World News – CA – Sacha Baron Cohen: This time he’s serious


By reviving his character of Borat and playing political activist Abbie Hoffman, the actor feels he « had to sound the alarm and say that democracy is in peril this year »

Leading man: Sacha Baron Cohen’s overflowing characters may have masked his dramatic abilitiesCreditBuck Ellison for The New York Times

Borat uses the flower bed in front of the Trump Hotel in Columbus Circle as a men’s room

Sacha Baron Cohen plays cello and plans to take masters zoom lessons

Borat keeps his teenage daughter in a cage (“Is that better than Melania’s cage?” she wonders) And when he takes his clothes shopping, he asks the saleswoman to direct to the « No means yes » section

Sacha Baron Cohen, who once dreamed of being a chef, loves to cook for his family

Borat buys a chocolate cake and asks the woman behind the counter to write on top: “The Jews will not replace us” in icing – with a smiling face

Sacha Baron Cohen is a practicing Hebrew-speaking Jew who works with the Anti-Defamation League on « Stop Hate for Profit, » a campaign to curb the bile on social media

Borat sings song about Wuhan flu and journalists « like the Saudis do »

Sacha Baron Cohen zooms in for an interview, sporting a black baseball cap, black t-shirt and Covid-o’clock shadow

We talk for two hours about everything from his overflowing ‘Borat’ sequel to how he fell in love with his wife, flaming-haired actress Isla Fisher, to how he prepared for playing Abbie Hoffman in Aaron Sorkin’s new Netflix movie, « The Trial of Chicago 7 », about how he decided to call Mark Zuckerberg and « the Silicon Six »

If you thought the comedian could never do something crazier than get Dick Cheney to sign a waterboarding kit for him in his Showtime 2018 series, “Who Is America?” You’d be wrong There’s a scene with one of Trump’s best advisers in « Borat Subsequent Movie Film: Delivery of Prodigious Bribe to American Regime for Make Benefit Once Glorious Nation of Kazakhstan » (premiered Oct 23 on Amazon) which will leave you perplexed

I follow his job and harass him for an interview, ever since he first struck in America, posing as Ali G, an aspiring British rapper, and swindling unsuspecting dignitaries in interviews

He asked a perplexed James Baker about why he used a carrot and stick system in international diplomacy What if a country doesn’t like carrots? What if its inhabitants preferred a different vegetable?

Ali G suggested that Donald Trump invest in an ice cream glove that would prevent your hand from getting sticky

Mr. Trump, who walked out of the interview in disgust, later told me: « I thought he was seriously delayed It was a bogus job But my daughter Ivanka saw it and thought that it was very cool « 

Mr. Baron Cohen, who turned 49 last week, said: “Obviously, I realized that I had long had a disgust for the president That’s why I wanted to interview him as Ali G « 

He added: « His genius was to requisition the very term that was used against him, ‘fake news,’ and use it against all journalists who had journalistic integrity. »

The prankster has no problem sprinting out of a luxury hotel in NYC and running down the street in lacy pink lingerie.But outside of his character he is very private, if not a little shy

He refused for many years to give interviews as himself He sometimes spoke like his characters He tended to let criticism go without rebuttal, such as when reporters questioned whether Ali G was in the tradition Al Jolson and when Abe Foxman, the former director of the Anti-Defamation League, criticized Borat, fearing the character might incite anti-Semitism because some people might miss the irony

After the white nationalist rally in Charlottesville, Va, a dismayed Mr Baron Cohen contacted Jonathan Greenblatt, the director of AréL, who persuaded the star to give the opening speech at AréL summit, is never now

« I was so impressed with his intelligence, » M Greenblatt said, « These questions are at the heart of his motivation for his unique artistic style. More than anyone in public life today, he exposes prejudices – whether it is anti-Semitism, homophobia or the racism of rank – for what they are, ashamed, heartbreaking and ignorant »(In fact, M Baron Cohen used Hebrew and some Polish as a substitute for the Kazakh language in Borat)

The actor began his speech by saying that, to be clear, « when I say » racism, hatred and bigotry « I am not referring to the names of Stephen Miller’s LabradoodlesHe later noted that while his stunts could be « juvenile » and « childish, » at least some are aimed at getting people to reveal what they really believed, such as « when Borat was able to get an entire bar in Arizona to sing « Throw the Jew into the Well, ‘this revealed people’s indifference to anti-Semitism »

