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Exclusive Interview with Ed Helms on 'The Hangover'

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Ed Helms in The Hangover

Ed Helms in 'The Hangover.'

© Warner Bros Pictures
Fans of The Office know Ed Helms as the banjo-playing Andy Bernard, a nice enough guy who used to have anger management issues but seems to have worked them all out. And in Warner Bros Pictures' The Hangover, one of the most buzzed about comedies of the summer movie season, Helms plays another nice guy - Stu the dentist. Stu, Phil (Bradley Cooper), and Alan (Zach Galifianakis) take their buddy Doug (Justin Bartha) to Vegas for one last night of freedom before he marries the lovely Tracy (Sasha Barrese). The guys check in to Caesar's Palace and prepare to let loose for one wild night they'll never forget. They toast their night together and give peppy little speeches and then... Well, they wake up eight hours later without a clue as to where they went, what they did, or who they did it with.

Coming to in various states of dress in a trashed hotel suite, they find they've somehow managed to set a chair on fire, Stu's missing a tooth, there's a chicken running around, a tiger in the bathroom, and a baby in the closet. And they've lost Doug. The 'what happens in Vegas, stays in Vegas' would normally apply to a bachelor party weekend, but these guys have absolutely no idea what happened in Vegas. With time running out before Doug's due back to say I do, they have to piece together the missing hours in order to track down Doug's whereabouts.

On a press tour to promote The Hangover, Ed Helms didn't have any scary Vegas stories to share, but he did have lots to say about working with a real tiger and sacrificing a tooth for the sake of art.

Exclusive Interview with Ed Helms

The missing tooth, how did they do that?

Ed Helms: "When I was 15 I lost a tooth and had an implant put in. Cut to 20 years later, I'm doing this part and the script calls for my character to lose a tooth. We did some camera tests blacking it out, we made a prosthetic with a gap in it, but that made me look like a donkey, so I vetoed that right away. And then I just finally called my dentist and said, 'You know, I've had this implant for 20 years. What's it involve in taking it out?' And he said, 'It’s actually not that big a deal. We can do that.' So we took it out and I was toothless for three months, for the run of the movie."

So you really sacrificed for the part, having nothing there.

Ed Helms: "I take my job very seriously."

So they didn't write this part specifically for you, knowing you had that implant in your mouth?

Ed Helms: "No, I think they wrote it for me knowing that I, hopefully, have some chops as an actor. At least that’s the way I think about it."

That's a much better way to look at it.

Ed Helms: "Yes, I like to think it was more for the acting than for my teeth. No, but actually no one knew. I didn’t mention the tooth thing to anyone until it became clear that...we started to discuss just taking it out of the movie because we couldn't find anything that worked and they couldn’t afford to do a full like digital effect. So that’s when I called my dentist and it worked out."

Have you guys signed on for Hangover 2 already?

Ed Helms: "Hangover 2 is really just getting talked about right now. I think, you know, this movie really has to prove itself first. If this movie doesn't do well, I'm pretty sure you will not be seeing a Hangover 2."

But with all the positive buzz, what's the chance this movie’s not going to do well?

Ed Helms: "I don't have any idea. I mean I'm excited there seems to be some nice moments building but, you know, this ain’t my first rodeo. I've been in this biz for 15 years and seen a lot of ups and downs. So I'm really, I'm going to wait for some real results before I get too hyped up about it."

Where do you think they'd take Hangover 2? Would it be your wedding that people are going to, so it's your bachelor party?

Ed Helms: "Well I think obviously it would have to be outer space, right? I mean that's the only way to heighten the story here."

That would be a definite option for it. The chemistry between the three of you worked so well. You seemed like real buddies. Did you hang out off the set, or how did you get that friendship vibe?

Ed Helms: "When we were not shooting we were sleeping, so pretty much every waking moment we spent together. And, you know, Bradley [Cooper], Zach [Galifianakis] and I were acquaintances before the movie started but we became good friends very quickly and spent so much time together that it was just inevitable we were either going to really hate each other or really like each other. Thank god it turned out to be the latter."

That would have been miserable.

Ed Helms: "Yes. I mean they're both just really good guys and also they're both extremely funny in very unique ways. We made each other laugh an awful lot, and that goes a long way. And we also went through some hard times. I mean it was hard to make this movie. There's a lot of action sequences, it’s incredibly physically demanding, and you see a lot of sides of people on a movie set because it can be really taxing and to kind of go through all that together - you really get to know someone. And what's cool is that in the story of the movie our characters are also really kind of getting to know each other and bonding over the course of the movie. And I think you're seeing a real, a literal sort of friendship growing both in us as actors and on screen as characters."

Page 2: Ed Helms on Mike Tyson, His Tiger Song, and Action Scenes

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