Sasha Barrese went from the shores of Hawaii and the streets of Paris to the red carpet of Hollywood with the kind of ease and grace that has defined her as an actress and model. Born Alexandra Barres...
The American Idol star auditioned to play bride-to-be Tracy Billings in the 2009 comedy but McPhee admits the test failed to win over director Todd Phillips - and the role went to former model Sasha Barrese.
She tells People.com, "It was between me and the girl who got it... I didn't get it, but I went all the way. I would have loved to play that part."
However, the 27 year old, who now stars in U.S. TV hit Smash, didn't hold a grudge - she went to see the movie with her pals once it was released.
She adds, "It was so much better than I would have ever thought it could be. It was unbelievably hysterical, and I remember in the theatre I was like, 'I wish I had gotten that part!'"
When crafting a follow-up to the highest-grossing R-rated comedy of all time it’s understandable that one might be reticent to mess with a winning formula. But director Todd Phillips and writers Craig Mazin and Scot Armstrong seem to have confused revisiting with recycling: The Hangover Part II so closely mirrors its blockbuster predecessor in every vital aspect that it can scarcely claim the right to call itself a sequel.
The only significant new wrinkle introduced in Part II is its setting: Bangkok Thailand a location that at least theoretically augurs well for a second helping of inspired lunacy. The story structure of the first film has been copied wholesale a game of Mad Libs played with its script. The action is again set around a bachelor party this time in honor of buttoned-down dentist Stu (Ed Helms). Again the boys (Stu Bradley Cooper’s boorish frat boy Phil and Zach Galifianakis’ moronic man-child Alan) awaken the next day in a hideously debauched hotel room with little memory of the previous night’s revelry. And again there is a missing companion: Teddy (Mason Lee son of Ang) the brother-in-law to be. (Poor Justin Bartha is once again relegated to the sidelines popping up now and then to push the plot forward via cell phone.)
The amnesiac/investigative angle of the first Hangover made for a refreshing twist on the contemporary men-behaving-badly comedy. Repeated here its effect is arguably the opposite: Too often the action feels rote and formulaic. Gone is any hint of surprise an aspect so crucial to good comedy and a huge part of the first film’s appeal. Key comic set pieces – a tussle with monks at a Buddhist temple a visit to a transsexual brothel a car chase involving a drug-dealing monkey – reveal themselves to be merely variations of memorable bits from the first film.
Tonally Part II is darker cruder and a bit nastier than its predecessor. Female characters never a priority in the first film are further marginalized in the sequel. (The only woman with significant dialogue a Bangkok prostitute also happens to have a penis. I’ll let you ponder the implications of that one.) The three leads Helms Cooper and Galifianakis still work well together and despite the inferior material enough of their chemistry remains to make the proceedings bearable – and occasionally funny. But their characters feel somehow degraded reduced to coarse caricatures of their former selves. Speaking of caricature Mr. Chow (Ken Jeong) the fey faux-gangsta villain of the first film returns in an expanded capacity in the sequel his garbled hip-hop slang more gratuitous – and more grating – than before.
I can’t help but wonder what might have been if a planned cameo by Mel Gibson playing a tattoo artist hadn’t been scrapped reportedly due to objections by Galifianakis. Liam Neeson Gibson’s replacement apparently proved ineffectual in his first go-round and when he wasn't available for re-shoots his scene was eventually shot with Nick Cassavetes in the role. In its existing incarnation the scene is purely functional a chunk of forgettable exposition. The presence of Gibson an actor of not inconsiderable comic talent would have at least added an air of unpredictability something the scene – and indeed the movie – sorely lacks.
The Braveheart star has endured a tough year which saw him split from his girlfriend Oksana Grigorieva, the mother of his young daughter Lucia, and the nasty break-up played out in public.
Grigorieva fanned the flames of the former couple's custody battle by accusing Gibson of beating her in a violent altercation in January (10), while tape recordings of their bitter arguments hit headlines across the world.
Gibson now looks set to make light of his troubles with a big screen comeback in the highly-anticipated follow-up to the hit 2009 movie, which sees the action transferred from Las Vegas to Thailand.
A source tells New York Post gossip column Page Six, "It's a done deal. Mel will make a cameo as a tattoo artist. Filming is taking place on the Warner Bros. lot, where a Bangkok set has been built, and Mel is expected to film his role in two weeks. Then the production moves to Thailand at the end of October."
The news comes just days after cast member Sasha Barrese teased fans about an "unbelievable" surprise guest, which prompted speculation shamed golfer Tiger Woods would be making an appearance in the film.
