Sacha Baron Cohen recently explained why he left a Freddie Mercury biopic in which he was set to star as the late Queen singer. But now, Queen lead guitarist Brian May is sharing the band’s side of the story.
In March, Cohen told Howard Stern that he left the biopic, which he had been attached to since 2010, because the band wanted a PG-rated story that showed how Queen pulled together after Mercury’s death. Cohen, however, wanted to focus on Mercury’s “wild” life in a darker story.
In an interview with the Daily Mail, May, who was working on the biopic with Cohen, disputed those claims and slammed the actor for his behavior.
“Sacha became an arse,” he said. “We had some nice times with Sacha kicking around ideas, but he went off and told untruths about what happened.”
May added that the band had no intention in cleaning up the story: “Why would he go away and say that we didn’t want to make a gritty film?”
“Are we the kind of people who have ever ducked from the truth?” he went on. “I don’t think so.”
May also said that the band decided Cohen wasn’t right for the role “for very good reasons, which will become apparent if you watch what he’s done recently.”
The biopic is continuing with the support of May and Roger Taylor. It’s still looking for the actor to play Mercury, but May said they already have a candidate they’re eying: Ben Whishaw.
“He’s fabulous,” May said, “a real actor.”
Sacha Baron Cohen is no fan of Donald Trump.
The British comic ends his latest movie, “The Brothers Grimsby,” with a scene in which the Republican presidential candidate contracts HIV in a mishap, according to people who have seen the film.
The sequence occurs during the film’s end credits and has received a raucous response from European audiences. “The Brothers Grimsby” opens domestically on March 11. The Huffington Post reports that Sony, the studio behind the film, has pressured Baron Cohen to remove the scene over fears that the litigious Trump will sue the company. The studio did include a disclaimer that explicitly states Trump wasn’t involved in the movie.
Jean Guerin, a spokeswoman for Sony, flatly denied that pressure was being placed on Baron Cohen to make cuts. “The report of a dispute with the filmmaker is absolutely ridiculous,” said Guerin. “We are 100 percent supportive of the filmmaker and the film.”
Sony was particularly gun shy about the politically charged humor after its experience with “The Interview,” a comedy about the assassination of North Korean dictator Kim John Un that resulted in a devastating corporate hack.
A source tells Variety that Baron Cohen has final cut on “The Brother Grimsby,” limiting Sony’s ability to influence the comedy’s content. The film centers on an MI6 assassin and his dim-witted brother, who get embroiled in a global conspiracy.
Trump and Baron Cohen’s feud dates back years. At one point, Trump was critical of an Oscars stunt that saw Baron Cohen dressed up as his character from “The Dictator” dropping Kim Jong Il’s ashes on Ryan Seacrest, calling the comic a “moron.” Baron Cohen returned the favor during a December appearance on Jimmy Kimmel Live!, saying that Trump’s push to ban Muslims from entering the country was a sign he had “a brain like a female chicken.”
A spokeswoman for the Trump campaign did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
Not everyone was happy to see the return of Ali G during Sunday’s Oscars telecast.
Sacha Baron Cohen revealed that the Academy wanted him to present alongside Olivia Wilde as himself and not any of his characters. Well, the British comedian was not having any of that. With the help of wife Isla Fisher, who snuck in Cohen’s Ali G costume and helped him put it on in the disabled toilet stall, Cohen delivered some of the funniest lines of the evening.
But it’s okay, he got the blessings of the host beforehand. “I mean there were a few moments I was a bit worried how they’d react to the first gag,” Cohen told ITV. “But I bumped into Chris Rock actually on the way on and pitched him the gag and he gave me the thumbs up so I went for it.”
This is not the first time Cohen has gotten himself in hot water at the Academy Awards. While promoting “The Dictator” in 2012, Cohen showed up as Admiral General Aladeen, “accidentally” spilling Kim Jong-Il’s supposed ashes all over a not-so-happy Ryan Seacrest.
The Academy might be livid with Cohen but we can never get enough Ali G. Booyakasha!
Watch the video here:
British comedian Sacha Baron Cohen revealed that before he became famous for Ali G, he performed a sweaty Hasidic character at Jewish retirement homes.
In an unusually candid Jewish-themed interview on Monday’s nearly two-hour “WTF with Marc Maron” podcast, Baron Cohen, 45, said he and his older brother as teenagers did a routine that he jokingly called “the schvitzing brothers.”
“I was about 16, and we would dress as Hasidic Jews and sing Jewish songs. And one of the songs was this song called ‘Schvitzing,’ which was about how these Hasidic Jews get so hot that they end up shaving their beards and taking their clothes off and actually converting to Christianity at the end. And it would go down terribly. I mean these old-age homes would hate it,” Baron Cohen told Maron, a fellow Jewish comedian.
