As EW reported last week, The Brothers Grimsby features a minor, but memorable, subplot in which presidential candidate Donald Trump is infected with the HIV virus and then develops full-blown AIDS. While many will doubtless find such material offensive, the film’s star and co-writer Sacha Baron Cohen insists this part of the film has been received warmly by audiences.
“We’ve just shown the movie in Germany, Holland, England, around America, Norway, Spain — and when Donald Trump contracts HIV, people are standing up and applauding,” the British comedian said in an interview with Sirius XM’s Entertainment Weekly channel earlier today. “And, to me, that’s pretty worrying because, if he does become president, the hatred [towards] this guy is so extreme that people will wish ill on him.”
Baron Cohen also confirmed rumors that the film’s studio, Sony, was concerned about the Trump material. “I had a bit of an argument with the studio,” he said. “Because they said, ‘[At the end of the movie] you have to put a card in saying Donald Trump was not involved in this movie and Donald Trump is not HIV positive.’ I refused to say that Donald Trump is not HIV positive. I said, ‘I’ve got no idea whether he is.’ Show me your STD card and prove it. He’s had a number of lovers and what I don’t want is, god forbid he is HIV positive, and he sleeps with somebody, and I get sued, because they’ve heard in my film that he’s not. So, we were in a battle for quite a while with the studio. There’s a compromise — which you’ll see when you go to see the film.”
The Brothers Grimsby opened in the U.K. on Feb. 24 and arrives in American theaters on March 11.
Finally, Baron Cohen refused to comment on the possibility that he might find it harder to get a U.S. work visa if Trump does become commander-in-chief. “Listen, I think there are certain things that you don’t joke about,” said the comedian. “This is a subject that can potentially bring misery and horrific things for millions of people. Which is why you shouldn’t vote for him.”
You can listen to the comedian talk about Trump below and you can hear the full interview with Sacha Baron Cohen on Thursday at 6 p.m. ET on EW Radio SiriusXM 105, or on demand anytime at siriusxm.com/ondemand