Tajikistan has decided not to screen Sacha Baron Cohen’s latest offering, The Dictator, after authorities ruled that the movie was incompatible with the nation’s “mentality”.
The Dictator, which features Sacha Baron Cohen as General Aladeen, depicts a fictional Middle Eastern dictator risking his life to crush signs of democracy, has been refused a distribution license.
“It’s wrong to compare us with Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan and with other countries,” said Daler Davlatov of the Tatan distribution company in Tajikistan.
“It’s incorrect because we have a different mentality. We’re not going to give Dictator a premiere because of these considerations,” he told the Kyrgyz news website kloop.kg.
Tajikistan’s distributor of international movies, Tantana, said it would instead encourage people to watch Will Smith’s Men in Black 3, the Central Asian News Service reported yesterday.
The Dictator, which features Sacha Baron Cohen as General Aladeen, depicts a fictional Middle Eastern dictator risking his life to crush signs of democracy, has been refused a distribution license in Tajikistan
Sacha Baron Cohen has already denied the role was an attack on Arabs and said the only people who would be offended by it would be “dictators and fans of dictatorship”.
It’s not the first time Sacha Baron Cohen has had his work censored – in 2006 Russia banned his hit comedy film, Borat, which had been accused of poking fun at Moscow’s neighbor and close ally Kazakhstan.
Tajikistan is an ex-Soviet state ruled by President Emomalii Rahmon since 1992.
A rugged, mountainous country, Tajikistan is Central Asia’s poorest nation.
One Tajik political scientist, Muso Asozoda, forecast the ban would be similarly counterproductive as the Borat ban.
The fact that two cinema’s in Dushanbe , the capital and largest city of Tajikistan, were not screening the film would add viewer interest, he told the Guardian newspaper.
This week Sacha Baron Cohen claimed he was banned from shooting scenes for his new film The Dictator at the United Nations because it might upset real-life despots.
He said: “The interesting thing is, when we asked to shoot inside the United Nations, they actually refused.
“We said <<this is a pro-democracy movie>>. They said <<that’s the problem – we represent a lot of dictators, and they are going to be very angry by this portrayal of them so you can’t shoot in there>>.”
This week Sacha Baron Cohen, 40, continued his array of stunts to promote the film by arriving at the 65th Cannes Film Festival in a bright orange Lamborghini.
The actor was in full character as General Aladeen and was once again surrounded by an array of beautiful women who were dressed as his bodyguards.
Wearing a blue denim-looking jumpsuit that was covered in badges and images of the character, Sacha Baron Cohen kept a cigar hanging from his mouth at all times and played up to the camera as he kept a close eye on his female friends – in particular model Sasha Volkova who wore a black dress.
He completed his look with a pair of snakeskin boots and some blue-tinted sunglasses as he strolled around outside the French venue.
Sacha Baron Cohen then made his way over to another lady and enjoyed a quick kiss as he filmed a slot for the Le Grand Journal TV show.
Sacha Baron Cohen already caused a stir promoting his new film The Dictator when he tipped Kim Jong-Il’s “ashes” over Ryan Seacrest at the Oscars in February.
Now, the London-born comedian has controversially attacked Queen Elizabeth II in a new trailer for The Dictator made especially for the UK.
Sacha Baron Cohen wished Her Majesty well for her upcoming “blood diamond” jubilee and said he hoped it was a smooth transition when Prince Charles kills her and takes the throne.
The hyped-up film tells the story of a fictional leader, General Aladeen, who is thought to be based of Kim Jong-Il and Saddam Hussein, of the fictional Republic of Wadiya.
In an intro to the latest trailer, the bearded character, played by Sacha Baron Cohen, is seen sitting on a chair surrounded by gun-wielding plebs.
He addresses the camera, saying: “I would like to congratulate your dictatoress Elizabeth on her blood diamond jubilee and I hope it is a smooth transition when her son Charles eventually kills her and seizes power.”
Sacha Baron Cohen wished Her Majesty well for her upcoming “blood diamond” jubilee and said he hoped it was a smooth transition when Prince Charles kills her and takes the throne
A news report is then shown that says tensions are rising between the world community and the “rogue North African Wadiya” intensified when United Nations weapons inspectors were refused access to the country by General Aladeen.
It cuts to a clip of U.S. president, Barack Obama, saying he will “take no options off the table”.
The report than delves into the background of Aladeen and he is seen as a baby with a full beard.
The voiceover says he did not know his mother who died in childbirth – but a clip is shown of her being smothered with a pillow.
The only son of dictator, Omar Aladeen, he is said to have gained power at the age of seven.
He apparently changed more than 300 words to “Aladeen” including the words negative and positive, causing mass confusion.
A clip is shown of a man in a doctor’s surgery being asked if he wants the “Aladeen news or the Aladeen news” and he is told he is “HIV Aladeen”.
The dictator even launched his own Olympic games and is seen winning a sprint race by shooting his opponents.
