ZACH GALIFIANAKIS as Alan, BRADLEY COOPER as Phil, JUSTIN BARTHA as Doug and ED HELMS as Stu in Warner Bros. Pictures’ and Legendary Pictures’ comedy THE HANGOVER PART II, a Warner Bros. Pictures release. Photo by Melinda Sue Gordon.
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The Hangover Part II (2011)
Also Known As: The Hangover 2
Opened: 05/26/2011 Wide
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Trailer: Click for trailer
Rated: R for pervasive language, strong sexual content including graphic nudity, drug use and brief violent images.
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. With the memory of Doug's nearly disastrous bachelor party in Las Vegas still fresh--or at least well-documented--Stu is taking no chances. He has opted for a safe, subdued, pre-wedding trip brunch, with pancakes, coffee...and no alcohol. However, things don't always go as planned.
Two nights before the big day, at a fabulous resort in Thailand, Stu relents. One beer each. In sealed bottles. What could go wrong?
What happens in Vegas may stay in Vegas, but what happens in Bangkok can't even be imagined.
"The Hangover Part II" is director Todd Phillips' follow-up to his 2009 smash hit "The Hangover," which became the highest-grossing R-rated comedy of all time and also won the Golden Globe for Best Film -- Comedy or Musical.
Bradley Cooper, Ed Helms, Zach Galifianakis, and Justin Bartha star in the film, reprising their roles from "The Hangover." The main cast also includes Ken Jeong and Jeffrey Tambor, who also return from the first film, and Mason Lee, Jamie Chung and Oscar® nominee Paul Giamatti, who join the ensemble.
Phillips directed from a screenplay he co-wrote with Craig Mazin & Scot Armstrong. Phillips also produced the film under his Green Hat Films banner, together with Dan Goldberg. Thomas Tull, Scott Budnick, Chris Bender and J.C. Spink are the executive producers, with David A. Siegel and Jeffrey Wetzel serving as co-producers.
Behind the scenes, the creative team was led by director of photography Lawrence Sher, production designer Bill Brzeski, editors Debra Neil-Fisher and Mike Sale, costume designer Louise Mingenbach, and composer Christophe Beck.
"The Hangover Part II" is a presentation of Warner Bros. Pictures, in association with Legendary Pictures, and will be distributed by Warner Bros. Pictures, a Warner Bros. Entertainment Company. The film has been rated R by the MPAA for pervasive language, strong sexual content including graphic nudity, drug use and brief violent images.
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 realized 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 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."
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."
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 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 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 Armstrong and 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 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," Mazin remarks. "And Todd's 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," 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," 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. 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 brings so much heart to what he goes through that you're just rooting for him the whole time," Phillips says.
Phil is, to say the least, disappointed in Stu's "bachelor brunch" idea. "Phil is just a big talker," allows 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, Cooper's Phil is "the most grounded of the guys, which isn't saying much," 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 jeopardize 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," 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," Galifianakis' Alan embodies what 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 Cooper. "In the first one, Zach 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 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 and Ed are such pros, they're hard to break," Galifianakis smiles. "Todd's 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," 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 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 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. 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 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 Phillips.
Still in college himself, 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. 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," 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," 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 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; 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, 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," Gunderson emphasizes. "Ethically speaking, neither I nor Todd--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," 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 was such a big part of 'The Hangover.' He became a favorite of fans, and I couldn't imagine this movie without him," Phillips states.
In Thailand, 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 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.
Phillips was thrilled to integrate Giamatti into the cast. "Paul 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."
Giamatti confirms that, adding he relished the opportunity to mix it up with 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 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."
Goldberg notes that spontaneous improvisation within the framework of the script is the linchpin of Phillips' unique brand of comedy. "Todd 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 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."
Helms adds, "Todd 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's leadership."
"Todd 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 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 Tyson coming back?'" Goldberg says. "For our part, we knew we wanted him back."
"I believe we owe a lot to Mike," 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," 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,'" 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 a long time to formulate what he wanted to do with this film because he has a lot to live up to," 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, and he does low-rent looks better than anybody--and I mean that as a compliment," 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."
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," 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 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."
Sher and his team also needed to infuse the picture with what the director considered a critical aspect of the experience. "What Larry and I talked about the most with this film was the kind of hot, oppressive feeling you get when you land in Bangkok," 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 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."
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 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, tuk-tuks 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 Lebua 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," 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.
