Click to Skip Ad
Closing in...
First Look: Adam Driver, Lupita Nyong’o, And More In 'Star Wars: The Force Awakens' First Look: Adam Driver, Lupita Nyong’o, And More In 'Star Wars: The Force Awakens' First Look: Harley Quinn & The Entire 'Suicide Squad' Cast In Full Costume First Look: Harley Quinn & The Entire 'Suicide Squad' Cast In Full Costume Director Josh Trank Reportedly Fired From His ‘Star Wars’ Film For “Erratic" Behavior On The ‘Fantastic Four’ Set Director Josh Trank Reportedly Fired From His ‘Star Wars’ Film For “Erratic" Behavior On The ‘Fantastic Four’ Set Robert Downey Jr. Trashes Indie Moviemaking, Fires Back Over Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu's Superhero Diss Robert Downey Jr. Trashes Indie Moviemaking, Fires Back Over Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu's Superhero Diss First Look: Clear Photos Of Ben Affleck In Costume From 'Batman V. Superman: Dawn Of Justice' First Look: Clear Photos Of Ben Affleck In Costume From 'Batman V. Superman: Dawn Of Justice' Kristen Stewart Says "Hollywood Is Disgustingly Sexist," Questions When Actresses Decide To Go Nude Kristen Stewart Says "Hollywood Is Disgustingly Sexist," Questions When Actresses Decide To Go Nude Warner Bros' DC Comics' Franchise Is Reportedly A Big Movie Universe Without A Clear Leader Warner Bros' DC Comics' Franchise Is Reportedly A Big Movie Universe Without A Clear Leader Data On Netflix Original Programming Reveals Everyone Is Watching 'Daredevil,' Not Tuning Into 'Bloodline' Data On Netflix Original Programming Reveals Everyone Is Watching 'Daredevil,' Not Tuning Into 'Bloodline' Rumor: Asa Butterfield Is The Frontrunner To Play Marvel's Spider-Man Rumor: Asa Butterfield Is The Frontrunner To Play Marvel's Spider-Man Rumor: Jared Leto's Joker To Appear In 'Batman V. Superman: Dawn Of Justice' Rumor: Jared Leto's Joker To Appear In 'Batman V. Superman: Dawn Of Justice' Ranked: All The Characters Of The Marvel Cinematic Universe Ranked: All The Characters Of The Marvel Cinematic Universe Marion Cotillard, Léa Seydoux, Vincent Cassel & More To Star In Xavier Dolan's Next Film 'Only The End Of The World' Marion Cotillard, Léa Seydoux, Vincent Cassel & More To Star In Xavier Dolan's Next Film 'Only The End Of The World' Cannes: New Images From 'Macbeth' Starring Michael Fassbender And Marion Cotillard Cannes: New Images From 'Macbeth' Starring Michael Fassbender And Marion Cotillard Plot Details And Opening Sequence Revealed For Gaspar Noe's 3D Cannes Midnight Movie 'Love' Plot Details And Opening Sequence Revealed For Gaspar Noe's 3D Cannes Midnight Movie 'Love' 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 Check Out Teaser Posters For Gaspar Noe's 'Love' & Nicolas Winding Refn's 'The Neon Demon' Check Out Teaser Posters For Gaspar Noe's 'Love' & Nicolas Winding Refn's 'The Neon Demon' 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 Best To Worst: Every Marvel Movie Ranked Best To Worst: Every Marvel Movie Ranked

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