Todd Phillips defends Mel Gibson's ouster from 'Hangover II'

Gibson has been in news for his rants against ex-lover Oksana Grigorieva, who has accused him of assault, which cost him the much-hyped cameo of a tattoo artiste in the movie.
The former Hollywood superstar was replaced by actor Liam Neeson after some actors objected to Gibson's name and Phillips said he decided to go with his team, the Hollywood Reporter said.

"He's one of our finest actors and, quite honestly, one of our finest directors. But The Hangover II is a family and as much as I loved the idea, a lot of people didn't... I didn't want anything to come in between that family," Phillips said.

The role of the tattoo artist is said to be pivotal to the film. While the original movie revolved around a Las Vegas bachelor party that devolves into a drunken lost weekend, the follow-up is about a misbegotten trip to Bangkok, Thailand.

The tattoo artist is one of the characters the guys need to track down during their adventures. The character is described as "crazy" and "intense," "someone you're afraid to talk to.Actors Bradley Cooper, Zack Galifianakis, Ed Helms and Justin Bartha are reprising their roles in the sequel.

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