Brzeski and his team added a layer onto the already atmospheric location to suit 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," Brzeski explains. "And we were able to build onto the Chinese temple to make it fit what Todd 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 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," 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. De Bono created a number of versions of the car, included one with a stretched out interior to accommodate a 360-degree camera so 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 Phillips, De Bono, and 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 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," 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 utilized 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. 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," 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 Galifianakis "knows his character as well as any of us so he had a lot of input on his wardrobe. Louise 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 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," 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, Phillips and Lawrence Sher gathered the cast, added a few props, and clicked away. "That's a place where all bets are off," 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.
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."
ABOUT THE CAST
BRADLEY COOPER (Phil) reunites with Todd Phillips and the cast of 2009's Golden Globe-winning smash hit "The Hangover." His recent star turn in "Limitless," which opened number one at the box office and received rave reviews, also marks Cooper's first foray into producing, serving as an executive producer on the film. Cooper appeared alongside Robert De Niro and Abbie Cornish, portraying Eddie Morra, a down and out writer who takes an experimental drug allowing him to use 100% of his brain at all times.
Last year, Cooper played the role of Lt. Templeton "Faceman" Peck in the actioner "The A-Team," alongside Liam Neeson and Jessica Biel and appeared in the all-star cast of Garry Marshall's hit comedy "Valentines Day."
He previously starred in the box office comedy hit "Yes Man," opposite Jim Carrey; and alongside an ensemble cast including Drew Barrymore in "He's Just Not That Into You," based on The New York Times' best-selling novel. Cooper hosted "Saturday Night Live" coinciding with the release of the film.
David Wain's 2001 cult favorite "Wet Hot American Summer" marked Cooper's feature film debut but he came to prominence in "Wedding Crashers," portraying the infamous role of Sack Lodge, opposite Vince Vaughn and Owen Wilson. Among his other credits are "New York I Love You," the American version of the acclaimed film "Paris, Je T'aime"; "All About Steve"; and "Case 39."
Cooper made his Broadway debut in the spring of 2006 in Joe Montello's production of "Three Days of Rain," opposite Julia Roberts and Paul Rudd. More recently, Cooper joined the cast of the critically acclaimed Theresa Rebeck play "The Understudy," which premiered at Williamstown Theatre Festival to rave reviews and sold out performances.
In addition to his film work, Cooper had a recurring role on FX's critically acclaimed series "Nip/Tuck," and played the lead role in the comedy series "Kitchen Confidential," based on the trials and tribulations of renowned chef and author Anthony Bourdain. His other television credits include the Golden Globe-nominated series "Alias," "Jack & Bobby," Touching Evil," "Law & Order: SVU," and "Trial by Jury."
Born in Philadelphia, PA, Cooper graduated with honors in the English program at Georgetown University. After moving to New York City, he obtained his Masters in the Fine Arts program at the Actors Studio Drama School at the New School University.
ED HELMS (Stu) returns in his role from "The Hangover." Most recently, he starred opposite Anne Heche, John C. Reilly and Sigourney Weaver in the comedy "Cedar Rapids," directed by Miguel Arteta and produced by Alexander Payne. Helms also lends his voice to the 3D animated film "The Lorax," alongside Danny DeVito, Zac Efron, and Taylor Swift. Based on the famous Dr. Seuss children's book about preserving the environment, the film is set for release in March of 2012. He will next be seen in the Duplass brothers' "Jeff Who Lives at Home," starring opposite Jason Segel and Susan Sarandon.
Helm's previous film credits include "The Goods: Live Hard, Sell Hard," Shawn Levy's "Night at the Museum: Battle of the Smithsonian," "Harold & Kumar Escape from Guantanamo Bay," "Meet Dave," "Semi-Pro," "Knocked Up," Walk Hard: The Dewey Cox Story," and "Evan Almighty."
Currently, Helms stars in the scene-stealing role of Andy Bernard in the seventh season of NBC's hit comedy series "The Office." His other television credits include a four-year stint as a senior correspondent and writer on the Emmy Award-winning "The Daily Show with Jon Stewart," and appearances on Comedy Central's "Premium Blend" and Fox's "Arrested Development."
Born and raised in Atlanta, GA, Helms headed to New York City to pursue comedy shortly after attending Oberlin College in Ohio. He now resides in Los Angeles and plays a mean banjo.
