Will Michael Jackson Remain a Brüno Punchline?

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I guess it's not a spoiler if the scene doesn't make the final cut, but be warned anyway: Universal lifted a Michael Jackson-related sequence from Brüno just hours before the film's premiere Thursday night -- which happened to be just hours after the King of Pop was confirmed dead at age 50. The studio and the filmmakers have about a week to decide which version they'll ship to theaters for the July 10 release; more scene specifics and an admittedly vague reaction from director Larry Charles after the jump.

Uni still has a pretty ironclad embargo in effect through Monday, so let it suffice to say that the bit in question involves Brüno, LaToya Jackson, four Mexicans and the Austrian model/TV host's impassioned (and very funny) plea for access to Michael Jackson. And it's not an especially brief sequence, either; under these circumstances, what might be groan-inducing at just a few seconds long is undoubtedly squirm material as drawn out by Sacha Baron Cohen.

It was apparently a no-brainer for Charles and Baron Cohen to snip the scene after hearing the grim news Thursday afternoon, and why not (particularly after the Brüno red carpet covered the late pop idol's star on the Walk of Fame at the least opportune time)? It's kind of unnecessary in context, with Brüno now going from his infamous Paula Abdul interview straight into his soon-to-be-infamous focus-group scene. Charles, meanwhile, told THR that he and the studio would revisit the material next week to see what might work for the wide release. But if I were you, I'd wait for the DVD. If there's a textbook definition of "too soon," this is probably it.

· Michael Jackson bit cut from Brüno [Risky Biz/THR]



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