“You guys want anything to drink?” asks Zach Galifianakis as we filter into his trailer. “Water, teas, Diet Coke and bourbon. Anybody want a drink?”
One journalist requests a Diet Coke and makes himself right at home, which is an easy thing to do with Zach Galifianakis. Me, I’m tempted to bring up how he gave me $20 at Comic-Con last year, but I decide not to go there. We only have 15 minutes, after all, and there are a whole lot of questions to be vaguely answered.
“I think in all the movies, the character Alan is the catalyst for things to go wrong,” says Galifianakis. “And this movie is Alan coping with the things that he's done wrong and coming to grips with that. So there's the other side of it, not just the mishaps of the character, it's also him trying to improve himself, which is kind of fun to do.”
“Like a coming-of-age –-“ begins one reporter.
“Well, it's hard to come of age when you're forty-three,” Galifianakis cuts in. “The character's forty-three. I'm obviously twenty-two years old.”
“We saw there were some photos from one of the sets on the highway that seemed like Alan had crashed a car on the freeway,” another journalist asks. “Is there anything you can say about that scene at all?”
“No, because I think it's probably better to leave it be,” Galifianakis answers. “Just like any kind of comedy stuff, there needs to be an element of surprise. Alan messes up again. But it's a lot more detailed than that. I'll let you-- I'll give you a little bit of a taste. It's a lot more extravagant than just a car mishap. There's something else.”
Ok, we'll take it. So will we be seeing more of Alan's family in this installment, as Mazin had hinted at earlier?
“Yeah, there's more of that in this one for sure” says Galifinakais. “You go a little deeper with that stuff in this one, I think. As deep as we can get. I mean, I don't want to oversell it that we're doing a Merchant Ivory film here. More like Merchant Ivory Wayans. Happy? Old soundbite for ya!...I’m sure I’ve used it before for other things.”
(Note: A quick Google search reveals that “Merchant Ivory Wayans” is indeed a tried-and-true Galifianakis catchphrase.)
One theme running through the course of our visit was the idea that “The Hangover Part III” uses Alan's inner demons as fuel for the film's wacky plot mechanics - and that the emotionally-stunted loose cannon will be forced to reckon with those demons by movie's end.
“We let character really drive it, and Alan's character, in particular,” Mazin had told us earlier. “I mean, if you think about it, he's a deeply disturbed person and he needs help, and this movie is going to attempt to help him, I think.”
Echoes Galifianakis: “The surprise, I think, as far as the storytelling goes, is probably the coping with Alan's past tragedies. …He's being reminded that he's this person and he's kind of forced to seek help.”
Oh, dear. Are we heading into tearjerker territory here?
“You know, I hope so,” says Galifianakis. “It depends on the edit. You never know which strings-- It's a comedy. I think making someone emotional and crying in one scene and then funny the next is really fun to watch. And not a lot of comedies show that emotional side. But for me, I like to show that kind of thing because it humanizes this idiot, Alan. So hopefully that will be part of it. You never know. I know we shot some stuff that could be a little touching.”
"'The Hangover Part III: Alan's Existential Crisis."  I don't know about you, but I'm getting emotional already.
A former contributor to sites including MTV's The Backlot and Bloody-Disgusting, Chris Eggertsen worked in film development before indulging his love of pop culture writing full time. He specializes in horror, the intersection of social issues and entertainment and Howard Stern. He's on Twitter @HitFixChris.