Director Todd Phillips on his John Belushi Project and the Mel Gibson/Liam Neeson Cameo in THE HANGOVER 2

     October 27, 2010

Earlier today Warner Bros. held a press conference for their new comedy Due Date here in Los Angeles.  In attendance were Robert Downey Jr., Zach Galifianakis, Michelle Monaghan, the screenwriters, and director Todd Phillips.  While I’ll have the entire press conference online in the near future, since Phillips gave updates on the status of his John Belushi project (our previous coverage is here) and what exactly happened with the Mel Gibson/Liam Neeson cameo in The Hangover 2, I wanted to offer those quotes today.  Hit the jump for what he said:

todd_phillips_02The quick info is that the John Belushi project is still being developed but it’s not happening anytime soon. Also, while he is thinking about Zach Galifianakis for Belushi, he has yet to have any conversations with him about playing the role.  He did say that Steve Conrad, who wrote Pursuit of Happyness, is currently writing the screenplay.

Regarding The Hangover and Mel Gibson getting fired, Phillips says that was never the case.  He said:

“Just to clarify, no one was ever fired. It’s a term that is so obscene to me. Someone was doing me a favor to come in for a two minute cameo and we changed it. I mean, it wasn’t like we fired somebody. He was doing a favor from the beginning.”

Here’s everything that was said.  Look for a lot more on Due Date very soon.

Question: There was a note in Details magazine that you mentioned about a John Belushi project with, possibly Zach involved. That’s just such a delicious prospect and I wondered if you could both talk about that for a moment. What that would mean to get that made.

Phillips: Well, it’s not something that Zach and I have really talked about. I don’t know that I ever… here’s the deal. I’m not going to Zach with it. [Laughs]

Robert Downey, Jr.: Who is the casting choice?

Phillips: Anybody but Zach. [Laughs]. No, the truth is that that’s a project like a lot of projects that I’m developing and talking about, and I’m working with this phenomenal writer Steve Conrad, who wrote Pursuit of Happyness, and Zach honestly is the guy we talk about. But Zach and I haven’t spoken about it. It’s so in its nascent stages that I’m not sure when that comes to fruition, if Zach would be interested. Or what. So, we’ll see.

Todd_Phillips_image

Phillips on the Mel Gibson/Liam Neeson Cameo in The Hangover 2

Question: This is for Todd, and Robert, and Zach. People get hired and fired from movies all the time. Can I get your reaction to how big that whole thing blew up.

Phillips: Just to clarify, no one was ever fired. It’s a term that is so obscene to me. Someone was doing me a favor to come in for a two minute cameo and we changed it. I mean, it wasn’t like we fired somebody. He was doing a favor from the beginning.

Question: So did the papers get it wrong?

Phillips: Well yea, if they’re using the term fired.

Downey, Jr.: Shocking! [Everyone laughs]

Phillips: Yea, to use the term fired in that situation, it’s certainly not that.

Question: I’m with the hired aspect. I mean, how’d you get Liam Neeson? I just don’t think of him as a Hangover king of guy.

Phillips: Well, you know, as with the attention with Mel, it’s… the scene is not maybe what you expect in the Hangover. The Hangover 2 will be an epic comedy, but not every scene, just like the first one, is full of comedy. This had a little bit of… gravity to it. I thought both guys really can add that gravity. That was where we were at.

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