Always take a comedy director's words with a grain of salt. Believe it or not, they tend to make jokes.
While speaking to Total Film magazine, "The Hangover Part II," director Todd Phillips let it slip that the newest addition to the cast, Crystal, a tiny capuchin monkey that follows The Wolfback around Thailand, was taught to smoke cigarettes and, subsequently, has become addicted to them.
"I wanted the monkey to smoke so we had to train her to. Now I have PETA after me because the monkey's become addicted to cigarettes. She was just shooting Cameron Crowe’s movie 'We Bought A Zoo.' And the monkey won’t stop smoking."
The controversy comes in the wake of murmurs that "Hangover Part II" studio Warner Bros. pulled the recent trailer (possibly due to a simulated monkey sex act). Now, the tiny ape is under even more heat. The idea of hooking a simian to nicotine didn't fly too well with the animal lovers, and in true Internet fashion, a fury against Phillips exploded with the story burning across the web like wildfire. Somewhere, the makers of the 1989 "It looks just as stupid when you do it" anti-smoking ad were crying.
Thankfully, news now comes in that -- ha, ha, ha! -- the rumor was just a joke spun horribly out of control. Phillips contacted MovieLine via e-mail to dispel the hazy story:
"When you are doing press for a film, it tends to get repetitive, lots of the same questions over and over. Sometimes I like to mix it up with the journalists. Obviously, the monkey in the film NEVER smoked a single cigarette. There are people on set whose sole job is to protect that monkey. Even if I wanted her to smoke it wouldn’t be allowed. By the way, she also appears to do cocaine in the movie, but I guarantee you that she didn’t do that either (I can’t, however, comment on Ken Jeong’s cocaine use in the film)."
Case settled. Phillips goes on to explain why the idea that anyone believed his joke is ludicrous (while taking a jab at the folks who ran with it), but in this day and age, what isn't possible? It takes approximately two seconds to find a video of a monkey smoking on YouTube, so believing that "The Hangover Part II" enlisted a primate with a penchant for cigarettes isn't as unbelievable as the director may think.
"The Hangover Part II" hits theaters on May 26, with what sounds like plenty of monkeying around.