Celebrity Visits

Bartha talks sports, Hangover 2

Two years after starring as the missing groom in the comedy hit The Hangover, actor Justin Bartha returns with his “Wolfpack” friends in The Hangover 2. The film debuts Thursday.

The original rates as the most successful R-rated comedy in film history, raking in nearly $500 million in worldwide box office. Expectations are that the sequel, set in Thailand, will be as popular.

What possibly could happen to Bartha, Bradley Cooper, Ed Helms and Zach Galfinakis’ characters in this film that could top their Vegas adventures?

On his recent visit to the ESPN Car Wash and interview with Front Row, Bartha wasn’t sharing many film details.

But the Michigan native and NYU grad   — who also stars in the National Treasure films with Nicolas Cage — shed some light on why Don Mattingly no longer is his hero, what his beloved New York Knicks need to do to improve, and a possible plot for The Hangover 3.

FR: MIke Tyson’s the sports icon who made a cameo in The Hangover. Is there another who will appear in The Hangover 2?

Bartha: Mike is hard to replace. So he actually might be showing up in the second Hangover. I can’t confirm or deny, but he’s the only sports guy in there.

FR: What movie would you most like to have a cameo in yourself?

Bartha I can only think of dirty movies. I love old, Italian movies. Anything Marcello Mastrianni directed.

FR: Like what? Seven? Nine?

Bartha: I think it was 8 1/2. [Editor’s note: Federico Fellini directed 8 1/2.]

FR: We were getting close. If [former Yankees star and current Dodgers manager] Don Mattingly asked to do a cameo in a movie with you. . .

Bartha: How did you know about Mattingly?

FR: We did our research. If Mattingly, after what he did to you, asked. . .

Bartha: I was the biggest Don Mattingly fan in the world as a kid. They did their spring training in Florida. . . .All I wanted to do was get Don Mattingly’s autograph or meet Don Mattingly. I was waiting outside in the back and he drove right by in his limo. Then I didn’t like him at all. But Ricky Henderson was really cool, so he became my favorite player.

FR: DIsplaced [Mattingly].

Bartha: Immediately. [Henderson] signed a ball.

FR: So if Mattingly somehow wanted a cameo, all is forgiven?

Bartha: No way, no way. I hold grudges. Mattingly’s out.

FR: Favorite part of ESPN so far?

Bartha: The whole thing was really great. Everyone is so nice. I can’t pick out my favorite. Everything is great.

FR: Favorite anchor or show?

Bartha: I like Mike & Mike.

FR: We’ve seen you at Knicks games. Who should the Knicks draft this summer?

Bartha: I don’t know if they have the money to get anyone, but they need someone like [Hornets guard] Chris Paul. He’s great. I think they need a point guard and they need defense.

FR: Is Mike D’Antoni the right coach for them?

Bartha: No.

FR: Think about it before you answer. Who do you think should replace him?

Bartha: I don’t know, but I don’t think he’s the right coach unless he can somehow ramp up their defense. Change the game and slow it down. Play together and play defense.

FR: What’s your sports background? We remember the scene in The Hangover where you launch into Bradley Cooper on the hotel’s roof. That was a pretty good tackle. Were you a free safety?

Bartha: That was [being] a free safety by way of stuntman. Maybe he was a good free safety, the stuntman. But I like to play everything. But I got into acting by breaking my wrist playing tennis. I was trying to make the team in high school and dove for a ball and broke my wrist.

FR: What seed were you?

Bartha: Unseeded. I broke my wrist playing tennis. You’ve got to be pretty bad to do that.

FR: What’s on sports bucket list?

Bartha: You know what I’ve always wanted to do? I’ve always wanted to be in the halftime competiton where you try to make a basket from halfcourt. Or in a 3-point shooting contest. I’ve always wanted to do that. I’ve always been jealous of the halfcourt shot contestants.

FR: What sport were you best at growing up?

Bartha: Basketball.

FR: Give us your NBA Finals pick.

Bartha: I think Dallas-Miami. I can’t say Miami, even though I have a weird feeling they’re going to win. But I can’t root for them.

FR: Hangover 3: Is there any possible good scenario for that premise, or do you think we’ve seen the end of this series?

Bartha: Hangover In Space, maybe? Hungover Without Gravity? With the blue people from Avatar? I don’t know if there is a third one, but if there is I think everyone would want to do it.

FR: Is there a third National Treasure?

Bartha: They’re writing it.

FR: Can you give us a clue what that’s about.

Bartha: I have no idea. I would say that it has something to do with Nic Cage acting kooky and looking for treasure.

FR: With all of these comic-book adaptations out there, Is there an action hero you wouldn’t mind playing?

Bartha: Archie.

FR: He finally teaches Riverdale a lesson?

Bartha: Exactly.

FR: What’s up with your movie The Rebound [he plays Catherine Zeta-Jones’ younger lover]? Is that being released in the U.S. this year?

Bartha: It’s had some issues with the financers. The people who were supposed to release it went out of business. So I don’t know. It did come out everywhere else. You can find a DVD of it in Lithuania, but otherwise it’s tough to find.

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