Bruno has been known to ask humorously leading questions. For example, he once asked a designer why his show was so "heavy", and the designer replied that he wanted the audience to feel as if they were being "pulled to Earth". Bruno then asked why the show was so "light", to which the designer replied that he wanted the audience to feel as if they are "in the clouds", although it is obvious that the footage was edited to give the impression that the questions took place in quick succession, as the camera shots are not rolling. Similarly, in S1E3, a stylist talks about a nonexistent nautical theme. In S1E5, noted celebrity hairstylist Jonathan Antin compliments Bruno on his weighty observation of villains such as Adolf Hitler, Joseph Stalin and Saddam Hussein always having a moustache, and good people such as Jesus, Rod Stewart and hippies always having long hair. When asked to tell a deaf youth to have safe sex in S1E5, a clothing store manager sits silent and motionless with his arms spread wide. Bruno allows it go on for 55 seconds, not saying a word, until the man tires.
Having an interviewee take an opposite position on a subject
Often interviewees will state an opinion on a given subject, but Bruno will take them aside to say that there is a problem with their stance. Often, subjects will change opinions to conform to an interview. In S1E5, a clothing store owner initially admits that Madonna has never been to his establishment. Bruno then says that his native country loves Madonna, and that no one would know if facts are embellished. The manager then claims that his store is one of Madonna's favourites, and that she bought 12 to 14 pieces on her last visit. In S1E3, a lower-level employee is convinced to pretend she is a show's fashion designer, Carolina Herrera, when the real one cannot be located. In the following episode, the real Carolina Herrera is interviewed. In S2E3, Bruno interviews two fashionistas about several celebrities' dressing habits. As he encourages them to be harshly critical, they liken Peter Jackson's slovenly appearance at the Oscars to a "mini 9/11". Ultimately, Paris Hilton's appearance is roundly trashed by them. Bruno then pauses the interview to tell them the Hilton Group is a big sponsor. The two men immediately reverse positions and proceed to rave about Ms. Hilton's fashion sense when the interview resumes. In another interview, he had a subject disagreeing with earlier statements simply by asking him the same question with different wording.
In the four episodes set in the American South, Bruno appears as a highly flamboyant gay reporter. His interviews often end in conflict with the interviewee, often on the verge of a physical confrontation. He attempts to play on the stereotype of people from the Deep South being bigoted, as was done extensively in films such as Forrest Gump. However, some of his subjects appear to recognize that he is trying to goad them into saying something politically incorrect and so keep their views quiet. Bruno's southern travels include the following:
Bruno is in Alabama, which he describes as being "the
gayest place in America." At the 2002 Mississippi State
at Alabama football game, Bruno joins the cheerleading line
and is heavily booed by the crowd. A fan says that Bruno
is embarrassing the 85,000 in attendance, and another fan
makes an obscene gesture towards Bruno's camera crew. Bruno
later interviews Alabama running back Shaud Williams. When
asked whether he is allowed to date other members of the
team or must wait until the off-season, Williams responds
with an emphatic and incredulous, "What?" Bruno
continues with his innuendo about Williams's "probable"
homosexuality by asking if the size of his Schwanzenst
ck (faux German term for penis literally meaning "tailpart"), is commensurate with the size of his obviously strong pectorals and thigh muscles. His queries to Williams about what message he might have for the Austrian gay community are met only with calm responses such as, "No one's ever put me in that situation," and an emphatic "I'm not gay," although Williams is visibly annoyed. Bruno's final interviewee, an organizer at a gun and knife show, is not as polite to Bruno's remarks. The organizer claims to be against government intervention which he equates with "the Jewish hand in your pocket", to which Bruno immediately murmurs agreement. Bruno says that from his perspective, freedom means his right to hold his boyfriend Diesel's hand in public, to which the organizer replies, "I'm not too hot on your right to hold hands with your boyfriend, but what you do in the privacy of your own home is your business," and tells Bruno not to "recruit" his children. Bruno calls the man cute and manly. When the man asserts that he likes women, Bruno excuses himself for appearing jet lagged and possibly fat. The man becomes visibly angry, replying, "If you want to be professional, be a professional, don't be some (Apparel Search Note: we removed these curse words)!" In an interview with Howard Stern promoting the second season of Da Ali G Show, Baron Cohen claims that at one point the man took out a gun and chased Bruno and crew out of the establishment.
Bruno interviews a pastor who claims to be a "gay converter." Bruno asks him "so why is being gay so out this season?" and then bombards him with descriptions of homoerotic scenarios, asking if they are truly indicative of homosexuality or if they could be considered isolated incidents. Bruno implies that he is not gay, but continually makes reference to his own homosexual experiences. In keeping with his routine, he also implies the pastor himself is or was at one time gay. At another point in the interview he asks the pastor, "So I can still admire another man's penis in the shower, but the moment I put it in my mouth some sort of line has been crossed?". Toward the end of the interview, Bruno asks the man to affirm or reject certain behaviours by saying "Ach ja" (Oh, yes) or "Nicht, nicht. (Not, not, akin to the expression 'no-no')" Activities that are declared clearly unacceptable include showering with a friend, watching Will & Grace, and being "fabulous," which the pastor claims is "an effeminate lifestyle" according to the Bible. Activities that the pastor considers questionable, depending on circumstances such as with whom or why one is involved, include eating brunch ("If you're eating brunch with Christian friends, and there's no one else around that's gonna seduce you into sin, that's okay. ... Ach ja.") and eating copious amounts of chocolate.
