[Update: Filming on The Hangover 2 is apparently underway.]
Beauty, adventure, bustling urban centers, a gorgeous jungle countryside, jaw-dropping ancient architecture, ladyboys, “ping-pong shows,” underground fighting rings, shots of cobra blood, delicious Pad Thai and a city overrun by monkeys. These were the things I got excited about back in July of 2009 when "El Guapo" over at Latino Review first broke the news that The Hangover 2 is going to be set in Thailand.
A few months later my excitement was squashed when Hangover director Todd Philips shot down rumors of The Hangover 2 being set in that exotic locale. Flash-forward to the present and Empire is claiming a so-called "exclusive" from Phillips confirming that Hangover 2 will indeed be set in Bangkok, Thailand...at least part of the time.
Check out the quote from Phillips:
"It takes place in Bangkok and LA...There's gonna be some f@#$ed-up surprises."
Phillips went on to say that "The three guys are back," confirming another report that Hangover stars Ed Helms, Bradley Cooper and Zach Galifianakis will all be returning for the sequel. An added bonus: we'll also be seeing Ken Jeong's character return as well. "Mr. Chow's back too." said Phillips.
While I'm happy that The Hangover 2 is indeed going to delve into the potential gold mine of comedy you could pull from a Thailand setting, I'm also a bit peeved at how this "revelation" has come about. This news first broke on the blogosphere, the guys responsible (Latino Review) get slapped in the press for breaking it and then a "traditional trade magazine" comes along and says "Oh, we have this exciting exclusive news that nobody else has reported!" Not really cool in my book.
If you're questioning the validity of those early Hangover 2/Thailand rumors that broke on the blogosphere, here's a handy little timeline of events to show you how it all went down:
Dating back to July 2009, Latino Review and CHUD respectively broke and then confirmed the rumor about the Thailand setting. Ironically enough, it all started with a quote from Zach Galifianakis himself:
Galifianakis: Well, ‘The Hangover 2′ I think we’re going to Thailand. The problem with ‘Hangover 2′ is that we have to up what we did which is very difficult. So we get, I think, kind of kidnapped…we do end up in an exotic location. That’s all I know….
Of course that quote was from way back, but when one of the stars of The Hangover 2 starts claiming a Thailand setting, it’s kind of hard to write it off as “just another rumor.” If you examine it more closely, what Galifianakis says about the kidnapping that lands the trio in an exotic locale also fits PERFECTLY with what Phillips alludes to with his dual L.A./Thailand comment and the fact that a maniacal villain (Ken Jeong) will somehow be involved. So as far back as Latino Review's report in summer 2009, it seems likely that this kidnapping-and-sent-to-Thailand plot was being at least considered by Phillips and Co.
However, this is what Todd Phillips told our friend Steve Weintraub over at Collider in March of 2010:
SW: There’s a lot of talk that The Hangover 2 is going to Thailand.
TP: I don’t know. There’s a lot of rumors. There was rumor also that it was going to Mexico or something and neither are true.
Hmmmm... so those "rumors" were untrue until suddenly one of them was true? Ok, Mr. Phillips, I guess if you say so...
Who knows, maybe Phillips wasn't planning for the sequel to be set in Thailand before rumors started circulating the Net, and then the idea grew on him. Or maybe Thailand was just one of many ideas that was being kicked around at the time the blog sites were reporting it, and it wasn't confirmed until later that it was an idea they were going to pursue. There's certainly a (slim) bit of room for either possibility to have been the case.
Still, let this be a lesson: not everything that comes out of the blogosphere should be labeled as frivolous, and not everything that is said by the players in Hollywood should be labeled as stone fact. Bloggers DO break stories, and Hollywood has a whole PR machine in place to downplay news that the powers-that-be don't want revealed yet. Just some food for thought...
Update: Steve Weintraub over at Collider is reporting an exclusive claiming that The Hangover 2 has already started shooting in the LA area. Word is the production with shoot in Cali until the end of October, before packing up and heading overseas to Thailand. We'll keep you posted.
In any event, The Hangover 2 will be headed to Thailand after all, and I for one expect hilarity to ensue.
Source: Empire & Latino Review
Update Source: Collider