The director of this year’s slick magic drama Now You See Me and such tentpole fare as Clash Of The Titans and 2008′s The Incredible Hulk will direct Sacha Baron Cohen in Paramount‘s Grimsby, a spy comedy written by Baron Cohen and Phil Johnson. The plot centers on a British black ops agent forced to go on the run with his long-lost brother — a northern English soccer hooligan. Our sister pub Variety broke the Louis Leterrier news first.
Catch up with the best of this week’s film stories on Deadline:
The Day JFK Was Shot: 50 Years Later, Hollywood Remembers
By Dominic Patten - In remembrance of the 35th president, I asked some of the industry’s most notable and insightful individuals — a few of whom had seen JFK just before his death — where they were when they heard the news of the shooting and what they experienced that day. Here’s what they told me…
AFM: Schlock Still Rocks In Santa Monica
By Dominic Patten – Allow me to butcher a Mark Twain quote and say that rumors of schlock’s demise have been greatly exaggerated…
Adam Sandler’s Happy Madison Partner Jack Giarraputo Plots Retirement
By Mike Fleming Jr. – EXCLUSIVE: This week, Jack Giarraputo has been telling associates at studios like Sony and Paramount that he will retire after he finishes producing the Warner Bros. comedy Blended, and after that the Chris Columbus-directed Pixels for Sony.
Facts Be Damned! How Traffic Trumped Factual Reporting On Tom Cruise-Mark Wahlberg Non-Story
By Mike Fleming Jr. – The digital age has made entertainment industry coverage more exciting, but the race to post and the hunger for eyeballs leads to increasingly shameful reporting of innuendo and flat-out falsehoods.
We gave short shrift yesterday to the video of Sacha Baron Cohen‘s acceptance speech, when he took the stage to accept the Charlie Chaplin Britannia …
There’s no question about it. Charlie Chaplin Britannia Award For Excellence In Comedy winner Sacha Baron Cohen stole the BAFTA-LA ‘s annual Britannia Awards Saturday night with a comedy routine that had half the packed Beverly Hilton audience roaring and the other half shaking in their Jimmy Choos wondering if he had really just killed an elderly woman in a wheelchair – or was it one of his patented tasteless gags? You can see for yourself when the show airs Sunday night on BBC America but the reaction was so visceral in the room host Rob Brydon had to literally calm down the normally more sedate British crowd. Some clearly thought it was real.
At any rate, the bit made the awards gathering memorable for reasons organizers probably didn’t imagine. One BAFTA exec told me later that they were up until 3 AM just trying to clear all the legalities of Cohen’s acceptance bit which involved presenter Salma Hayek on stage with someone rolled out in a wheelchair she very believably identified as Grace Collington, an actress she said appeared with Charlie Chaplin in 1931′s City Lights at the age of five. “At 87, she’s the oldest surviving actor to have worked with Chaplin in a silent movie,” she told the audience as the woman sat there. When Cohen came up to accept his award from them, “Collington” warmly presented him with one of Chaplin’s famous canes. He then proceeded to push her off the stage and she landed face down, motionless and apparently dead on the ground. “Grace Collington is the oldest, sorry, was the oldest… I dedicate my award to her. It’s obviously a tragedy, but on the bright side what a great way to go. She’ll probably make the Oscars In Memoriam section… Anyway tonight is not about her, it’s about me,” he said as the limp body was carried out of the ballroom to rollicking laughter of the sort you rarely hear at these events.
Sacha Baron Cohen is dusting off his first famous alter ego, Ali G, in Ali G: Rezurection. The show, which will premiere on comedy-centric FXX early next year, includes every episode of HBO’s Da Ali G Show …
Los Angeles, September 4, 2013 – The British Academy of Film and Television Arts Los Angeles® (BAFTA Los Angeles) is pleased to announce it will honor actor/writer/producer Sacha Baron Cohen at the 2013 BAFTA Los Angeles Britannia Awards presented by BBC AMERICA on Saturday, November 9, 2013 at the Beverly Hilton Hotel. For the second year in a row, the BAFTA Los Angeles Britannia Awards will be broadcast on BBC AMERICA, airing in primetime November 10, 2013 at 8pm ET as a two-hour special including footage of the Britannia Awards Red Carpet. The Britannia Awards are BAFTA Los Angeles’ highest accolade, a celebration of achievements honoring individuals and companies that have dedicated their careers to advancing the entertainment arts. Sacha Baron Cohen will receive The Charlie Chaplin Britannia Award for Excellence in Comedy.
Anthony D’Alessandro is Managing Editor of AwardsLine.
