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Dark ‘Hangover III’ takes series to ‘the next level,’ Bradley Cooper says

(L-r) ED HELMS as Stu BRADLEY COOPER as Phil ZACH GALIFIANAKIS as Alan Warner Bros. Pictures’ Legendary Pictures’ comedy “THE

(L-r) ED HELMS as Stu, BRADLEY COOPER as Phil and ZACH GALIFIANAKIS as Alan in Warner Bros. Pictures’ and Legendary Pictures’ comedy “THE HANGOVER PART III,” a Warner Bros. Pictures release.

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Q. Is it really the last “Hangover” movie?

A. Director Todd Phillips says, “It really is over forever with this franchise. This is the last word on it.” But the stars hope to work together again, and Zack Galifianakis proposes, “We should film ‘Hangover 4’ on our own Flip Cam and not even tell Warner Brothers.”

Q: How did they do the scene where Galifianakis and Bradley Cooper hang off of Caesars Palace?

A: That was mostly shot at a studio, on a smaller building made up like Caesars. “I’m terrible at heights and I was still scared to death,” says Galifianakis. “Thank goodness, I’m only 5-foot-7.”

Q: What does Phillips have against giraffes?

A: The director laughs. “You can blame me for the giraffe moment,” he says, alluding to the moment in the trailer where Alan (Galifianakis) buys a pet giraffe, drives him home in an open trailer and goes under a low highway overpass. “I was in the shower thinking of a horrific way to start the movie and thought, ‘Let’s decapitate a giraffe.’ It was so random, but it works.”

Q: Is the little boy in “The Hangover Part III,” the baby from “The Hangover” grown up?

A: “It is the same little boy,” Phillips says. “His name is Grant, and we called up his mom and I said, ‘Can Grant come to my office to talk?’ I wanted to see if he could pull off a scene with Zack Galifianakis and he was great. Plus, you can’t duplicate those eyes.”

Cindy Pearlman

Updated: June 20, 2013 6:18AM

LAS VEGAS — At 9 a.m. Saturday at Caesars Palace, the Wolfpack should be waking up in a trashed hotel room with a tiger in the bathroom and livestock snacking near the mini-bar.

At the very least, Doug should be missing.

Instead, “The Hangover Part III” stars Bradley Cooper, Zack Galifianakis, Ed Helms and Justin Bartha look relaxed and refreshed. No one even appears to have a hangover, and two of them are glued to their cell phones doing business deals.

Last night, Cooper spent time with his dog and his mother, who have accompanied him on this trip. Helms admits he did fulfill a longtime Vegas fantasy, but it’s not X-rated.

“I actually played the ‘Hangover’ slot machine at Caesars,” he says with a smile — a completely toothed smile. “I put in a few quarters and won $200. My mom played it and won too.”

Galifianakis gripes, “God, life is really coming together for the two of you.”

In “The Hangover Part III” (opening Thursday), the boys need to stage an intervention for out-of-control Alan (Galifianakis), whose father has just died. His no-boundaries, no-filter lifestyle is even getting to be too much for the Wolfpack. On the way to driving to rehab, fate intervenes, someone is kidnapped and a giraffe loses its head.

“This movie is about taking on the beast in Alan,” says Cooper. “It’s not about a lost night. In the second film, the characters are unhinged. In this third movie, the goal is to help Alan and be there for each other.”

Despite the love, there is some discussion that this is the darkest “Hangover.”

“There is killing in this movie,” says Cooper. “We really do take it to the next level.”

In four years, quite a lot has changed. Cooper was an Oscar nominee for “Silver Linings Playbook,” and Helms just ended “The Office.” Galifianakis has gone on to star in his own films too.

When did they know that the “Hangover” franchise was going to change their lives?

“That was a moment all of us shared,” Helms says. “We were at dinner in London after the movie had already premiered in the United States. We were getting box-office returns from the PR folks who were with us.”

“One of the PR people said, ‘Do you guys understand what’s happening here? This is going to change your lives.’ ”

Says Cooper, “It was a deer-in-the-headlights moment.” To which Helms adds, “I’m just glad we were together. Otherwise we might have gone insane.”

Galifianakis says one of his happiest life moments happened during the filming of the first movie. “It was the hospital scene with the older gentlemen. I started to giggle so badly. There was nothing but euphoria running through my body.

“It was Election Day of 2008 too,” he says. “My entire body was just beaming with happiness.”

Was there ever a moment on any “Hangover” movie where they said, “I can’t believe I’m actually doing this … for the camera?”

Galifianakis laughs merrily.

Cooper cuts him off. “Oh, what was the weirdest moment? Was it the baby, the tiger, the women, Mike Tyson or the money thing?”

Says Galifianakis, “The odd thing is none of it is strange to us anymore. It’s just normal when it’s ‘The Hangover.’ ”

“You didn’t have Ken Jeong’s privates on your neck,” says Cooper.

“Not on camera,” Galifianakis mocks in a deadpan voice.

Big Picture News Inc.

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