Now the all-time biggest-grossing R-Rated comedy in the U.S., “The Hangover” also stars Bradley Cooper, Justin Bartha, Ed Helms and Zach Galifianakis.
Graham describes her character as “a stripper/escort with a sweet disposition and a relaxed point of view on true love.” She also offers an interesting conversation she had with a Las Vegas cab driver during production. “He asked me about the movie and I told him it’s about these three guys who get wasted and can’t remember what they did the night before. He said, ‘Yeah, I’ve had many nights like that.’ So I guess a lot of people are going to relate.”
Question: You’re so funny in the movie. Were you daunted by the idea of playing a stripper?
Heather Graham: I actually thought it was fun to play such a colorful character and not just the sidekick to the guys. I got to be this quirky character on my own and I made up a whole back story where I was a spiritual New Age stripper that was just trying to share my sexuality with the world for the greater goal of spirituality. (Laughs) So I made up a whole back story that I liked.
Q: What kind of research do you do? Did you find a New Age stripper?
Grahan: No. I had taken this female empowerment class and I had actually taken the pole dancing classes because my friend taught one of them.
Q: Have you visited any Las Vegas strip clubs?
Graham: I did. I went to the Spearmint Rhino. That’s the only one I went to. [Director] Todd [Phillips] and I went there. Actually, that’s where we shot, too, where we shot all those pictures at the end credits.
Q: In the film, you’re surrounded by people who know comedy so well.
Graham: It’s a little intimidating. It’s funny to be with all these comedians and I have no idea what I’m doing. Basically, I feel like when I don’t try to be funny, I think I am funny, and when I’m really trying to be funny, I think it’s not funny.
Q: Todd’s advice that if you think it looks stupid, just do it. Is that something you have to learn about acting, or is it particular to comedy?
Graham: Even if you’re an actor, you have to be willing to look stupid because you never really know if the thing you’re in is going to turn out good. You might end up looking like a complete idiot. So, I guess you have to be willing to be an idiot. (Laughs)
Q: By being the female presence in the movie, did you get a sense of ‘boys will be boys and look what they are when they are being boys?’
Graham: To be honest, I didn’t think of it as much like that as it’s something that makes you laugh. I think it’s an art to be funny, and I think if someone makes you laugh, that’s an art. I’m not thinking as much as, oh, this is bad what they’re doing, because obviously it’s not good. But I thought of it as comedy that was funny. I wouldn’t want to be married to a guy that went on a bachelor party.
Opening across the Philippines on Aug. 12, “The Hangover” is distributed by Warner Bros. Pictures, a Warner Bros. Entertainment Company.