Booyakasha! Sacha Baron Cohen participated in a Reddit AMA ("Ask Me Anything," for the n00bs) on Wednesday, and it was an exciting, rare moment in which Baron Cohen actually answered questions as himself. As he explains in the AMA, Baron Cohen usually does press in character so it doesn't get boring, but this time, he offered long answers that revealed a lot about his creative process.
1. u/lux514 asked, "Do you regret doing anything at all that you've ever done?"
yes. There was something that I regret not doing, which was, I was on this Australian late night talk show, and the talent booker had made a massive mistake. He booked the Australian Prime Minister on the same talk show. I was doing Bruno, and I had a strip tease routine fully planned, including tearaway pants and this g-string. And my intention was to lap dance the Prime Minister of Australia, and stick my crotch in his face. It would have been an international incident, and probably would have got me barred from Australia. But, unfortunately, I wimped out of doing it, and eventually was also barred by his own security.
2. u/lurker_now_accholder asked, "What was the worst part of filming Borat?"
The worst part filming Borat was the naked fight, because I had a 250 lb. man's ass on my face, and his buttocks was so big that I couldn't actually breathe when I was underneath there. So, I had about 30 seconds of air under there before I had to breathe in. And I had a signal with the director, which was when I thought I was going to pass out, I would hit the mattress three times. If you look at the Borat film now, you will see that I do hit the mattress three times, and the director didn't stop filming, which meant I was faced with this very stark choice, which was either to die, or to breathe in the rancid air from my costar's rectum. And when I was underneath there, I decided to die. Luckily, my co-star moved off and I managed to finish the scene. Otherwise, that would have been a very inglorious end to my life.
3. u/CrazySwayze82 asked, "Out of all of the people you interviewed while doing the Ali G show who was your favorite and if you feel like it your least favorite to interview?"
There was a guy called Mohamed Al-Fayed whose son, Dodi Al-Fayed, tragically died with the late Lady Diana in Paris. He came on the Ali G show and was hilarious. So he was probably my favorite.
My least favorite was I did an interview with David Duke as Ali G, and it was quite unpleasant because he brought some neo-nazi security with him and my researcher had to spend the evening keeping the security guards away from me. And even though my researcher is Jewish, he had to pretend to be a complete antisemite and neo-nazi in order to keep the body guards attention and let me interview Duke alone. In the end, I never showed the Duke interview, because his views are so extreme and horrifying that giving any publicity to him felt immoral.
4. u/limbodog asked, "Did you catch any flak for your Oscars performance?"
yes the producers of the Oscars were upset, but they've been upset with me before. I assume I will not be invited back.
5. u/PM_me_your_phantasie asked, "How hard (not your penis) was it doing the wrestling scene in Bruno?"
It was very nerve wracking because I almost got killed two nights in a row. We did the first one in Texarkana in Arkansas, and that ended up going very badly. They started throwing metal chairs into the ring and a huge sterioded ultimate fighter ended up jumping into the ring and attempted to beat me up. So I had to escape. We drove through the night to another town in Arkansas and did the cage match again for the second time and it ended up provoking a riot in the stadium. But luckily I had built a trap door in the cage which led to a tunnel that was reinforced, and at the end of the tunnel there was a car that was running with its door open, ran out, and me and my co-star got off scot free.
6. u/darkestrogue asked, "What question would Ali G most like to ask Donald Trump?"
Drumpf is a misogynist and I think it is disgusting the views he has on bitches.
7. u/iamnotevensorry asked, "Hi Sacha, you have done a lot of crazy things along your way. Is there anything you wouldn't do because it's too gross or freaks you out?"
Yes there are lots of things I would not do. I only ever really do something if I find it hysterically funny. And I have a mental problem, which is, I don't see the consequences of my actions. So, I will often come up with something in the writers room, with me and my colleague, and not really think through how I'll feel when I get to the day when I have to shoot it.
So, case in point, the naked fight seemed very very funny when I started talking about it in the writers room, but it got to the day, and when I was confronted with a naked 260 lb. man, who had not cleaned his asshole for 25 years, the joke suddenly did not seem very funny.
8. u/kc307 asked, "What's the craziest fan experience you've ever had? Have you ever had a fan believe you to always be one of your characters, rather than an actor, due to the style of some of your movies?"
Well, when I started out doing Ali G, nobody knew what my face looked like. So there were a number of Ali G impersonators who were going around pretending to be me. One of them gave an interview in one of the newspapers saying that if the real Ali G had slept with half as many women as he had, then he'd be a very happy man. Unfortunately at the time I was in a monogamous, very unhappy relationship, so I was particularly resentful of him. It was one thing him pretending to be me, but quite another him sleeping with my groupies. So I met another of these Ali G impersonators, and again people really thought that they were me, and this guy only did gigs with the mafia in London. So there was a notorious family called the Krays, he did one of their funerals, and he did exclusively east end mafia gangs. I was a little bit perturbed by this and he said "Don't worry, they love you. Well me. Who cares." and that led to a few unpleasant encounters with gangland members during the beginning of Ali G who thought that they had been swindled by my Ali G impersonator.
9. u/nomercymayhem asked, "Have you ever thought of doing a certain character but decided not to because the world isn't ready? Maybe the character was a bit too controversial?"
Yes. I did used to do a comedy character on the circuit who was called the Mujahideen, and he was a very nice fundamentalist terrorist who just wanted to be loved and deliver stand-up comedy lines. In the end the character was too divisive. Fine by me, I then came up with Ali G.
10. u/SimB5 asked, "Which character do you enjoy playing the most?"
I think it's probably Bruno, because his hygiene is the best. When I was in Borat, I wore a suit that hadn't been washed for a dozen years, and I can't wear deodorant, I'm walking around with a staff for a year at a time, and occasionally I even have a 260 lb. man sit on my face. So it's quite unpleasant to play. But with Bruno, he's clean, he smells great, I have at least one or two people shaving off all my body hair every day, and he's very well moisturized. And of course he has a bleached anus, which any man secretly wants.
11. u/rekips asked, "What are your favorite things to do to publicize a movie? Are there anything's the studio has you do that you dread doing?"
I tend to do whatever I want when I'm publicizing a movie. In Cannes, it was my idea to go in a green thong on the beach and surround myself with some girls. And when I was publicizing Borat, the studio did not want me to stand outside the Kazakhstan embassy and deliver a press conference, but because I own the characters, I have the freedom to do whatever I want with them. So, I managed to avoid the normal boring press junkets that other actors are forced to do. And of course, pretend that they enjoy.
Baron Cohen's new movie, The Brothers Grimsby, comes out March 11th.