Mel Gibson is out and Liam Nesson is in for a cameo appearance on the sequel to 2009’s comedy hit “Hangover” according to USA Today. The reason for Gibson’s exit may be due to one of the film’s stars, Zach Galifianakis. In a report from E! Online the troubled actor was supposed to have a bit part in “Hangover 2” but then was booted out thanks to Galifianakis ranting to the movie’s director Todd Phillips. Phillips would have been glad to have Gibson do a cameo but he reported that some creative differences amongst the cast and crew led him to choose otherwise.
Zach Galifianakis’ Case
The problem with this situation is that Galifianakis put his director in a precarious position. The comedian and star went public with a podcast saying “I’m in deep protest right now with a movie I’m working on, up in arms about something…. I’m not making any leeway.” With a possible revolt on his hands, Todd Phillips may not have had any choice but to fire Gibson.
If executives at Warner Brothers said something to Phillips as E! Online suggested, then the director also may not have had much more to argue about. Todd Phillips eventually relented and put Liam Neeson in the small role.
Whoever is to blame for this casting mess it should be noted that perhaps Mel Gibson doesn’t deserve many roles these days anyway. Gibson should be in rehab for his alcoholism and anger issues. Earlier this year, Radar Online posted an audio rant of Gibson flailing upon his ex-girlfriend Oksana Grigorieva which followed an anti-Semitic remark he made in 2006 which was caught on video.
Zach Galifianakis is an up and coming comedian who is wielding some star power with his hit movie and television shows. It is still up to the director as to who is cast in a movie or not and then movie executives who want to spend the money. Phillips does have creative control over “Hangover 2” but as he stated to E! Online, movie making is a team effort.
Several factors probably weighed in on the decision including keeping control of the cast, movie executives who control the money aspect of filmmaking, and Gibson’s bad reputation even though Gibson himself still makes movies. It’s not like “Hangover 2” is a big-budget sci-fi action suspense thriller that a studio can’t pull the plug on suddenly.
What likely happened was that Todd Phillips wanted to keep his job-if studio executives see that his project is getting out of control over one actor in a small part of what will be a hugely successful sequel, then Phillips is a goner. Movies like “Hangover” and any potential sequels are a dream for movie studios-low budget, high earnings and lots of word-of-mouth advertising.
Todd Phillips was smart when he considered all of his options and asked himself “is this really worth it?” If Phillips made his decision based upon Zach Galifianakis’ rant about his work on the film then the actor did the right thing in standing up for his own work and speaking out against Gibson and his tirades. I seriously doubt anyone will miss Mel Gibson being replaced by the always-fantastic Liam Neeson.
USA Today content, “Liam Neeson nabs Mel Gibson’s ‘Hangover 2’ cameo”, USAToday.com.
Serpe, Gina, “Did Zach Galifianakis Take Away Mel Gibson’s Hangover?”, EOnline.com.
Malkin, Marc, and Erik Pedersen, “Mel Gibson Won’t Be Enjoying a Second Hangover“, EOnline.com.
Radar Online, “WORLD EXCLUSIVE AUDIO: Mel Gibson’s Explosive Racist Rant-Listen To It Here”, RadarOnline.com.
CNET TV, “Mel Gibson’s Anti-Semitic Rant”, CNET.com.