According director Todd Phillips, despite public perception the controversial Gibson wasn’t fired from the movie – he was only planning to do a favor for friends, until a reported backlash within the production nixed the idea and ultimately replaced him with Liam Neeson.
“Just for clarification, no one was ever fired,” Phillips told reporters at the press conference for his film “Due Date” starring Robert Downey, Jr. and “Hangover” star Zach Galifianakis.
“It's a term that is so obscene to me,” added Phillips. “Someone was doing me a favor to come in for a two-minute cameo and we changed it. I mean, it wasn't like we fired somebody. It was doing a favor from the beginning.”
“As was the intention with Mel, the scene is maybe not what you'd expect in 'The Hangover.’ 'The Hangover 2' will be an epic comedy, but not every scene – just like in the first one – is full of comedy. This had a little bit gravity to it, and I thought that both guys [Gibson and Neeson] really can add that gravity – and that's where we're at.”
Downey – who during his own controversial personal-life period during the mid-90s found his own Hollywood exile ended by Gibson when the “Lethal Weapon” star cast him in “The Singing Detective” after his drug conviction – responded ruefully when it was suggested press reports had gotten the details of Gibson’s “Hangover” scuttling wrong.
“Shocking,” he scoffed.