ZACH GALIFIANAKIS (Alan) reprises his breakout role from Todd Phillips' blockbuster "The Hangover." He also reunited with Phillips for "Due Date," opposite Robert Downey Jr. Galifianakis moved to New York City after failing his last college course by one point at North Carolina State University. He got his start performing his brand of humor in the back of a hamburger joint in Times Square, graduating to doing stand-up at night in clubs and coffee houses in the city. While working as a bus boy, he got his first acting job on the NBC sitcom "Boston Common." He most recently starred in "It's Kind of a Funny Story," which premiered at the 2010 Toronto Film Festival, and co-starred with Steve Carell and Paul Rudd in Jay Roach's comedy "Dinner for Schmucks."
Galifianakis' additional film credits include the Jerry Bruckheimer-produced hit "G-Force"; the indie feature "Youth in Revolt," with Michael Cera, Steve Buscemi and Ray Liotta; a cameo in Jason Reitman's Oscar®-nominated film "Up in the Air"; "Comedians of Comedy," a documentary that follows four underground comics; and the critically acclaimed true-life drama "Into the Wild," from director Sean Penn. On the small screen, Galifianakis just started the third season of the HBO comedy "Bored to Death," with Jason Schwartzman and Ted Danson. In addition, he hosted the critically acclaimed VH1 talk show "Late World with Zach," and also wrote and starred in "Dog Bites Man" for Comedy Central.
Galifianakis also has an internet talk show entitled "Between Two Ferns." He has interviewed such guests as Steve Carell, Natalie Portman, Conan O'Brien and Charlize Theron.
When not filming, Galifianakis lives on his farm in North Carolina.
JUSTIN BARTHA (Doug) reunites with the cast of "The Hangover," the hugely successful 2009 comedy directed by Todd Phillips. In 2010, he added starring on Broadway to his already impressive resume, receiving rave reviews for his leading role, alongside Tony Shalhoub and Anthony LaPaglia, in the acclaimed comedy "Lend Me a Tenor," presented by Ken Ludwig and directed by Stanley Tucci.
On the screen, Bartha most recently re-teamed with Bart Freundlich on "The Rebound," starring opposite Catherine Zeta-Jones in a romantic comedy about a single mom who falls for Bartha's character, the babysitter. He previously worked with Freundlich on "Trust the Man," opposite Julianne Moore. Bartha also starred in the indie drama "Holy Rollers," which chronicles Hasidic Jewish drug dealers in the late '90s, opposite Jesse Eisenberg. The film premiered in competition at the 2010 Sundance Film Festival, followed by a theatrical release. His other recent credits include starring in "New York, I Love You," an American version of the well reviewed "Paris, je'taime"; and "Jusqu'a toi," opposite Melanie Laurant, also serving as executive producer.
Bartha garnered critical acclaim for his portrayal of the psychologically challenged younger brother of a powerful federal prosecutor in Martin Brest's "Gigli," opposite Ben Affleck, Jennifer Lopez and Christopher Walken, and is best known as Riley Poole, partner to Nicolas Cage's character Ben Gates from the worldwide successes "National Treasure" and "National Treasure: Book of Secrets." He also appeared in "Failure to Launch," with Matthew McConaughey and Sarah Jessica Parker.
On television, Bartha starred in Sidney Lumet's HBO film "Thought Crimes," produced by Tom Fontana and Barry Levinson, and as the title character in the NBC mid-season comedy "Teachers," directed by James Burrows.
Bartha studied acting at New York University's Tisch School of the Arts and graduated from its film school.
KEN JEONG (Mr. Chow) returns in the role of the Asian mobster from Todd Phillips' hit comedy "The Hangover." Jeong currently plays the recurring role of angry Spanish teacher Senor Chang on the NBC comedy series "Community."
He will next be seen in Michael Bay's "Transformers: The Dark Side of the Moon," and the comedy "The Zookeeper," opposite Kevin James, both opening in July. His voice will also be heard in "Norm of the North," set for release next year and also featuring the voice of Rob Schneider. He previously lent his voice to "Despicable Me," with Steve Carell, and Jeong also appeared in the films "The Goods: Live Hard, Sell Hard" and "Couples Retreat."
Judd Apatow's 2007 box office smash "Knocked Up" marked Jeong's feature film debut, in the role of Dr. Kuni. He followed with his first major role, as villain King Argotron, in 2008's "Role Models." That same year, he appeared in "Pineapple Express" and "Step Brothers."
