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Did you know that Sacha Baron Cohen has a new movie coming out next Friday? You’d be forgiven for not realizing it, as the marketing for the film has been severely lacking thus far. Sony has apparently been intentionally holding back on the film’s promotion. It seems they’re afraid of the repercussions of what will happen if anybody notices the movie exists. Or more specifically, they’re worried about what will happen if Donald Trump notices it exists.
The Huffington Post is reporting that The Brothers Grimsby contains a scene in which the current Republican Presidential candidate is accidentally infected with HIV. While the sequence is apparently being met with wild applause at screenings in Europe, Sony is afraid that if Trump gets wind of it, he may sue them. Sony went to so far as to ask that the scene be cut from the movie. However, apparently Sacha Baron Cohen’s deal with Sony gives him the final decision on edits, and he won’t do it.
The Brothers Grimsby stars Sacha Baron Cohen and Mark Strong as brothers. One is a super spy and the other is a football hooligan, you can probably guess which is which. We don’t know much about the film beyond what we’ve seen in the trailer, and the fact that some scenes had to be edited to avoid an NC-17 rating.
Sony, for their part, has reason to be gun shy. This is, after all, the same studio who had their computers hacked and threats made against movie theaters by North Korea due to The Interview, a film that Seth Rogen and James Franco made about Kim Jong Un. The studio eventually pulled the theatrical release of that film due to overt threats. Donald Trump has made statements that as President he would be interested in weakening existing libel laws and as the clear frontrunner for the Republican nomination there’s a real possibility he could end up in a position to do that. Sony does not want to be on the bad side of the next President.
Regardless of your political affiliation this is not good news. A movie studio making creative decisions based on who they might upset is not being creative. The President of the United States is going to be made fun of, and insulted, and criticized. It’s part of the job. We'll have to wait and see what happens. If this story gets traction and Donald Trump makes a statement on it, it may impact the film's release.