Sacha Baron Cohen talks about reviving his signature character Borat a dimwitted, anti-Semitic, sexist TV journalist from Kazakhstan and playing Abbie Hoffman in the real-life activist in the film The Trial of the Chicago 7.
Actor and writer Sacha Baron Cohen is famous for taking his characters — Ali G., Borat, Bruno — into the real world, interacting with people who have no idea that they're dealing with a fictional character. But his new movie, The Dictator, is a scripted comedy about a tyrant on the loose in New York.
When Sacha Baron Cohen grants an interview, it's usually in character -- as Borat, the clueless faux-Kazakh journalist; or as Bruno, the outrageously shallow, ostentatiously gay Austrian fashionista at the center of Cohen's most recent film. Today, though, Cohen joins Fresh Air as himself, for a conversation with Terry Gross and Bruno director Larry Charles.
Fresh Air critic at-large John Powers will talk about the events that defined American culture this year. Highlights include the Borat movie, Stephen Colbert's speech at the White House correspondent's dinner, George Allen's use of a racial slur during the 2006 U.S. Senate race in Virginia, and the rise of YouTube.com as a mechanism for rapid dissemination of information. John Powers is also a critic for Vogue magazine.
The controversial new hit film Borat provides insight into how documentary and reality TV are really made. These programs all shape and color their characters, whether their intention is farce or sober assessment of a serious subject.