While awards voters traditionally underestimate the merits of comedians, Sacha Baron Cohen is the best possible proof that a comedic actor can possess a wider range than his dramatic counterparts. Like his idol Peter Sellers, Cohen arrests stereotypes and authority figures through his iconic personalities (flamboyant Austrian fashionista Bruno Gehard; the blunt Kazakhstan journalist Borat Sagdiyev and the fierce Middle Eastern totalitarian Admiral General Aladeen as featured in last summer’s comedy The Dictator). However, Cohen has a leg-up on Sellers in that his alter-egos brilliantly cross the line, as he throws them into real-life clashes with celebrities and politicians, often exposing their prejudices and shortcomings. Equally balancing Cohen’s outrageous laugh facets is his ability to escape into serious roles, (read his turns as Signor Adolfo Pirelli the Barber in Tim Burton’s adaptation of Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber Of Fleet Street, the Station Inspector in Martin Scorsese’s Hugo). This holiday season Cohen continues to generate buzz in his second musical role following Sweeney Todd as the duplicitous, vivacious innkeeper cum Master of the House, Thenardier, in Tom Hooper’s Les Miserables – a part which Cohen takes to another level with his own sense of humor. In 2007, Cohen received a best screenplay Oscar nomination for co-penning Borat: Cultural Learnings Of America For Make Benefit Glorious Nation Of Kazakhstan. This year, he shares an ensemble award SAG nomination for Les Miserables as well as a National Board of Review ensemble win.
AwardsLine: How did the role of Thenardier come to you? Was this a project you always wanted to be a part of?
Sacha Baron Cohen: Actually, I only have a history with Les Mis in that when I came out of university at age 20 or 21, I went through an open audition for the chorus in Les Mis; not even one of the named roles. And there were about 300 people who were lining up outside the Palace Theater in the West End and I passed the first audition which was singing and then they had a group audition for dancing and they taught a little routine. I had no idea how to learn choreographed steps and so I just decided to freestyle and came to the actual audition. There were seven people doing perfectly choreographed steps and then me just doing some very bad breakdancing in the corner and I did not get the role. So, there is a history.
In character as Ali G, Sacha Baron Cohen accepted the British Comedy Academy Outstanding Achievement Award tonight in London. Sir Ben Kingsley presented. The clip is actually funny. Here’s a sample: Ali says things have been so tough, he’s had to buy his track suits in second-hand shops, and turns …
The 65th Cannes Film Festival officially kicked off today with dual press events by Paramount for The Dictator and DreamWorks Animation for Rise Of The Guardians (distributed by Paramount) that provided the only real visible major Hollywood presence. Leave it to Sacha Baron Cohen to cause major trouble and a massive traffic jam as he marched down the Croisette with camel in tow in character as Admiral General Aladeen. An army of paparazzi followed his journey from the Carlton Hotel, to the Le Voilier brasserie across the way (where the entire entrance is plastered with signage from the movie), to Ralph Lauren’s shop next door (where the camel and photogs were left outside). Of course, staging a major Cannes photo stunt like this is expected with his movie opening in the U.S. today. What better way to drum up publicity than to launch a takeover of the Croisette? Like what happened at the Oscars and CinemaCon, things threatened to get out of control as traffic snarled in both directions as far as the eye could see, and the Gendarme grew nervous. But that didn’t faze Baron Cohen, who stopped to shake hands with DWA’s Jeffrey Katzenberg at the Carlton’s outdoor cafe. Reaching out to Baron Cohen — who was a voice actor in DWA’s Madagascar 3, premiering here Friday — Katzenberg was heard yelling “Mr. Dictator! Mr. Dictator!” Never believing too much publicity is enough publicity, Baron Cohen was also scheduled for a Carlton Beach press conference later to continue The Dictator’s international push.
Just before this stunt, Paramount and DreamWorks Animation showed off 25 minutes of its big holiday movie Rise Of The Guardians. Although footage previously was presented to the press in LA and NY as well as to exhibitors at CinemaCon, this was the most detailed look yet at the ambitious toon co-starring Isla Fisher (Baron Cohen’s wife). Called an “animated Avengers“, it was labeled by another co-star Alec Baldwin as “the Justice League of childhood” because the film unites a group of iconic heroes including Santa Claus, the Easter Bunny, the Tooth Fairy, and Jack Frost in order to fight the classic Boogey Man. Guardians has the look and feel of the kind of movie that could turn into a major animated Oscar contender. Giving it even more cred are its executive producers Guillermo del Toro and William Joyce, who won the animated short Oscar this year. The film’s voice cast also includes Chris Pine, Hugh Jackman, and Jude Law.
