Director Todd Phillips Talks The Hangover Part II's Smoking Monkey Controversy (Seriously)
04.18.11 by Ryan
Some people just can't take a joke.
In a recent interview with Total Film Magazine, The Hangover Part II co-screenwriter and director Todd Phillips discussed the monkey shown in the movie's poster and trailer and revealed the following:
I wanted the monkey to smoke so we had to train her to. Now I have PETA after me because the monkey's become addicted to cigarettes. She was just shooting Cameron Crowe's movie We Bought A Zoo. And the monkey won't stop smoking.
Several outlets took Phillips' comments and reported it literally, saying that the director was in trouble with the animal rights organization. There's only one problem: Phillips was joking.
In what seemed clear to anyone able to decipher sarcasm in the printed medium, Phillips released a statement to Movieline explaining the monkey business.
This was a joke. I make comedies.
If you read the story, it doesn’t even make sense. "On the set of her new film, she won’t stop smoking cigarettes". Umm. Really? Maybe just take them away from her. Or at least take her money away so she can’t buy them any longer.
When you are doing press for a film, it tends to get repetitive, lots of the same questions over and over. Sometimes I like to mix it up with the journalists. Obviously, the monkey in the film NEVER smoked a single cigarette. There are people on set whose sole job is to protect that monkey. Even if I wanted her to smoke it wouldn’t be allowed. By the way, she also appears to do cocaine in the movie, but I guarantee you that she didn’t do that either (I can’t, however, comment on Ken Jeong’s cocaine use in the film).
Sorry for the confusion, but it definitely is a funny headline "PETA pissed after Todd Phillips gets Hangover 2 monkey addicted to cigarettes." Definitely one for the office wall.
In other Hangover Part II-related news, Phillips also cleared up the absence of Heather Graham, who played Stu's (Ed Helms) love interest in the first Hangover. Phillips told Collider why Graham was absent from the sequel.
I love Heather Graham, more than most male red-blooded Americans, I really do, like I’m obsessed with Heather Graham. But the storytelling didn’t take us in a place to bring that character back. So it wasn’t like I wanna jam these people in because I like them, it’s just where the story brought us to whether or not they came back. And when you see the movie you’ll I think understand and it’ll all make sense.
While Graham may be absent, Phillips says the movie's main characters — Helms, Bradley Cooper, and Zach Galifianakis — won't "ignore the first movie" as Phillips says many sequels depict.
These guys very much lived through the first Hangover and are very aware of it and reference it, and are aware at absurdities that are happening again or not. They’re going through this experience having the lens of going through the first one.