British actor Sacha Baron Cohen unveiled his latest fictional alter-ego at the world premiere of 'Grimsby' in London on Monday (February 22) - a beer-swigging soccer hooligan called 'Nobby' who decided to walk the red carpet without trousers on.
'Nobby' arrived at the premiere with a crowd of bikini-clad women, and a group of his 'kids' who were also holding beer cans.
Cohen has previously pulled publicity stunts dressed as characters from his other films, including turning up as Kazakhstani TV reporter Borat in a wagon pulled by a "peasant woman" at Toronto Film Festival in 2006 for the film's release. He is known for other characters including hip-hop personality 'Ali G', and Austrian fashion icon 'Bruno.' In 'Grimsby', 'Nobby', a resident of the Lincolnshire town, finds himself caught up in a mission to save the world when he reconnects with his long lost spy brother Sebastian (Mark Strong, 'Kingsman: The Secret Service') after 28 years.
The film has generated some controversy for portraying Grimsby and its residents in a negative light. But in a tongue-in-cheek answer, Baron Cohen as 'Nobby' said that he was more concerned about the film's rating.
"You know, a lot of them (Grimsby residents) are very upset because it's got rated a 15, so that means almost eighty per cent of the mothers aren't old enough to see it. But you know we're going to show the film there and I think, you know probably people will be throwing stuff at the screens, screaming, literally chucking bricks at the cinema. And if they don't like the film then it's going to be chaos," he said.
Strong and director Louis Leterrier ('The Transporter') said they hoped Grimsby residents would enjoy the film.
"I think they will love it. I think you know, Grimsby is an idea, there is a Grimsby in every country, there are many Grimsbys in England, there are many types if Grimsbys in France, or in America or everything, so I think it's just an idea. Call it something. It bashes people of London more than it bashes people of Grimsby," Leterrier said.
'Nobby' quipped, "No offence but you (Londoners) are a bunch of shandy-drinking, southern bastards. And I mean that as a compliment." The actor was joined by his wife and actress, Isla Fisher, who plays Jodie, Sebastian's love interest, in the film. When asked which character she'd like to see Baron Cohen take on next, she said: "I'd like to play him like an Italian chef, I think that would be hilarious." With the Oscars less than a week away on February 28, 'Nobby' also offered his opinion on the diversity row, saying that 'Grimsby' was 'ruled out' because they cast Oscar-nominated actress Gabourey Sidibe ('Precious').
"I just want to say we do not desire an Oscar at all, and that is why we cast an African American actress. We just threw away all our Oscar chances. There we go, sorry. Academy, we've already been ruled out," he said.
Sidibe added that as a black actress she hoped for more diversity, "especially the Oscars." 'Grimsby' is released in the UK on February 24, and in the US as 'The Brothers Grimsby' on March 11.