Hangover Part III Set Visit : Zach Galifianakis

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Over the course of the next couple of weeks, leading up to the film’s release, we’ll be rolling out our coverage of “The Hangover Part III” – specifically the interviews we conducted on the set with the cast and crew. Let’s kick it off with the always fun Zach Galifianakis!

What scene did you just film?
Well, it’s not a very exciting thing to watch. It’s just– There is a little bit of a turning point for Alan in this movie, where you kind of see him grow a little bit, in his own way. So this is him– This scene, part of it is him taking an initiative to not rely on the guys for his life so much. He has another thing that has interested him, and so the guys are off and Alan’s left alone to pursue this interest of his. I have to be vague about the interest.

What has been the biggest challenge coming back into the frame with this team?
You know, it’s not really– It’s pretty simple. We know the characters, we know them very well. And I think for doing a third installment of any kind of movie, it’s a little tricky because you don’t wanna give the audience stuff they’ve seen before, but you also want to make it come from a place that is within the character. So there has got to be some familiarity, obviously, and then there’s some new, fresh jokes. So we just wanna make sure that we don’t hit stuff that we’ve explored before, so that’s the one challenge, I think.

How have you felt that– What’s new in this, in the third installment?
In the third installment? Well, I think specifically, with at least the Alan character, is the thing that I was just saying, that you see Alan struggle with why he is the way he is, and we explore it in the story more than in the past. Whereas before, it was kind of one-dimensional, just a goofy guy that says a bunch of weird things, which is fine and good, but maybe the audience wants to see a little bit more of a layered story, so that’s one of the big changes, I think.

So is Alan the character with the main emotional arc of this film, from the four guys?
I think it’s safe to say yeah. I think so, yeah. Because you know, the other characters in the movie are pretty grounded and have their own lives, and Alan lives to be with them, at the age of forty-two. He doesn’t have much of a life outside of that. So yeah, I would say that Alan probably goes through the biggest character arc here.

So how do you strike a balance with a character like Alan? Because he’s a crazy character, in a way, but he’s very relatable. So how do you do that?
Well, I think we all know people– It seems like everybody has a weird uncle, you know? Everybody has a weird uncle. Unfortunately, to my nieces and nephew, I am the weird uncle. So I kind of looked at it from that perspective, you know, we all know these crazy people, but they need to be loveable. And most of them, they are very loveable. We’re all flawed, Alan just doesn’t have any kind of breaks. He doesn’t have any editing facility inside of his head. But I think there’s a sweetness to him. He’s certainly annoying, but I think you balance it by trying to make the character as sweet as he can be. He doesn’t do anything out of maliciousness, it’s just that he doesn’t know.

So he would be the driver of the plot? Like in the first two installments also, with his craziness, but in the end he would turn around?
Well, I think in the first two movies, it was Alan’s fault that they were in that situation. And I don’t know if it’s as much this time, in quotes, “Alan’s fault”, as much as the first two. He does cause problems, obviously. The first one, certainly, he purposely spiked our drinks, and in the second one he accidently did something. In this one, it’s not as much on the head as that.

In the first two movies, you were dealing with a baby, a tiger, a monkey… What’s next? This time, what surprise?
Well, we have to keep it a surprise. So it would be– The internet and stuff these days, it’s hard to keep things under wraps. And I think from a storytelling point of view, as an audience member, I like going into things where I don’t know much about it. It’s much more interesting to me. And by the way, I think that that’s why the first Hangover did well. People knew about it from the trailer, but not necessarily the actors or anything like that. So keeping it fresh is very, very important. But as far as– I can promise you there’s some surprises in this one for sure.

The humor and rawness has always pushed the limit in these films, you know, and there’s gonna be, probably, madness and insanity in this one. Could you talk about how do you guys push the envelope on that? And how far do you try to push it?
I think pushing the envelope worked very well in the first two. In this one, I think it’s more– We might be concentrating more on the emotional stuff, rather than just being crazy for the sake of crazy. Certainly that is in this movie, but part of the changeup of the third one is that maybe it’s not as over-the-top as– That’s just my read on it, that doesn’t mean that– Certain things are cut out of movies when they’re edited and all that. You never know what’s gonna make it. So there’s definitely some big craziness in this one. I don’t wanna sell it short, ’cause there definitely is.