Ahead of this month’s release of The Hangover Part III, The Hollywood Reporter today published an oral history of the wildly successful franchise. Among those interviewed include the stars Bradley Cooper, Ed Helms and Zach Galifianakis as well as producer/director Todd Phillips. The story contains several gems — including one about Heather Graham having to film a Hangover spoof for her agent’s son’s bar mitzvah, yikes — but nothing is quite as interesting as reading about how this surprise hit came together.
Given that neither Cooper nor Galifianakis were major stars when the first movie came out, it’s not really a surprise that they weren’t the first picks to play Alan and Phil. But what if it was Jake Gyllenhaal who was responsible for the group’s unremembered misadventures? Here’s who could have been in the Wolf Pack:
Phil Wenneck: According to The Hollywood Reporter, both Jack Black and Paul Rudd passed on the role of the booze-swilling teacher. There were also “others” who passed before the role eventually went to Bradley Cooper. Cooper recounts he got the role after having met Todd Phillips at an audition for Starsky & Hutch several years earlier.
Alan Garner: This role went through several rewrites before Galifianakis was cast. Initially intended to be a younger brother of the bride-to-be, both Jonah Hill and Jake Gyllenhaal were considered. After he was re-imagined as an older brother, Thomas Haden Church almost got the role.
Perhaps it’s because most people weren’t familiar with any of the stars before The Hangover, but it’s hard to imagine anyone else playing the infamous Wolf Pack.
The story also reports that the first Hangover movie earned Phillips nearly $70 million, so we know who’s buying drinks after the third and final movie’s premiere.