He won 14 gold medals at the games.
Sacha Baron Cohen caused chaos at the Oscars in February when he arrived dressed as Aladeen and emptied an urn of “ashes” over Ryan Seacrest on the red carpet.
He told the E! presenter: “These are the ashes of my good friend Kim Jong-Il and it was his dream to come to the Oscars and be scattered on the red carpet and on Halle Berry’s chest.”
On Monday, Sacha Baron Cohen attended CinemaCon in Las Vegas dressed as the character.
As he approached the stage, he jokingly asked a member of the crowd: “How much for your daughter?”
Then, after referring to CinemaCon as “Cinnabon,” Sacha Baron Cohen he spoke of his love of movies such as When Harry Killed Sally, 14-Year-Old Virgin and the “family comedy” Planet of the Rapes.
He also took a swipe at DreamWorks Animation chief Jeffrey Katzenberg and recently departed Walt Disney Studios chairman Rich Ross.
On Jeffrey Katzenberg, who had just finished his presentation promoting Madagascar 3 and Rise of the Guardians, Sacha Baron Cohen said: “I thought I was the only dictator speaking tonight. So imagine my surprise when I found out that Jeffrey Katzenberg was speaking. He rules with an iron fist.”
Sacha Baron Cohen then threatened the exhibitors to put The Dictator in their theaters, or he would detonate bombs underneath their seats.
“Is that chewing gum underneath your seat? Certainly they are not plastic explosives. Trust me, there are bigger bombs than John Carter. Just shoot the executive behind that. Oh – wait, you did,” he said, referring to Rich Ross’ recent departure from Disney.
Sacha Baron Cohen urged the audience to see a screening of The Dictator later that evening, promising free Rolexes, blood diamonds, and young girls “or boys, if you are from DreamWorks”.
British comedy actor Sacha Baron Cohen was escorted off the Oscars red carpet after a publicity stunt for his new film, The Dictator.
Sacha Baron Cohen arrived in character as a middle eastern leader and claimed to be carrying the ashes of former North Korean leader Kim Jong-Il.
In an interview with US TV host Ryan Seacrest, Sacha Baron Cohen said it was Kim Jong-Il’s dying wish “to be sprinkled over the red carpet and over Halle Berry’s chest”.
He then tipped the urn over the host, covering his tuxedo in white dust.
Sacha Baron Cohen, who is known for outrageous publicity stunts in films like Borat and Bruno, was bundled off the red carpet by security guards.
Turning to the camera, Ryan Seacrest said: “Anything can happen and it most certainly did, all over my lapel.”
Sacha Baron Cohen stopped by security to pour the ashes on the red carpet at Oscars 2012
Sacha Baron Cohen’s film, The Dictator, is expected to be released in March. He was invited to the Oscars as a cast member of Martin Scorsese’s multiple award nominee Hugo.
There had been reports during the week that he had been forbidden to attend the ceremony after asking to arrive in character as Admiral General Aladeen – which the Academy denied.
In response, Sacha Baron Cohen posted a statement to General Aladeen’s Twitter account.
“VICTORY IS OURS! Today the Mighty Nation of Wadiya triumphed over the Zionist snakes of Hollywood.
“Evil and all those who made Satan their protector were vanquished and driven into the Pacific Sea. What I am trying to say here is that the Academy have surrendered and sent over two tickets and a parking pass! TODAY OSCAR, TOMORROW OBAMA!”
After the red carpet stunt, Moneyball actor Jonah Hill, who was up for best supporting actor, said: “I guess the Oscars isn’t the best place to sell your movie. I think he’s a funny guy, though.”
“Ryan’s mouth dropped open on live TV,” laughed Jackie Collins.
“But that’s what makes live TV good.
“I don’t think Ryan was very pleased, but I don’t think I’d be very pleased.”
Piers Morgan commented it was “just another day in Hollywood”.
30 Rock actress Tina Fey saw the funny side, and crossed herself over the ashes as she walked past.
Speaking to BBC 5 live, Jay Leno said: “Only in Hollywood does that dictator override Libya” as a major news story.
“And somehow that’s more shocking.
“It’s certainly worse than anything Gadaffi or Assad could possibly have done.”
Comedian Steve Martin said: “I love Sacha Baron Cohen”, and joked that the red carpet shouldn’t be sacred ground.
“It should be 12% respect, 23% levity and 13% joy.”
It is not the first time Sacha Baron Cohen has used industry events to promote his movies.
In 2006, Sacha Baron Cohen arrived at the Toronto International Film Festival dressed as Borat, the main character from the hit comedy.
In 2009, Sacha Baron Cohen went to the MTV Video Music Awards as flamboyant fashion critic Bruno, to promote his movie of the same name.
During the show Sacha Baron Cohen was launched into the air wearing a harness and landed in the lap of US rap star Eminem, who stormed out – although it was later reported that the musician had been in on the joke.