Essays · Movies

Universal Temporarily Removes Michael Jackson Scene from Brüno

By  · Published on June 26th, 2009

The sudden death of pop star Michael Jackson on Thursday has caused some discussion in the halls of Universal Pictures, according to Steven Zeitchik and Matthew Belloni of The Hollywood Reporter, which resulted in the studio cutting a Jackson-centric bit from the upcoming comedy Brüno mere hours before its Los Angeles premiere.

The scene in question sees Bruno, the gay Austrian fashion journalist played by Sacha Baron Cohen, interviewing an unsuspecting LaToya Jackson about various topics, including her brother. Among the topics: the pop star’s high-pitched voice and his trademark white glove. According to critical reaction from early press screenings, the scene isn’t too outrageous beside some of the other antics in the film, but the studio felt as if it would be better to avoid the perception of poor taste.

At the premiere’s after party, director Larry Charles told THR, “We decided to take it out for tonight, and we’ll reassess before the release whether to keep it out.”

Since last night’s premiere, the studio has given no word as to whether or not that scene will make it into the release version of the film, but with the film releasing wide in two weeks it would be an incredibly expensive process to recut all of those prints. The real decision is whether it is worth the time, money and effort – and my guess is that the scene will end up in theaters on July 10. From what I’ve heard, the scene is in now way overly offensive in the way it deals with Michael Jackson, so I doubt that it will be a big deal in the end.

Bruno is in theaters on July 10, 2009. For more, check out the Austrian fashionista’s appearance on Conan from last night, which I’ve embedded below.

Neil Miller is the persistently-bearded Publisher of Film School Rejects, Nonfics, and One Perfect Shot. He's also the Executive Producer of the One Perfect Shot TV show (currently streaming on HBO Max) and the co-host of Trial By Content on The Ringer Podcast Network. He can be found on Twitter here: @rejects (He/Him)