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Heather Graham Discusses 'The Hangover'


Heather Graham in The Hangover

Heather Graham in 'The Hangover.'

© Warner Bros Pictures
If you're a single guy and you wake up in Vegas after hours of hard partying and don't remember a thing you did the night before, discovering you're married to Heather Graham...well, that's definitely one of the better things that could have happened to you while you were completely out of it. And that's what happens to Ed Helms' character, Stu, in The Hangover, an R-rated comedy directed by Todd Phillips (Old School). Graham plays a single mom/stripper who winds up getting hitched to Stu the dentist after an incredibly wild night in Vegas.

Graham sees her character, Jade, as a 'hippy stripper'. "[She] has a New Age/spiritual attitude about sexuality," explained Graham at the Vegas press event for Warner Bros Pictures' The Hangover. "[Todd Phillips and I] talked about it. He was like, 'I liked how you brought the hippy quality to it,' which is kind of what I was thinking, because the night before we had this true connection and even if he doesn’t remember, I still believe it was true. It’s like a lot of girls fall in love with the guy, but the guy doesn’t necessarily feel the same. But the girl is like, ‘I know it’s there.’ So, I kind of thought of it that way. Like I believe in it."

In addition to playing a stripper, Graham has to deal with taking care of a baby onscreen. "The little baby...well I think there was six babies. If you watch the movie, you can see that’s it’s a bunch of different babies, if you really look. Four were great and two were really evil - horrible - and kept us there for so many hours. The mom of the twins that were difficult, they said to me, 'My baby hates everyone but me,' and then she handed me the baby and the baby started crying for like three hours," said Graham, laughing.

And Graham had to handle acting like she was breast-feeding the baby, a difficult task for any actress. "You know, it takes a lot of practice. I had to start lactating," joked Graham. "I’m a method actor. The baby was teething so the AD said, ‘Be careful because the baby is teething and I can’t promise that he’s not going to try and bite you.' But, luckily, he didn’t."

Graham recalled the day they actually filmed the breast-feeding scene as being an extremely long day on the set. "I think it was like a 17-hour day, because obviously the baby is not really breast-feeding, so the babies keep looking around, and they start looking at Zach [Galifianakis], looking at Bradley [Cooper] and so they were like, 'It doesn’t look like he’s breast-feeding now because his head’s moving.’ So we had to keep his head facing down towards my boobs. So someone had to stand behind me with a rattler, going, ‘Chee, chee, chee.' And then it was just like it had no…at the end of the day, it kind of felt like it didn’t matter what I was doing as long as the baby’s head – it was all about where the babies head was looking."

But Graham says that despite everything, the moms were really into it. "They were like, 'Can you take a picture of my baby? I want a picture of you.'"

Working in Vegas

The cast and crew went to Vegas to film but Graham says those 'what happens in Vegas stays in Vegas'-sort of stories don't apply to her experience working on The Hangover. "I think everybody wants us to have debaucherous stories, but I think we were super boring. Like, I did an interview with all the guys, and they were like, ‘What did you do? What did you do? It’s crazy.’ And Zach was like, ‘I took a lot of baths.’ So, like the craziest thing I did was that I went to see Cirque de Soleil. And I took Bradley and Todd to see that Zumanity one that’s sort of like the sexual one, whatever, and they took Bradley up on stage, took his shirt off and starting rubbing him," revealed Graham.

Graham had a great time with the mostly male cast and would be willing to team up with them again if they do The Hangover 2. "They wrote that one in the trades and then I saw Todd and I was like, ‘Hi. Can I be in it?’ He was like, ‘Yeah,’ but I don’t think they’ve written it yet. I think the sequel is an idea that they want to make a sequel. It’s not like a written-out script."

Looking Into the Future

Graham's been super busy on a number of projects, but she said there's one out there which may start filming next January that she's really looking forward to doing. "I want to do this one about this Russian actress called Zoya Fyodorova. I’m pretty excited that because it’s a really amazing dramatic role. It’s about this Russian actress who fell in love with this American officer during World War II, it was during the time of Stalin, and she was thrown in prison because I guess if you associate with anyone non-Russian they would just throw you in jail – forever."

"It’s a true story, actually," said Graham. "Her daughter wrote a book. It’s called The General’s Daughter. And, basically she had a baby with this American officer. There’s this guy under Stalin named Beria, he kind of wanted to have sex with her and she didn’t. So, at the end, he gave her these flowers and she was like, 'What are these for?' Actually, her father was in jail, so he said, 'They are for your father’s grave.' Then he basically had her thrown in prison for basically 25 years, and then Stalin died and she got out eight years later. It was in ’54, I think. I’m not a hundred percent sure. Somewhere between ’53 and ’55, because Stalin died in ’53, around there. So her daughter was eight and she was reunited with her daughter. And then she never met the father until she was in her late-20s. Then she wrote a book about it, because they wouldn’t let you in or out of Russia at that point."

And Graham recently completed work on ExTerminators, a small indie film she did with one of her friends from Scrubs. "It’s about these women that are in an anger management group that decide to kill men," explained Graham, laughing. "And Baby on Board is a movie I did with Brian Herzlinger, who did My Date With Drew. He’s a really charming guy. He did the correspondence pieces for Jay Leno’s The Tonight Show. And it’s the first movie that he’s directed, and John Corbett and Jerry O’Connell are in it."

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