EXCLUSIVE: Original Brüno Ending Included Brutal Gay Bashing Played for Laughs

Though Brüno won't hit theaters until July 11, the Sacha Baron Cohen comedy has already prompted extensive debate about whether it's well-intended satire or a joke that's poised to blow up in the face of the gay community. As polarizing as the movie has already turned out to be, Movieline has learned that the original cut of the film featured an ending that doubtlessly would have been even more controversial.


In the current cut of the film, Bruno (Cohen) and his ditched, lovesick assistant Lutz (Gustaf Hammerstan) reunite in the movie's third act centerpiece: an Arkansas cage match where the two begin to make out inside the cage while an angry audience mob reacts with disbelief and, eventually, makeshift hurled weapons. In the film's epilogue, the reconnected couple embrace domesticity with their adopted baby, and Bruno sings us into the credits with the help of an star-studded, satirical gay rights anthem.

However, when Baron Cohen and director Larry Charles screened the film back in February for a select industry audience, the result of that cage match wasn't nearly as rosy.

Writer-director Richard Day (Arrested Development, Ellen) was among the industry figures at the screening. In that version, Day tells Movieline, "The cage-match kiss resulted in a violent attack on the couple. They then cut to a press event where they are announcing their marriage or plans to, I forget which. But the boyfriend is now drooling, seemingly brain-damaged, and in a wheelchair, played for laughs."

Day notes that he and actor Jack Plotnick were the only gay people invited to the screening, and that after the film ended, the other industry figures gave the film a thumbs-up. "Then I started in and Jack joined with his thoughts. By the time I got to the bashing, the audience started defending the movie. They were annoyed with us for ruining the party."

Still, that ending was ultimately among the reshot portions of the film that a mystery source revealed to Nikki Finke and The Wrap weeks ago.

"I don't know if we're why they changed it but if we are, I regret saying anything," says Day. "It would have been better to let them expose their true point of view; thanks to us they had a road map of the most egregious offenses and can also claim to have been responsive to our concerns."

Day says that wasn't the filmmakers' first attempt at outreach, though: he'd met with Charles (with whom he'd worked with on Mad About You) before the film started shooting. "He had me come in to meet with Sacha Baron Cohen when all they had was an outline because he wanted a gay voice on the film," says Day. "Then I never heard back, so I guess he was overruled or I blew the meeting or something. I remember telling them it read like it was written by people who didn't know much about actual gay life, but I don't remember it making me angry or anything."

We contacted Universal about the claims; a studio publicist responded, "No comment."


  • Judas says:

    Sacha is funny don't get me wrong and its good to laugh. But there is a difference between laughing with someone and laughing at someone.
    We can laugh at Jews or Blacks, Muslims, Gays. The list is endless, take your pick... We're all fair game aren't we?
    Should I be allowed to feel good about laughing at anyone?
    I can understand that you might find mannerisms or stereotypes funny, and that the thought of two men or women engaged in sexual activity may be provocative or even hilarious to you. The question you should be asking yourself is why?
    If you could put yourself in there place you would understand - possibly.
    When you have stared down the end of a gun barrel wondering if this is the end, all because you're living your own life and it offends someone...
    Then you might realise why.

  • Silveeto says:

    I think everyone just needs to chill about this gay issue already. I'm gay, was not offended, and laughed my ass off most of the way! Of course Hillbillys and rednecks can use this movie as a "vehicle" (lame metaphor btw) to laugh at but on the contrary it is also precipitating a very indepth intellectual debate. SBC is just doing what he does best, stirring shit up! Cheers guys!

  • Bizzy Bee says:

    Serious, if you're "offended" because of this film, why did you waste your time watching it?
    His character "Bruno" has been around for years and years. If it's so obviously offensive, why waste your time?
    You people just like to have a say and the fact that you use your sexuality as an excuse is pathetic and attention seeking in and of itself.
    Get a life already.

  • brth700 says:

    That guy - although hilarious - definately isn't normal, brain dammaged... As someone said below, there's a difference at laughing with and at somebody, I often laugh myself at racist jokes only as long as they're meant to be funny, and not to hurt anybody. I don't give a shit about gays, but his jokes about black are definately not meant to laugh with them,not even at them, but to hurt. It's obvious. Even more when it comes to a kid (like didloing the craddle ?!?!?) who didn't ask to be there, and who probably gonna get serious psychological pb when he grows up and see what his mother accepted to do on him. Cruel jokes with kids ? Not my thing. If Cohen ever goes to the joint, he'll probably get killed - and honestly that's what he deserves.