Mike Tyson

The Shocking Reason Why Mike Tyson Really Appeared In ‘The Hangover’

Mike Tyson doesn't look back fondly on his performance in The Hangover, and there's a surprising reason he took the gig.

One of the most popular comedies of the 2000s, The Hangover made household names out of its leading men: Bradley Cooper, Zach Galifianakis, and Ed Helms.

But when it came to originally casting The Hangover, the filmmakers has a few challenges ahead of them. Several of the actors who were considered at first were not right for the project or rejected it.

One star who did accept a cameo in the film is none other than former professional boxer Mike Tyson. The majority of fans loved seeing Tyson in the film, and his role was such a success with the audience that he was invited back to reprise it in the sequel, which was released in 2011.

Tyson also formed a friendship with Bradley Cooper after the two worked together on the franchise. However, the real reason why Tyson signed on to do The Hangover in the first place is a little surprising.

‘The Hangover’ Was A Hit

The Hangover was one of the most successful films of 2009. Following the story of four men who travel to Las Vegas for a bachelor party, then lose the groom and forget what happened, the film stars Bradley Cooper, Zach Galifianakis, and Ed Helms.

The film performed so well at the box office, grossing over $465 million from a 30 million budget, that it spawned two sequels which were released in 2009 and 2011.

Along with starring the leading actors, the film also had one notable guest star: Mike Tyson, the former professional boxer.

Mike Tyson’s Role In ‘The Hangover’

In The Hangover, Mike Tyson plays himself. When the group of friends (who call themselves the Wolfpack) celebrates the bachelor party, they drink too much and end up breaking into Mike Tyson’s property and stealing his prized tiger.

Upon finding the tiger in their hotel room, they drug the tiger and then try to transport it back to Tyson, some getting clawed in the process.

When they arrive at Mike Tyson’s house, he shows them the security footage taken at his estate, which gives them a clue as to when their friend went missing.

At one point in the movie, Tyson punches the character of Alan (played by Galifianakis) as he questions why the men stole his tiger.

Why Mike Tyson Really Appeared In ‘The Hangover’

The real reason why Mike Tyson appeared in the movie seems to be unclear. IMDb reports that Mike Tyson appeared in The Hangover because he was in need of the money. The site also states that he was using illicit substances while he was filming.View this post on InstagramA post shared by The Medizine (@themedizine)

According to Cheat Sheet, however, Tyson didn’t know what he was signing up for.

“Somebody had told me something about a movie, but I wasn’t coherent as to what he was talking about,” the former boxer revealed in 2013 (via Cheat Sheet). “They made it sound like it was low-budget, not a serious movie.”

When Tyson met Zach Galifianakis and Justin Bartha, his future co-stars, they mentioned the movie but he didn’t know what they were talking about.

“They said, ‘We’re going to be shooting a movie with you in two weeks.’ I didn’t even know. I said, ‘Really?!’ I was a little wasted at the time.”

How Mike Tyson Felt About His Role

Looking back at his role in The Hangover, Mike Tyson wasn’t overly happy with his performance. In a 2012 interview, he admitted, “I was a mess. I was overweight. I was a pig. I was high on cocaine. They had to know I was messed up. I couldn’t talk. I had the cocaine talk.”

Despite Tyson’s criticism of his own performance, audiences seemed to respond well to his appearance in the film. He returned to appear as himself again in The Hangover Part II in 2011.

He did not, however, reprise his role for a third time in the final installment.

What Mike Tyson Was Paid For ‘The Hangover’

It’s reported that Mike Tyson was paid a total of $300,000 for his two appearances in The Hangover franchise. In total, it’s believed that the franchise grossed more than $1 billion.

Despite the overall success of the franchise, the following two movies were considerably less well received by audiences and critics alike.

How His Role In ‘The Hangover’ Changed His Life

Although it seems that appearing in The Hangover wasn’t an overly positive experience for Mike Tyson, there may have been a silver lining. IMDb reports that the former boxer was inspired to change his life after his use of cocaine affected his role in such a successful movie.

According to The Sun, Tyson decided to give up alcohol and cocaine in 2016. He opened up about being affected by these and other substances at various points throughout his career.

Tyson has since revealed that his cameo in The Hangover also saved his career, getting him back in the good graces of the public.

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