Mel Gibson won't be nursing any hangovers in Thailand anytime soon, at least not in the currently shooting sequel to "The Hangover." While he was slated to make a cameo as a tattoo artist in "The Hangover 2," Gibson's role was ultimately scrapped due to lack of support from the film's cast and crew.
Director Todd Phillips was an advocate of Gibson's involvement in the movie and although the troubled actor is no longer appearing in the Bangkok-set follow-up, Phillips maintains that he's OK with how the situation turned out. In fact, he's surprised by the public's reaction.
"Honestly, I was surprised," Phillips recently told MTV News. "Regret is the wrong word, but I was surprised in some way by the reaction. I think in that community in Hollywood, we've often seen — and I certainly have empathy for people that have struggled, whether it's alcohol addiction in [Gibson's] case or whatever it may be, there is empathy. I was a little bit surprised by people, and I'm not even talking about our family, the 'Hangover' family. I'm talking about the outside world's sort of lack of empathy."
Phillips said that if he has any regrets about the situation, it's his failure to grasp that there are more eyes on "The Hangover 2" now as a result of the massive success of the first film.
"I've always made comedies, and I think comedies in general tend to fly under the radar," he explained. "So maybe [I regret] not realizing that we're not making a movie that's going to fly under the radar, that three months before we even start shooting it, people are going to weigh in with opinions and tell us how it's not going to be funny or how this isn't a good idea, you know what I mean? When it's like, 'Hey, give us a shot to make the movie, then weigh in.' "
Even without Gibson, Phillips said the movie's story line remains unchanged. And that is because as cameos go, there's a big difference between the part Gibson would have played — taken over now by Liam Neeson — and the guest turn delivered by heavyweight champion Mike Tyson in the first "Hangover."
"It's essentially the same part, because Mel was never playing Mel in the movie in the way that Mike Tyson was playing Mike Tyson," he said. "It was very different. [Gibson] was coming in to add a little bit of weight to the situation that unfolds in Bangkok, so we just needed an actor that brings weight. I think Mel and Liam, and there are probably four other guys in that age range that sort of bring that gravitas."
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