Sacha Baron Cohen On The Ryan Seacrest Urn Dumping

One could reasonably assume that Sacha Baron Cohen was tossed off the property, while dressed as General Aladeen from his movie The Dictator, after he dumped an urn filled with fake ashes all over Ryan Seacrest’s suit on the Academy Awards red carpet. But what happened next? His agents got a scary phone call from the Academy and they even tried to get Martin Scorsese to blackball him.

Cohen explained what happened to Deadline Hollywood in an interview this week:

The Academy did ban me from the awards and I was. In fact the head of the Academy called up my agents and said if I was to turn up within a half a mile of the Academy he would have me arrested by 200 FBI agents.

He also confirms that poor Ryan Seacrest (I can’t believe I just said that) was completely taken aback.

Well, I mean, Ryan Seacrest, was not in on it at all. He was told about an hour beforehand that he would get an interview with me, but he had no idea what was going to happen. He was very excited at the time.

But the most absurd part is when Sacha Baron Cohen revealed that some members of the Academy tried to get Martin Scorsese — his director in Hugo — to denounce him. Which is pretty ridiculous, considering Martin Scorcese is like, BRB, winning all the Oscars, and doesn’t give a shit. Cohen explained:

[I]n terms of ill will, I’m sure there are Academy members that would not want me back. But, no I haven’t received anything negative at this time. At the time they actually threatened Marty (Scorsese) and said that if he didn’t convince me to not turn up, that it would jeopardize the chances of Hugo winning; which is absurd. And by the way Marty responded, “Sacha does what he wants and if you think I can control him, you’re wrong.

Hugo ended up winning five Oscars later that evening … which Cohen presumably watched from at home on his couch.

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The Future of Comedy is Bright and Shiny and Named Anna Faris

Among the things that make Anna Faris laugh: The word “squeakquel”; chubby ponies; the miniature campsite murder diorama she’s been working on for six months; the idea of one errant boob, if handled properly.

Of the comedic potential of that last item, the actress is intimately familiar. She, more than most, straddles the line separating sexiness and comedy. Over lunch at Cheebo, a Sunset Boulevard cafe, Faris, in overalls, a t-shirt, just a hint of makeup, and big round sunglasses, embodies the definitive answer as to whether the two are mutually exclusive. (The answer is no, they are not.) Nevertheless, she says, “It’s really hard to incorporate sexuality with comedy.” In fact, it’s hard even to find the language to do so. “You show tits in a comedic scene—I should say boobs, not tits. Who likes that word? If you show a woman’s breasts in a comedic scene—” Nope, not right either. Faris pauses, then decides to go with the clinical. “If you show a woman’s mammary glands, if it’s done poorly, it instantly takes away from the comedic element of the scene. It’s too jarring. But [my husband] Chris [Pratt] and I were pitching around a character, a Hollywood-mess character on the red carpet at the opening of a movie. She’s talking to these journalists and she’s wasted. One boob is completely out, and she’s talking on and on, like, [Faris slurs] ‘I’m so excited to be here.’ If you held it long enough and kept it going, just the one boob, it would be so funny.”

Though Faris demurs when asked if the errant-breasted starlet is based on a real person, she’s walked the red carpet quite a few times herself—without a wardrobe malfunction to date. She’s the star of the four movies in the Scary Movie franchise, romantic comedies like The House Bunny and What’s Your Number?, and family comic fare Yogi Bear. She’s made a career of playing approachability hot, guileless naïfs floating in a sea of absurdity.

Her new project, Sacha Baron Cohen’s The Dictator, brings the absurdity to a higher and more overtly political level. Baron Cohen, the king of a certain genre of fact/fiction–bending satire, plays the bearded dictator of a fictional, Libya-esque country called Wadiya, who flees to America after being deposed. At the Oscars, he was the one who spilled Kim Jong-il’s ashes on Ryan Seacrest. Faris plays Zoë, an activist who, in her words, “runs a co-op grocery store in Brooklyn that has an organic farm on the roof. She’s very well-intentioned.” But like all Baron Cohen enterprises (or authoritarian dictatorships), secrecy is tantamount. “I think that’s all I’m allowed to say,” Faris apologizes.

