Click to Skip Ad
Closing in...
Watch: Jesse Eisenberg And Kristen Stewart Go On In The Run In Red Band Trailer For 'American Ultra' Watch: Jesse Eisenberg And Kristen Stewart Go On In The Run In Red Band Trailer For 'American Ultra' The Top 10 Films Of The 2015 Cannes Film Festival The Top 10 Films Of The 2015 Cannes Film Festival 5 Innovative Ways The Michael Fassbender/Marion Cotillard 'Macbeth' Differs From Previous Versions 5 Innovative Ways The Michael Fassbender/Marion Cotillard 'Macbeth' Differs From Previous Versions New ‘Ant-Man’ Photos; Movie May Include More Marvel Cinematic Universe Characters New ‘Ant-Man’ Photos; Movie May Include More Marvel Cinematic Universe Characters Over 30 New 'Jurassic World' Photos, Plus 2 New Clips & Lots Of New TV Spots Over 30 New 'Jurassic World' Photos, Plus 2 New Clips & Lots Of New TV Spots Matt Damon Goes Interstellar Again In New Pics From Ridley Scott's 'The Martian' Matt Damon Goes Interstellar Again In New Pics From Ridley Scott's 'The Martian' Cannes Awards Winners: Jacques Audiard's 'Dheepan' Wins Palme d’Or; Rooney Mara Ties For Best Actress With ‘Carol’ Cannes Awards Winners: Jacques Audiard's 'Dheepan' Wins Palme d’Or; Rooney Mara Ties For Best Actress With ‘Carol’ First Look: Matt Damon As An Astronaut In Ridley Scott’s ‘The Martian’ First Look: Matt Damon As An Astronaut In Ridley Scott’s ‘The Martian’ Cannes Review: Justin Kurzel's 'Macbeth' Starring Michael Fassbender & Marion Cotillard Cannes Review: Justin Kurzel's 'Macbeth' Starring Michael Fassbender & Marion Cotillard Watch: Incredible Vintage Footage Of Audience Reactions To 'The Exorcist' In 1973 Watch: Incredible Vintage Footage Of Audience Reactions To 'The Exorcist' In 1973 Here's The Character Backstory For Doof aka Guitar Flamethrower Dude In 'Mad Max: Fury Road' Here's The Character Backstory For Doof aka Guitar Flamethrower Dude In 'Mad Max: Fury Road' The 10 Most Controversial Cannes Films Ever The 10 Most Controversial Cannes Films Ever More NSFW Posters For Gaspar Noe's 3D 'Love' Plus The Official Director's Statement More NSFW Posters For Gaspar Noe's 3D 'Love' Plus The Official Director's Statement Cannes: Watch A Three Way Makeout In The First Clip From Gaspar Noe’s 3D ‘Love’ Plus New NSFW Image Cannes: Watch A Three Way Makeout In The First Clip From Gaspar Noe’s 3D ‘Love’ Plus New NSFW Image New NSFW, Extremely Graphic, Adults-Only Poster For Gaspar Noe's 'Love' New NSFW, Extremely Graphic, Adults-Only Poster For Gaspar Noe's 'Love' The 25 Best Films Of 2015 We've Already Seen The 25 Best Films Of 2015 We've Already Seen The 25 Best Horror Films Of The 21st Century So Far The 25 Best Horror Films Of The 21st Century So Far The 20 Best TV Shows Of The 2013/2014 Season The 20 Best TV Shows Of The 2013/2014 Season 10 Movies Booed At Cannes 10 Movies Booed At Cannes All The Songs In 'Pitch Perfect' Including La Roux, David Guetta, Azealia Banks, Nicki Minaj & More All The Songs In 'Pitch Perfect' Including La Roux, David Guetta, Azealia Banks, Nicki Minaj & More

Sacha Baron Cohen Chose 'Les Miserables' Over 'Django Unchained,' Explains What His Small Role Would Have Been

Photo of Kevin Jagernauth By Kevin Jagernauth | The Playlist January 3, 2013 at 3:55PM

Most actors would kill to have the kind of "Sophie's Choice" decision Sacha Baron Cohen was faced with about a year ago. Way back in the fall of 2011, it was reported that the comic actor had boarded Quentin Tarantino's "Django Unchained." But six months later, the actor had dropped out (one of a handful who came and went -- like Kevin Costner, Joseph-Gordon Levitt and Anthony LaPaglia -- as the film's production grew longer and longer). So, what gives? Well, it looks like a meatier role coupled with a tight deadline forced him out.
8
Les Miserables Sacha Baron Cohen Helena Bonham Carter

Most actors would kill to have the kind of "Sophie's Choice" decision Sacha Baron Cohen was faced with about a year ago. Way back in the fall of 2011, it was reported that the comic actor had boarded Quentin Tarantino's "Django Unchained." But six months later, the actor had dropped out (one of a handful who came and went -- like Kevin Costner, Joseph-Gordon Levitt and Anthony LaPaglia -- as the film's production grew longer and longer). So, what gives? Well, it looks like a meatier role coupled with a tight deadline forced him out.

"I was editing 'The Dictator' and we were very close to release and Paramount wouldn’t push the date. And then I knew I’d have to jump straight from there into 'Les Mis[erables]' and it basically became a choice of either pulling out of 'Les Mis' or pulling out of 'Django,' " the actor told Deadline. "I’m sure 'Django' is an incredible movie, but it was essentially one scene." (Cohen also said last spring that the press tour for "The Dictator" was also problematic for scheduling).

So who was he going to play? "It was a character by the name of Scotty, whom Leonardo DiCaprio’s character plays a poker game with. The stakes become Scotty’s slave girl, Broomhilda," he said. But there's a bit more to it than that. It was a rather long, tangential flashback explaining how Broomhilda was sold to DiCaprio's Calvin Candie in the first place. The character was Scotty Harmony, who in early drafts was an overweight 24-year-old who comes into possession of Broomhilda thanks to his father, who buys her for him, to help boost his confidence. Harmony's also deeply enarmored by her, and this whole sequence tries to display another ugly secret of the racism of the south: the white men had no problems having black girlfriends known as Ponys in their underground clubs. Whether or not this is another historical fabrication of Tarantino's -- we haven't researched it enough -- it sure sounds like it. And as you know by now, the character and the scene didn't wind up making the final film anyway.

So did Cohen make the right choice? He's certainly bringing some much needed life and levity to "Les Miserables" in theaters now, and the audience we saw the movie with loved his take on "Master Of The House." But either way, 'Django' seems to be doing just fine without him.

This article is related to: Sacha Baron Cohen, Les Miserables, Django Unchained


The Playlist

The obsessives' guide to contemporary cinema via film discussion, news, reviews, features, nostalgia, movie music, soundtracks, DVDs and more.


E-Mail Updates