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Why Hollywood Won’t Cast Sacha Baron Cohen Anymore


English actor, comedian, screenwriter, producer
and notorious prankster Sacha Baron Cohen is known for pushing the envelope with his
original characters. From British suburban rapper Ali G to Kazakhstani
journalist Borat, Cohen’s antics have established him as a household name. But we haven’t heard much from the controversial
actor lately, which makes us wonder: why won’t Hollywood cast Sacha Baron Cohen anymore? Retired characters Aside from a promotional appearance on Jimmy
Kimmel Live in 2015, Borat hasn’t shown up much since 2008. Austrian fashion reporter Brüno and Admiral
General Aladeen have all but disappeared as well. The humor of Cohen’s films came from fooling
unsuspecting victims, which is almost impossible to accomplish these days. “And then we all laugh, high five.” (laughs) In an interview with the Daily Mail, Cohen
explained: “Every new person who sees the movie is one
less person I can be Borat or Bruno with again, so finishing a movie means having to say goodbye.” Ali G still shows up every so often, though. Most recently, he was a presenter at the 2016
Academy Awards. Cohen explained that the Academy wanted him
to present as himself, so he had to sneak his costume in. “But my thing was I knew that they would be
trying to see if I would smuggle anything in, so my wife very kindly smuggled the beard
in her underwear.” Too risky Cohen’s brand of humor is, admittedly, not
for everyone. For an episode of Da Ali G Show, he dressed
up as Borat and lead an antisemitic sing-along in a bar in Arizona. Cohen received a number of complaints about
the incident. The Anti-Defamation League even wrote to him,
saying: “We are concerned that the irony may have
been lost on some of your audience. […] In attempting to expose bigotry and
prejudice you also bear a responsibility to be sensitive.” But society has changed since Borat hit theaters
in 2006. “We support your war of terror.” In an interview with The Telegraph, Cohen
admitted that he didn’t think his films would get made if he pitched them today, as studios
would rather make a profit than take a risk. Disruptive and destructive In September 2008, Cohen, as flamboyant fashion
reporter Brüno, crashed Milan fashion week. He used fake passes to get backstage at an
Agatha Ruiz de la Prada show, and wore a suit made entirely of velcro. He even managed to get onto the catwalk, which
he strutted down with a variety of costumes stuck to his body. Eventually, the lights went out, he was removed
by security, and had to explain himself to the Italian police. A spokeswoman for the National Chamber of
Italian Fashion told The Telegraph that while Cohen’s stunt gave her a good laugh, “Some people were very angry and annoyed.” However, many of Cohen’s victims have moved
past anger and into lawsuits. In an interview with Today, Cohen joked that
he thinks he holds the Guinness World Record for most sued actor in history. The executive director of Desert Valley Charities
tried to sue the Bruno crew, claiming that one of Cohen’s pranks left her confined to
a wheelchair. A Palestinian grocer who was portrayed in
Bruno as a terrorist settled a slander suit against both Cohen and David Letterman for
defamation of character. Two South Carolina college students, a Baltimore
driving instructor, a Macedonian singer and the Romanian village of Glod have all tried
to sue the man behind Borat. “Mmmm…” Borat also ended up offending the entire country
of Kazakhstan with its backwards and bigoted portrayal. But former deputy foreign minister Rakhat
Aliyev seems to have realized that all publicity is good publicity, as he invited Cohen to
Kazakhstan, saying that he wanted to show Borat that: “Women drive cars, wine is made of grapes,
and Jews are free to go to synagogues.” Too offensive While one might assume Cohen isn’t concerned
with political correctness, that’s far from the truth. “This is our Mexican chair people. Demi Moore have two of them in her house. Sit here.” If you can even believe it, plenty of his
jokes have ended up on the cutting room floor. “9-11, it’s the best.” (speaking foreign language) Cohen told The Telegraph that he and his writers
will always stop to discuss whether they’re going too far with any of their jokes, saying: “There are a lot of jokes that I would not
make. […] I am continually filtering stuff that
is too much.” But today, as society has become more inclined
to speak out against the offensive and the insensitive, Cohen’s job has only become more
difficult. He says: “Comedy is a weird thing that’s hard to analyse. I work very hard to make these films. […] I want the movie to be as good as possible. […] Sometimes they work and sometimes they
don’t.” He bailed on Queen In 2013, Cohen was set to play Freddie Mercury
in an official bio-pic sanctioned by the surviving members of the band Queen. But when creative differences arose, Cohen
called it quits. In an interview with Howard Stern, Cohen talked
about Queen’s lead guitarist, who was also the lead producer of the film, saying: “Brian May is an amazing musician, but he’s
not a great movie producer.” “They are a band. They want to protect their legacy as a band. They wanted it to be about Queen, and I fully
understand.” In an interview of own, May was less polite,
saying: “We had some nice times with Sacha kicking
around ideas, but he went off and told untruths about what happened. […] It’s obvious that it wasn’t going to
work, him playing Freddie. It wouldn’t suspend your disbelief.” Diminishing returns Since Cohen’s breakout hit, Borat, each of
his subsequent films made less money than the one before. His latest film, The Brothers Grimsby, was
a flop, with an opening weekend gross of only $3.2 million. Sony’s former distribution chief Rory Bruer
told Variety: “We certainly wanted more. Sacha is amazing and we love him, and we tried
to crack the code on it, but it just didn’t happen for us.” However, Cohen is still developing his own
films. In 2016, he was attached to an American remake
of Klown, a Danish comedy, as well as a film adaptation of the classic comic strip Mandrake
the Magician. Will he really be able to work his magic and
get back in the spotlight? Time will tell. Thanks for watching! Click the Looper icon to subscribe to our
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