He said, "It's the best cameo you've ever seen in your entire life. It's a guy. That's all I'm going to say. It's the best."
The first film, starring Bradley Cooper, Zach Galifianakis, Justin Bartha and Ed Helms, featured a famous cameo slot from boxing legend Mike Tyson.
The actress played Jade in the first film and was slated to reprise her role in The Hangover 2, but Warner Brothers bosses have revealed she won't be joining Bradley Cooper, Zach Galifianakis, Justin Bartha, Ed Helms and Ken Jeong in the sequel.
A studio spokesman tells Eonline.com, "Unfortunately Heather won't be in the sequel; they way the story unfolds doesn't allow any room for her character to show up. I don't want to reveal to much of the film, but once you see it you'll understand."
The move will be a blow to Graham, who made it clear she was desperate to be a part of a sequel last year (09) - she told the website she'd like to play a pregnant stripper: "I think (Ed Helms' character) Stu should get her pregnant, and that she should do a pregnant strip dance. I know it sounds so wrong, but it sounds so right."
Meanwhile, cast member Sasha Barrese has started teasing fans about a very big "unbelievable" surprise guest: "It's the best cameo you've ever seen in your entire life. It's a guy. That's all I'm going to say. It's the best."
That guy could be Tiger Woods - director Todd Phillips announced he wanted the disgraced golfer for the sequel last year (09).
He told HollyScoop.com, "We are going to try and get Tiger Woods for the second one... and help him regain his image."
Co-starred with her mother again in "Jezebel's Kiss"
Cast in a supporting role on NBC's "LAX"
Featured as a bride-to-be in "The Hangover"
Made film debut alongside her mother in "Homer and Eddie"
Made TV debut on ABC's "Boy Meets World"
Cast in a supporting role in "American Pie"
Reprised her "Hangover" role in two sequels
Sasha Barrese went from the shores of Hawaii and the streets of Paris to the red carpet of Hollywood with the kind of ease and grace that has defined her as an actress and model. Born Alexandra Barrese, Sasha grew up on the set of her mother Katherine's modeling shoots. After the pair moved back Paris to the U.S. in 1985, Sasha made her film debut alongside Katherine in the Whoopi Goldberg comedy "Homer & Eddie" (1989), and played Katherine's younger self in the romantic thriller "Jezebel's Kiss" (1990). She took the next 10 years off to attend school, during which time she also briefly modeled for agencies such as NEXT and Elite. After returning to acting with small but memorable performances in "American Pie" (1999) and on the ABC sitcom "Boy Meets World" (1993-2000), Sasha landed her first lead role on the short-lived WB sitcom "Run of the House" (2003-04). In 2009 the avid chess and poker player was cast as Justin Bartha's worried bride Tracy in "The Hangover," and later portrayed a vampire victim in the 2010 remake of "Let Me In." She may have been mostly on the sidelines in "The Hangover II" (2011) and "The Hangover III" (2013), but Sasha Barrese is still holding out for that big-screen leading role.<p> Born in Maui, HI, Barrese was raised alone by her mother, Katherine, who was just 16 when gave birth. A model and aspiring actress, Katherine moved to Paris with her infant daughter, who she brought along on modeling and photo shoots. After moving back the U.S., they made their film debut together in the road trip comedy "Homer & Eddie," and Sasha next portrayed Katherine's younger self in "Jezebel's Kiss," co-starring Malcolm McDowell. She spent the next decade concentrating on school (aside from the occasional modeling job through NEXT and Elite agencies), and eventually graduated from Massachusetts' Tabor Academy. Barrese, who is fluent in French, made her film debut in "American Pie" just months later, and quickly broke into TV with a guest role on the primetime teen sitcom "Boy Meets World." </p><p>Those two roles proved to be just the beginning for the art-loving Barrese. She worked steadily through the early 2000s in everything from the hit film "Legally Blonde" (2001) to the workplace sitcom "Just Shoot Me!" (NBC, 1997-2003) before being cast in "Run of the House" as one of four siblings left to fend for themselves when their parents relocate to Arizona. A brief stint on the airport drama "LAX" (NBC, 2004-05) was followed by a string of TV guest roles, and in 2009 Barrese landed a major break when she was cast as Tracy, Justin Bartha's worried fiancée, in the surprise hit "The Hangover." In addition to appearing in the well-received remake of the Swedish vampire film "Let Me In" and studying at the Actors Circle Theater in West Hollywood, Barrese has also reprised her role as Tracy in the increasingly desperate "Hangover" sequels. </p>