Even if Faris had carte blanche to discuss the film, it wouldn’t matter. She is only vaguely certain the course the plot will take anyway. “We shot a lot,” she says, “it’ll be a surprise to me what storylines they keep in and what they don’t.” Even how she got the role baffles her. “When it comes down to it, I think I got the role because I’m willing to just make an ass out of myself.”

Unlike The House Bunny or Yogi Bear, much of The Dictator was improvised. “You have to really be on your toes be very malleable,” says Faris. “Sacha definitely thrives on making people uncomfortable. He’s like a bulldog that way. When he senses he’s making someone mildly uncomfortable, he just clenches on and won’t let go. It’s fun for an actor to be able to play off that. You just had to be alert. There was a lot of Red Bull-drinking on my part.” For the first time at brunch, Faris takes off her sunglasses, revealing her big, slate-blue eyes. Looking up at the waiter, she orders a bacon, avocado and egg white scramble— with one adjustment. “I don’t do egg whites,” she says. The shades go back on.

If things had gone differently, Faris might be nursing a whisky and discussing Stanislavski. As a burgeoning young actor in Seattle, she took her craft very seriously, getting her start at the age of nine playing Young Clara in Arthur Miller’s Danger Memory at a local Seattle community center. “I got $200 for the run of the show and I bought myself a piano phone. That was my first big purchase,” Faris says wistfully. She continued with hefty fare. “I was cast in all dramatic stuff: a play about the Holocaust, Heidi, To Kill a Mockingbird, and these plays that my parents just loved and were very—whatever the opposite of Scary Movie is.”

But when she wasn’t befriending Boo Radley or bearing witness, Faris was studying the matriarchs of American comedy. “I would come home every day, and if my mom wasn’t home—because she didn’t let us watch TV—I would watch The Carol Burnett Show religiously, and Golden Girls. I was crazy about those women. And then later on, Goldie Hawn in Overboard. I didn’t recognize it at the time, but they became big influences in my life.”

Faris came to comedy accidentally and at the tail–end of her stage career. Dispirited after a string of disappointing grades, she had dropped out of the University of Washington’s theater program, and graduated instead with a degree in English. But she continued to work, starring in local commercials (for the restaurant Red Robin and as a cancer-stricken girl for a local medical center), voiceovers, and human resource training videos. Her big break came in 1999, when she was cast in Lovers Lane, a horror film shot in Seattle. (“I played a cheerleader that got gutted,” she says.) On the strength of that role, she was asked to submit an audition tape for a parody film, tentatively titled Scream If You Know What I Did Last Halloween.

Within weeks of her audition, Faris found herself on a Vancouver film set. “I was scared shitless,” she says. “First of all, I don’t do comedy. Second of all, I have no idea what I’m doing on a set, like, having a trailer? I’d also never worked that hard, those kinds of hours. I was just in college—I took naps every day!”

Ironically, her dramatic training may have been the unforeseen key to Faris’s comedic success. “Keenan [Ivory Wayans, the director of Scary Movie] would laugh whenever I was trying to be dramatic, so I learned what he found amusing was that sincere quality.” What might have pierced the ego of a lesser actor has, instead, buoyed Faris. “I do think that’s sort of my weird place in the comedic world. I’m comfortable with people laughing at me.”

That sincerity has become Faris’ trademark. No matter how ridiculous the scenario in the Scary Movie or subsequent films, including Gregg Araki’s stoner trip Smiley Face, no matter how outsized her own characters are, as in the essentially quiet Sofia Coppola film Lost in Translation, Faris’ endlessly expressive face reads as totally open. There’s no hint of a wink. She’s the straight man, except that she’s a beautiful woman.