Jeong earned his undergraduate degree at Duke University, his medical degree at the University of North Carolina and completed his internal medicine residency in New Orleans, all while doing stand-up. In 1995, Jeong won the Big Easy Laff Off and was invited to Los Angeles by judges Brandon Tartikoff, the former NBC President, and Improv founder Budd Friedman. Jeong began performing regularly at the Improv and Laugh Factory, and was seen on a number of television shows, including "The Office," "Entourage" and "MADtv." In 2006, Jeong and fellow comedian Mike O'Connell's spoof rap duo, "Million Dollar Strong," posted on YouTube, garnering over one million views.
PAUL GIAMATTI (Kingsley) is an award-winning actor with a diverse roster of finely etched, critically acclaimed performances.
He recently won his second Golden Globe Award for the portrayal of Barney Panofsky in Richard J. Lewis' "Barney's Version," based on the best-selling novel, alongside Dustin Hoffman, Rosamund Pike and Minnie Driver.
Giamatti won his first Golden Globe Award as well as Emmy and Screen Actors Guild (SAG) Awards® for Best Actor for his portrayal of President John Adams in HBO's seven-part Emmy Award-winning 2008 miniseries "John Adams," directed by Tom Hooper. His other critically acclaimed HBO movies include "Winchell," opposite Stanley Tucci, and Jane Anderson's "If These Walls Could Talk 2." In addition, he portrays Ben Bernanke in Curtis Hason's upcoming HBO film "Too Big to Fail," opposite William Hurt and Billy Crudup.
Giamatti's performance in Ron Howard's "Cinderella Man" earned him a SAG Award® and Broadcast Film Critics Award for Best Supporting Actor in 2006, as well as Oscar® and Golden Globe nominations in the same category. For his role in Alexander Payne's critically lauded 2004 film "Sideways," Giamatti earned accolades for his performance, including an Independent Spirit Award and a New York Film Critics Circle Award, both for Best Actor, as well as SAG® Award and Golden Globe nominations in the same category.
His 2003 portrayal of Harvey Pekar in Shari Springer Berman and Robert Pulcini's "American Splendor," which won the prestigious Sundance Film Festival Grand Jury Prize, received outstanding reviews and commendations, including an Independent Spirit Award nomination for Best Actor, and National Board of Review Breakthrough Performance Award.
Another Sundance premiere, "Win-Win," a film written and directed by Oscar® nominee Tom McCarthy, also gained praise at the festival this year, starring Giamatti as disheartened attorney Mike Flaherty, who moonlights as a high school wrestling coach. This June, Giamatti will be seen as King John in the action adventure film "Ironclad," set in 1215.
Giamatti first caught the eyes of American audiences in Betty Thomas' hit comedy "Private Parts." His extensive list of film credits also includes "The Last Station," opposite Christopher Plummer and Helen Mirren; Tony Gilroy's "Duplicity"; "Cold Souls," which Giamatti also executive produced; "Fred Claus"; "Shoot Em' Up"; "The Nanny Diaries"; M. Night Shyamalan's "Lady in the Water"; "The Illusionist"; Milos Forman's "Man on the Moon"; "The Hawk is Dying"; Tim Robbins' "The Cradle Will Rock"; "The Negotiator"; Steven Spielberg's "Saving Private Ryan"; Peter Weir's "The Truman Show"; Mike Newell's "Donnie Brasco"; "Storytelling"; Tim Burton's "Planet of the Apes"; "Duets," the animated film "Robots"; "Big Momma's House"; James Foley's "Confidence"; and John Woo's "Paycheck."
An accomplished stage actor, Giamatti received a Drama Desk nomination for Best Supporting Actor as Jimmy Tomorrow in Kevin Spacey's Broadway revival of "The Iceman Cometh." His other Broadway credits include "The Three Sisters," "Racing Demon," and "Arcadia." He was also seen off-Broadway in the ensemble cast of "The Resistible Rise of Arturo Ui," with Al Pacino.
His previous television credits include FX's critically acclaimed film "The Pentagon Papers," with James Spader.
JAMIE CHUNG (Lauren) is quickly becoming one of Hollywood's most sought after young actresses. She will next be seen in David Koech's "Premium Rush," starring Joseph Gordon-Levitt and Michael Shannon. The action film is set in New York City, and centers around a bike messenger who picks up a package at Columbia University and subsequently catches the attention of a dirty cop.
She last appeared as Amber in Zack Snyder's "Sucker Punch." Previously she played Rob Schneider's daughter in the hit summer comedy "Grown Ups," alongside Adam Sandler, Chris Rock, Kevin James and David Spade. She recently wrapped production on "The Man with the Iron Fists," starring Russell Crowe.
