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Cohen's Borat Follow-Up: Queering the Deal?

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Only tangentially TV-related, but in the spirit of yesterday’s post, about how homophobia is more pop-culturally acceptable than various forms of racism:

The LA Times reports that Universal’s $42.5 million deal to make Sascha Baron Cohen’s followup to Borat is threatened by many factors, among them that since Borat was so successful, Cohen may be too well-known to dupe people as Bruno, the flaming Euro fashion journalist who is the putative subject of the next movie. (OK… so the movie would have looked like a better investment if Borat had bombed?) But the beauty line in the article is this:

“Some critics question whether Bruno’s flamboyant homosexuality will limit the film’s appeal in certain parts of the country.”

Yeah, if only he were a rabid anti-Semite who also refers to black people as “chocolate faces”! Now, that’s commercial!

To be fair, the parallel isn’t perfect, and I suspect (and hope) the analysis is partly wrong. After all, Talladega Nights pulled in almost $150 million this year, despite–or because of–Cohen’s playing a big old queen of a race driver who planted a wet kiss on Will Farrell’s lips.

I half suspect, anyway, that Cohen has wised up and realized that any character he’s played on TV is now too recognizable to work, and the Bruno concept is a red herring while he secretly works in deep cover as an elderly Vietnamese woman or something.

Let’s just hope she’s straight: some things, apparently, are not safe to joke about when $42.5 million’s on the line.

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