We are sure that Nobby Butcher would like us to inform our audience that no animals were harmed in the making of Grimsby!
Oscar nominee and Golden Globe winner Sacha Baron Cohen – creator of Borat, Bruno and Ali G – is back with a new character: Nobby Butcher, a terminally unemployed but fun-loving football fan who is forced to save the world.
Sacha Baron Cohen is best known for creating wildly original, hilarious characters and putting them in the most unlikely circumstances – from a faux-streetwise hip-hop personality-turned-talk show host, to a Kazakhstani journalist on his first visit to America, to an Austrian fashion icon looking for fame, he has created characters that are impossible to forget. In his new film, Grimsby, Baron Cohen once again invents another wholly original creation – the story of an idiot (Baron Cohen) and his brother, the spy (Mark Strong), with whom he reconnects after 28 years.
Just as in his previous films, Baron Cohen puts the emphasis on a commitment to making the character seem as real as possible. “When writing for Ali G and Borat and Bruno, everything had to be believable. Ali G or Borat could never do anything out of character,” he says. “So when it comes to writing our movies, everything comes from that kind of basis, that pure idea – what would the character do? Sometimes we think of really funny jokes, but they wouldn’t come out of that character’s mouth. It has to be authentic and believable, so we create this real world around the characters for the comedy to exist in.”
For Grimsby, that meant creating a world of spies as real, as believable, and as serious as any action franchise. In short, it couldn’t be a spy spoof. “We wanted to create a real action movie, with the stakes, the great stunts, and the jeopardy of a real action movie – and then throw an idiotic character in the middle of that, and see how that character changes the course of the movie,” says Baron Cohen.
With that in mind, the filmmakers approached Louis Leterrier – one of the most in-demand action-film directors (Now You See Me, The Transporter), to take the helm. Leterrier says that when he was approached to direct Grimsby, he was gratified by the chance to work with a star he had long admired. “I remember, at the beginning of the DVD era, people were passing around DVD box sets of The Ali G Show – ‘Have you seen this stuff?’” Leterrier recalls. “I remember going to see Borat on the day it came out – the 11 am show, first show, and crying laughing, and going to see it again that weekend with friends. That’s what I love about Sacha’s movies – you want to be the first one to see it, and then you want to bring your friends to see their reaction. I was quite starstruck with Sacha, because he was one of the guys that I truly admired.”
It is testament to the action chops of Leterrier that the opening sequence in particular ranks as one of the best action sequences in recent memory.
Such is the esteem in which Baron Cohen is held that the cast including the aforementioned Mark Strong, and also Penelope Cruz, Isla Fisher, Rebel Wilson and Gabourey Sidibe are all up for a bit of fun and attack their characters with gusto.
As with all Sacha Baron Cohen characters, the antics of Nobby Butcher are not for the faint of heart, he delights in working on the borderline of decency, scratch that, leaping over the borderline but Grimsby is a triumph for bad taste and hilarity!
Grimsby is out at Showcase Cinemas Wednesday February 24