On the small screen, Chung starred as the lead in the hit ABC Family original event "Samurai Girl." The six-episode series revolved around her character, Heaven, the adopted daughter of wealthy parents who strives to balance a normal life with the Samurai traditions of her ancestors.
Chung's other film and television credits include the horror feature "Sorority Row," the adventure film "Dragonball: Evolution," and roles on "ER," "Grey's Anatomy," "Castle" and "CSI: NY," as well as recurring appearances on "Greek."
MASON LEE (Teddy) makes his feature film debut in "The Hangover Part II."
Born in Westchester County, New York, Lee currently attends the Tisch School of the Arts, the Lee Strasburg Theater and Film Institute of Acting, at New York University. He is heading into his senior year and is looking forward to finishing his degree.
Lee has also enjoyed performing in regional theatre and on the New York stage, including a number of Shakespeare plays.
MIKE TYSON (Himself) reunites with Todd Phillips and the cast of "The Hangover Part II," having previously appeared in the 2009 blockbuster "The Hangover." Currently retired from boxing and recently inducted into the Boxing Hall of Fame, Tyson was the youngest heavyweight boxing champion of all time. His astonishing 50-6 career record, with 44 wins by knockout in 20 years of boxing, earned him the nicknames "Iron Mike," "Kid Dynamite" and "The Baddest Man on the Planet."
March 6, 1985, marked Tyson's professional debut, in which he won his premiere bout by first round knockout--the beginning of many similar ensuing victories throughout his career. An historic win against Trevor Berbick for the WBA Heavyweight Title in 1986 elevated Tyson to hold the record of the youngest heavyweight champion in the world, and he went on to defeat some of the best heavyweights of the time, including James "Bonecrusher" Smith, Pinklon Thomas, Tyrell Biggs and Michael Spinks. Tyson re-emerged on the boxing scene in 1995, obtaining the WBC title from Frank Bruno in March 1996 and the WBA title from Bruce Seldon, with an astounding 93 seconds knockout that September. During the late 1990s, Tyson fought Evander Holyfield in the much publicized "Sound and the Fury" fight.
Tyson, who has raised pigeons since childhood, is currently the star and executive producer of the Animal Planet series "Taking on Tyson," which follows competitive pigeon racing. He previously served as executive producer on James Toback's documentary, "Tyson," which premiered at the 2008 Cannes Film Festival and was nominated for Best Documentary by the Chicago Film Critics Association. Among Tyson's other credits are appearances on HBO's "Entourage," "Saturday Night Live," and in Ron Shelton's feature "Play it to the Bone."
CRYSTAL (Monkey) is a seventeen-year-old capuchin monkey owned by Birds and Animals Unlimited. She lives with her trainer, Tom Gunderson, together with his wife and children, as well as another capuchin, Squirt, who serves as Crystal's understudy.
Crystal, who has appeared in more than 20 features, most recently wrapped production on Cameron Crowe's "We Bought a Zoo." Her list of film credits also includes Steven Spielberg's "Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull"; the "Night at the Museum" movies, with Ben Stiller; "3:10 to Yuma"; "Failure to Launch"; "George of the Jungle," with Brendan Fraser; the "American Pie" comedies; and the "Dr. Dolittle" movies, with Eddie Murphy.
On television, Crystal has been seen in the telefilms "Terror Tract," "Back by Midnight" and "The Wool Cap," as well as sitcoms, drama series, variety shows and talk shows.
Crystal has also performed at promotional events and in live shows and has posed for photo shoots, including an appearance on the pages of Vanity Fair.
ABOUT THE FILMMAKERS
TODD PHILLIPS (Director/Writer/Producer) most recently directed, co-wrote and produced the 2010 comedy "Due Date," starring Zach Galifianakis and Robert Downey Jr. In 2009, he directed and produced the blockbuster hit comedy "The Hangover," starring Bradley Cooper, Ed Helms, Galifianakis and Justin Bartha. The film became the highest-grossing R-rated comedy of all time and won a Golden Globe Award for Best Motion Picture -- Comedy or Musical.
Phillips started his career as a documentary filmmaker, inspired by humor taken from everyday reality and the belief that the truth is often stranger than fiction.
His first film, "Hated," portrayed the revolting antics of extreme punk rocker G.G. Allin and became an instant underground sensation. It was released in the summer of 1994 and went on to become the highest grossing student film of its time.
