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JUNE 2011

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The Hangover Part II H director’s chair Todd Phillips – OLLYWOOD — Forget the old saw about comedy not getting any respect — Todd Phillips sin- By IAIN BLAIR gle-handedly demolished that perception with his blockbuster The Hangover, which grossed a staggering $468 million world- wide, making it the most successful R-rated comedy of all time. Now Phillips is back with The Hangover Part 11, which he co- wrote and which once again stars Bradley Cooper, Ed Helms and Zach Galifianikis (as well as a scene-stealing, drug-dealing mon- key), who this time travel to Bangkok for Helms’ character’s wedding. Predictably, more mayhem ensues. Here, in an exclusive interview with Post, This time the gang causes trouble in Bangkok. Phillips, whose credits include Due Date, Road Trip and Old School, talks about the challenges of following up the first film, his love of post and visual effects, and the truth about the chain-smoking monkey. They like to laugh as much as men and I think it connected with so many people be- cause it’s unapologetically funny. No one apologizes for all the bad behavior. Most Hollywood movies always tidy it up at the end and apologize.We don’t do that.” POST: Successful comedy sequels are no- toriously tricky to pull off. So how did you ap- proach this project? PHILLIPS: “I liked the idea of the chal- lenge, but you’re right — comedy sequels seem particularly difficult. But I knew I’d have this great cast again who are willing to try anything I come up with, so why not give it a shot?” POST: Vegas was the perfect setting for the first one, and almost like another character. What made you choose Bangkok? PHILLIPS: “When you say ‘Vegas,’ it sounds like trouble to most people. And if you say ‘New York,’ it sounds like a lot of dif- realized it was going to be far more difficult than I’d imagined. And it was. But all that added so much to the DNA of the movie, that you really feel it.” POST: What were the biggest challenges facing you shooting this in Thailand? PHILLIPS: “Logistically you obviously have the language barrier, but they have good crews and we have interpreters and all that.There were no real technical issues. The biggest problem is you’re dealing with a culture where they never say ‘No.’ It’s the land of 1,000 smiles because they’re always saying yes, even when it’s a, ‘no.’ So when you say, we need an 18K on this building to do a wash when the sun goes down, they say ‘Yes, no problem,’ and only later find they never even had one on the truck. So you learn to adapt.” POST: Where did you shoot? PHILLIPS: “We scouted a lot and shot in Chinatown in Bangkok, in alleys and so on, as well as in nicer areas, and then at a luxury resort in Krabi.We shot 35mm but also used the new Arri Alexa for all our night ex- teriors, because that way we could use avail- able light and move fast. I loved the Alexa! You can’t tell the difference between it and 35mm, that’s how good it is.The biggest im- pact on post was just getting dailies and get- ting the stuff back from Thailand, but shoot- ing on Alexa didn’t affect post in any way. But we did add grain to the Alexa footage, so it would match our film grain.” POST: Where did you do the post? How long was the process? PHILLIPS: “We did it all on the lot at They shot on film, but used Alexa for night exteriors. It didn’t affect post in any way, reports Phillips (pictured on set). “But we did add grain to the Alexa footage, so it would match our film grain.” POST: Were you surprised at how bigThe Hangover was? TODD PHILLIPS: “Of course.You al- ways hope people will love your film, but it was pretty amazing how it took off. But I also honestly feel that Hangover was a better movie than you expected based on the line, ‘Guys go to Vegas for a bachelor party.’ And a lot of women went to see The Hangover. 12 Post • June 2011 ferent things to different people. But ‘Bangkok’ to me means, there’s going to be a lot of bad decisions made. So it felt like nat- ural progression — or digression.” POST: Once you were there in the heat and sweat, did you think, ‘What the hell have I done?’ PHILLIPS: “I did! I’d been there three times tech scouting and so on, and quickly Warners and we had a very fast schedule. Normally you have 23 weeks on a comedy — we had just 17 to do everything, even the mix, because the release date was firm. We were still shooting at the start of this year. After we got back, I had my first cut done in six weeks, screened it, and started fine tuning right away. I had an amazing visual effects supervisor, Robert Stadd — he did Public Enemies and Collateral — who got way ahead of the game for us in Bangkok with a lot of the greenscreen footage we shot of the monkey leaning out of the car and grabbing stuff.” POST: Do you like post? PHILLIPS: “I love it and view it as a writer, since I also write my own movies. So for me it’s the final draft. I see it as a writing exercise and your last shot at the script. Of course, as a writer you always go, ‘If only I’d

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