We all remember the kid in high school who was lucky enough to hang out with the most popular kid, and thereby enjoyed riding his coattails all the way to the top. Now, we'd never say that Jay Roach is one of those people -- his "Austin Powers" and "Meet the Parents" films have made him an in-demand Hollywood talent in his own right -- but being a close friend of red-hot star Sacha Baron Cohen certainly doesn't suck.
"I'm working on a remake of a French film called 'The Dinner Game'," explained Roach. "I thought it was a great story, and I don't think many people got to see it here, so I hope to not mess it up. There's a history in Hollywood of doing remakes that don't live up to the original, but there's something in this translation for which Sacha would be perfect for."
Roach, who will briefly leave his comedy wheelhouse for the May 25th HBO political drama "Recount," said that he and Cohen are currently trying to decide which nationality the chameleon-esque actor will take on for the role. "We haven't decided yet," he said. "We haven't figured out that for the character yet."
"It's basically a story about these wealthy, somewhat frat boy guys, who have a dinner once a month and invite people who are kind of nerdy and odd and see who can invite the most ridiculous person," Roach explained of their take on the remake. "And after, they sit around and judge who won the night. Sacha plays one of the idiots, and quickly unravels the whole thing. He unravels the guy's life who tries to make fun of him."
Although the American script had been titled "Dinner for Schmucks," Roach cautioned that we shouldn't get too comfortable with it since the title contains the Yiddish word for "penis" that once got Lenny Bruce arrested. "That's the working title, but we haven't locked on that," he laughed. "I'm not even sure the MPAA would let us use that."
But before we eat "Dinner with" whoever, Roach and Cohen will bring us the "Bruno" movie...um, we think.
Asked for a percentage on how much of the film has been shot, all Roach could offer was: "Um, no comment?"
"I can't really say, because you know how it goes," he said of the flick, which like "Borat" is expected to immerse Cohen into a character from "Da Ali G Show," this time as a gay Austrian fashion reporter. "It's good to let people try to guess."
Various reports have claimed Bruno sightings, and videos like these have even emerged of Baron Cohen creating some sort of mischief at an airport. "Those are unconfirmed, by the way," insisted Roach. "It's unconfirmed that it was Bruno."
What is confirmed, however, is that Cohen dealt with a record-setting number of lawsuits from many of his supposedly-unsuspecting "Borat" co-stars. Now, it's Roach's job to try and keep "Bruno" from getting similarly sued.
"I don't think we'll ever be able to do that," he laughed. "I think he is able to reveal a lot of truth about our society for whatever reason, and he's able to do it in a bizarre way. It's really funny, and his way of doing it, so I just try to help him pull it off."
Which of these Sacha Baron Cohen projects are you most excited to see? Do you think "Bruno" can re-capture the "Borat" magic?