“Oh yeah. ‘The Artist.'” Cheap shot but that crossed my mind the other day. It wasn’t until a press release hit earlier this week announcing a theatrical re-release for the film* that I gave much thought to the season we just concluded in February. It’s interesting, sometimes, to note the quick burn-off takeaway…if there is one.
But with Sacha Baron Cohen’s “The Dictator” (all 75 minutes of it) making its way to theaters next weekend, I can’t help but recall poor Ryan Seacrest on the red carpet — covered in the “ashes” of Kim Jong-il. I might have mentioned it while live-blogging that night (ugh), but I don’t think we ever posted it, so we might as well now.
Meanwhile, Cohen was on Howard Stern earlier this week promoting the film, touting it as one of few out-of-character interviews he’s done. In true Stern fashion it was a fantastic interview and covered a wide range of topics (including the since oft-reported news break that the actor is no longer a part of Quentin Tarantino’s “Django Unchained.”)
Eventually they got around to “Hugo,” the Oscars and awards shows in general, with plenty of discussion about the Seacrest incident. I thought I’d excerpt that section, so have a listen below. They naturally go off on a few tangents (one of them detailing Cohen’s working relationship with Martin Scorsese on “Hugo”), but it’s worth a listen.
“Why we chose him other than somebody else, maybe to, you know, it’s maybe slightly symbolic that it’s all about the fashion and all about the suits and his suit gets a little bit of powder on it,” Cohen said. “It’s not the end of the world…I thought he would have taken it better and then I remember while it was happening I saw his face and I saw he was genuinely shocked and a little bit upset. And then I felt a bit bad, so I went and spoke to him. I sent him a new jacket.”
Seacrest happened to be backstage at “Saturday Night Live” last weekend when Cohen was there to promote “The Dictator” (in character as General Admiral Aladeen for a “Weekend Update” bit). He recently detailed to E! Online the sincere apology Cohen offered for the shenanigans.
“He comes off stage, comes over to me, breaks character and says, ‘Sorry about the Oscars. It wasn’t personal,'” Seacrest said. Cohen was “very, very apologetic and genuine and kind and sweet” the radio and television personality added.
Nevertheless, at a recent New York junket for the film (at which all questions had to be submitted beforehand and pre-approved), Cohen — as Aladeen — kept the barbs coming. “Please, this wasn”t the first time an Asian man poured all over [Seacrest”s] chest,” he said. Yikes.
Have a look at the Oscars incident and Cohen’s SNL appearance below. And finally, the excerpt from the Stern interview, which goes on for about 16 minutes or so.
“The Dictator” opens Friday, May 18.
*The “re-release” is actually more of a re-expansion as “The Artist” been on at least 40 screens since its first big expansion. And by the way, it’s raked in $130 million worldwide on a $15 million budget and whatever Weinstein may have paid for acquisition and P&A.