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Sacha Baron Cohen has managed to offend just about everyone: from gay-rights groups to the government of Kazakhstan. And with his latest character, Admiral-General Aladeen from the new film The Dictator, he even managed to unsettle Ryan Seacrest, by pouring ashes onto his tuxedo at this year's Academy Awards.
Sacha started out on TV, playing a wannabe gangsta-rapper called Ali G. Through Ali G, Sacha was able to touch on tricky issues: like identity, race and ethnicity. Sacha elevated and intensified that theme with his next character, a boorish A TV reporter from Kazakhstan named Borat. Sacha threw himself right in the firing line, travelling around the U.S. and spouting racist, misogynist and anti-Semitic babble. Borat was funny as hell, but not everyone was laughing. Some critics claimed the film itself was racist, and anti-Semitic. Sacha - who is Jewish - shot back that the film shows the absurdity of racism. And his next film pushed even more buttons. In Bruno, Sacha played a very gay Austrian fashion reporter who taps into the simmering homophobia that sometimes lies just beneath the surface.
And now, with The Dictator, Sacha may have found his most controversial character yet: Supreme Leader Aladeen - the fictional tyrant of the fictional north-African country of Wadiya. According to Wadiyan propaganda, Hafaz Aladeen was born in 1973. His mother died in childbirth from an 'oxygen underdose'; his father, the brutal dictator Omar Aladeen, died in a tragic hunting accident (he was hit by 97 bullets and a stray grenade). Aladeen assumed power at age seven - and ever since has ruled Wadiya with an iron fist. He has unlimited oil wealth, and is known for his eccentricities. He recently hosted his own Olympic games, where he won 14 gold medals. In our interview with Sacha, as his Dictator character, we find out what really happened with Ryan Seacrest. And we get Aladeen's thoughts on Canadians, Canadian media and Justin Bieber. Warning: Aladeen can be offensive in just about every way possible.