Movies | The Hangover – the script and intriguing tales about the production, director, writer, cast

Did you know the Hangover screenplay was based on a true story? It indeed was and I found that reading this fun script helped uncover amusing dialogue that was drowned out by laughter during the screening.

The Hangover is a 2009 American comedy film, co-produced and directed by Todd Phillips and written by Jon Lucas and Scott Moore. The film stars Bradley Cooper, Ed Helms, Zach Galifianakis, Heather Graham, Justin Bartha and Jeffrey Tambor. The Hangover tells the story of Phil Wenneck, Stu Price and Alan Garner, who travel to Las Vegas, Nevada for a bachelor party to celebrate their friend Doug Billings’ impending marriage. However, Phil, Stu and Alan have no memory of the previous night’s events and must find Doug before the wedding can occur.

The Hangover movie trailer

Lucas and Moore wrote the script after executive producer Chris Bender’s friend disappeared and had a large bill after being sent to a strip club. After Lucas and Moore sold it to the studio for $2 million, Philips and Jeremy Garelick rewrote the script to  include a tiger as well as a subplot involving a baby and a police cruiser, and also including boxer Mike Tyson. Filming took place in Nevada for 15 days, and during filming, the three main actors (Cooper, Helms and Galifianakis) formed a friendship.

The Hangover was released on June 5, 2009, becoming a critical and commercial success. It became the tenth-highest-grossing film of 2009, with a worldwide gross of over US$467 million. Critics praised the film’s comedic approach but criticized it for its vulgarity. The film won the Golden Globe Award for Best Motion Picture – Musical or Comedy, and received multiple other accolades. A sequel, The Hangover Part II, was released in 2011.


The plot of The Hangover was inspired by a real event that happened to Tripp Vinson, a producer and friend of executive producer Chris Bender. Vinson had gone missing from his own Las Vegas bachelor party, blacking out and waking up “in a strip club being threatened with a very, very large bill [he] was supposed to pay”.

The Hangover script

The Hangover script pdf download

Jon Lucas and Scott Moore sold the original script of The Hangover to Warner Bros. for over $2 million. The story was about three friends who lose the groom at his Las Vegas bachelor party and then must retrace their steps to figure out what happened. It was then rewritten by Jeremy Garelick and director Todd Phillips, who added additional elements such as Mike Tyson and his tiger, the baby, and the police cruiser. The Writers Guild of America, West disallowed their work to be credited due to the rules of its screenwriting credit system.


Ed Helms, Zach Galifianakis, and Bradley Cooper were all casual acquaintances before The Hangover was filmed, which Helms said he believed helped in establishing a rapport and chemistry amongst their characters. Helms credited Phillips for “bringing together three guys who are really different, but really appreciate each other’s humor and sensibilities.” Helms also said the fact that the story of the three characters growing closer and bonding informed the friendship between the three actors: “As you spend 14 hours a day together for three months, you see a lot of sides of somebody. We went through the wringer together, and that shared experience really made us genuine buddies.”

Lindsay Lohan was offered a role of Jade in the film. However, she turned it down, citing that the script “had no potential.” She later regretted making that decision.


On a budget of $35 million, principal photography took place in Nevada for fifteen days.

Helms said filming The Hangover was more physically demanding than any other role he had done, and that he lost eight pounds while making the film. He said the most difficult day of shooting was the scene when Mr. Chow rams his car and attacks the main characters, which Helms said required many takes and was very painful, such as when a few of the punches and kicks accidentally landed and when his knees and shins were hurt while being pulled out of a window.[8] The missing tooth was not created with prosthetics or visual effects, but is naturally occurring: Helms never had an adult incisor grow, and got a dental implant as a teenager which was removed for filming.


Screenwriting Structure: Lessons from The Hangover script

by Scribe Meets World

Today’s plot point Thursday (and yes I’m aware it’s Friday) is the 2009 summer juggernaut The Hangover. The Hangover is an interesting movie to analyze because it’s one of those “don’t try this at home” circumstances. Although Hollywood is glutted with Hangover imitations, I don’t think trying to write “in the vein of” the Hangover will yield the same kind of success.

Still, there’s still lots to learn from the movie. Yesterday, I wrote about how you can use The Hangover to learn how to write a comedy script. Well, the structure of The Hangover is also chock full of screenwriting structure techniques to learn from. After you’ve put The Hangover’s plot points onto index cards and arranged them into columns, look for patterns in the following arenas:

Solid Three Act Structure: The Hangover has a solid three act structure. The first act ends with the sun setting on the boys’ crazy night in Vegas, while the second act begins with them waking up to find complete mayhem. The second act ends with the crew in their all is lost moment–having exhausted their intellectual and financial resources, they still haven’t found Doug. It’s a good lesson to learn early. You can have all the crazy hijinks you want…but make sure a solid structural foundation is underneath them.



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