Sorry but Sacha’s pre-release shtick isn’t getting stale for me – yet. Make sure you watch to the end for the legendary director who makes a cameo…
The actor prepared plenty of material for tonight’s CinemaCon movie marketing event in Las Vegas after he paraded in costume and character through the amused audience of theater owners to promote his upcoming Paramount film The Dictator. Baron Cohen got in digs at Hollywood before a late-night surprise screening elsewhere. “I thought I was going to be the only dictator here tonight,” he said. “Imagine my surprise when I found out Jeffrey Katzenberg would be here.” He told exhibitors: “I hope you show my film on all of your screens… Trust me, there are bigger bombs than John Carter.” Staying with the riff, he urged Disney to “just shoot the executive” responsible for the film. “Wait a minute, you did” — referring to studio chief Rich Ross’s firing. By way of introduction, Baron Cohen claimed to have starred in movies such as “When Harry Kidnapped Sally, The 14 Year Old Virgin, and The Planet Of The Rapes“. As he told the industry audience, “My film will be released on May 16. As for your families, we’ll see.”
If you were watching the Oscar Red Carpet arrivals on Sunday, you saw Sacha Baron Cohen’s character from The Dictator get handled roughly by two burly security guys after dumping what he said were the ashes of North Korean leader Kim Jong Il over Ryan Seacrest’s tuxedo. It looked like he was going to be carted off in handcuffs, but what happened after?
Baron Cohen wasn’t removed. He was merely hustled away from the ash-covered Seacrest, and while he was relieved of his urn, Baron Cohen continued to parade in character for a quarter mile of Red Carpet soundbites. He didn’t attend the Oscars, but that wasn’t the Academy’s choice. I’m told the Academy bent over backwards to welcome Baron Cohen. Aside from okaying his Dictator garb choice, they set aside a dressing room so that he could change into a tux after and attend the ceremony. Once he completed that lap, Baron Cohen then entered the dressing room and emerged in his tux. But he did not use the Oscar tickets; he ducked out, got in a limo and headed right over to Vanity Fair’s viewing dinner party at the Tower Hotel. He never even sat down in the auditorium.
BREAKING: Paramount Pictures has signed Sacha Baron Cohen and his Four By Two Films banner to an exclusive three-year first-look deal. Four By Two Films will be headed by Sir Todd Schulman, who worked on the Baron Cohen films The Dictator and Bruno.
Deal comes after Baron Cohen’s memorable stunt on the Oscar Red Carpet, where he dumped what he said was the ashes of North Korean leader Kim Jong Il over emcee Ryan Seacrest’s tux jacket. All this as the star and studio prepare to release the comedian’s latest film The Dictator on May 11th. They simultaneously have agreed to partner again on Baron Cohen’s next original star vehicle. As part of the arrangement, Paramount has also created a development fund for Baron Cohen to generate projects in the UK to find new talent.
Sacha Baron Cohen Punks Ryan Seacrest: ‘The Dictator’ Spills “Kim Jong Il’s Ashes” All Over Red Carpet Host! (Ryan Unamused)
BREAKING… UPDATE: (See video below) Sacha Baron Cohen just strolled onto the Red Carpet wearing The Dictator‘s full military white uniform in character as General Alladeen from the Middle East Republic of Wadiya. Flanked by two gorgeous women in military mini-skirts, Baron Cohen appears to be holding a funereal urn. (Maybe containing the ashes of the Academy’s integrity?) Ryan Seacrest of E! played along and addressed Baron Cohen as “Dictator” to which sacha responded, “Hello. Death to the West!”
Seacrest asked whom he is wearing. “I’m wearing John Galliano but the socks are from KMart. Saddam Hussein once said to me, ‘Socks are socks. Don’t waste money.” And, yes, that is a funereal urn which Sacha said contained his “dear friend” North Korean dictator Kim Jong Il. “It was his dream to come to the Oscars and to be sprinkled over the Red Carpet and over Halle Berry’s chest again.” (Too bad: Berry pulled out as an Oscars presenter today because of an injury that has her on crutches.)
With that, Baron Cohen opened the urn and ten spilled the ashes all over Seacrest’s Burberry tuxedo and shoes!
Immediately, security men (real or play-acting) pushed Baron Cohen away from Seacrest who didn’t looked amused. “It’s OK. Now if somebody asks you who you are wearing, you can say Kim Jung Il!”
Said the stunned Seacrest, who looked a mess, “I had a feeling he was up to something in some fashion or form. We’ll be right back…”
Here’s the official E! video. Text continues after the jump: