A fascinating oral history of the hugely successful movie series provides a glimpse at what the film could've been with different casting choices.
Ed Helms was the first actor cast, as Stu the dentist. For the other roles, producers approached Paul Rudd and Jack Black -- but both passed.
"When we were writing, we did have [other actors] in mind," said producer and director Todd Phillips. "Quite honestly, we were writing the brother-in-law as a younger brother they had to take along with them -- like a Jonah Hill character instead of Zach [Galifianakis]."
Jake Gyllenhaal was also considered, and then the writers decided to tweak the role into the older, awkward misfit Alan. Thomas Haden Church's name was floated before the producers auditioned Galifianakis.
Meanwhile, Cooper waited months to hear back from Phillips about whether he got the part of Phil. "I'm doing a play in Williamstown [Mass.], trying to figure out what the f--- I'm going to do with my life," he said. "I get a text [from Phillips]: 'Are we going to f--ing do this?' I was like: 'I haven't heard from you in f---ing four months! Are you serious?'"
Another key role that could've been very, very different is stripper Jade, who was played by Heather Graham. Phillips met with Lindsay Lohan, and cleared up the misconception that she passed on a movie that turned out to be a huge success.
"Honestly, it felt like she ended up being too young for what we were talking about," he explained. "People love to attack her for everything, like: 'Ha, she didn't see how great 'The Hangover' was going to be. She turned it down.' She didn't turn it down. She loved the script, actually. It really was an age thing."
LiLo in a movie called "The Hangover" -- oh, the lost irony!
The third chapter in the "Hangover" series hits theaters May 24.