Encouraged by films like Bridesmaids that have demonstrated the earning potential of raunchy, female-driven comedies, Faris is blazing ahead with a series of projects that upend prevailing storylines. The first is tentatively titled Besties, written by Deanna Kizis, which is “loosely based on my own life,” says Faris. “It’s inspired by a stalker roommate. My agent wants me to be the girl who is getting stalked, but I really want to be the stalker girl, I really do. It would be so fun. I think I’m going to have to put my foot down. It would kill me to work with another actress who is having all the fun.” The other project is Gold Diggers, a script about a titular pair of money-grubbing sisters, Faris likened to a female Wedding Crashers. “We are trying to find our other sister,” Faris says, “She must be out there somewhere.”

Sacha Baron Cohen’s Dictator Re-Invited to the Oscars

The Oscar bosses have surrendered to Sacha Baron Cohen.  After banning him from walking the red carpet as the character from his upcoming flick The Dictator, Admiral General Aladeen, he subsequently went on a PR blitz, creating a video in costume demanding his tickets and calling the Today show to make Ann Curry laugh awkwardly with jokes like “I paid Hilary Swank $2million to be my date and she will not refund a penny.”  Possibly realizing, that 1) Cohen would probably pull a stunt regardless, and 2) all the buzz he was drumming up could mean more viewers for the famously boring awards show, they are now back pedaling.

Having first stated that the red carpet was not to be used for PR stunts (paging Lady Gaga and her 2010 Grammy egg), Oscars producer Brian Grazer is now singing a different tune.  He told Extra that the actor will appear on the red carpet as his alter-ego from the film, stating ‘We’re thrilled to have him and he’ll be on the red carpet dressed as The Dictator.”

Cohen is also slated to take part of the show, as himself, but he has a track record to uphold. In 2005 he showed up at the MTV Europe Music Awards as Borat, the 2009 Movie Awards as Bruno, and was lowered onto the face of Eminem who stormed out in a pre-planned move.  He also crashed the Agata Luiz della Prada show at Milan’s 2008 fashion week.

We’ll see what happens. 

Sacha Baron Cohen’s ‘Dictator’ Is Headed to America

After luring unwitting Americans into becoming the stars of his last two movies, Sacha Baron Cohen looks to be taking a much more traditional approach to filmmaking. And by “traditional,” we mean showing a scene in which a woman karate-chops a pile bricks with her breasts. The Dictator is Cohen’s scripted comedy about a  Hussein-Qaddafi hybrid searching for his place in the world. The trailer doesn’t reveal much, including the dictator’s eventual American love interest, played by Anna Faris, but it’s enough to have us intrigued. Take a look at the trailer after the jump.

The Dictator comes out next summer. Let’s hope that Kardashian joke will still be as relevant then as it is today.

See Sacha Baron Cohen as ‘The Dictator’

We’re not sure what’s going on in this first official photo from Sacha Baron Cohen’s now-filming movie, The Dictator, but it’s giving us the willies. Some background info: Baron Cohen stars as a Saddam-ish, iron-fisted ruler who relocates to New York City after being replaced by a goat herder (also played by Baron Cohen) back home. Then he falls in love with an organic food chick played by Anna Faris and blah blah happily ever after blah blah. But if anyone is going to fall in love with this guy, he’ll have to do something about that palindromic hair and those Ibiza-turd glasses.


Sacha Baron Cohen’s New Movie Is Based on a Novel by Saddam Hussein

After wrapping Bruno and shuttering the Ali G empire, it’s been a long couple of years of waiting to see what Sacha Baron Cohen would do next. Would he go all Dave Chapelle on us, disappearing into pile of his own millions, smoking weed and shirking the spotlight? Or would he pull a Jerry Seinfeld, marry a Barbie doll, buy a bunch of Porsches, and not do anything funny ever again? Or maybe he would do a Ricky Gervais — give up the hard-won integrity of his previous projects to play the lead in rom-coms and insult people (brilliantly) at awards shows? But that would be to underestimate Cohen, who’s gone and made a film “inspired by the best selling novel, Zabibah and The King, by Saddam Hussein.”

Strangely, this novel actually exists, though it’s unclear whether it was really written by Hussein. The film is called The Dictator, and “tells the heroic story of a dictator who risked his life to ensure that democracy would never come to the country he so lovingly oppressed.” Cohen will be paid $20 million for the movie, which Paramount will release on May 11. The resemblance, it must be said, is uncanny.