Burning the cloud lords, he said Facebook will launch and micro-target any « political » ad anyone wants, even if it’s a lie « If Facebook existed in the 1930s, » he said. says, « that would have allowed Hitler to run 30-second ads about his ‘solution’ to the ‘Jewish problem’’’

The speech catalyzed the ‘Stop Hate for Profit’ campaign, with a coalition of civil rights groups and Mr. Baron Cohen arguing over celebrities Making the speech was « completely out of my comfort zone, » he said, because « I have always been reluctant to be a celebrity and have always been reluctant to use my fame to promote political opinions, really « 

He added that « it was the first time that I gave a major speech with my own voice, but I felt like I had to sound the alarm and say that democracy is in peril this year. felt, even though it was going to destroy my career and people were going to come up to me and say, ‘Shut up, the last thing we need is some other celebrity telling us what to do’ – I fully understand the people who do this – I felt that I needed to do this to live with myself « 

Mr. Baron Cohen actually began studying anti-Semitism at the University of Cambridge, when he wrote his thesis on « the black Jewish alliance » and identity politics in the civil rights movement. So he was ready to play the puckish Abbie Hoffman

« Basically he was trying to be a stand-up comedian, » M Baron Cohen spoke of the man who co-founded the Yippies and preached flower power. « He was very influenced by Lenny Bruce and he realized that if he could make people laugh, he could get them involved in the cause »

While he calls himself « this comedian who has played the role of actor a bit over the years », Mr. Baron Cohen is in fact, like all great clowns – yes, he went to the clown school, L’Ecole Philippe Gaulier – able to easily switch from light to black

(And, he has a terrific singing voice, which he showed in « Sweeney Todd », « Les Misérables » and at David Geffen’s 75th birthday party, when he sang « If I Were a Rich Man ”from“ Fiddler on the Roof ”and angered billionaires and millionaires in the play that they are“ the world’s third largest economy ”)

Mr. Sorkin, who wrote and directed the film Chicago 7, said that the day Mr. Baron Cohen shot his scene in the witness stand reminding him of the day Jack Nicholson shot his court scene in « A Few Good Men, » noting, « Everyone wanted to watch; 120 extras didn’t care that the camera wasn’t on them, they stayed to watch « 

Mister Baron Cohen has been compared to a scorching Tocqueville and he said he had seen a huge change in American society from the time he first came out to shoot « Borat » 15 years until he made the sequel

« In 2005, you needed a character like Borat, misogynist, racist, anti-Semite to get people to reveal their inner prejudices, » he said « Now those inner prejudices are evident Racists are proud to be racist « When the president is » an open racist, an open fascist « , he said, » it allows the rest of society to change its dialogue too

“My goal here was not to speak out against racism and anti-Semitism,” he said of the sequel “The goal is to make people laugh, but we are revealing the dangerous slide towards ‘authoritarianism « 

He wondered if America, under Trump’s second term, « would become a democracy in name only, akin to a Turkish democracy or a Russian democracy? »

He said he moved in with two conspiracy theorists for a few days for the new ‘Borat’ to show « that these are ordinary people who are good people, who just fed off this diet of lies They are completely different from politicians who are motivated by their own power, who realized they could create fear by spreading these lies through the most effective propaganda machine in history « : social media platforms

I had thought that the satirist’s hardest moment was when he fell asleep while Ali G, after drinking in Mississippi with two old southern gentlemen, and somehow another, to the amazement of its terrified director, woke up in character

But in the new ‘Borat’, filmed in part during the pandemic, he said: ‘The hardest thing I had to do was live in character for five days in this closed house. I woke up, had lunch, had lunch, had dinner, fell asleep like Borat when I lived in a house with these two conspiracy theorists You can’t have a moment out of your character « 

Also a high degree of difficulty: a scene where he sneaked into a speech by Mike Pence at a Conservative political action conference this year He was dressed up as President Trump and carried the actress over his shoulder playing his daughter as a gift from Kazakhstan for « Deputy Prime Minister » Mike Pence

