Sacha Baron Cohen Reveals How He Gets Away with Pranking People

Sacha Baron Cohen. Photo by Matt Baron/REX/Shutterstock (7439369by)

If there’s one man who seems able to get famous people to say awkward things, it’s Sacha Baron Cohen.

The British actor has played the role of several characters throughout the years, including a former Israeli operative, a gang member, and a journalist from Kazakhstan.

His undercover interviews have encouraged everyone from politicians to ordinary citizens to say everything from ridiculous and racist things, to things that could even be incriminating.

But how does he pull it off?

Don Cheadle asked Baron Cohen just when the two sat down for Variety’s Actors on Actors series.

“You are very popular and famous, and I would recognize you anywhere,” the Avengers actor said. “Have you ever been busted?”

The star of This Is America detailed a production test where he wore a massive wig for a scene set in a gun store. “The guy immediately looked at me and goes, ‘I know you.’ With recognition, it happens within the first second. There’s a part of the brain that recognizes the face,” Cohen said.

The consequence was hiring a top make-up and special effects designer who would spend 5 to 6 hours creating a look each time there was a shoot.

The results speak for themselves.