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INT: Zach Galifianakis

04.29.2009

Myself and a few journalists are in Las Vegas for Warner Bros’ new comedy THE HANGOVER, the trailer of which I’m sure you’ve seen by now.   For the uninitiated, The Hangover follows four dudes on their trek to Las Vegas for their buddy’s bachelor party.  The next morning they find themselves hungover (obviously) and without a memory of what happened the night before.  Also, the bachelor is missing.  And there’s a tiger in the room.  And a baby.  And Mike Tyson’s there too. Here's a chat we had with star Zack Galifianakis!

ZACH GALIFIANAKIS

So what was cracking you guys up out there?

Zach Galifianakis:  Ed was laughing at...when someone laughs, I laugh.  The reveal of the baby was making Ed laugh and...it was just stupid.  He got giggly, I got giggly.  That's what we were laughing at.  And that gets the director upset at us and when someone's upset at you for laughing it only makes it worse. Makes it much funnier.  So he was getting upset. It reminded me of my father like in church when I would laugh.  My father getting mad only made it better.  That's why we were giggling.

You said you had a problem with the baby masturbating?  Is that something you can talk about?

There's a baby doll who's a stand in and it looks like a real baby.  And the other day I was acting like the baby was masturbating itself, and Todd goes, "we have to put that in the movie.  So Todd has to ask the parents, "Do you mind if a grown man is acting like he's jerking off your baby?"  So....

What did the parents say?

I wasn't there for that. I would be too embarrassed if they said no.  I would've been too embarrassed.  There's no way I could watch that.  But you know, people pimp their babies out.

Is it mandatory that you're hungover every time you show up to the set?

Do I look hungover?

A little bit.

Yeah, I went out last night and I shouldn't have done it.  I got in at 4.  We went to a nightclub.  Today I'm paying for it for sure.  I'm aching. It's just research.

I don't know if I heard this right but you went swimming in the fountain?

Yes, the Caesar's fountain.  I went swimming in the fountain.  For the movie.  I wouldn't do that on my own. 

We heard it could've gone both ways.

Well, it was tempting to get in that thing.  It was nice.  I did a freestyle around and I haven't swam in a fountain in a couple of weeks.  So it was nice.

We only know a little bit about the movie so can you talk a little bit about your character?

The guy I'm playing is Alan and he's a guy who went to raves ten years ago and is probably effected by some of the substances he took at raves.  And he's still wearing the same clothes that he wore at raves but he's gained like 25 pounds.  That's basically the character.  He's really kind of....he's misplaced, which is a good word.  He's hanging out with these guys but they don't want him around because he's a weirdo. 

We heard this is going to be rated R, so how does this free your performance in the film?  Are you able to add even more "pushing the boundaries" kind of stuff?

They wanted it to be [rated] G until I jerked the baby off.  It was going to be a Pixar film.  (laughs)  Yeah, I think it does but I think [rated] R and cursing and all that has run its course.  This film does have that in it, but there's more in the film than that.  This has more elements to it than just for the sake of being [rated] R.  I think it's a little more clever than that.  I mean it's dirty, there's some dirty parts in it.... (asks publicist)  Is there nudity?

(Publicist)There's male nudity.

So there's male nudity.


The background you gave us [on the character], is that something they gave you or something you came up with on your own?

I came up with it when I was trying to figure out the wardrobe.  I just told them I wanted tight clothes as if he hasn't bought clothes...and he also runs a fansite for the Pet Shop Boys.  It's either that or the Jonas Brothers.  We're not sure which one.  So he's just this older guy that's creepy.  It's a bit autobiographical, I think. You just kind of start putting pieces together and imagining what he was.  And with that memory you just act with what you've given that character's history.  That's the way I try to do it.

Is the baby in a large portion of the film?

The baby's in several scenes.  There's 4 seperate twins they just keep rotating in and out.

Can you tell the difference?

Yeah.  I only worked with 5 of them.  That was like the best.  I love kids. I love babies.  But not when you're hungover.

How much opportunity did you take to incorporate your own comedy?

Well Todd....Philips. (to publicist) That's his name right?

(Publicist) Yeah.

Right, Todd lets you....any actor can go out and vomit lines out.  He lets you do whatever and make stuff up.  You do it one way towards the script and then he lets us play around.  It's really nice, it's really gracious of him. 

Improvising at the start of the scene, is that something that is going to probably be left over or is that something to get in the mood? 

Well, we do it and Todd can cut around it.  He lets us do it and then he can cut around it if he wants to.  Like if we have a conversation beforehand where it's not in the script, where we're just playing around , he can cut into that.  He might not use it, I don't know.  I might be cut out of the whole film. 

You're obviously at the beginning of the shoot [of the film] but what are some of the pros and cons of shooting in Vegas? 

