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British actor and satirist Sacha Baron Cohen is having a party very nice General, as his fictional character Porat might describe it.
Most recently he won the Golden Globe Award for Best Actor in a Motion Picture Musical / Comedy and was nominated for two Oscars: Best Adapted Screenplay Borat’s subsequent movie Best Supporting Actor for Chicago trial 7. Although it may not seem that there is anything in common between these two films, Cohen’s super-personalities and his outrageous banter aim to challenge people’s beliefs and conquer the powerful, unlike Abe Hoffman, a counterculture revolutionary in which he is portrayed. Chicago trial 7.
Love him or not, Sacha Baron Cohen is a sophisticated clown and social activist. The clown part began early on with legendary British satirists Peter Sellers and Monty Python. “ The reason I became a comedian was really from the vision Life of Brian When I was about 8 years old, ”Cohen said of the Monty Python movie.
Cohen’s social activity was ignited when he studied the American civil rights movement at Cambridge University. His thesis was titled “The Jewish Black Alliance: The Issue of Identity Errors”. And that’s when Abby Hoffman became one of Cohen’s heroes.
“I was really in awe of my father, someone who was really a true protester who was ready to die to fight injustice,” he says.
Hoffman also knew how to be entertained. In 1968 he was one of the men accused of conspiring to instigate the riots that broke out at the Democratic National Convention in Chicago. Hoffman’s antics in the courtroom were legendary: he stood head-on at the defense table, appearing with friend and fellow defendant Jerry Rubin in court robes. He was charming and forthright Press conferences.
“He really understood the power of humor, intelligence and comedy in revealing the ailments of society,” Cohen says.
to me Prepare On Abby Hoffman’s side, Cohen listened to Hoffman’s speeches and press conferences and read transcripts of the trial. As a writer himself, Cohen was in awe. He even suggested lines to Aaron Sorkin, who wrote and directed Chicago trial 7. And Aaron was kindly saying, “Thank you so much, but we’ll stick with the script,” Cohen jokes.
Courtesy of Amazon Studios
There was no possibility of sticking to the script when Sacha Baron Cohen was making his other Oscar-nominated movie, Borat’s next movie. A cross between the satirical reporters on The Daily Show And the funniness of The Three StoogesCohen impersonates a naive and backward-looking journalist from a mythical version of Kazakhstan. Cohen describes Porat as “racist”, “misogynist” and “anti-Semitic.” When real people spend time with him, thinking they are being interviewed for a foreign documentary or some other excuse, their true beliefs often come to light. “They have a camera in front of them and they can reveal themselves either – it’s horrible, good, or a mixture,” Cohen says.
“Hillary Clinton is drinking the blood of children?” Porat asks QAnon’s followers of Jerry Holman and Jim Russell. They replied, “This is what we heard” and “it was said”.
Without ever crashing the character, Cohen spent nearly a week living with Holman and Russell and, as he says, has become in love with them.
“Certainly, they are conspiracy theorists and many liberals see them as enemies, but I loved them,” he says. “They were also liked by a lot of the people who saw the movie. What you realize is that these are good, ordinary people fed a system of lies and intrigues by politicians and social media.”
For Jonathan Greenblatt, CEO of the Anti-Defamation League, Sacha Baron Cohen is a “very curious” satirist who uses his art to expose the hypocrisy of people in positions of power and popular culture … and he really forces you to face your own prejudices. “
In 2019, Cohen was awarded the International Leadership Award by the Anti-Terrorism League. at Speech Which now has more than two million views, Cohen rebuked the tech giants who control social media as “the greatest propaganda machine in history.”
“Sacha Baron Cohen is also an activist who wants to show himself and use his craft to lead a conversation and make a difference,” says Greenblatt.
Cohen and a small team of writers were nominated for an Academy Award for Best Adapted Screenplay Borat’s next movie. Although the film required constant improvisation, Cohen says they wrote a 90-page script before filming began. In addition to writing lines for each of Porat’s daughter Totar and Porat, he says, “We wrote the lines that we were hoping real people would say, and we got a full read.”
They brought in Hollywood screenwriters Cohen said they thought the script was “cool.” Then they asked him, “Who would you play Mike Pence or Rudy Giuliani?” When Cohen made it clear that they were going to play themselves, people just said, “Well, you’re so crazy and you’ve wasted the last two hours of our life. Thank you very much.”
In a scene from the movie that grabs the headlines, Porat’s daughter Tutar, played by Maria Bacalova, pretends that she The axes Giuliani grilled at a hotel.
“I was definitely astonished before that famous scene in the hotel in New York with Rudy Giuliani,” recalls Bacalova, who was nominated for an Oscar for Best Supporting Actress. “Because he’s a well-established public figure and he’s a politician and I’m not even an American.”
Throughout the filming, Bacalova says, Sacha Baron-Cohen was making constant changes: “There was a script that was constantly evolving every day. They were writing new scenes and new jokes because Sasha is also a perfectionist, so … there is always going to be a better joke.” .
Cohen is serious about the craft of comedy and its power, sticking to something he learned in his early twenties. “I learned under the guidance of the legendary clown master, which seems like a joke in itself, but there is a legendary clown teacher, Philippe Gaulier, who taught this really mysterious form of satire called Buffon,” Cohen says. “The Bouffons were kind of disenfranchised in medieval society. They lived outside the cities and then, once a year, they were allowed to be in villages and cities, and they were doing these plays. The idea was to undermine the institution.”
Cohen says Gaulier once told him, “You are Buffon.”
“I was totally shocked, but I suppose, yeah, I never sought approval from people I don’t respect,” Cohen says.
Otherwise, how could Sacha Baron Cohen spend years performing extremely ambitious pranks raising awareness, sometimes suing him, and winning Oscar nominations?
Nina Gregory edited and Kelly Wessinger produced this story for the radio.