Maybe you've heard of this guy Brüno? He's been hanging out in Spain dressed like a bull who likes to show off a little skin and in London marching down the street with a bunch of sexed-up palace guards. Why? Because he's fabulous, naturally. And because he's got this movie — surely the year's most anticipated flick about a gay Austrian fashion reporter who journeys to America to become super-duper famous — coming out on Friday (July 10), and he's been sashaying across the globe to make sure every man, woman and child knows his name.
Exhausting work, no doubt, but Sacha Baron Cohen — the comic chameleon behind Brüno — has traveled this masquerading road before. Starting with his U.K. comedy program "Da Ali G Show" and up through 2006's surprise blockbuster "Borat," Cohen has made his characters into internationally beloved institutions — and along the way offended pretty much everyone anywhere in the world. And yet we're still begging for more.
So here comes "Brüno," a man who never met a guy he wouldn't hit on, a man who thrusts himself into insane real-life situations in the name of comedy, a man unafraid to take his pants off during an interview with former presidential candidate Ron Paul. You'll laugh, you'll laugh some more, you'll wonder how in the world he got away with it all. But one thing you won't be is unprepared after you read MTV's "Brüno" Cheat Sheet.
Before the Gay Austrian, There Was the Clueless Kazakhstani
While Cohen's "Ali G" show appeared on U.K. TV and in the States on HBO, he first came to worldwide fame in the guise of Borat. Very nice! This Kazakhstani journalist took the globe by storm with misadventures involving women's rights groups, unsuspecting local news outlets and Pamela Anderson. The movie became a surprise #1 box-office smash on its way to grossing over $260 million worldwide.
Just weeks later, news of a possible second Cohen film surfaced. "We've talked a lot about [a sequel]," producer Jay Roach told MTV News. "We have talked about ideas to try different stuff."
The idea Cohen and his crew settled on was taking Brüno — who appeared as a Mohawked fashion reporter on "Ali G" — to the big screen. Filming got under way in 2007, and Brüno sightings began to pop up all over the Web. Clearly, the newly blond Austrian would not be able to fly under the radar the way the mustachioed Kazakhstani had.
Thus Cohen's team created 30 or more fake companies, complete with detailed artificial Web sites, to dupe unsuspecting interview subjects into taking part in the film. And, of course, the production also had to contend with journalists desperate for any sort of inside scoop.
"Um, no comment?" Roach told us when we dug for details in May of 2008. "I can't really say, because you know how it goes. It's good to let people try to guess."
After all this tight-lipped buildup, the first red-band trailer hit the Web in April and gave us outrageous public stunts, nude bedroom brawls and adult toy fights. Shortly afterward, we got a look at the first poster. Then MTV debuted the green-band trailer as part of our "Behind the Screen" movie special. And in the weeks since, we've talked with Brüno about his movie, his fashion opinions and his love for Robert Pattinson.
Starting with the first bit of footage we saw, we've been doing some serious opinion-making and outright wild speculation. After taking in some sneak-peek clips in March, we told you that " 'Brüno' somehow makes 'Borat' look like child's play, upping the ante on Cohen's aggressively offensive, squirm-worthy hilarity." Once the first trailer hit, we did our best to piece together the various elements into a spoiler-filled guess at what the actual film would look like. And once Paula Abdul declared that she was in fact one of Brüno's unwitting interview victims, things began to fall into place.
Making Magic at the MTV Movie Awards
What else can be said of the truly unforgettable moment when Brüno plunged onto Eminem's head during the awards show on May 31? It was an epic moment, spawned days of controversy, and assured that if you didn't know Brüno before, you definitely did now.
Where can Sacha Baron Cohen go from here? After "Borat," no one thought he'd be able to pull off the same stunts with "Brüno." And yet, he did. Is there another character — perhaps faux hip-hop journalist Ali G himself — that Cohen can usher into the cinema? Or will the comedian strike out into other types of movies? He appeared in Ferrell's "Talladega Nights" and there are rumors of other projects he might join. Whatever he chooses to do next, though, we've learned that the guy can pretty much do whatever his sick, twisted, amazing mind can dream up.
Check out everything we've got on "Brüno."
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