By Oliver Lyttelton | The Playlist October 26, 2010 at 1:32AM
Todd Phillips Says Decision Boosted Morale On Set
With all the fuss in the last week over the hiring of Mel Gibson for a key cameo as a tattoo artist in the Bangkok-set sequel to the surprise comedy hit "The Hangover," and his subsequent swift booting from the role, following protests by the cast and crew, in favor of the more stable, less repellent Liam Neeson, one thing's been forgotten: were the poor little racist's feelings hurt by the controversy? The answer, unsurprisingly, is yes.
Page Six report that Gibson is "furious" at the producers of the film for kicking him out, a source close to Gibson telling the gossip column "He doesn't understand why Mike Tyson, a drug user who turned his life around, was given a chance while Mel was kicked to the curb. Everybody deserves a second chance." Or in Gibson's case, a fifth chance. In fairness to the actor, many others have raised the comparison with Tyson, and there is a degree of hypocrisy at work, considering the lack of outcry over the presence of convicted rapist Tyson in the first film. We'll give you that one, Mel. Now please, stop calling.
Alan Nierob, who's the publicist for both Gibson and Neeson, also released a statement with a jibe at the unruly objectors on "The Hangover 2," saying that Neeson had been hired "pending clearance of cast and crew background check." So if any dirt turns up on Neeson in the next few weeks, we'll know that Justin Bartha's private investigator is pretty thorough.
On the plus side, Todd Phillips, speaking on the issue during promotional duties for the imminent "Due Date" with Cinematical, says that the mood on set hasn't been altered too much by the controversy. While he complains of the new-found attention paid to the sequel, considering how under-the-radar the first film was, he says "No, it doesn't affect morale on the set in any way; in fact, it's quite the opposite, because it's about morale that certain decisions get made. It's about saying, hey, we're a team on this - we're all together on this."
"The Hangover 2" hits theaters almost exactly seven months from now, on May 27th, 2011. And for the record, a list of the things that Mel Gibson is furious about currently runs to: being fired from "The Hangover 2," the mother of his child, his ex-wife, the tabloid press, Barack Obama, the lack of awards recognition for "Apocalypto," the Dallas Cowboys' performance against the New York Giants last night, the delay of the release of Jodie Foster's "The Beaver," a lack of oral sex, the poor quality of oral sex he does receive, Martin Campbell's refusal to let him perform all the dialogue in "Edge of Darkness" in Sanskrit, NBC's "Outsourced" (because of the quantity of Asians in the cast, rather than because it's not funny), the sun rising, the sun setting, having his eggs overcooked, the choice of Zack Snyder to direct "Superman," the lack of choruses on the second MGMT album, the building work his neighbors are having done, the shitty reception on his iPhone, Joe Pesci, having to wait another six months for "Tree of Life," the Rocky Horror-themed episode of "Glee," trick-or-treaters, the snooty cashier in Whole Foods, the way Carey Mulligan crossed the street to avoid him when all he wanted to say was how much he liked "An Education," the Iranian influence in Afghanistan, Amazon still not having delivered his copy of the complete lyrics of Stephen Sondheim, Danny Glover no longer returning his phone calls, brown paper packages tied up with string, and the Jews.