Sacha Baron Cohen

November 26, 2011 by staff 

Sacha Baron Cohen, Directed by Academy Award-winner Martin Scorsese, written by John Logan, and based on Brian Selznick’s novel “The Invention of Hugo Cabret,” ‘Hugo’ stars Asa Butterfield as a young boy secretly living in a train station in 1931 Paris. With the help of an eccentric girl, he searches for the answer to a mystery linking the father he recently lost, the ill-tempered toy shop owner living below him and a heart shaped lock, seemingly without a key. ‘Hugo’ stars Asa Butterfield, Chloe Moretz, Ben Kingsley, Sacha Baron Cohen, Jude Law, Ray Winstone, Christopher Lee, Helen McCrory, Richard Griffiths, Frances de la Tour, Emily Mortimer and Michael Stuhlbarg. This film is out now in the US, and is set for release December 2nd in the UK.

Could you describe your character and what you felt was the biggest challenge making this movie?

Asa Butterfield: Hugo, he’s an orphan, and because he’s had to grow up far faster than anyone else his age should have. I found it quite hard to relate to him because of all the hardships he’s gone through in his life. So I had to come up with a false past for him that was similar to mine and relate to him in that way. And of course, the book that Brian wrote helped me a lot when relating to him. The biggest challenge filming it, probably was dealing with the crying scenes. They were probably the hardest bits, draining mentally and physically. Hugo was very different to other roles I’ve played, because in ‘The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas,’ my character is quite innocent and very naïve. Hugo is innocent, but he’s had to grow up far faster than anyone else his age should have. So he’s very mature, it was a great role.

There’s so much film history in ‘Hugo.’ Did Martin Scorsese curate things he wanted you to watch to prepare for this film?

Sacha Baron Cohen: Well, he always does that with his cast, you know, when it’s set in a specific period, and I had a whole box set of Georges Méliès’ films to watch. Hours of it, really, which was hugely useful for me not only to understand his language of cinema, but also how he multi-tasked to an extraordinary degree. When you’re watching the films, you see a great performer, but then of course, when reading the footnotes, you realize that he wrote, choreographed, directed, edited, designed, starred in with his wife co-starring. I think he must have got about four hours sleep a night because he then having worked in his glass studio, he then went to the musical in Paris to saw people in half, and do all fun kinds of things like that (laughs). So yeah, Martin really saturated us with wonderful material to watch.

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