You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

Bangkok rouses ‘Hangover’ with Thai-in

Filmmakers shoot hard-R comedy in Thailand

During the production of many films, there comes an “aha” moment — preferably early on — when the personality of the project comes into focus and sets the tone for everything that follows.

For “The Hangover Part II,” that watershed occurred only a few days into the 56-day shoot, said cinematographer Lawrence Sher, in the scene where three of the R-rated ensemble comedy’s leads — Ed Helms, Bradley Cooper and Zack Galifianakis — wake up in a sweltering Bangkok hotel room, wasted and clueless about how they got there.

That scene, almost a carbon copy of the Las Vegas-set hotel-room opening of 2008’s “The Hangover,” made the filmmakers “feel totally like we had gotten right back to where we left off, but in a place that was even more interesting,” Sher says. “I remember thinking that day, Oh my god, we’re back.”

That room was created by production designer Bill Brzeski on an L.A. soundstage, but about two-thirds of the “Hangover” sequel, which grossed a hefty $137.4 million this weekend, was filmed on location in Thailand.

Popular on Variety

Helmer Todd Phillips had always intended to make “Part II” physically and emotionally darker than the first film and set it in an exotic location, according to Sher. Thailand was the first choice. The only problem: The country was undergoing antigovernment riots when the filmmakers were finalizing their plans.

“We also scouted Malaysia, Singapore and Hong Kong and thought about doing them for Thailand,” Brzeski says, “but it worked out in the end. The unrest subsided, and the country was interested in getting (foreign productions back in), so they really opened up nicely to us.”

By the time they got to Thailand, Phillips, Sher and Brzeski had shot “The Hangover” and “Due Date” back-to-back and were excited to embark on a sequel that would set the bar even higher for R-rated comedies.

Not everything went smoothly. Both Sher and Brzeski admitted that the language barrier made communication with the otherwise professional Thai crews difficult at times. Plus, a collision of two vehicles during a car-chase sequence left a stuntman severely injured.

“Car chases are difficult in a city like Bangkok,” Brzeski says. “Thousands of people can get in the way. In America we’re used to locking up locations, but Bangkok was crazy.”

But the city’s energy and texture definitely worked to the movie’s advantage. The filmmakers even decided to reshoot inside a strip club one scene they had already filmed on a stage in L.A.

“As good as I like to think I am at designing sets, real locations are a better way to go, especially with Todd,” Brzeski says. “For him, there’s always something about the real place that makes the humor come out.”

That strip club scene, with its “Crying Game” moment, was just one example of the film’s goal “to be even more hardcore in Bangkok than in Vegas,” said Sher.

Bookings & Signings

Innovative Artists has signed producer Pieter Jan Brugge (“Love and Other Drugs”) and costume designer Roemehl Hawkins (“Charlie’s Angels”). Agency has booked line producers Bob Simon on ABC’s “The River” and Steven Brown on “American Girl,” with helmer TBD; UPM Samson Mucke on Josh Schwartz’s “Fun Size”; and line producers David Grace on Lee Toland Krieger’s “Celeste and Jesse Forever” and Elaine Dysinger on Rudolf Butendach’s “Dark Hearts”;

IA has also booked d.p.’s Phedon Papamichael on Judd Apatow’s “This Is Forty,” David Geddes on FX’s “Fringe,” James L. Carter on CBS’ “Hawaii Five-0,” Dennis S. Hall on USA’s “Burn Notice,” Michael Negrin on CW’s “The Vampire Diaries,” Darren Genet on Stephen Elliott’s “Cherry,” Nicola Marsh on Steven Monroe’s “Hole in the Desert,” Tim Suhrstedt on Max Mayer’s “As Cool as I Am” and Matthew Irving on Eduardo Rodriguez’s “Stash House”; second unit d.p. Patrick Loungway on Gary Ross’ “Hunger Games”; art director Zack Grobler on Christopher Nolan’s “The Dark Knight Rises”; production designer Graham Walker on P.J. Hogan’s “Mental”; editors Timothy Good on FX’s “Fringe,” Dorian Harris on Starz’s “Boss” and Zene Baker on Lorene Scafaria’s “Seeking a Friend for the End of the World”; and costume designers Alysia Raycraft on “As Cool as I Am” and Tish Monaghan on David Rosenthal’s “A Single Shot.”

More Film

  • John Boyega

    John Boyega on if He'll Do More 'Star Wars': 'You Ain't Going to Disney Plus Me!'

    If you know anything about “Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker,” it’s that the movie from director J.J. Abrams marks the official conclusion of the three-trilogy Skywalker Saga. But that does not necessarily mean that the characters created for the final trilogy — especially Rey (Daisy Ridley), Finn (John Boyega), and Poe Dameron (Oscar Isaac) [...]

  • Nathalia, Juan-pablo, Andrés (L-R)

    Magma Cine, Chemistry Unveil Strategic Production Alliance (EXCLUSIVE)

    Magma Cine, a pioneering company on the pan-Latin American co-production scene, and top Mexican post-production house Chemistry have sealed a strategic alliance to produce high-quality contents. Unveiled at Buenos Aires’ Ventana Sur, the partnership aims to respond to the strong appetite of regional OTT services as well as pan-regional studios, and forms part of an [...]

  • Agent M (Tessa Thompson) and Agent

    Karim Debbagh's Kasbah Films Lines Up 'Cherry,' 'The Forgiven,' 'Kidnapped' (EXCLUSIVE)

    Tapping into Morocco’s recently launched tax rebate, Karim Debbagh’s leading Tangier-based line producer Kasbah Films already has three major international productions in the pipeline for 2020. These include “Cherry” with Tom Holland, “The Forgiven” with Ralph Fiennes, a big-budget South Korean film “Kidnapped.” “Cherry” is an American crime drama film directed by Anthony and Joe [...]

  • Karnawal

    Juan Pablo Félix Debut ‘Karnawal’ Screens at Ventana Sur’s Primer Corte

    For his debut feature “Karnawal,” Juan Pablo Félix and his Bikini Films partner and executive producer Edson Sidonie recruited around the world for help in bringing to the big screen an original story about a young dancer, screening this week in Ventana Sur’s Primer Corte. Joining Argentina’s Bikini Films, Brazil’s 3 Moinhos Produçoes, Chile’s Picardía [...]

  • La Liga Presents: Ibero-American Animation Around

    France’s Annecy Intl. Animation Film Festival Joins ‘Los Amigos de La Liga’

    The Annecy Intl. Animation Film Festival will be part of Amigos de la Liga (Friends of the League), a new partnership initiative set up by La Liga, the animation alliance created to promote the Ibero-American animation sector worldwide, comprising Spain’s Quirino Awards, Argentina’s Animation! and Mexico’s Pixelatl Festival. The announcement was made at a panel [...]

  • The-Red-Tree

    ‘The Red Tree’ Director Joan Gómez on Telling Colombia’s Story Through Cinema

    Joan Gomez’s “El Arbol Rojo” (“The Red Tree”) is playing at Ventana Sur’s Films in Progress as it approaches the finish line of a years-long, international marathon of labs, markets and festivals which have gone a long way to establishing the film as one of the Argentine market’s most talked about in-progress titles. As a [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content