Todd Phillips And Liam Neeson Address Mel Gibson’s Reaction To Being Dropped From ‘The Hangover 2′

It’s been a few weeks since the whole Mel Gibson casting fiasco in “The Hangover 2,” and though most of the controversy and discussion over giving Gibson the role and then taking it away has died down, director Todd Phillips has had plenty of opportunities to talk about the situation while he’s been promoting “Due Date.” When he sat down with MTV last week he admitted that he was “surprised” at the backlash and the public’s lack of empathy for Gibson.

And, during a recent conversation with The Hollywood Reporter, Phillips addressed the conversation he had with Gibson when he rescinded the role and revealed Gibson’s response to the news. “We just had a long talk about it, I explained it,” Phillips said. “He certainly understood, you know. He wasn’t happy, but he certainly wasn’t upset, I mean, it just was kind of a bummer because I think he understood the intention of the casting and the role.”

Liam Neeson has since replaced Gibson in the role of a deranged tattoo artist in Bangkok. Phillips told MTV that despite the actor change-up, the role has remained completely the same because Gibson was never intended to play a version of himself the way Mike Tyson did in the first “Hangover” film.

“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,” he said.

As for Neeson, he and Gibson are “cool.” Neeson recently told Access Hollywood that he wasn’t aware Gibson had been offered the role when he accepted it, but has since talked with the “Braveheart” actor to make sure there are no hard feelings. “I spoke to Mel. Mel’s cool about it. We’re all cool,” Neeson said.

Do you feel more empathy for Mel Gibson after this fiasco, or do you wish the whole controversy would just go away?