But Baron Cohen said he was “discovered” doing the routine, which emerged from sketches he wrote in the Zionist youth group Habonim Dor, and given a comedy show on British television.
“I started doing this cable show when I was 23. And it had about 40 viewers,” he said. “But I was doing these characters, and one of the characters was this early form of Ali G.”
Baron Cohen said his Jewish background helped him create Ali G, whom he described as an ethnically ambiguous British youth who wants to be African-American.
Baron Cohen was raised by Jewish parents in what he called a “pretty Jewish neighborhood, kind of middle class” in northwest London. His dad was an accountant, and his mom, who was born in Israel (to a German Jewish family that hated “Diaspora jokes”), taught exercise classes in the living room to “Jewish ladies from nearby,” he said.
“There was part of me that identified [with Ali G] as this kind of nebbishy kid who saw this rising movement of hip-hop,” he said. “And we fully embraced it. We got into the graffiti and the language. And so Ali G, as a result, I had a lot of knowledge about early hip-hop.”
When “Da Ali G Show” first appeared on British TV in 2000, Baron Cohen said, various ethnic communities laid claim to him — from Greeks to Pakistanis to blacks. After it came out that Baron Cohen was Jewish, though, he was accused of racism.
Having studied racism and Nazism as an undergraduate student at Cambridge University and marched against racists, fascists and neo-Nazis, Baron Cohen wanted to defend himself — but he held back, and it paid off, he said.
After a week of public debate, he said, the media concluded on their own that he wasn’t racist — and in the meantime, he had become a household name in Britain. Baron Cohen went on to international fame for Borat, Bruno and Admiral General Aladeen, among other characters. He is now promoting his new movie, “The Brothers Grimsby.”
As he described on “WTF,” Baron Cohen’s comedy has often been “undercover,” meaning he has stayed in character to provoke reactions from unsuspecting real people — often pushing the limits of free speech and putting himself in physical danger.
In the 2006 mockumentary “Borat,” Baron Cohen humorously exposed American racism and anti-Semitism. In one scene, Borat, a boorish Kazakh journalist (whose supposed native Kazakh is actually Hebrew), leads a bar in Tucson, Arizona, in a country Western rendition of “Throw the Jew Down the Well.”
Baron Cohen agreed with Maron that the bar patrons may not have hated Jews, but he said he was parodying their willingness to accept such hatred.
“I think it shows not necessarily that they’re anti-Semitic. But I think the dangerous thing is people who are indifferent about evil people,” he said, referencing renowned Holocaust scholar Ian Kershaw’s line: “The path to Auschwitz was paved with indifference.”
“How much does your Jewishness or your faith inform your way of thinking?” Maron asked Baron Cohen, who has family in Israel and reportedly spent a year on a kibbutz in northern Israel after high school.
“Well, I don’t think that much really,” Baron Cohen replied — a somewhat confusing response given the rest of the interview.
By way of explanation, he cited his undergraduate thesis on why so many Jews were involved in the American civil rights movement.
“My research and my conclusion was basically Jews in America at the time were the most liberal ethnic group, and they were probably the most activist group in any liberal political movement,” he said. “But really the kids who were getting involved weren’t getting involved as Jews.
“So I think I didn’t get involved in comedy or any of this stuff because I’m a Jew. I think there’s probably some reason that Jews are over-involved in the comic community. I don’t know. I mean why are you involved? You think it’s because you’re Jewish?”
Maron responded, “There was a period where I separated myself from my Jewish identity. I refused to talk about being a Jew on stage because you wouldn’t necessarily know I was a Jew immediately, and I got very annoyed with the stereotype of the Jew, and I didn’t want to fall into that. Now I’m a little less worried about it. Like if I’m going to become an old Jew of some sort, I’ll take it.”
World renowned Kazakhstani culture reporter and discotheque aficionado Borat Sagdiyev went on “Jimmy Kimmel Live” on Wednesday night to warn the U, S and A of yet another terrible Jewish propaganda movie by Sacha Baron Cohen.
As the “Jews are home counting their chocolate monies” during Hanukkah, Sagdiyev warned Kimmel that Cohen — a pain in Sagdiyev’s “exit holes” — is back with another movie, “The Brothers Grimsby.” The esteemed reporter and Kazakhstan’s most stylish mankini model brought shocking propaganda footage from the film, which was met with applause from the audience and two thumbs down from Sagdiyev.
“His characters are very, very offensive, Ali G, Bruno and his new one, Donald Trump,” he said, inviting everyone to join in a boycott of the film and the opportunity to win a luxury motor car.
(Nude Azamat Bagatov sold separately.)
Please to watch full warning video below, yes?
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