He followed that in 1998 with "Frat House," a documentary that he produced and directed for HBO's popular "America Undercover" series. "Frat House" premiered at the 1998 Sundance Film Festival and won the Grand Jury Prize for documentary features. The unflinching expose of life in fraternities created a public controversy that eventually caused the film to be shelved by HBO. Phillips still hopes to release it in the future.
After meeting producer Ivan Reitman at Sundance, Phillips made his crossover to features with 2000's "Road Trip," which established him as a new force in comedy. He simultaneously produced and directed "Bittersweet Motel," a documentary on musical cult phenomenon Phish.
In one way or another, Phillips' films explore the nature of male relationships, and in doing so he has worked with some of Hollywood's biggest comedic actors, writing and directing such films as "Old School," in 2003; "Starsky & Hutch," in 2004; and "School for Scoundrels," in 2006. Phillips was nominated for a 2006 Academy Award® for Best Adapted Screenplay for his work on "Borat: Cultural Learnings of America for Make Benefit Glorious Nation of Kazakhstan."
DAN GOLDBERG (Producer) marks his sixth film collaboration with Todd Phillips on "The Hangover Part II." Previously, he served as producer on Phillips' "Old School," "Road Trip," "School for Scoundrels," "Due Date" and "The Hangover," which won a Golden Globe Award for Best Motion Picture -- Musical or Comedy and is the highest grossing R-rated comedy of all time.
Goldberg also produced the outrageous comedy "Howard Stern's Private Parts" and the animated comedy adventure "Space Jam," starring Michael Jordan, and was an executive producer on Ivan Reitman's romantic adventure "Six Days Seven Nights," starring Harrison Ford.
His screenwriting credits include the classic comedies "Stripes" and "Meatballs," both of which he also produced; "Feds," which he also directed; and the enduring cult favorite "Heavy Metal."
CRAIG MAZIN (Screenwriter) is currently a writer/producer on the upcoming animated comedy "Turkeys," featuring the voices of Owen Wilson, Woody Harrelson and Steve Martin. The film tells the story of two turkeys who go back in time to the first Thanksgiving to get turkey off the menu.
Mazin also co-wrote the hit comedies "Scary Movie 3" and "Scary Movie 4," also serving as a producer on the latter. He previously co-wrote the live-action feature "Rocketman." The films on which he has collaborated have collectively grossed over $500 million.
Craig served on the Board of Directors of the Writers Guild of America, West from 2004 to 2006 and also runs The Artful Writer, a website for professional and aspiring screenwriters.
SCOT ARMSTRONG (Screenwriter) marks his fifth collaboration with Todd Phillips on "The Hangover Part II." Previously, Armstrong partnered with Phillips on "Old School," "Road Trip," "Starsky & Hutch" and "School For Scoundrels." His other screenwriting credits include the Farrelly brothers' "The Heartbreak Kid," and "Semi-Pro."
Armstrong formed the production company American Work Inc. with business partner Ravi Nandan, and they recently executive produced the independent dramatic comedy "Hesher," starring Joseph Gordon-Levitt. Upcoming feature projects include "The Coward"; "Fired and Expelled"; and the Demetri Martin-scripted "Will," in conjunction with Will Ferrell and Adam McKay's Gary Sanchez Productions. Armstrong will make his directorial debut this summer on "Road to Nardo."
The company is also developing television under an overall deal at NBC. They produced the pilot "Off Duty," and are in production on two new pilots for NBC.
Originally from Chicago, Armstrong studied improvisational comedy under Del Close at the Improv Olympic and trained at the Second City. A member of the Upright Citizens Brigade Theater (UCB) since its inception, he performed at UCB NYC in "Feature, Feature," Asscatt" and "Mother," and directed "Naked Babies" and "Secret Slut." Currently at UCB LA, he performs every Friday night in "The Soundtrack."
THOMAS TULL (Executive Producer) is Chairman and CEO of Legendary Pictures and has achieved great success in the co-production and co-financing of event movies. Since its inception in 2004, Legendary Pictures has teamed with Warner Bros. Pictures on such hits as Bryan Singer's "Superman Returns"; Zack Snyder's "300," "Watchmen" and "Sucker Punch"; and Christopher Nolan's "Batman Begins" and award-winning phenomenon "The Dark Knight," which earned in excess of $1 billion worldwide.
