Was Bruno's Cage Match Audience Just Liquored Up?
07.09.09 by REELZ
Even before the movie opens, it's clear that the penultimate scene in Brüno will continue to be one of its most controversial. Designed to very graphically bring out the homophobia in a small southern town, the cage-match-turned-same-sex-make-out scene ended in violence and a narrow escape for Sacha Baron Cohen and his crew.
Some people from the town of Ft. Smith, Arkansas, where the filming took place, are calling foul though, claiming that the the whole thing was just a set up. The crowd, they say, was plied with cheap beer and cheap tickets, frustrated by long delays, and provoked in other ways to elicit an exaggerated reaction. Filmmakers allegedly even threw T-shirts with homophobic phrases and profane images out into the crowd to get things going.
Others in the town are not so sure how unrepresentative the scene is, though. Newsweek recounts the tale of a young gay couple in that town hounded out of a bar for the far less provocative act of slow dancing. Although they weren't physically assaulted themselves, they later found their car's fender all smashed up. For that couple at least, Brüno's depiction of Ft. Smith doesn't seem all that far from reality. They say they are planning to get out of town just as soon as they finish college.