The pros are that you can get prostitutes at the food court.  That's also a con.  No, the pro is that there's this energy that is constant.  I think shooting in the casino is that they pump so much oxygen in here and I really do think it's keeping me going because I haven't really slept.  But you just kind of go off the energy of the casinos and the lights here and the con is that there's very little sleep.  Because of that energy I can't get any rest.

Do you have any scenes with Danny Gans in this film?

There's a guy called Tom Stevens who's a poor man's Danny Gans that I want to go see so bad.  But no Danny Gans isn't in this.  I think Carrot Top is going to be in it.

Is it counterintuitive at all to play a character and having the opportunity to improvise but at the same time stay authentic to the character?

Well as long as you're doing improvisation in the realm of the character.  You can't just do it for the sake of the joke.  I've done it a couple of times where I'll think "my character would never say this," so I'll give it to one of the other characters.  And vice versa. 

But if it doesn't feel right with the improvisation, I won't--Todd will come up to me and say "that's something you wouldn't say," and I agree with it and you just kinda keep that in check.  You can't just do it for the sake of the joke, it has to be right for the character.

You, Ed (Helms) and Bradley (Cooper) are basically the three leads in this, did you guys have a lot of time to rehearse?  Or did you just sort of jump in and find chemistry on set?

I knew Bradley and Ed before this.  So for me I didn't have to get to know them that much.  We haven't rehearsed but we have gone to many dinners and talk about stuff but you jump into these things and there's not much rehearsal.  In anything I worked on, you just kind of go into it. But we do hangout constantly and it's very, very helpful like we'll go out tonight and drink...uh...eat.

(laughs)

Well, those guys eat and I just drink.  All that process just helps.  I think it was a really quick gelling, a good vibe right away.  They probably don't think so. 

What's your criteria for taking on a more mainstream film?

The money.

(laughs)

I don't know, I just take what comes my way.  I wish I can sit back and go "Oh, I'm going to wait for a Merchant Ivory film to come my way."  Or Ivory Merchant whatever it's called.  You just kind of take what's there and hopefully down the road you can be more choosy and only do, say, Wayans brothers movies. (laughs). That's my goal: to be more Merchant-Ivory-Wayans

(laughs)

You're also doing indie films, you're doing Visioneers.  What's the status on that?  

It's playing the festivals.  Maybe somebody will pick it up, it's a very odd little movie.  But I like it a lot, it's really good.  On that movie I asked the PA's how much they were getting paid and they were getting paid more a day than I was.  It was neat.

In this story, do you have a lot of scenes with Justin Bartha?  Or are they all flashbacks?

I have a number of scenes with Justin.  We drive to Vegas together.  Yeah, some of it, I guess, is rewinding and trying to figure stuff out, so yeah, there is that.  We're all in scenes with Justin.

Of the group of four of you, who's the one, for fans, they want to party with the most?  Like who's the quiet one?  What instrument do you play in Rock Band?

The recorder?  I don't think anybody is wild and crazy.  Bradley doesn't drink.  (laughs to himself)  Ed talks about The Office all the time.  (laughs)  They're all gentlemen.  I don't know, maybe I guess I am because I drink in my bathtub.  In my room.  Then call the front desk and ask them to remove the bible.  Yeah, we just go to dinner and drink some wine, talk politics.  Even though last night I did go out.

Did you go to the Mariah Carey birthday?

(laughs)

It was Nick, Nick.  What's his name?

Everyone: Nick Cannon.

Yeah, Nick Cannon.  He's one of my best friends.  It's so weird he had all these people there that clearly don't know him. It's just so odd.  And I didn't even realize they were married!  But yeah, I went to that, shamefully.

 
Did you actually go up and wish him a happy birthday?

No.  I was just staring at people.  I don't know how to behave in those clothes.  It's just fun to watch the cheesiest people in the world.  But there was free vodka. 

Were you wearing your rave clothes?

No I was in a Brooks Brothers shirt.  No rave clothes.  That would've been funny to go out with.  I played this doctor on this TV show.  I didn't know any of the other actors.  And they went out to eat and they didn't invite me.  So I kept the costume on and hung out at the bar where I knew they were eating.  I wanted them to think, "what a fucking nerd.  He's dressing up because he hopes he gets recognized from the show."  And nobody liked it.  Nobody got it because it's weird and so embarrassing.

At this point do you feel you're more interested in stand up than acting?

I don't know.  I just kinda go with it.  I get burned out with stand up. I like acting, I do.  But stand up is more free. 

Doing short things on the internet more and more, it's a really cool ability to go out and do something quick and get it up and get it seen.  You've done a couple of things.  Do you see that sort of being the wave of the future?

Yeah, you don't have to really go pay your dues, as much, on stage. It's helpful.  People get TV deals doing something out of their grandmother's basement.  It is definitely the next wave.  The internet's the only reason that I've gotten work from the stuff that I've created online.  That's help me get people see it.  Absolutely. 

Source: JoBlo.com

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