More recently, this highly successful partnership produced Ben Affleck's "The Town"; Christopher Nolan's summer blockbuster "Inception"; the worldwide hit "Clash of the Titans"; Todd Phillips' "The Hangover," which is the highest-grossing R-rated comedy of all time, as well as Phillips' "Due Date"; and Spike Jonze's "Where the Wild Things Are." Legendary's upcoming releases include Bryan Singer's "Jack the Giant Killer," and the new Superman movie directed by Zack Snyder. Legendary is also developing a number of promising film projects in-house, including "Warcraft," "Godzilla," "Gravel," "Paradise Lost," and sequels to "300" and "Clash of the Titans."
Before forming Legendary, Tull was President of The Convex Group, a media and entertainment holding company headquartered in Atlanta, on whose Board of Directors he also served.
SCOTT BUDNICK (Executive Producer) is Executive Vice President of Production for Green Hat Films, overseeing the development and production of a varied slate of projects. He most recently executive produced "Due Date" and the blockbuster hit "The Hangover," which won a Golden Globe for Best Motion Picture -- Musical or Comedy.
Budnick began his entertainment career in local casting while at Emory University in his hometown of Atlanta, Georgia. Upon graduation, he relocated to Los Angeles, serving as casting assistant on Todd Phillips' "Road Trip" and then as associate to the director on "Old School," starring Vince Vaughn, Luke Wilson, Will Ferrell and Jeremy Piven.
Budnick served associate producer on Phillips' following films, "Starsky & Hutch," starring Owen Wilson and Ben Stiller and "All The King's Men," starring Sean Penn and Jude Law, which Phillips executive produced; and was co-producer on "School for Scoundrels," starring Billy Bob Thornton.
CHRIS BENDER AND J.C. SPINK (Executive Producers) established Benderspink in November of 1998 with "American Pie" in post-production and fourteen writer clients signed to their management company. Their film production arm has had a successful first look deal with New Line Cinema for over ten years.
The projects which they have developed or produced have grown into five franchises in various genres: "Final Destination," "American Pie," "The Ring," "Cats and Dogs" and "The Butterfly Effect." Eight of their movies have opened to number one, and Bender and Spink were nominated for a Golden Globe for "A History of Violence."
Benderspink has continued to make diverse feature films over the past ten years, including "Just Friends," "Monster-in-Law," "Red Eye," "Leap Year" and "The Hangover."
"I Am Number Four," as well as a re-imagining of "Arthur," starring Russell Brand, Helen Mirren and Jennifer Garner, were both released earlier this year.
LAWRENCE SHER (Director of Photography) reunites with Todd Phillips on "The Hangover Part II," having previously collaborated with the director on "Due Date" and "The Hangover." Up next for Sher is Sacha Baron Cohen's "The Dictator," slated for release next year.
Sher's other recent credits include Greg Mottola's sci-fi comedy "Paul," starring Jason Bateman and Seth Rogan; David Frankel's comedy "The Big Year," based on Mark Obmascik's book and starring Owen Wilson; "I Love You, Man"; "Trucker"; "The Promotion"; "Dan in Real Life"; "The Dukes of Hazzard"; and "The Chumscrubber."
He worked as director of photography on several smaller films and music videos earlier in his career, coming to the fore in 2001 with the award-winning independent film "Kissing Jessica Stein," followed by director Zach Braff's "Garden State."
Born and raised in New York City, Sher studied economics at Wesleyan University where, in his junior year, he turned an interest in still photography into a fascination with motion pictures. Upon graduation, he moved to Los Angeles and began his career as a camera assistant.
BILL BRZESKI (Production Designer) previously collaborated with Todd Phillips on "Due Date" and 2009's "The Hangover," for which he received an Art Director's Guild Award nomination for Excellence in Production Design.
His other recent credits include "Flipped," which reunited him with Rob Reiner, having served as production designer on Reiner's "The Bucket List"; and re-teaming with Rob Minkoff on "The Forbidden Kingdom," having previously worked on the director's groundbreaking CGI movie "Stuart Little" and its sequel, "Stuart Little 2." Some of the designer's additional credits include "Deck the Halls," "Blue Streak," James L. Brooks' Oscar®-winning "As Good As It Gets," and "Matilda."
Brzeski received his undergraduate degree from Miami University and his MFA in Design from New York University's Tisch School of the Arts. Originally interested in designing for the ballet and opera, he began his career in the theatre before moving to Los Angeles from New York City and designing more than 800 episodes of various television series.
