two hotel rooms, a courtyard and an elevator, all made with pattern blocks and open spaces that allowed the light to flood in. "What was required in the script is that the boys would wake up in one room, and they'd wander through the environment finding the clues to what happened the night before," Bill Brzeski describes. "So this environment had to do a little storytelling."
During their trips to Thailand, the production designer, along with set decorator Danielle Berman, brought back myriad items for the set dressing "We got a container and just filled it up with a bunch of old electrical parts, plugs, old fans…" he lists. "That's all the frosting to the set. On the whole, Bangkok doesn't really have a third world feeling; it's a pretty sophisticated and lovely place. But if you dig in a little bit, you can find the funky kinds of things we were looking for."
Once shooting in Burbank was completed, the cast and crew headed to Thailand, where two cities served as the backdrop to the adventure: Bangkok, where the guys are in panic mode trying to find Teddy and deconstruct what went wrong; and, at the opposite end of the scale, the resort area of Krabi, where the wedding is to be held, which is the epitome of serene luxury.
Presenting the dichotomy between these two worlds was a focus of the design teams, as well as director of photography Lawrence Sher, who was lensing his third film with Todd Phillips. "We wanted to get right in there with the guys to capture the frenetic atmosphere coupled with their confusion trying to navigate this maze of a city."
Lawrence Sher and his team also needed to infuse the picture with what the director considered a critical aspect of the experience. "What Lawrence Sher and I talked about the most with this film was the kind of hot, oppressive feeling you get when you land in Bangkok,"
Todd Phillips relates. "Even though you can't actually feel it when you're watching the movie, the temperature is in every frame."
The hot and humid climate is ever-present in the complex metropolitan and historic city of Bangkok, which is divided up into districts that run the gamut from the towering skyscrapers of downtown to the densely populated street markets of Chinatown-the juxtaposition of which Todd Phillips hoped to convey through the eyes of Phil, Doug and Stu.
Thailand line producer Chris Lowenstein points out, "Bangkok is an amazing city of contrasts; there are areas that are ultra-modern, and then you've got the old Chinatown section, with its textures and old world charm. Visually, it's so rich, with steam rising from cooking stalls on the street and the general chaos of so many people living and working there."
Todd Phillips adds, "It's a mini-city unto itself. We spent a lot of time in the alleys and the back streets of Chinatown. It's a pretty intense and interesting working environment. I loved it, but at the same time it was really challenging."
Co-producer J.P. Wetzel adds, "I think Todd Phillips thrives on that. He's not afraid to put these characters in unpredictable situations. Todd picks locations for the rawness, and what he can build there. There was so much activity, with taxis, motorcycles, tuktuks and pedestrians, so it's exponentially harder to work on the streets. But what we had on our side is that the people are so nice and kind."
Thailand location manager Somchai Santitharangkun had to secure permission from more than 200 jurisdictions, as well as hundreds of shops, and also to locate spaces in a crowded city for all of the trucks and equipment required for the production. Rising high above the hectic streets, in sharp contrast to Chinatown, is the Sirocco restaurant, located on the 63rd floor of the Labua at State Tower hotel. With its near 360-degree views of Bangkok, it was a striking spot for the guys to meet with Kingsley, Paul Giamatti's character. "We were really proud to have secured that permission because no one had ever been allowed to shoot there before,"
Somchai Santitharangkun notes. "But it turns out the owner is a huge fan of the first 'Hangover' and, after meeting with us, was happy about the prospect of having his hotel and restaurant in the sequel."
Tracing their bad behavior also leads the guys to Soi Cowboy, one of the city's infamous "entertainment zones." Here, they find the tattoo parlor where Stu acquired his ink and discover the even greater depths to which they've sunk.
Bill Brzeski and his team added a layer onto the already atmospheric location to suit Todd Phillips' vision. On an alley called Soi 7, the production took over an empty lot and built two bars and tattoo parlor that were so real some tourists tried to enter them. From the ridiculous to the sublime, the men also find themselves at a Buddhist monastery. The scenes were shot at Ancient Siam, a site that recreates religious temples and artifacts. "Monasteries are very religious places, so out of respect, this was the perfect alternative," Bill Brzeski explains. "And we were able to build onto the Chinese temple to make it fit what Todd Phillips was looking for."
To capture the increasingly bizarre adventures of the guys, the production team found themselves staging major stunts in some very tight spaces in Bangkok. "There's a lot more action than in the original 'Hangover,'" comments stunt coordinator Allan Graf.
"Todd Phillips has really ratcheted it up and the actors were committed to doing their own stuff as much as they could safely."
"It was all so crazy and exciting," Ed Helms observes. "I've never been a part of any production of this scale and it was the coolest thing ever. We were blowing things up, racing through the streets, getting beaten up-all in service to these incredibly outrageous jokes."
The most harrowing sequence has the friends in Mr. Chow's tricked out Toyota Corolla speeding through the streets of Bangkok with a monkey hanging out the window and Russian drug dealers on motorcycles hot on their heels. Special effects supervisor Yves De Bono crafted special rigs that would allow stunt drivers to operate the vehicle from below with the actors at the wheel. Yves De Bono created a number of versions of the car, included one with a stretched out interior to accommodate a 360-degree camera so Todd Phillips and Sher could capture the action from the characters' perspectives.
Another of Mr. Chow's "toys" is his boat, the Perfect Life, which is commandeered by Alan, Phil and Stu. In a climactic moment the boat was required to launch out of the water and onto a beach. "We built a ramp and then had to time the stunt according to the tides. We had just a half-hour daytime window to accomplish the launch, so there was a lot of pressure," reveals marine supervisor Lance Julian, who worked closely with Todd Phillips, Yves De Bono, and Alan Graf to ensure the stunt would hit exactly the right mark.
The boat was followed through its paces by two camera boats-one holding a crane, and another for key crew-as well as a helicopter. "With all the stunts, you want it to feel authentic, so we did as much practically as we feasibly could," says Todd Phillips.
The site where Stu and Lauren were to be married was located at an exclusive resort in southern Thailand, on the coast of the Andaman Sea. "Krabi had the best looks for everything we needed," Todd Phillips recalls. "When I picture Thailand, it's those limestone islands that jut out of the water, and we had a beautiful view of them from the beach."
Production made full use of the picturesque resort location, taking over its secluded walkways, island bars and massive infinity pool for some spectacular and surprising moments. For the bonfire scene, they moved a few hundred yards up the beach, where, to create the perfect backdrop, they decorated long boats out on the water. To generate the right amount of ambient moonlight, Sher and his team utilised large, illuminated balloons that floated above, spreading light over the sand and water.
The design team ultimately chose to blend western and Thai styles to create the architecture, wardrobe and props for the wedding. Bill Brzeski incorporated Thai themes, like parasols and temple architecture, while Danielle Berman collected hundreds of colorful flowers, particularly orchids, because of their abundance in Thailand. Among the cultural practices they integrated into the story was the Khom Loi festival from the Chiang Mai region in northern Thailand, in which hundreds of lighted paper lanterns are launched into the skies. "Some of our cast and two-thirds of our crew were Thai, and we really embraced the Thai culture," Dan Goldberg notes. "We felt like we were their guests in Thailand and they were so generous to us. Our humor may be cynical, but we wanted to pay tribute in a respectful way."
Costume designer Louise Mingenbach likewise incorporated traditional Thai costumes into the wedding party, alongside western styles for the American guests. But she had the most fun with Alan. Phillips offers that Zach Galifianakis "knows his character as well as any of us so he had a lot of input on his wardrobe. Louise Mingenbach and I would go to him with our ideas. We talked about his international travel suit, which is what he's wearing at the airport, and his leisure wear at the cocktail party-those parachute pants and that real breezy look. The other guys dress in regular clothes, but Alan's outfits are so ridiculous that we could get very creative."
Heightening the whole experience is an eclectic soundtrack, which is one of Todd Phillips' trademarks. He and music supervisors Randall Poster and George Drakoulias sorted through hundreds of tracks to find just the right source music to punctuate the story, blended with the score by Christophe Beck. One important component was the wedding band, for which Phillips selected an ensemble from northern Thailand called Ska Rangers, to belt out `80s standards they leaned phonetically. "These guys are really popular in Chiang Mai, which is where they're from," George Drakoulias says. "They're really cool, and the look of them is genius."
Of course, filming of "The Hangover Part II" would be incomplete without the post-script photographic evidence that also defined the first film. For these shots, Todd Phillips and Lawrence Sher gathered the cast, added a few props, and clicked away. "That's a place where all bets are off," Todd Phillips states. "It's just fun thinking of ridiculous things to have the actors do. There's no script for the stills. It's very much a free-for-all."
The still montage also created some healthy competition as the filmmakers, actors and crew all tried to one-up one another with ideas, and-as audiences might expect-no idea was deemed too crazy, as long as it was doable. It became almost a dare to see who could get the most outrageous.
Todd Phillips concludes, "With 'The Hangover Part II,' we're not trying to outdo how far we pushed things in the first movie; it's about doing something that holds up to the places the first movie took you."