“Obviously I’m wearing a big costume,” the comedian said “How do I get in and how do I get out?” Security was there to « check everyone’s body Keep in mind I spent five hours doing makeup that morning with the prosthetic team changing my face to Trump’s face This fat suit is huge C ‘is a big 56 inch suit to turn my waist into Trump because we felt it was the most realistic « When a security guard’s wand started beeping, Mr. Baron Cohen improvised that it was because of his defibrillator

« Then I ended up hiding in the bathroom, listening to conservative men go to the bathroom for five hours until I burst into the room We were surrounded by the Secret Service and the police and internal security « 

He said that when presenting « Borat » to streaming services, many were concerned about the political content and the idea of ​​running it before the election

But the comedian was determined to get it through before Election Day, because « we wanted this to be a reminder to women who they vote for or who they don’t vote for If you’re a woman and you don’t vote not against this guy, know what you do for your sex « 

I wonder if, with all the scenes of his close escapes from armed lunatics, diving into hatches and vans, carrying a clipboard in case he needs to ward off bullets, his wife ever tells him that his job is too dangerous

« If there’s anything dangerous I’m going to do, I don’t tell her until it’s over, » he said « I made a mistake with her She came once on set just to have fun On set you have to come to the van, which carried me on the set of ‘Bruno And it ended up being a police chase I was in a separate car and the police were trying to find me She found it all so upsetting, and she never came back to the set « 

He got a glimpse of M Trump’s Penchant for Revenge Playing a farce at the 2012 Oscars, disguised as a character from « The Dictator, » he threw Kim Jong-il’s cremating « ashes » – really just flour – on Ryan’s tuxedo Seacrest Mr. Trump, who spent a lot of time chatting about celebrities, went mad, tweeting and making a YouTube video about the rudeness of the stunt

The real estate broker said that Mr. The Seacrest security guard should have « hit » and « hit » Mr. Baron Cohen «  in the face so many times, he would not have known what had happened ‘He said that the actor should have ended up in the hospital

Recalling the strange incident, M Baron Cohen said: « I remember my late father watching Trump during the election campaign in 2016 I said, ‘What do you think of him?’ He said: « Two things He’s extremely entertaining Much more entertaining than Hillary Second, he’s a fascist » My father was born in 1932 He had seen fascists in the streets, Mosley’s black shirts beating up Jews And he knew what fascism was « 

Sacha’s Jewish grandmother, Liesel, a ballerina, fled Germany in 1936 She lived in Israel and worked as a fitness instructor m Baron Cohen filmed her lessons for a video – « Exercise for those over 60 ”- and sent her a bouquet of flowers every week until her death Her mother also worked in fitness

He said his father, a native of Wales who was a Fleet Street editor for a periodical called New Middle East, before entering the clothing business, sat with him at the table in the kitchen, while still living at home, to edit his first Ali G script

« He said, ‘That’s really funny, Sach,’ the son recalled, lighting up as he spoke of his father. » He was a big supporter and a brave, brave and hysterically funny man I’m sure he ‘he would have preferred to do what I do rather than sit as an accountant for a very small menswear company »

The company, M Baron Cohen said with a laugh: “It was so old fashioned that a lot of brands actually took their clothes out of my father’s shop when they wanted to get back into fashion. »

Gerald Baron Cohen lived to see the son’s success I met the parents at a Vanity Fair Oscar party once and they were the happiest people at that party, where the stars often wander around looking bored or resigned The father wore a playful hat and glowed with pride when I asked about his son

« This is hilarious, » M Baron Cohen said, when I reminded him of the meeting, « You can only do this stuff if you feel loved and safe and you don’t feel judged. They liked that I was mean, funny and potentially awkward among their friends « 

He said his father grew up in poverty, but his parents worked hard to ensure that Ash and his two older brothers had a good high school and Ash did well enough in his tests and interview at Cambridge to get a coveted place to study history

When unemployed, 6ft 3in lissome Baron Cohen briefly worked as a model. “Believe it or not,” he said, looking a little sheepish, “I did a little bit of work at a time when they didn’t want models that looked like models »

He also tried to be a chef “I finished high school and there was a chef called Raymond Blanc who got a Michelin star. I went to his restaurant, called Le Manoir aux Quat’Saisons, and i asked to work there and he refused He said I was too big to work in the kitchen, then I gave up on my dream of becoming a chef

