“If Ron Paul can’t deal with a gay stereotype cariacture, how’s he supposed to deal with an Mahmoud Ahmadinejad?”

From Terry Gross’s “Fresh Air” interview with Sacha Baron Cohen, regarding the movie Bruno, and the scene with Ron Paul.
GROSS: It’s a really funny scene. But you know, really, seriously thinking about it, like what options did Ron Paul have? He couldn’t very well stay in the room while you’re stripping, you know? So what could he have done?

Mr. COHEN: Well listen, you know, a lot of this comedy is about putting people, hopefully who are good targets, in uncomfortable situations. That’s the experiment. What does somebody as powerful as this, you know, somebody who’s standing to be the leader of the free world, how does he cope with a man dancing in front of him, you know?

(Soundbite of laughter)

Mr. COHEN: It shouldn’t be the biggest challenge in the world considering, you know, if he would’ve got the job he would’ve been in the U.N. facing Ahmadinejad or deciding whether to press the red button. You know, how does this guy – is he going to be able to cope with it if he has a Austrian fashion reporter dance provocatively in front of him in a hotel room? I mean incidentally, on the DVD as well, we’ve got – we did the same scene with Tom Ridge and John Bolton.

GROSS: Oh, and also Gary Bauer, the Christian activist.

Mr. CHARLES: Yeah.

Mr. COHEN: Yes.

GROSS: Yes. And why did you try out several different people – tell us why you did it several different from the political world…

Mr. COHEN: Well, well…

GROSS: …how they reacted differently and why you chose Ron Paul in the end.

Mr. CHARLES: Keep in mind that again, this is one take filmmaking. So if we try with Gary Bauer or John Bolton and it doesn’t quite work, it’s very hard to make that scene work in the movie then. And so we try to do it more than once in different locations with different people, sometimes, if we can get those people.

And in this case, we did it a few times all in one day in Washington. We flew to Washington from Los Angeles, shot this all in one day and then flew back – these four different interviews. And ultimately, Ron Paul was the last and we had refined the process through the four – the three times we had done it previously. And so when Ron Paul came in it just wound up being the funniest version of the scene. And he was also probably the most powerful person of all the four people that we had.

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