R-rated comedies simply don’t get bigger than The Hangover. Old School brought the genre back from to its ’80s-era prominence and Superbad proved that it could rack up huge box office numbers with unknown lead actors, but it was The Hangover that went above and beyond what any R-rated comedy had done before, making nearly half a billion dollars — despite none of its actors being A-listers.
The movie that holds the box office record for an R-rated comedy — it grossed $467.5 million worldwide — celebrates its five-year anniversary today. From baby abuse to Tyson’s tigers, here are 10 facts about Sin City’s most sinful film of all time.
1. Pulling a tooth was no big deal for Ed Helms. No special mouth piece or movie trickery was needed for Stu’s missing tooth. Actor Ed Helms’ adult incisor never grew in so he wears a dental implant that was simply removed for the toothless scenes. Helms did, however, admit that removing his tooth made shooting The Office a little tricky:
“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.”
2. Lindsay Lohan was considered for the part of Jade. 2009 was not the best year for Lindsay Lohan. There was of course that whole boozin’ and cruisin’ issue, but Lilo was also passed on for the part of Jade the stripper because producers felt she was too young for the role. (Considering the movie’s setting, it’s probably for the best that Lohan wasn’t cast in the movie — Vegas, tigers, and Lindsay is a recipe for disaster.)
3. The original script had no Mr. Chow or tigers. The film’s original script lacked many of the iconic scenes and characters that were integral to the movie’s standout moments. After securing the script — then titled What Happens in Vegas — director Todd Phillips and co-writer Jeremy Garelick changed Bradley Cooper’s character from a car salesman to a teacher and worked backwards to add the movie’s surprises. As told by Phillips:
“No Tyson, baby or tiger. And there was no cop car. [Co-writer] Jeremy Garelick and I sat down in my house and just started writing. We kind of went backward, like, what would be the craziest thing you could wake up to? A tiger? Well, why would a tiger be there? Siegfried & Roy? Nah, that feels typical. Oh, you know what’s funny? Mike Tyson. I once read he has tigers.”
4. The guys didn’t actually get to trash a Caesar’s Palace suite. The room that the fellas wake up in after their night of debauchery isn’t a suite at Caesars — which start at around $1,600 a night — but an L.A. soundstage. According to Caesars Palace director of public relations, Celena Haas, the set was designed based on two of the resort’s Forum Tower suites: one a penthouse and the other the so-called Rain Man suite.
5. The film acted as a mini Daily Show reunion. In case you weren’t counting, four former Daily Show correspondents appeared in the movie: Ed Helms (2002-2006), Matt Walsh (2001-2002), Rob Riggle (2006-2008), and Rachel Harris (2002-2003).
6. Both Jonah Hill and Thomas Haden Church were considered for the part of Alan. Warner Brothers wasn’t familiar with Zach Galafinakis at the time of casting and according to Todd Phillips, Jonah Hill was the first Alan he had in mind.
“Quite honestly, we were writing the brother-in-law as a younger brother they had to take along with them — like a Jonah Hill character instead of Zach [Jake Gyllenhaal also was considered]. Then we thought it’d be so much more awkward if it was an older brother who’s still at home.”
7. Todd Phillips and Justin Bartha convinced a drunk Mike Tyson to do the movie. Mike Tyson was approached about doing the movie not through a Hollywood agent over a fancy power lunch, but over shots in a Vegas club. Phillips and Bartha were at a Las Vegas club where Nick Cannon was hosting party when they noticed Mike Tyson. Phillips approached Tyson’s manager and they pitched an admittedly “wasted” Tyson the cameo — a week and a half later he was on set.
8. Ken Jeong credits Mr. Chow with helping him cope with his wife’s cancer. Jeong’s wife was going through chemotherapy at the time and filming Mr. Chow’s scenes helped him work out some of the stress he was going through.
“It was a very magical shoot. My wife was going through breast cancer and chemotherapy at the time. [She recovered.] It was part of the reason I was so unhinged in the character; I think I was working out my own demons. Todd and Bradley were the only people who knew. Hangover got me through the most difficult time in my life.”
9. Alan hooked-up with a retired porn star. It was co-writer Jeremy Garelick’s idea to have the staged photos in the closing credits as a way of tying up some of the story’s loose ends. The woman who is seen orally pleasuring Alan in the casino’s elevator was a retired porn star they found while filming in Vegas. Warner Brothers missed the photo when it was first screened and by the time executive Alan Horn noticed it the film had already been sent to theaters.
10. The baby abuse was nearly cut. It was of course a doll that was hit in the face with the car door, but the joke was still nearly scrapped because of concerns that it would be polarizing with audiences. The other baby gag that almost didn’t happen involved Alan jerking the baby off at breakfast — it’s a bit tricky to broach that subject with an infant’s parents. Todd Phillips knew that the father would be more likely to “okay” the gag than the mother:
“I waited for the [baby’s] mom to go upstairs because the mom was a little bit more not into stuff like that. I go to the dad: “It would be funny if Zach pretends to do this. Would you have a problem with that?” And he literally goes: “[My wife is] going to be gone for a half-hour. Can you do it in the next half-hour?”