« Recently I had the chance to work in the Bernardin’s kitchen in New York I ran into Eric Ripert and told him I wanted to be a chef and he said, ‘Come on. It was amazing, because that my brother and I spent three hours in the kitchen during their table service It’s incredibly tiring and then we are on the way I felt very bad about that « 

Mrs. Fisher, a modern Carole Lombard who converted to Judaism for Mr. Baron Cohen said it was difficult to embarrass her husband

« Look, I’m embarrassed, » he said, but « when I get into the character, I just dive into it completely to the point that I’m almost locked into the character »

In “Who Is America?” he satirized the left with a character who is a professor of gender and women studies at Reed College The professor believes that “the most dangerous chemical weapon in the world is the testosterone « and refers to » President Hillary Clinton « He rides a bike and wears an NPR T-shirt and a pink pussy hat and says things like, » In our yurt we try to challenge gender stereotypes My son, Harvey Milk, is not allowed to urinate standing up And our daughter, Malala, has to urinate standing up « 

Mr. Baron Cohen explained that his aim was « to challenge and mock the absurdity of the far left too », criticizing « the ineffectiveness of left extremists who are unable to ask a simple question because there are so many qualifications before every sentence that they don’t offend anyone « 

Other comedians speak of his work with admiration, especially the sketches poking fun at the left which have surely hurt his Hollywood award prospects

If you jotted down a list of what constitutes excellence, said Bill Maher, that would be embodied by Mr. Baron Cohen

« Originality, courage, degree of difficulty, laughter out loud, funny, » M Maher said « What he makes people reveal about themselves and, in so doing, the country, is amazing. He’s a genius in a league of his own »

I ask M Baron Cohen how two A-list stars, who have three children, make it work

« Fortunately we are not a list », he said « I remember once in Hollywood I tried to avoid being photographed by paparazzi I think I put something in front of my face as I walked out of a restaurant and this photographer yelled, « You’re just a B-lister! » And I said to Isla, “Oh, my God, we’re B-listers! We did it! We are B-listers ’’

He said that « it seems strange that we are still married in Hollywood after so many years » « 

« She was hilarious, » he said « We were at a very pretentious party, and she and I bonded over taking the mick away from the other people at the party I knew instantly I don’t know if she’s the one. said « He laughed » It took him about 20 years to find out « 

So what does he do now so he can catch his breath as his two films open?

« Well, » said M Baron Cohen, « I might try to exercise again because I haven’t done it for seven months »

Sacha Baron Cohen: Correct We had a secret wedding in Paris And the trick was that it was my father’s 70th birthday and he was a famous chef in England This is how we avoided having photographers at the wedding I trained him to be in the character He said his favorite dish he created was Scrambled Egg

You gave a Zoom toast at Larry David’s wedding to Ashley Underwood, who produced « Who Is America? »

My wife and I introduced her to my birthday party Together we had three weddings

In the character of Ali G in 2000, you played a limousine driver in Madonna’s video « Music »

Most nights you spend doomscrolling on Twitter watching « The Great British Baking Show » on Netflix

Although I tweet occasionally I don’t have access to Twitter I think I would be too mad at stuff and I wouldn’t be able to control myself When I write a tweet I don’t have access to my account, so I have to send it to someone to actually publish it

I have never been friends with her « Borat » is the reason she got divorced She wrote this on her divorce papers: « Reason for divorce: ‘Borat » « She showed the movie at home by Ron Meyer with Kid Rock She didn’t tell him she was in. She texted me after the movie and I said, « How did that go? » And she said: « Great, even though I’m in the process of getting a divorce » I thought that was a joke, but it was actually true

Your brother, Erran, a composer who wrote the music for Ali G and wrote a new national anthem for Kazakhstan for the first “Borat” and made the music for the new one, also made the biggest record of Hanukkah Ever Made: « Songs in the Key of Hanukkah, » starring everyone from Chrissie Hynde to rapper Y-Love

Correct In fact, my first TV appearance was playing the cello on a show called « Fanfare for Young Musicians »

Sacha Baron Cohen

News from around the world – CA – Sacha Baron Cohen: This time, he’s serious



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