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BRUNO

Dangerous Cage Fights
Aside from interviewing the terrorist leader in the Middle East, one of the most dangerous stunts during the production was the cage fight in which Brüno realizes the love of his life is in the ring with him. As they ensured during most scenes shot for the film, director Charles and the producers booked a back-up venue in case they didn't get the right material on the first day of shooting. If needed, they could intercut with footage and salvage the bit. They knew that once word was out that the production was in town, it would spread like wildfire; they had to stay one step ahead of the public.

Nowhere did the filming get more dangerous, however, than when interviewees and other subjects of the film saw the relationship develop between Brüno and his traveling companion, Lutz.

In early June 2008, the production worked with a venue in Texarkana, Arkansas, to host a night of "Blue Collar Brawlin'” in which audiences would watch ultimate wrestling and get cheap beer. Brüno, transformed from hard months of life on the American roads learning how to be heterosexual, would battle it out with anyone who dared to challenge the macho man he'd become. This set-up would involve pushing the strict local and state morality standards to the edge.

It was vitally important for the production to avoid breaking any statutes or codes, and they always made certain they were on the right side of the law. As well, the team didn't want to take chances with angry officers and made every effort to keep the police apprised and on their side. It didn't hurt, however, to know they were close enough to two other states if they had to escape Texarkana.

The first night, the venue in Southwestern Arkansas would initially only supply police to serve as the arena's security guards. But once the production told the officers that the audience might get unnerved when—during the course of the evening's entertainment—two men kissed, the police reply was that they wouldn't cover the event. They would, however, come back if any audience members called in a complaint and problems arose. And did they ever.

The cast and crew were now on their own. As a producer, writer, creator and star of the comedy, Baron Cohen knew that it would be impossible for him to perform in character if he was concerned about his team's safety. Moments after the first embrace between the two men, chairs were pulled up and tossed, a fighter who had been watching from the audience climbed into the cage and challenged Baron Cohen to a fight. Director Charles got none of the footage he needed, but Baron Cohen and the crew escaped just in time. The police did not return to the scene.

Overnight, they moved the entire operation several hours to the north to Fort Smith, Arkansas. Once there, the Brüno team was contacted by the Fort Smith police about what happened in Texarkana; these officers were reluctant to cover the event. As police were the only security certified to man the convention center, the production thought they were out of luck. Fortunately, the producers met with the chief of police and several other officers to secure the clearance needed. They left the meeting armed with a list of city ordinances that were stricter than the Arkansas state rules.

Lessons learned, for the Fort Smith event, the team made sure there were no glass bottles that could be used as projectiles, and they wired chairs together so fans couldn't pick them up and lob them into the ring.

Seconds after the kiss, attendees became furious. Soon after, one member of the crowd unwired a chair and threw it at Baron Cohen's head. At that point, it was a near riot and the performers were rushed from the premises. Audience members and other fighters alike were screaming epithets and surrounding the bus and the field team. It ended after a stand off that last

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