Hollywood heavyweight on playing movie franchise's much-loved moron
Time Out Dubai staff
As crude buddy laughfest The Hangover Part III is released in the UAE, we hear from stand up comedian-turned-Hollywood heavyweight Zach Galifianakis about playing the movie franchise’s much-loved moron
Playing the fool isn’t as easy as it looks. There’s a careful craft in taking cringe-worthy blunders and embarrassing exclamations that should seem ugly and despicable, and turning them into side-splittingly funny. But American comedian and actor Zach Galifianakis has not only made a career out of it, but earned the respect of his peers by clowning around: in 2009 he won the MTV Movie Award for Best Comedic Performance for his role as numpty extraordinaire Alan Garner in The Hangover, a role the 43-year-old recently reprised in the franchise’s much-anticipated third instalment.
When did you first know that there was going to be a third Hangover movie, and what was your reaction when you first read the script? I think during the second one. Just like the first one determined there was going to be a second one, with the success of the second one, it seemed inevitable. [Last time] I was hesitant because I’m a ‘leave well enough alone’ type of guy. But for the third one, since we did a second one, I felt like there was really no conclusion.[Director] Todd [Phillips] and I got together in New Orleans to chat... and I had enough [grape] in me, so we did it [laughs].
Was there something that you wanted for Alan in this movie as the conclusion of the trilogy? The thing that I guess is fun to see in this one is that Alan’s forced to face up to his lifestyle and his destructive path. Plus, his father dies. I think it’s fun to see Alan go through this. In the first two you don’t. He’s kind of there for the jokes and for the physical gags, and in this one we dig just a little bit deeper into Alan’s psyche and how he is perceived by the world. I mean, he kind of realises, oh, he’s a screw-up, so it’s about him trying to mature, which is fun because it’s a struggle. He’s not very good at it.
What was it like to get with the guys – Bradley Cooper, Ed Helms and Justin Bartha – and have the Wolfpack back together? Is that chemistry immediate? It is pretty immediate. It’s strange. I’m glad it is because it’s never like, ‘oh, we’ve got to get back into it.’ We all get along; everybody makes everybody laugh. There’s some tension here and there of course, just like any job. But Todd’s smart that way. These guys and I, we all gel well together, so it’s pretty easy. I would love to do movies with them outside of the franchise. That would be fun.
And with Todd, you’ve made four movies together. What has it been like for you to be on this journey together? Todd for sure made a name for himself in the previous movies. I didn’t know much about Todd, but we’ve done four movies together and I would like to do another movie with him simply because he and I do share a very, very similar sense of humour, in that we like to make people laugh at the inappropriate jokes that make people almost question themselves and why they are laughing. He and I both love that. I hate to say it, but he changed my life. When a director sees your stand-up and says, ‘you would be good for a movie,’ [you’re] very fortunate. It just happened that way.
Did you have a favourite moment during production, or a favourite sequence to shoot? Yeah. You know, without it sounding too dorky, I’m excited for every day when I go to work on these movies. I wake up, I spring out of bed, and I’m ready, because every day there are at least two to three great belly laughs. And you don’t get that at work all the time in your life. So that’s really great. I mean, throwing a baseball with Justin Bartha in the middle of the desert… Just simple pleasures, just hanging out with these guys. It’s always fun. Ed playing the banjo in the background. People don’t really get to see it, but Bradley’s very goofy. We all make fun of each other and it’s a great life, a nice work experience. The Hangover Part III is out on Thursday May 30.