Stargazing

Sacha Baron Cohen hoaxed F. Glenn Miller but realized the neo-Nazi isn’t funny

While filming 2009’s “Bruno,” Sacha Baron Cohen visited several unsavory spots in the Kansas City region, including F. Glenn Miller’s home and a Westboro Baptist Church protest.
While filming 2009’s “Bruno,” Sacha Baron Cohen visited several unsavory spots in the Kansas City region, including F. Glenn Miller’s home and a Westboro Baptist Church protest. Universal Pictures

Even to Sacha Baron Cohen, some things are off-limits.

The outrageous comedian behind Borat, Bruno and Ali G realized there was absolutely nothing funny about F. Glenn Miller Jr., years before the white supremacist was sentenced to death for killing three people outside Jewish facilities in Overland Park.

On the “WTF Podcast With Marc Maron” on Monday, Baron Cohen (whose spy spoof “The Brothers Grimsby” opens Friday) described his encounter with Miller in Aurora, Mo., during the filming of his 2009 mockumentary, “Bruno.”

“His whole place was full of machine guns and ammunition,” Baron Cohen said. “Even his kitchen.”

The actor — as Austrian fashion reporter Bruno — gave Miller wacky tips on how to promote his hate group. After Bruno’s assistant spilled a drink on the comedian’s pricey white pants, Bruno took them off to be dry-cleaned, leaving him to complete the interview in a thong. Later, an actor playing Bruno’s male lover burst in, demanding to know why the fashionista was in his underwear, keeping company with another man.

Funny? Not to Miller, also known as Frazier Glenn Cross. He came out swinging, and the actors and film crew quickly left. Judging the scene too intense, Baron Cohen cut it.

In other stories from the making of “Bruno,” Baron Cohen said he was almost arrested after a hotel manager called police in the middle of a “disgusting” scene. You may recall that employees at the Hotel Phillips downtown were shocked to find out that the “European man” they thought was making a documentary was actually Baron Cohen.

Here’s how the actor described it: Wearing only a G string, he went out a 17th floor window with his bodyguard to lose hotel security. After climbing down a fire escape, Baron Cohen broke his foot jumping the last 12 feet to a waiting “escape van.” The film was delayed three months, but Baron Cohen never got caught.

For another scene, the actor had to evade police and crash a demonstration by members of Topeka’s Westboro Baptist Church.

What some people won’t do for a movie.

James A. Fussell: 816-234-4460, @jamesafussell

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