Bruno takes square dancing lessons at a barn dance in Georgia. He takes a liking to Jim, his instructor. While dancing with different partners, he continually asks about Jim, saying, "I'm not going to look, but is he looking at me right now?" He attempts to make Jim jealous, and when dancing in a group, continually attempts to dance with Jim, who is obviously trying to avoid him. He finally confronts Jim and asks him to make his last night in town special. Jim walks away without responding. During the credits roll of Da Ali G Show, an additional Bruno segment is shown where he is at a gun show in Arkansas and interviewing a man named Daniel. Bruno asks what his name is numerous times before asking a few loaded questions including: "What's your biggest gun?" and, "How far can you put it up the poopinschaft before it's dangerous?" Daniel eventually clarifies, " I probably wouldn't use that up the poopinschaft." Bruno asks why he's denying his homosexuality. Daniel says, "Alright now. If you call me gay one more time, I'm fixing to knock every tooth outta your head, you understand what I'm sayin'? Cause I've done told you that I'm not gay." Daniel can see Bruno pondering where to take it from this point. "One more time, I said, so be careful what you say. Be real careful what you say." The credits roll.
The Hollywood Reporter claimed that Sacha Baron Cohen's next film, which was earlier reported to be based on a new character, will be based on Bruno and claimed that the title would be "Bruno: Delicious Journeys Through America for the Purpose of Making Heterosexual Males Visibly Uncomfortable in the Presence of a Gay Foreigner in a Mesh T-Shirt". However, The Hollywood Reporter was incorrect, and that particular title is only a rumor, though the tentative title will still include the name "Bruno" followed by a colon in the same manner as the "Borat" film, another movie based on a Cohen character.
According to reports, negotiations were intense for the rights to Bruno, with Universal Pictures acquiring the worldwide rights to the film for $42.5 million dollars. Jay Roach (Meet the Parents) will produce, as he did on Baron Cohen's second film, Borat: Cultural Learnings of America for Make Benefit Glorious Nation of Kazakhstan.
On June 17, 2008, Universal Pictures announced a release date of May 15, 2009, for the film, but was eventually moved to July 10, 2009.
In the end of March 2008, security was put on red alert when a German film crew member started 'stripping down to tight shorts and dancing in the lobby of Wichita Airport. Central Community Church in Wichita, Kansas also reported that a strange European camera crew showed up to their Easter play with the on air personality in chains. And in Fort Smith, Arkansas, people who bought $5 tickets for what was supposed to be a "Redneck Rumble" mixed martial arts card that featured $1 beer and nearly naked women were shocked to see Cohen (as Bruno) and another male actor stripping down and kissing each other.
Near the end of May 2008, pictures of Bruno with Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger of California were released. In the images, Bruno's appearance is drastically different from his Da Ali G Show counterpart. Most notably, his hairstyle and hair color have altered.
In September 2008, video and photos were released showing Cohen (in character as Bruno) storming the catwalk during an Agatha Ruiz de la Prada fashion show in Milan. Cohen managed to walk down the runway for a few moments before lights were dimmed and security guards escorted him away. This occurred after Cohen and his crew were allegedly stopped by security while attempting to enter backstage at two other shows during Milan's fashion week. Cohen also managed to attend the Stella McCartney show in Paris, he clapped to the music throughout the show and pushed people in the row in front of him out of the way so he could see the models.
On November 2, 2008 Bruno crashed a rally in support of a ballot measure that would ban gay marriage in California. Cohen, in disguise in a blond wig, marched in Los Angeles with demonstrators who support Proposition 8. When photographers and reporters recognized Cohen and tried to approach him, his film crew tried to shield him, and he was eventually whisked away.
The production team also deceived former presidential candidate Ron Paul into being interviewed by Bruno by posing as an Austrian TV show looking to question the congressman about economic issues. According to sources at Slate magazine, the interview starts out normally, but after a staged technical error, Bruno suggests he and Dr. Paul wait in the other room while the crew fixes a light. It is there that Bruno turns on music and begin dancing, which Ron Paul ignores at first. However, as soon as Bruno drops his pants, the congressman storms out of the room. A spokeswoman for Paul commented on the incident. She said Cohen's people were very deceptive in their tactics. At the time, she thought they were "legitimate," but now confesses to some concern. "I'm familiar with his work, so you can imagine how I feel about it," she said. Jesse Benton, senior vice president of Ron Paul's Campaign for Liberty organization and former campaign spokesman for Paul, said Paul was not familiar with Cohen's HBO program, Da Ali G Show. "If it's not on hard-core financial news, he doesn't follow it," Benton said. But, he added, "It sounds like it's going to be pretty funny."
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