Brzeski also designs commercial spaces, most notably the award-winning Susina Bakery in Los Angeles.
His production design workshops at graduate and undergraduate levels have been hosted by New York University School of the Arts, Miami University, Clemson University and Loyola University Film School.
DEBRA NEIL-FISHER (Editor) recently re-teamed with Todd Phillips on "Due Date," having served as editor on his blockbuster hit "The Hangover," for which she was honored with an Eddie Award by the American Cinema Editors.
Among Neil-Fisher's other feature credits are the hit comedies "Baby Mama," "Role Models," "You, Me and Dupree," "Without a Paddle," "Saving Silverman," and the hugely successful Austin Powers films, "Austin Powers: International Man of Mystery" and "Austin Powers: The Spy Who Shagged Me." She has collaborated three times with director Donald Petrie on "Just My Luck," "Welcome to Mooseport" and "How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days." Her work also extends to other genres, including the dramas "Fried Green Tomatoes," "The War" and "Up Close and Personal," as well as the thrillers "Teaching Mrs. Tingle" and "Dr. Giggles."
In 1991 Neil-Fisher won a CableACE Award for her work on TNT's telefilm "Heat Wave," for director Kevin Hooks. Her earlier television credits include "The Amy Fisher Story," "The Case of the Hillside Strangler" and the TNT thriller "Breaking Point."
MIKE SALE (Editor) most recently edited the comedies "Bridesmaids," starring Kristen Wiig and Rose Byrne, and "Get Him to the Greek," starring Jonah Hill and Russell Brand.
He previously served as an additional editor on "I Love You, Man," "Forgetting Sarah Marshall," "Superbad," "Undercover Brother" and "Nutty Professor II: The Klumps."
LOUISE MINGENBACH (Costume Designer) marks her sixth project with director Todd Phillips on "The Hangover Part II," a collaboration that began on the feature film "Starsky & Hutch," followed by "School for Scoundrels" and the 2008 telefilm "The More Things Change..." In 2009, she served as the costume designer Phillips' mega-hit "The Hangover," and she then re-teamed with Phillips on "Due Date," starring Robert Downey Jr. and Zach Galifianakis.
The upcoming actioner "Battleship," based on the classic board game, reunites Mingenbach with Peter Berg, with whom she worked on "Hancock," starring Will Smith.
Mingenbach also designed costumes for the 2009 action epic ""X-Men: Wolverine." Previously, she earned a Saturn Award and a Costume Designers Guild Award nomination for her work on Bryan Singer's "X-Men." She has teamed with Singer on four other films, including the 1995 thriller "The Usual Suspects," "X2," "Apt Pupil" and "Superman Returns," as well as the pilot for "House M.D."
Mingenbach's additional feature credits include the Farrelly Brothers' "The Heartbreak Kid," "Spanglish," "The Rundown," "K-PAX," "Gossip," "Permanent Midnight," "Nightwatch," "The Spitfire Grill" and "One Night Stand."
CHRISTOPHE BECK (Composer) previously collaborated with Todd Phillips on "The Hangover," as well as "Due Date," starring Robert Downey Jr. and Zach Galifianakis. He first worked with the director on the 2006 comedy "School for Scoundrels."
He has composed scores for numerous motion picture and television projects. His recent features include the musical feature "Burlesque," starring Cher and Christina Aguilera; the actioner "Red," starring Helen Mirren, Bruce Willis and Morgan Freeman; Neil LaBute's "Death at a Funeral"; the sleeper comedy hit "Hot Tub Time Machine"; Chris Columbus' fantasy adventure "Percy Jackson & The Olympians: The Lightning Thief"; and the award-winning documentary "Waiting for Superman."
In addition, Beck has teamed with filmmaker Shawn Levy on a number of films, including "Date Night"; the remakes of "The Pink Panther" and "Cheaper by the Dozen," both starring Steve Martin; "Just Married"; "Big Fat Liar"; and "What Happens in Vegas," which Levy produced.
Beck's wide range of film credits also includes "All About Steve," "Fred Claus," "Year of the Dog," "We Are Marshall," "The Sentinel," "Phoebe in Wonderland," "A Cinderella Story," "Under the Tuscan Sun," "Saved!" and "Bring It On," to name only a portion.
For television, Beck won an Emmy Award for Outstanding Music Composition for his work on the hit series "Buffy the Vampire Slayer." He had begun his scoring career on the Canadian television series "White Fang," and has since composed music for several other series, as well as television movies.