Justin Bartha has been through the ringer as Doug in The Hangover movies. After all, it was his disappearance in the first film that set the comedy franchise in motion.
Now that The Hangover Part III is set to arrive, we talked to Bartha for an exclusive interview to discuss the end of a series that has been blockbuster and then some. In this one… he is taken hostage by none other than John Goodman. See… it’s been a rough, but hilarious, ride.
“It’s a fitting end to the trilogy,” Bartha said from his hotel suite.
What else is apt is that Bartha is in Las Vegas, where all the magic started when the first film arrived in 2009. You can forgive the actor if he is filled with joy at audiences being able to finally see what is teased in The Hangover Part III trailer, while still a bit remiss at the series coming to a close.
“It is bittersweet because we’ve all grown close and it sounds cliché, but we feel like a family. There’s so much trust amongst the cast and crew. I’m going to miss working with everybody, but all good things must come to an end,” he said. “This is the end to a really special trilogy.”
The Hangover Part III is a slightly different film, in that there isn’t really a “Hangover” per se. It’s a real crime comedy. Bartha was not surprised when he got the script, as he knew that creator and director Todd Phillips wanted to shake things up.
“We didn’t want to do the exact same thing again as we did in The Hangover and The Hangover Part II. I thought the new structure was really cool and I love the way it ties into the first two movies and we bring back stuff for the fans,” Bartha said.
“I also thought, besides it being super funny, it’s a bit of an action adventure movie too. There’s a lot of action!”
Audiences clearly love The Wolfpack, and when it comes to the appeal of the four guys at the heart of the madcap comedy, Bartha feels their appeal lies in how it’s a mirror of sorts to all of us.
“There are a lot of aspects to the movie for it to be so successful that people love. But, I think the big one is that all of the characters are truly identifiable. Everybody has a little bit of Alan, Stu, Phil, Doug, and even Mr. Chow in them,” Bartha said.
“Then, it’s just funny. People want to see something funny. The way that Todd Phillips does it is he doesn’t apologize for his humor. He keeps going and going and going.”
What many believe is also the key to the success of the series is the man behind the magic, director Phillips. “He has what you hope every director has, which is a specific point of view. Todd has that in spades. He knows exactly what he wants to get up there on the screen,” Bartha said. “He also, at the same time, is completely open to collaborating with everyone that he hires. Once you’re aware of the world of Todd Phillips, you just let go and let him guide you and also enjoy the ride.”
This time out Bartha is taken from the rest of his pack by gangster John Goodman, because he wants them to find Chow and bring him to them. Bartha treasured the time working alongside a legend in Goodman.
“I have always been a huge fan of his since Roseanne and the most from The Big Lebowski. It’s obvious that he is an amazing actor, but he’s a huge comedy nerd at heart,” Bartha said. “As intimidating as he can be when he is in his villain character, you could always see that glint of having fun in his eyes. That’s the greatest thing about John. He’s always having a great time.”
The franchise has taken Bartha all over the world – from Thailand to Tijuana, and of course Las Vegas. When asked which locale was his favorite, Bartha didn’t flinch.
“The most interesting one really is Vegas. When we first started here, the script and the movie were obviously associated with Vegas,” he said. “After it became so successful, now Vegas is associated with the movies. That is a very rare thing that you hardly ever get to be a part of.”