Along with Judd Apatow, Todd Phillips is one of a few filmmakers you could say was truly responsible for shaping the modern studio comedy over the last decade. “Old School” and “The Hangover” practically set the template for raunchy-but-realistic man-centric comedies, launching the big-screen careers of almost all involved in the process. The filmmaker, whose “The Hangover Part II” is finished and will be shown to the studio this week with a trailer to follow soon, sat down with Elvis Mitchell for a panel discussion at SXSW that we attended, to talk about his career as well as discuss his highly anticipated sequel.
One of the greatest successes of “The Hangover” was finally finding a launching pad for comedian Zach Galifianakis, who as consistently hilarious as he was as a stand-up, could never find a proper film/television vehicle for his comedy. The pair, who have now made three consecutive films together, almost worked together almost a decade prior, as Phillips had suggested him for the Tom Green role in “Road Trip.”
“Zach came in and read for ‘Road Trip’ before Tom [Green] signed on. I’ve known Zach forever and I’ve always thought this guy is super. Zach always tells a funny story that on ‘Road Trip’ when he came in to meet me I said that I don’t shake hands and I had a cold. Now that he knows me, he knows I was lying but I just don’t like to touch a lot of people, but he knew that and I was a total asshole. But you meet a million people when you’re doing casting [and] they’re always sweating because they’re nervous, but Zach was always the guy I had in the back of my head and thought he was great,” Phillips said of the first time he came across the comic actor.
Phillips also talks about the frustrating studio practice of releasing Unrated DVDs of his films. We can’t think of a single case where the extra minutes did anything but slow the film down. These extra scenes are fine as bonus features, but please keep them out of the movie. Phillips completely agrees and even calls the practice a violation of DGA rules. “That’s something I have to take up with the DGA,” Phillips said addressing a question about the longer cut of “The Hangover” on Cinemax. “Warner Bros., they’ll make your movie; your movie does well, and they want to create an unrated version, which is entirely against DGA rules because it’s not your cut. And they can’t call it the ‘Director’s Cut’ — they’ll call it ‘Unrated’ or some ridiculous term. Really all it is, is about seven minutes of footage that you cut out of the movie for a reason.”
He managed to avoid that fate with his latest “Due Date” and insists it wont be happening on his highly anticipated ‘Hangover’ sequel either. “That won’t happen on ‘Hangover 2’. The truth is that the unrated DVD, I probably could have killed, and they explained to me why they wanted to do it and what it meant as a marketing device. The fact that it ended up on HBO was an incredibly large fuck-up. That shouldn’t have happened. So that’s not going to happen again.”
“The Hangover 2” will hit theaters on May 26th.