British actor and comedian Sacha Baron Cohen unveiled his latest fictional alter-ego at the premiere of “Grimsby” on Monday night, an English beer-drinking soccer fan called Nobby.
Cohen, known for his satirical characters Ali G, Kazakh reporter Borat and Austrian fashionista Bruno, walked the chilly London red carpet as Nobby drinking from a beer can and without trousers — just a polo neck and underwear.
In the film, Nobby, a resident of the northern English town Grimsby, is caught up in a world-saving mission when he reconnects with his long lost brother Sebastian, a spy portrayed by “Kingsman: The Secret Service” actor Mark Strong.
The action comedy has sparked some controversy over how it paints the town. In a tongue-in-cheek answer, 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 80 percent of the mothers aren’t old enough to see it,” he said.
“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.”
Director Louis Leterrier said he was hopeful Grimsby residents would enjoy the movie.
“I think they will love it,” he said.
“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 of Grimsbys in France or in America … It bashes people of London more than it bashes people of Grimsby.”
“Grimsby”, which also stars Cohen’s wife Isla Fisher, Australian comedienne Rebel Wilson and Spanish actress Penelope Cruz, is released in the UK on Feb. 24, and in U.S. cinemas as “The Brothers Grimsby” on March 11.
By Helena Williams