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BRUNO

Pull It Off Again: Shooting The Extreme Comedy
Following the global spotlight cast on Borat, the worldwide filmic journey of Austria's most famous fashionista (and the host of Funkyzeit Mit Brüno) began with the filmmakers' simple question of "Can we pull this off again?” Turns out it was possible…if they could keep their star and creative force both out of jail and alive until the end of the shoot.

If director Larry Charles and producers Sacha Baron Cohen, Dan Mazer, Jay Roach and Monica Levinson discovered nothing else from their time on Borat, they learned to live by one rule: "Know and obey the law, and always have an escape plan.” They were sure that if Baron Cohen got arrested or hurt, the production would have to shut down and they could be delayed for weeks. That maxim informed every aspect of the production, and they were able to stick to that plan. Well, all but once.

While the majority of films have a strict daily schedule in which cast and crew know what is expected of them, the Brüno team didn't enjoy that luxury. Each afternoon before a day of production, the group had to determine what they would lens the next day. They plotted their course, got on the scene and shot in rapid-fire succession. Then, it was off to the next locale to push the limits without breaking the law.

Believing it was crucial to top the extreme comedy they'd achieved with Borat, the team moved the needle much further on this production and had more serious police encounters than before. It didn't stop there. The crew found themselves receiving calls from the FBI warning of death threats and dodging clenched fists, angry mobs and loaded guns at every step of the way.

Experience from Borat had taught that the entire cast and crew had to be on board (and working with the utmost confidentiality) to make sure that the guerilla filmmaking worked. From Baron Cohen's getting hauled away by the Milanese police after filming a show-stopping appearance at designer Agatha Ruiz De La Prada's event to his interrogation and strip search by the officers, there was never a dull moment on the globetrotting set.

Once initial scenarios (e.g., Brüno will be tossed out of a big fashion event, flirt with shocked subjects and interview celebrities on their humanitarian efforts) were agreed upon by Baron Cohen and his fellow writers, research began to find the best venues to visit and people to experience. The results captured on film would dictate next steps.

Over the course of 19 non-consecutive weeks during an entire year, the "welloiled and completely disorganized machine” shot footage. By staying small, stealthy and relying upon the talents of a confidential pack of people, they were able to capture what's never been seen before on film.

Traveling in five vehicles (three vans, one getaway minivan and one RV that doubled as a production room and changing room), the cast and crew made their way across America, Europe and the Middle East. Traversing Los Angeles, New York City and Washington, D.C., to Kansas, Texas, Alabama and Arkansas in America to London, Berlin, Paris and Milan in Europe and Jordan and Israel in the Middle East, they kept an exhausting schedule. Below is only a sampling of their outrageous stories.

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