Photo Credit: Gareth Cattermole/Getty Images Entertainment
There is no limit to what Sacha Baron Cohen will do for comedy; in fact, he will literally kill for a joke. On the way to the Cannes Film Festival, the Borat star, decked out as the main character of his new film The Dictator, "murdered" Elisabetta Canalis in a deranged publicity stunt.
Here's how it happened. Cohen, 40 -- wearing only a military jacket, fake beard, tiny bathing shorts and sunglasses -- pulled up to the film festival in a luxury yacht, with the Dancing with the Stars alum on deck. After they rubbed suntan lotion on one another, flirted and shared champagne, Canalis, 33, and "General Aladeen" got into a mock fight. Things became heated, and the Italian model was "dragged" below deck by the comedian. A few minutes later, a uniformed soldier (one of Aladeen's "bodyguards") climbed up to the deck carrying a large black body bag, which he and Cohen threw overboard. (And here we thought it was harsh when George Clooney dumped her!)
We could go on about how the stunt is offensive and in terrible taste, but that was obviously the point. Sacha Baron Cohen's whole game is to push buttons in order to get an extreme reaction from people, which he, in turn, plays for laughs. That's what Cohen was doing at this year's Oscars, when he had General Aladeen spill an entire urn full of fake ashes on an unsuspecting Ryan Seacrest.
Such stunts make for good publicity, but they can be trying on a marriage -- as Cohen's wife Isla Fisher is the first to admit.
"Obviously it's not pleasant to say to your husband -- instead of 'Did you pick up the dry cleaning?' or 'Did you pick up someone from a play date?' -- 'Oh wow are we getting sued? Has anyone put a death threat on us?'" Fisher told BBC News at the Wednesday premiere of The Dictator.
But there was one aspect of his new character that she enjoyed.
"The good news is the beard came off in the evening," Fisher said with a smile. "So I did not have to look at the beard, unlike the Borat handlebar mustache, which I was saddled with for months and months."