Sacha Baron Cohen: The Man Behind The Madness
By Michele Yeo
Years of immersing himself in so many ridiculous and over-the-top characters like Borat, Bruno and now The Dictator, it's easy to forget that there’s a real guy behind all that insanity – Sacha Baron Cohen.
Making it even easier is the fact that he does most of the press for these movies in character. That’s why it was such a rare treat for ET Canada to interview Sacha from Cannes this week out of costume.
Speaking with the chameleon just hours after he staged an elaborate stunt during which he frolicked with and then pretended to murder George Clooney’s ex-girlfriend, Elisabetta Canalis, Kim D’Eon asked Sacha if he ever thinks he’s gone too far: “No... everything I've done has been well thought out and me and my fellow writers always kind of discuss the morality of it and whether the person is a good target.”
Guess that means Ryan Seacrest was deemed a good target as Sacha famously dumped an urn of “ashes” all over the television host on the Oscars red carpet! And though his stunts have seen him threatened and even sued, Sacha says it’s all worth it: “The most important thing is to be hilarious.”
Sacha is definitely hilarious in his latest movie, The Dictator, in which he plays a character loosely modeled on controversial political leaders like Muammar Gaddafi. The funnyman says he couldn’t think of a better target for mocking. “These dictators are such ludicrous, deluded and dangerous characters,” he says. “They’re great figures to poke fun at.”
The actor's antics may have earned him as many enemies as fans, but one of the perks of being in character so often is that nobody recognizes the comedian when he’s out and about as himself. “That’s the benefit of doing stuff undercover, you know," says Sacha. "I rarely get recognized... it’s always an added pleasure.”